At Field we're interested in engaging people with disabilities in various ways. One way is to start this blog on various topics and to start discussions, learning and development between people with disabilities. We're hoping this will lead to fruitful developments in the disability sector.

My name is Maree Ireland and I've been working at Field as a Communications Officer for 7 years. I develop Field's blog posts and assist with webinars around issues on Self-Directed Approaches and various disability issues. I also assist with the training of disability support workers and the community.

I believe people with disability have the right to live their lives to their full potential with appropriate funding and disability supports. I am posting various topics such as social inclusion, occupational health and safety and other topics.

So please get involved in these discussions and start blogging!

Blog posts by Maree Ireland

Apr 9, 2018

Recently I saw the story of a mother who was distraught about the future of her son with an intellectual disability. She was so distressed because of the lack of suitable accommodation for her son when she passes away, that she tried to kill both her son and herself.  Fortunately she failed but she still has this massive concern about her son’s future.


Feb 23, 2018

Three weeks ago, unfortunately, I was in an incident in a taxi where the driver had to quickly slam on his brakes to avoid another car. 

Fortunately, the driver avoided an accident. Not so fortunate for me was the fact that my upper body was pushed forward and back onto the seat sash and belt several times. 


Feb 5, 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. Not only do we see all the top tennis players converge on Melbourne Park but it’s also peak awards season in Hollywood.

This month I have reposted by blog post from last year on the updates to accessibility at Melbourne Park, and I've also written a post on disability in Hollywood after reading an article about inclusion and representation.


Jan 11, 2018

I have just read an article by Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, in the USA, which is an online community dedicated to creating, amplifying, and sharing disability media and culture. The article explains why we need to include disabled people in conversations about inclusion, and can be read on Field’s Facebook page.


Nov 27, 2017

It’s one thing to have great ideas to build a grand house to live in, but if the foundations and cornerstones are not solid, and built to last from the beginning, the purpose of the house - to provide comfort and shelter - may not come to fruition.

The NDIS is like that vision of a grand house.


Oct 2, 2017

A few weeks ago, I saw the documentary ‘Defiant Lives’ produced by Sarah Barton. It was a very interesting overview of how people with disabilities have been ‘fighting’ (both strategically and physically) for equal rights and better services so we can live inclusive and productive lives.


Aug 28, 2017

Over the years I have had countless numbers of support workers enter my life to assist me with my daily living tasks. All workers have come from various agencies with the assumption that they have been trained and have the relevant knowledge and skills to work as a support worker.


Aug 11, 2017

What language do we want people to use when they talk about us in, for example, the media, or in the delivery of training to disability support workers?

Are there words or phrases used to describe people with disabilities that irritate you? 


Jul 6, 2017

I find the above saying stupidly amusing but also very annoying.

For clarification I ‘googled’ a definition of ‘confined’ and found the following:

  1. limited or restricted.
  2. unable to leave a place because of illness, imprisonment, etc.

I often hear this phrase on the TV or read it in the newspapers after a person has had a serious accident, or has contracted a life-changing illness, and at first I cringe; then I think how stupid it really sounds. But I’ve thought, is it just people’s way of coping with people ‘living in a wheelchair’ by putting us in a place where it justifies their feelings of pity, or where they think we need to be put so that we can’t be visible, or a contributing member of society?


Jun 1, 2017

Can there be any certainty throughout the NDIS processes that the genuine goals and desires of people with disabilities, especially people with communication impairments and limited life experience, will truly be determined? Then if they can be determined, will there be sufficient funding for ‘reasonable and practicable’ supports for their goals and desires to be achieved?


Apr 24, 2017

Recently I heard a public figure say to her husband, now living with a disability, “I would give all my success away to have you standing back by my side.”

It started me thinking, would I change anything about myself?


Apr 19, 2017

...the irony with public holidays is when we do our original funding plan we tend not to think about public holidays at the time. So even if we used the same amount of hours as any other day, on a public holiday, we are aware that we will be charged double the rate per hour; let alone, if we want to use more hours to get out and about.


Mar 1, 2017

I attended a forum last week run by Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU). The forum outlined a number of changes in Victorian disability and support services. It is important that people with disabilities; family members; carers and all their disability support services become aware of these changes and how they will affect disability services delivery.


Jan 31, 2017

Once again, in January I ventured to Melbourne Park for several night sessions at the 2017 Australian Open Tennis.

This year a number of changes had been made in regards to wheelchair access to the concourse and arenas.  After an initial period of slight annoyance and getting used to the changes, it made me question what are the fundamentals of meaningful inclusion?


Dec 12, 2016

The topic was ‘It (inclusive communities) can happen if…’  This forum explored the relationship between individualised funding and the capacity of the community to be ‘ready and accessible’ for people with disabilities.


Oct 3, 2016

As a person with a speech impairment, I can remember how 'liberating' it felt to be able to 'communicate' almost spontaneously with people by email and without needing any assistance to do it.


