Leanne Cal­lan

Dubbo Photo News - - News -

Dis­abil­ity Ad­vo­cacy NSW – a voice for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties in Dubbo and the West.

I’ve come across from the NDIS and I’ve been in this role since Jan­uary, but I have worked in the

dis­abil­ity sec­tor for 10 years. The thing I’ve no­ticed in my ad­vo­cacy role is the in­crease of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties need­ing sup­port from an ad­vo­cate to help them nav­i­gate the NDIS, which is a com­plex sys­tem.

Peo­ple are re­ally strug­gling to un­der­stand it, there is so much

red tape in­volved and so much need to “prove” your dis­abil­ity, which is re­ally sad and adds ad­di­tional stress and anx­i­ety to an al­ready emo­tional sit­u­a­tion.

The NDIS pro­vides fund­ing to peo­ple with a life­long dis­abil­ity that has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on

their day to day life. It’s a funded pack­age so the money doesn’t go to the par­tic­i­pant, but de­pend­ing on what their goals are in their plan, the fund­ing can be used for things like ther­apy, sup­ported ac­com­mo­da­tion, com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion and fund­ing for equip­ment.

Peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties face so many chal­lenges. Things like iso­la­tion,

ex­clu­sion, prej­u­dice and lack of sup­port. Th­ese are everyday is­sues for peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity and it’s very dif­fi­cult for th­ese peo­ple to feel in­cluded in the com­mu­nity and have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties as other peo­ple do.

I have a lived ex­pe­ri­ence with dis­abil­ity and feel I can re­late to

peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity and the impacts on their everyday life.

It only takes a smile and a kind word to brighten some­one’s day.

I feel for peo­ple who are fac­ing chal­lenges in their lives and try to help wher­ever I can to en­sure they are be­ing treated equally and with re­spect and dig­nity. Pro­vid­ing ad­vo­cacy sup­port is a priv­i­lege and I give 100 per cent to each per­son I sup­port in the hope I can help to make a pos­i­tive change in their lives.

There are many suc­cess sto­ries.

Some peo­ple have goals which oth­ers might think are un­achiev­able, but the sat­is­fac­tion gained from tak­ing lit­tle steps to­wards that end re­sult is price­less. That sense of achieve­ment when some­one tells you “I did it” is very re­ward­ing, and hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to sup­port some­one to take that next step is so ben­e­fi­cial for self-es­teem and self-worth.

One thing I keep go­ing back to is

“to the world you may just be one per­son but to one per­son you may be the world” and that re­ally res­onates with me. When you’re hav­ing a re­ally bad day, that just helps give me a boost and re­minds me why I’m do­ing what I’m do­ing.

– In­ter­view & photo by Sophia Rouse

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