1 What are the community attitudes to people with disability in Australia and similar countries?
2.How do community attitudes affect social and economic inclusion in different life domains such as participation in education and employment, social networks, community, health, housing, support services, etc.?
3.What is the relationship between community attitudes to people with disability and their experiences and outcomes a) overseas and b) in Australia?
4.What are the community attitudes to specific groups of people with disability, including the person's characteristics such as disability type, age, gender, location,Indigenous, CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse), socioeconomic status?
5.What are the attitudes to people with disability as held by groups of people relevant to particular life domains (For example employers, managers and co workers in the employment domain; teachers and students in the education domain; formal and informal carers in the personal support domain) and relevant to particular life course stages (for example peers, teachers and other parents in preschool/primary school [pre¬puberty], high school [teenage years] and early young adult years)?
6.Can community attitudes to people with disability be changed (including which groups who hold the attitudes and to which people with disability) and if so how; what are examples of constructive attitudes to people with disability and case studies of ways to bring about social and economic inclusion?
7.What are the gaps in knowledge about community attitudes to people with disability in Australia as relevant to policy change and how could they be addressed?
8.To what extent do the existing datasets support the ability to infer outcomes regarding people with disability? Where are the data gaps where inference is not possible?
We know from considerable national and international literature that negative community attitudes towards people with disability affect their quality of life in the important life domains of education, employment, health, housing and social networks. Negative attitudes are more likely to be experienced by particular groups of people with disability, such as women and people with intellectual or psychiatric disability.
Research evidence about the impact of negative community attitudes towards people with disability on their outcomes across various life domains is scant. However, there is a strong conceptual link between attitudes and outcomes. This link is also suggested and supported by the literature reviewed in this report.
Australia has some datasets that include indicators of outcomes for people with disability from which the impact of negative attitudes can be inferred, but no large or longitudinal attitudinal data are collected. Options for addressing this research gap in Australia are: include a disability module in existing longitudinal data collections; access relevant administrative datasets; and design specific disability attitudes surveys of people with disability and other members of the public. International examples of data collection could be used to inform survey development in Australia, and a good model would be the BSA survey.
Australian and international policies to change community attitudes to people with disability operate at the levels of personal, organisational and structural change. Few of these policies have been evaluated. An option to inform policy change would be to review the effectiveness of existing policies and programs in Australia.
Strategies to change community attitudes seem to be most effective when they include policies at all three levels (personal, organisational and structural), include people with disability in the design and implementation of the policies, are sufficiently prolonged and resourced to reinforce positive attitudes and replace negative attitudes, and address the diversity of disability experience.