Sep 16, 2016

I wonder how much of the community are truly aware and regularly follow our disabled athletes in the Paralympics?  'Para' means 'next to', I just wonder if our Paralympians are getting 'next to' the recognition, viewing and support our Olympians received.


Aug 11, 2016

A few weeks ago I attended a consultation around developing a Human Rights Framework for the delivery of disability services. During the discussions I wondered how such a framework would fit into our everyday lives?


Jun 27, 2016

A discussion paper is now available on the next Victorian State Disability Plan 2017-2020. It is vitally important that people with disability, their families and associates contribute their thoughts on the development of the next plan, especially as it will be in place during the Victorian rollout of the National Disability Plan.


Jun 16, 2016

A few weeks ago I attended a forum by JFA Purple Orange. They invited Sam Smith, Founder and
Director of C-Change in Scotland to share her experience and academic knowledge around self-directed supports in Scotland


May 23, 2016

Amanda Lawrie-Jones is the recipient of Field’s Scholarship this year. She completed her course early this year. Her other project, has been the redevelopment of the website: Scleroderma Victoria.


May 5, 2016

Is there an information / knowledge / experiential hole between the management of the NDIS and people with disabilities and their families/ partners and supporters?


Apr 4, 2016

At the end of last year the NDIA released a consultation draft of the Commissioning Framework. The framework outlines how the agency will fund and manage information, linkage and capacity building (ILC) activities in the future. Before they finish the framework, the agency would like to receive more submissions from people with disability, their families and carers.


Mar 21, 2016

Recently I attended a DARU Advocacy Sector Conversations forum about the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

There were several sessions: NDIS Planning, NDIS Review and Appeals process, NDIS training workshops series, Q&A with the Office of Disability. Here I have outlined what I think are the important issues fior people with disabilities.


Mar 2, 2016

The Victorian Disability Awards recognise people and organisations that make an outstanding contribution to empower people with a disability and create an inclusive community. You only have until Thursday 24 March to nominate a disasbility suopport worker, or group of workers, you think deserves this award.


Feb 22, 2016

Does your support worker need to update their skills and knowledge to be better equipped to manage the changes of the National Disability Insurance Scheme? Field's new Essential Package may be the course for your disability support workers.


Feb 9, 2016

I am interested in finding out if people with disabilities are experiencing similar situations where OH&S Laws appear to override discriminatory practices.


Dec 24, 2015

We are all waiting for the roll-out of the NDIS and what it will mean for us in 2016.


Dec 8, 2015

With the introduction of the NDIS, will local councils be able to continue to support people with disabilities  to pursue their artistic aspirations?


Nov 24, 2015

How will Aged Care support services be delivered in the furture?


Nov 12, 2015

There are benefits of disability training for both people with disability and disability support workers.


Nov 2, 2015

The Victorian State Governemtn wants to know about your experiences, in your life and your community, since the Victorian State Disability Plan 2013-16 commenced on 1 January 2013.


Oct 22, 2015

This post is about people with disability going through the NDIS process and what they need to think about.  The community must also realise the NDIS can't provide everything and our community must continue to become more inclusive and accessible.


Jun 22, 2015

The closing date for Field Scholarship applications has been extended to Wednesday 1st July 2015. We all have busy lives and it is easy to forget or put off something that you really want trio do. So if you have forgotten or put off applying for Field's scholarship I have good news.


May 11, 2015

Here are some ideas on further studies in the areas you may wish to work, and some requirements that you will need to complete to be able to work in the area of your choice.


Apr 29, 2015

Hi, it's that time of year again when field gives people with disabilities the opportunity to take a step towards a new career and apply for a scholarship to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. 


Dec 15, 2014

As is the whole community, I am shocked and saddened by the passing of this strong and talented woman.


Oct 24, 2014

In November, Field will be presenting 2 webinars around the topic of Full Employment. Both webinars will be moderated by Graeme Innes and will have expert presenters on the topics. 


Oct 1, 2014

In my previous post I spoke about the Field Trainee Scholarship and the benefits it would bring to people with disabilities to be able to be involved in training disability support workers.


Sep 15, 2014

The work of a Disability Support Worker can be very individual and specific. Obviously, there are specific curriculum subjects that a disability support worker must learn.


Aug 28, 2014

On Tuesday 29th July 2014, Field ventured into the world of the WEBINAR.


May 20, 2014

The Productivity Commission estimates that under the NDIS, no one will be worse off than they currently are. It also predicts that many people will be better off under the NDIS.


May 6, 2014

With the implementation of the N.D.I.S under way, it started me thinking about the type of leadership that we now need from people with disabilities and our supporters to ensure the N.D.I.S is protected and fully implemented as it should be.


Mar 24, 2014

In the last few years as change becomes more apparent, there is increasingly talk of a consumer model.