Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds (CALD)
Monograph Prepared by Lynn Selepak
1. ABSTRACT This paper explores the changing cultural demographics in Western Australia, along with some of the unique challenges faced by people with disabilities and their carers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds. Western Australia is a state with a highly diverse population comprising many cultures and languages. People with disabilities from diverse backgrounds may confront many problems including language issues; low utilisation of formal services; lack of information and knowledge about services; and isolation. There is a lack of reliable data - nationally as well as at State and Territory level - on the number of CaLD people with disabilities. While there are recent initiatives to help address some of the issues, many challenges remain before it can be proudly stated that people from diverse backgrounds enjoy the same level of access to disability services as the broader population.
2. INTRODUCTION The focus of this paper is on people with disabilities from CaLD backgrounds. It does not include issues for Aboriginal Australians but primarily relates to people born overseas in non-English speaking countries, and their immediate families, who may be Australian-born. It is noted that terminology preferences change over time. Some organisations prefer the use of the phrase ‘non-English speaking background’ to CaLD, however this paper primarily uses the term CaLD.
The purpose of the paper is to draw together recent information and studies relevant to people with disabilities from CaLD backgrounds, with a view to informing consultation around long-term planning for disability service provision within Western Australia.
A variety of literature is referred to, with a preference for recent Western Australian sources and studies. The literature is generally relevant to the particular responsibilities of the Disability Services Commission, however some literature - for instance on carer issues – may include areas such as aged care and mental health.