Here’s a question for you:

Would you like a white one or a green one?

Come on, decide! What’s it to be? White or green?

Of course, you answer will depend on whether it’s a yoghurt or a late-model jaguar. If you’re being offered yoghurt then you’ll go with white but if it’s a jaguar it’s best to choose green.

Choice is only choice when you know and understand your options.

So it goes with the rolling out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Hallelujah! Finally, people with a disability are being asked what they want and what they need. This can only be a good thing, right?

Mostly right.

The National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) approach suits educated and articulate people with disability, people who know their options and understand the consequences of their choices. For many vision-impaired and hearing-impaired people and people in wheel chairs, the NDIS can’t come soon enough.

However, the people who couldn’t speak up before – those with significant intellectual disability or severe mental illness – are being asked to make the same choices, with the same level of guidance and support as educated and articulate individuals. Within the NDIS there’s an assumption of capacity that doesn’t represent the whole group.

Most of us know what kind of job we’d enjoy, and what we’re good at. Nobody has a better handle on your interests, skills and experience than you do, right?

Imagine you are actively seeking work, yet no one ever asks you to produce a CV. Worse, you find that someone has created their own negative version, focusing on what they think you can’t achieve. And this is supposed to be a tool that will help you find employment!

All too often we see disability employment services carry out generic assessments that simply provide a professional opinion about what their job seeker is not capable of achieving. There’s not much point in that.

Think about it. Most people with a disability know very well what they can’t do – they’ve been told many times. This creates the Golem effect: a psychological phenomenon in which lower expectations placed upon individuals lead to poorer performances. The effect on job seekers’ confidence, motivation and employment outcomes can be devastating.

A quality employment service will lead job-seeking campaigns with their client’s strengths.