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Last year I graduated from RMIT University with a Bachelor of Communications. I am now pursuing a career. I have a severe vision impairment and rely on a large black guide dog called Volly. I think Volly enjoys powering through life at my accelerated pace.
I am passionate about human rights and equal opportunity. I am actively involved with Young Blind Citizens Victoria. Sport is an important part of my life. I play vision impaired tennis. I also play swish, which is a cross between table tennis and air hockey. Travel is another challenge which I enjoy. I have travelled throughout Australia and to the United States.
People with disability who are unemployed can get help to find a job. The Disability Employment service can give all kinds of help to both the unemployed person and to the employer. However those who already have a job, but who will soon lose it, cannot get this kind of help. The government needs to give more help for people with a disability who are already in a job.
I enjoy doing sports with my partner. He doesn't have a disability but we have found the perfect sport for us. It is indoor rock climbing. I can't see where or what my partner is doing when he's climbing a wall. But the tension in the rope tells me if he has fallen or needs to be lowered to the ground. When I climb I use my hands and feet to scan the wall. Rock climbing is great. You try and improve what you did last time by climbing higher, faster or using a more difficult path up the wall.
As a vision impaired person I find it stressful to use checkouts at department stores and supermarkets. I struggle to find the shortest queue and can't see the checkout operator waiting for me. I can't use a self-service checkout. People with disabilities have the right to access stores and checkouts. When I have trouble at the registers I take the time to try and educate staff on how they can help. Sometimes I also make a formal complaint. I want to see a time when blind and vision impaired people won't have to struggle to access checkouts.
Head over heels is a book about the true story of Sam Bailey. Sam grew up in regional Queensland and dreamed of being a farmer. But at the age of 19, he was involved in a serious car accident and became a quadriplegic. Over time, Sam began learning to do things for himself. Against all odds he learned to fly a plane and realised his dream of being a farmer. This book is about trying to have a positive attitude in life. Even in the toughest of circumstances. The book is written by Sam Bailey and his wife Jenny.
Swish is a sport that is like both table tennis and air hockey. Players hit a ball filled with bells across a table and over the net. A wooden paddle is used to hit the ball. Over the past 18 months swish has become more popular in Victoria. I am involved in the junior swish program in Melbourne. Over time the juniors have got better at playing swish. There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of people joining the Melbourne group. Swish groups have also started in many regional areas of Victoria.