Disability Services: the road ahead

The disability sector is in a period of rapid change.  

  • Disabled people and families are expecting more personalised supports

  • children graduating from inclusive schooling look to better support for inclusion during transition and beyond.

  • Maori, Pasifika and Asian families are seeking culturally appropriate supports

  • The government agencies have new expectations and outcome measures

Responsive services have input from the people and families they support.  This photo shows Jeremy Staines, supported by Rena Savage, talking to Local Area Coordinators about his experiences, hopes and dreams (2011).

In this environment, services that proactively respond to changing expectations from disabled people and families, and from government agencies, will prosper.


Individualised Funding (IF) enables families to by-pass services, designing and sourcing their own supports. Yet IF is a difficult road and not for everyone.  Many families and disabled people would prefer to remain with services, provided services are truly personalised and inclusive and culturally appropriate. 

Inclusion Aotearoa is uniquely placed to support sector leaders to support leaders and managers to look at the situations with fresh eyes, bringing experience of similar situations and processes that make change easier. We can provide project management, consultancy, strategic planning and mentoring. 

We are familiar with current government direction, through our leadership in the provision of Local Area Coordination and other work for the Ministry of Health’s New Model.

Ruth Gerzon also personally led a disability service through positive change. Over many years she has delivered training and consultancy to services focused on inclusion and on building links with communities. 

Ruth facilitates three workshops


Other processes we offer are:

  • Mentoring.  Managing change is challenging. External mentoring support helps managers reflect on their leadership role and and explore issues arising. This reflection enables managers to carefully select and prioritise responses and actions and to find their ways through and around any barriers or resistance that may arise. Ruth Gerzon has completed the Professional Mentoring and Supervision Skills (Level 7, Unitec) and uses the methods and skills developed in this course in her mentoring practice.


  • Facilitation of Strategic Plans. This is most productive when large groups of diverse stakeholders share ideas. Where an organisation has a focus on inclusion, stakeholders can include not only disabled people and families/whanau along with staff and board members, but also leaders of the community that surrounds the service. Such leaders bring new perspectives and networks that add richness to the disability sector. There is no better place to begin community engagement, than while shaping your strategic direction.


  • Appreciative Enquiry.       In uncertain times when staff and disabled people are searching for a way ahead, this process is often the best way to begin. Just as disability services build on the strengths of disabled people, so services can build on their strengths to further develop their potential. Appreciative Inquiry honours the organisation’s past, looking at the best that has gone before.

  • Systems move in the direction of the questions people most persistently and passionately discuss. Carefully crafting key questions engages them in open inquiry. This brings hope, excitement, inspiration as well as promoting strong connections and relationships. This process stimulates new ideas and stories, generates new possibilities for action, and lessens resistance to change.