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I am a social worker. I moved to country Victoria from North Queensland many years ago. I've worked in disability, advocacy and community development. I love the opportunity to combine my two main passions in life: social work and theatre. I enjoy all aspects of theatre production and performance. I also enjoy reading, travelling, cooking, playing the saxophone and photography.
I am passionate about being creative. I also like to find creative solutions to problems. I want to show the world that being different is a good thing. I like to write about cooking, the arts and rural life with a sense of fun.
It's not often you get the chance to do something that your disability stops you from doing. I was born with low vision so I could never get a driver's licence. But recently I got the chance to drive a car for the first time. It was at a free event called In the Driver's Seat Day at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne. People with a vision impairment get to drive a car. I went with two of my friends. The driving instructor told me when to brake and when to turn. Driving felt incredible and I'll definitely go again next year.
Christy Brown's autobiography
My Left Foot was written 60 years ago. It is his story about growing up with a disability. When Christy was a baby, doctors told his parents he was 'mentally defective'. But as Christy got older, his mother taught him the alphabet and to read. He learned to write by holding a paintbrush or pencil with his left foot. During his teenage years Christy became depressed and frustrated by his disability. But when he met other people with disabilities he started to feel better about himself. At the age of 18 Christy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
I love the theatre. But I have a vision impairment. It is frustrating that I cannot see everything on stage. I went with friends to see the play The Importance of Being Earnest. We organised to have a tour of the stage. We felt some of the costumes. We met two actors. During the play we wore an earpiece. A person known as an audio describer told us what was happening on stage. It helped us to better understand the story. Vision Australia organise audio descriptions for many shows.
I was having trouble getting a job. So I decided to look for jobs outside social work. Because my sight had changed I did not know what other work I could do. I decided to register with a disability employment service. Years ago I was with another employment agency. It was not very helpful. This time I wanted to get the most out of my employment service.
The Federal Government can provide assistance to employers if changes need to be made for a worker with a disability. But many people feel they have to change their job or career when they acquire a disability. It is important that people get the support they need when making a change. Chris struggled to change jobs when he could no longer do physical work. It took Lauren four years to discover disability advocacy after she lost her sight. Janice changed jobs because her workmates treated her badly. I think employers need to view employees with a disability more positively.