I am a qualified Physiotherapist and work within the Physiotherapy and Exercise Science courses teaching anatomy and pathology at Curtin University’s School of Allied Health. I have a spinal cord injury with a classification of disability as C6 tetraplegia/quadriplegia – a result of being a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.
I have been fortunate in that my pre-injury career as a Physiotherapist was in the health arena. My parents, extended family and most of my friends are/were health professionals. Additionally, the staff within the then School of Physiotherapy at Curtin University were both very encouraging and willing to ‘give me a go’ and see what I could manage – both physically and socially within the context of caring and transport requirements – to ensure I was given the best possible chance to succeed. I will always be grateful for the chance those staff took, for their encouragement and for the opportunities they provided. The restrictions I have in terms of personal assistance and transport have been the biggest barriers. Fortunately, my employer allows for flexibility within the work environment. My work requirements begin later in the morning and consequently end later in the afternoon. Working surrounded by health professionals has also been invaluable.
Employment has made me feel ‘normal’ and provided me with the opportunity to contribute. No one at work treats me differently. I am expected to reach the same standards as every other employee. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am grateful for offers of cups of tea though!