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“My Reasons” by Zia Westerman I first learnt about the project when a member of the local Writers’ Group that I am involved in sent me an email. They thought it would be something I would be interested in. I was. I joined the project because I was excited to think that people would get to read my story. I also wanted to help proofread the book, which I had the opportunity to do with one of the stories and enjoyed it very much. I am also writing my own book and thought it would be a good idea to start somewhere small first by being a part of the project.  It has been an amazing opportunity as I have been able to see the project progress through its stages. I have spoken to some great people and have really enjoyed working with Pam Farley, who wrote my story. The hard… Read More »Zia


“From TERRible to TERRific” by TM Writing, Blogging & Book Project – these are never in the mind of my “first” life. I was not good at composition in school. After having my motor vehicle accident in Northern Territory in 2013 when travelling alone in Australia, I had spinal cord injury and became tetraplegic (affecting the mobility of my 4 limbs). My “second” life starts. My second life is totally a different experience in this same world. This world is designed for “normal” people. People with an impairment may have difficulties in how would they interact with the world.  People in wheelchairs have challenges managing kerbs, steps, steep roads, gaps, narrow pathways, tight turning angles, crowds, use of public facilities. People with vision impairment may have challenges in looking at signs, websites, learning, receiving information. When John shared his book project idea in early 2017, I did not have any… Read More »TM


“Stories Make the World Go Round” by Phillippa Smoker I’ve always had a love of writing and reading, ever since I was a child. Fantasy was my world, it was my way to escape from reality, and it was also a way to calm myself when things became too much. Even as an adult I use writing as a therapy tool. I’m a member of Writers SA, and when I saw their advert for writers for MY disABILITIES, it was no surprise I was interested. It was a way for me to introduce myself to the writing and publishing world. It was also something completely different from what I had ever written before. I wrote a nonfiction piece on the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) for Every Australian Counts, but I felt this was different yet again. Why did I choose to share my story? For one the stigma that… Read More »Phillipa


“Paying it forward” by Neville Hiatt Submitting for a new opportunity to write is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Will you get a yes, will it be a no? Quite often you don’t even get a reply. How long will it take for this reply – assuming you get one – to arrive? How long is a piece of string? The life of an author is far from glamorous. Applying to be a part of My dis-ABILITIES, like most projects, was a complete unknown. How many other people had applied? Yes I have some publishing credits to my name but what are they really looking for? Yes I’ve had “my” story published a couple of time before and my writing ability has progressed since then but will it be enough? How will my health affect not only this submission but also my ability… Read More »Neville


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“The Book Project: How I became involved and what I’ve gained” by Ness Vlajkovic Late in 2017, I received an email from a Deafblind Consultant at Senses Australia in Perth. She had forwarded me information about some mysterious new book project. It grabbed my interest, and I proceeded to get involved. I am a third-year journalism student at Edith Cowan University, so as you might imagine, I am a keen writer. This project has been a wonderful adventure so far, and it’s not over yet. I’m so excited for the upcoming months as we will hopefully be publishing our book then! I’ve faced a number of challenges by choosing to participate in this project, but I have also met some incredible people along the way who have been patient, encouraging and understanding to the max. I could not have asked for a better team of people to work with –… Read More »Ness


“Who’s your rock?” by Nadja Fernandes Just yesterday morning a private student was telling me about someone very close to him – his partner – who struggled with depression around a year ago, and how it was so difficult to overcome. We spoke about the prejudice around depression, and I decided to share with him that I had been there too and understood what he was talking about. We agreed it is often the case that people are not given permission not to be ok. Coincidentally, that same morning, there was a talk on the radio about it.  So with my student, listening to him relating his story, I felt deeply sorry about the fact that his partner basically had nobody around them, to support them during that rough time. As they were new to the country, they felt the expectations to show that they were strong and capable were… Read More »Nadja


“My new friends: Michael and TM” by May-Kuan Lim I heard about the book project when I met project managers John Duthie and TM at a self-publishing workshop at Writers SA in 2017. I loved the concept and offered my services as a writer. At coffee break that day, I remember wondering if TM needed help to get a drink, but I didn’t dare ask. Up to that point, I didn’t personally know anyone who used a powered wheelchair, or who was quadriplegic. I was afraid that my offer of help would offend her. Since then, I have interviewed TM for her story. She assures me that it’s OK to ask if someone needs help, but stresses the importance of first asking if help is required. She has, she reminds me, spinal cord injury, not brain injury. A challenge of writing TM’s story is just keeping up with her schedule (sailing… Read More »May-Kuan


“Sharing my Happiness with You” by Michael Kuhn I came to know of this project through TM as we both go to Rise Church regularly. I have known her for more than 3 years. I like the idea. I would like to have my story in a book for people to read. I would like to share my story to show people how my life is filled with joy. My mum, Kathleen, thinks that my story may help other people with intellectual disability and their families. When I was young, I had global development delay. Now I am thirty-one years old and have an intellectual disability. I cannot remember how my life was when I was young. Sometimes I cannot express myself. My mum, Pastor Rob at church and my work supervisor at Orana helped me to get my story together by providing details to May-Kuan, my writer. May-Kuan also… Read More »Michael


“Total Catharsis…Total Freedom” by Mary Albury My name is Mary, and I’m a 37 year old woman who has never fully grown up.  My childlike curiosity and fearlessness have enabled me to have a remarkably full and amazing life.  But as with anyone, it is never rainbows and lollipops all the time. I like to think that the adversities and challenges I have stared in the face have only served to make me stronger and more resilient.  I have an incredible thirst for life that is only quenched when I am pushing myself to be the absolute best human-being that I can, and achieving the goals I have set. My life is ordinary and extraordinary in equal measure, and it is something that I am eternally grateful for. I was introduced to the book project by another writer friend, and from the moment I knew of its existence, I was… Read More »Mary


“Writing from the USA” by Marie Doener When I left Australia in 1981, nobody could have predicted that I would be involved in an Australian book project about people, their lives and their dis-abilities. As a young mother, I stayed home with my children and then became a Science and Math teacher. But teaching in the large Los Angeles School District was challenging so instead I worked in smaller schools and private schools. That is how I found Landmark, a school for high potential students with learning disabilities. There I found my passion, my calling. After the Northridge Earthquake, we moved to San Diego, and I began to work with adults with dis-abilities. Mostly my students were hoping to get their high school diploma or a vocational certificate. One challenge that raised its ugly head was the writing of essays, so I worked long and hard on teaching this skill.… Read More »Marie