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As an occupational therapist, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with parents of people with disabilities, explore many different aspects of disability and health services, and meet many amazing and inspiring people. I'm passionate about helping to find people's strengths and draw on them to make a difference.
I enjoy writing about possibilities. People in Victoria are now getting to have a greater say in what they want to do and achieve. I’m looking forward to writing about how this is happening. I also love reading, doing patchwork and spending time with family and friends.
Guide dogs help many people with a disability. They have been used by people who are blind or Deaf for a long time. Dogs are now being used to help other people with a disability. Some people think the law needs to change to protect the rights of people who need an animal to help them. New laws could allow more people to take their animals wherever they go. But some people are worried about the changes.
I am proud to be an Australian. I want to celebrate that things are getting better for people with a disability. Australia is beginning to understand that people with a disability don't just have needs. People with a disability also have hopes and dreams. It is important for people with a disability to talk about what needs to change. We need to find new ways to help people realise their dreams.
Kurt Fearnley recently won the New York Marathon. Just days later he crawled along the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. He got even more media attention when he complained about the treatment he got from an airline. Fearnley was forced to check in his wheelchair with his baggage. He chose to crawl through the airport rather than be pushed around in another chair. Many people have problems when they travel by plane. Some airlines have rules or staff that make people with a disability angry or sad. Airlines are now being asked to improve their service.
Many people love gardening. But some people with a disability can find it hard to access a garden. Fortunately, there are many ways to design a garden so it is accessible for everyone. Raised garden beds are one good idea. They allow people to look after the plants while sitting or standing. It is also good not to have steep slopes. Smooth paths are also important. Good lighting can also help.
When your iPod is turned up, it can be as loud as a helicopter. Listening to music too loud can damage your hearing forever. Experts have worked out how long people can listen to loud music without damaging their hearing. The louder the music, the less time it should be listened to. At full volume, just five minutes can damage our hearing. Turning down the volume means you can listen to music for a lot longer.