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Development   /  Aaron Wakem

Communicating Disability

What is disability? What impact does it have? How to do we communicate about disability?


Impact areas




  • DIRECTOR Aaron Wakem

  • PRODUCER Kris Maric



Disability is a collective of different and often disparate conditions that have an ongoing impact on the lives and daily functioning of people that suffer from these conditions. Disability is more than the images that are conjured to your mind. The depictions and expressions of disability in the media and when governments consider disability are often those that are most severely disabled or most visibly disabled. Despite this, there are many people living with disabilities who don’t come to mind, or into discussion. This series aims to bridge the current understanding of disability and the reality of disability, as well as alleviate and amend myths and misconceptions.

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Disability is a complex, broad term that encompasses a vast array of different ailments and afflictions. Yet, we reductively call it disability. We further break down disability into categories: physical disability, sensory disability, intellectual disability, and psychiatric disability. Each also a large umbrella term. Unless you have first-hand experience or have worked in a field that interacts with disability on a regular basis it is very difficult to properly understand, communicate about, or interact with disability. This series aims to address this, step by step, in a widely accessible way.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Our aim is that people have the language tools and confidence to talk about disability in a positive way. Additionally, we hope that this empowerment will remove and reduce social stigma towards people with disability. Finally, we hope that a better understand of disability can help the broader public be more self-health aware and less embarrassed or ashamed about their bodily issues.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

We hope that initially the public will start to have conversations about disability, using the series as a conversation starter. This will be reinforced with the other resources which can assist people having these conversations.
We hope that this then leads onto a more positive and realistic understanding of disability, more empathy towards those who suffer from disabilities, and in turn a reduction in stigma and misconceptions.
We also see this series as the first step in a larger conversation around disability, providing the language tools and understanding needed to allow furthermore complex, and difficult conversations to occur.
In addition to these, we hope that the broader publics self-health awareness improves and removes some embarrassment and shame around our bodily failings.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

We hope the series will engage with the broader public in a confronting but informative and entertaining style. This in conjunction with our website and campaign partners will allow for better, nuanced discussions about disability.
We will also create information packs, with a combination of video and information resources. These will be available for workplaces, schools, and organisations to empower them to have these conversations and provide a more welcoming environment for people living with disabilities.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

There are presently no official partnerships with organisations. We have had a number of early talks with several large organisations that administer the NDIS and provide support for people with disability. Those talks will continue and hopefully become official partnerships.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We hope for the viewers to undergo some personal growth through watching the series and engaging in conversations about it. Through this process, we hope they gain the language tools and understanding needed to have conversations, to gain confidence to ask questions and talk about disability and health issues more broadly.
This in turn, we hope, will lead to more positive conversations about disability which will lead to less stigma.
We also hope that people will be curious to learn more and take further steps. This is where our website and campaign partners come in to provide further information and resources.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our primary indicator of success will be engagement numbers from the website. We will provide an opportunity for people to engage with the experts we involve in the series, as well as a way for people to share their stories of how the show has affected them.
Campaign engagement will also be a gauge of the series success. We hope that the series is a part of a wider campaign, which we will finalise closer to actual production.