Labelling the Disabling is a podcast hosted by sociologist and comedian Carol Heijo and Edward Birt, Chief Operating Officer from The Disability Trust.
Join Carol and Ed as they meet super interesting guests and explore the intersections between disability, human rights, social justice and the NDIS and find out how people are navigating the challenges of everyday life with a disability to get s#@! done.
This podcast is brought to you by The Disability Trust with the aim of better understanding what it is really like living with a disability in Australia today.
Ken Wynn - a passion for life!
In this episode we meet Ken Wynn who shares his life story with us. It's a story of perseverance and passion that illustrates some of the many changes that Australia has gone through in relation to the understanding, experience and expectations of disability.
Following a workplace accident as a 15 year old Ken became a quadriplegic and we hear how he adapted to his injury and has lead a full and interesting life. From studying and working as a draughtsman, adapting vehicles and houses to be accessible and functional for his use, travelling and winning medals in Japan as an athlete, getting married and raising a family Ken has packed a lot of life in and has much he still wants to do.
Carol and Ed talk to Ken about his views on a range of topics and this conversation shows his adaptability, creativity, tenacity, resilience and passion for life.
Moana and Vinny Hope: Powerful Sisters
In this episode we meet with the high achieving sisters Moana and Lavinia Hope. Mo and Vinny grew up as part of a big family of 14 kids and Mo quit school in the early stages of High School to take care of her sick father. At 26, Moana became the carer for her sister Vinny who lives with Moebius Syndrome a rare neurological condition affecting facial muscle and eye movement.
Moana is well known for her outstanding AFLW career including a 100 goal season at the St Kilda Sharks and for her appearances on Survivor All Stars. We talk with the sisters about their lives in Melbourne's COVID lockdown, how they support one another, setting goals and staying motivated, running a business, their growing family, the importance of inclusion and Mo's great new autobiography "My Way"
Andrew and Lud Kerec: Inclusion starts at home
Ed and Carol meet with Andrew and Lud Kerec. Andrew and Lud are the father and son owners of Renaissance Homes, winners of the ACT Chief Ministers Award for Access and Inclusion for their work on designing and building accessible homes.
Following a cycling accident in 2010 Lud became a quadriplegic which lead to the need to adapt Andrew's family home to accommodate Lud starting Renaissance Homes on their journey to becoming a leading provider of accessible housing designs. They give a fascinating insight into the fact that when we experience disability the most disabling thing is often the very houses in which we live; post injury Lud found he was "living in a country where he can't get into 99% of the homes" including those of his own family and friends, decreasing his social networks at a time when he needed them most.
Andrew and Lud talk of the great benefits to absolutely everyone of accessible housing design, the affordability of designing homes that are both beautiful and accessible and the need for urgent policy change to support greater accessibility of design as a standard across the building industry.
We also hear about Lud and Andrew's incredible adventures and travels across Australia following his injury showing how, with a focus on goals a little ingenuity and imagining what might be possible, there continues to be amazing quality of life possible after injury.
Renaissance Homes website: http://www.renhomes.net.au/
Andrew Builds a Future for his Dad (City News article): https://citynews.com.au/2017/andrew-builds-future-dad/
Yenn Purkiss: Be proud of who you are!
Here we meet the amazing Yenn Purkiss. Yenn is the author of a stack of books including the bestsellers, "The Awesome Autistic Go To Guide" and The Guide to Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum". An incredible advocate and mentor, Yenn speaks openly about the issues that are facing people with autism in the times of COVID with impacts on people's mental health and wellbeing due to our present state of uncertainty. Yenn talks about not fitting in as a young person and struggling with her own diagnosis and identity leading to challenges including the traumatic experience of going to prison as a young person. They explain the importance of accepting yourself for who you are, why communication is key and the value of employment for individuals and of employing people with disability for employers. Yenn explains coming out as non-binary themself, how changing their name has been a great experience, how everyone's journey is different and the importance of accepting yourself for who you are.
Yenn's books and writing can be found here: http://www.jeanettepurkis.com/
Professor Justin Yerbury AM: Don't let your disability define you
In this episode we hear from Professor Yerbury how a lived experience of disease and disability can strongly inform and benefit the progression of research into treatments and therapies. Justin explains some of the latest research and theories about the causes and treatments for the disease that he himself has, Motor Neuron Disease (MND). MND is actually the name for a group of debilitating and progressive neuro degenerative diseases, and we learn how common and impactful these conditions actually are. Justin describes personal challenges with surgery and the NDIS and how, as individuals and as a society, we must continue to remove barriers to allow people to flourish. He has a range of practical suggestions for things we can do to improve accessibility for people with disability in terms of participating in advocacy and policy change (including contributing to your local council's disability inclusion action plan). He also reminds us that there is no instruction manual for disability that we need to stay ahead of symptoms, and how, regardless of disability, everyone can make a positive contribution. (Oh and Ed and Carol got a selfie as we were a little bit star-struck!)
The Strangeways Ensemble: The Show Must Go On!
Ethan Green, Anne-Louise Rentell and Ethan Arnold are representing the Strangeways Ensemble, a Wollongong based group of performers, writers and artists with disability who have been working to successfully bring a whole new range of stories that need to be told into the professional mainstream drama space with sold out performances. We hear about the passion, effort, commitment and collaboration that is required to bring a production to life as well as the range of other interests and skills that inclusive dramatic arts supports. We discuss acting in the age of COVID19 and the benefits for everyone of the increasing representation and participation of people with disability on stage and screen.