This year the United Nations is encouraging everybody to come together to celebrate the talent, achievements and contributions of people with disability on IDPwD.
According to the Australian Network on Disability, over 4.4 million Australians have some form of disability.
As we take a moment to see the ability in disability, we’re reminded of Dillon and Indy - just two of our incredible customers disabling stereotypes and highlighting their ability each day.
Dillon's journey to work in an aquarium supply store on Brisbane’s north side is nothing short of inspiring.
Dillon (pictured left) is one of three million Australians living with depression or anxiety (AND) and when he first joined MAX, he struggled to engage with others. In particular, looking people in the eye and holding a conversation was difficult.
The MAX team at Deception Bay rallied around Dillon, passionate to see positive change in the young man’s life.
Meeting with Health Services Officer Eloise (pictured right), Dillon received customised heath support while also completing the Planning for Work program.
Upon hearing of Dillon’s love for fish and marine life, his consultant Jules, pursued local employers that may be able to offer Dillon a role in the field.
Successful small business owner, Sue Quirke of 100% Reef Safe – an aquarium supply store in Kippa-Ring – was willing and ready to give Dillon the opportunity to shine.
Dillon is tasked with jobs including propagating the coral, feeding the fish, cleaning the tanks and serving customers, Dillon’s day is diverse and to his delight, surrounded by sea creatures.
Dillon is now thriving in a role that he loves, supported by a fantastic local employer.
“Dillon’s story provides a perfect example of why we do what we do. It’s more than a job, it’s a passion,” says Disability Employment Services Manager Michelle Hoppner.
Around one in 70 people are on the autism spectrum according to ASPECT (Autism Spectrum Australia). Indy is one of those.
It’s been an honour for our School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) team to work with Indy on her journey from school to further study.
“I work with MAX and Tash. I had been looking for a job for a while but I wasn’t successful so I’d just been staying at home,” says Indy.
“I have ASD or autism. Your brain just thinks differently from the average person and you process things in a different way.
“They [Tash and the MAX team] help me with figuring out the world, you know, money, learning the time properly.
“Tash has given me a lot of confidence. I’m not as anxious with stuff anymore which I never thought would happen. She just made me feel really comfortable, so it was really easy to talk to her.”
“I always wanted to do something in health, and then I came across paramedics. And there was just something about it that I found really interesting,” she says.
Indy is now enrolled in a Diploma of Paramedical Science, her sights firmly set on a career that could one day help her save lives.
Tash provides support to Indy over three individual, one-on-one sessions a week.
Studying for her dream career, Indy is working towards her life goals which include: “To be more independent with myself and to build myself a life, and to be successful,” she says.
Dillon and Indy are just two of thousands stories of MAX customers shining a spotlight on their Ability every day.
We’re passionate about supporting our customers living with disability. From providing health supports to preparing them to enter the workforce and providing in-work supports, we’re proud to be there every step of the way.