Research published this month by Growing Up in New Zealand, as part of the Now We Are 12 series, has found that more young people and families experience disability than shown before. These young people are experiencing inequities in many areas of their lives leading researchers to recommend that disabled young people are made a priority across government.

Key findings of the report are:

  • self-reported disability differed by gender, ethnic group, and area level deprivation
  • disabled young people reported poorer health and wellbeing outcomes
  • disabled young people reported less trusting and communicative relationships with their peers and parents and were less satisfied with their parents’ involvement in their lives
  • disabled young people felt less safe in their neighbourhood and had lower school engagement
  • a greater proportion of families with disability were living in single-parent homes, had poorer housing quality, lived in rental accommodation, and had experienced greater residential instability.

Dr Marks states that “Urgent action is needed to improve access to services to ensure that services are inclusive and responsive to the needs of all young people, including those with disabilities". Supporting these young people at home, in education, and in their communities is essential to improving their wellbeing.

“We need policies to remove inequities that disabled young people experience across multiple domains such as, reducing barriers to educational support, and increasing support for families experiencing disability.”

Read the summary and access the full Growing Up in New Zealand report, Now We Are 12: The Impact of Disability on Young People and Their Family

Read the Growing Up in New Zealand press release about the Now We Are 12: The Impact of Disability on Young People and Their Family.