David acquired brain injury while collecting stones for a friend's garden. A rock fell, hitting him on the head. Early in his recovery David and his mother Brenda identified that he would need a project to create some structure in his life. This realisation was a result of a community workshop that they attended. Brenda had the idea of building a mud brick house, and this soon became David’s passion. In 1992 David started building the house which would become his home.
I was born at Port Pirie in 1955. I was11 months old when I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Before that, I was thought to be a “lazy baby”. My parents had no knowledge of CP, and found it hard to accept there was no cure. They were advised to “Put me into the Home for Incurables and forget about me”. Thank you Mum and Dad for not taking that advice! At different times they took me to a chiropractor, a hypnotherapist and a faith healer, but no miracles!
I’m a visual artist and have had a passion for art all of my life. I’m also a ‘life-long learner’ and have combined my love of making art with being an educator. I’ve always had a passion for making art but didn’t appreciate how important it was in my life until I was in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of a hospital in Adelaide following brain tumour surgery in 1990.
Darryl was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and for the first few years of his life he was cared for in the Kate Cox Babies Home. Then he was whisked off to live in what used to be the accommodation section at the Spastic Centre of South Australia. He lived there until the age of five when a group of his peers who were considered intelligent enough to go school were moved to the newly built Regency Park Centre. Darryl said “I had the normal up and downs of growing ups and I was fortunate to have people working with me who were mostly supportive and did their best to make it a home.”
I am a 54 year old male who had 6 strokes in 3 days at the age of 40 and spent 6 months to a year in hospital and rehabilitation recovering after I had almost died. As a result I am now using an electric chair and can only use one hand and arm. I can walk a little aided by a quad stick but only a few feet.
I had MS for seven years this year, and I’m now blind and in a wheelchair. It is optic neuritis. I’ve got everything in place at home to be able to function. I just need someone to cook and do a little bit of personal care. The carers are there three hours a day, seven days a week, so [I just have} to just keep the house tidy and do my washing. They [services] are all covered financially by Disability SA.
This story attempts share with you how we have assisted our loved son and brother to create a place of his own. This has been carried out against a backdrop of having to undo other institutionalised forms of living. For Matthew, these were a medium sized hostel for children and young people and then a number of group homes. The themes of this story are about how environments can disable (or enable) people, and about the process of change for a family and about liberation.
For many people with disabilities, there are barriers to them finding who they really are. Personhood is often denied to people with disabilities because other people have control over us. If we rely on other people, we learn to become subservient. Or some people become quite loud. Yet personhood is tied up in our humanity. And that humanity, for me, involves a spiritual dimension. This is the story of my search for my personhood.
John’s story is about his life with a congenital physical disability. He has never let his disability stand in the way of his goals. It was his strong desire to lead an independent life and his willingness to take risks in life that directed him to try new ways of getting support and make his own life choices.
I am a 33 year old actress living with dwarfism. I am married and live in Birmingham in the United Kingdom, but I was born and raised in Sydney.
I was born in 1951 in McLaren Vale in the family home. I grew up living at home with my family of three sisters and a brother. The family moved to Willunga when I was four, where we lived with my grandmother and grandfather who was the local doctor.
I am a 57 year old woman and I live with disability associated with cerebral palsy. I have never let my disability rule my life. When I wasn’t developing like other kids my mother and father took me to the doctor who thought at first that it was polio. Later, when I was about three years old, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I had a very severe limp and one leg was significantly shorter than the other. I spent a lot of time at the local Children's Hospital with physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons doing everything they could to promote my chances of walking. Of course I had to wear splints and a plaster cast as a child. I ended up with leg callipers. Luckily we lived in a big city where there was an availability of services.
Flick (Felicity): I am a 29 year old woman living independently in the community. I share with a friend living with a disability. I live with cerebral palsy and use a communication device to assist her with communicating and a wheelchair for mobility.