Archive for October, 2021

How My Experience with Disability at University Enhanced my Career

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

By (former Monash student) Kate Ditchburn

My Rocky Journey Commencing Studies at University

When I first started to experience chronic illness in my undergraduate degree I was overwhelmed.

I was no longer able to participate in my studies, work, and social life in the way I was used to. This left me feeling very uncertain about my future and the big career goals I had set myself.

Fortunately, this was only the beginning of my story.

My experience with chronic illness at university felt like a huge burden at the time, but it turned out to be the catalyst for the career and life in which I thrive in now.

It was a rocky journey completing my Bachelor of Journalism at Monash.

I pulled out of units, completed study from home, and extended my degree more times than I can count.

I remember submitting an online exam from hospital thinking it was some kind of miracle I made it through that semester!

Pursuing Studies in Health Promotion

The more I encountered both physical and mental health difficulties, the more I found myself writing about health issues in my journalism studies. I was fascinated with the complex web of healthcare in Australia and globally, and what this means for people who experience disability.

Ultimately, I decided to build on this interest by following my bachelor’s degree with a Master of Health Promotion.

I absolutely loved learning about public health systems, preventative health, and how to use communications to create change in the health industry.

While my passion was very clear, I was unsure if I would be employable given my difficult journey and ongoing health needs.

I would compare myself to others and question whether I was good enough.

As I learnt to manage my chronic health conditions, I became more confident with my skills and knowledge. I started off small by taking freelance writing work and building up my portfolio of communication skills.

Before long I started to ‘back myself’ and was offered my first job in health promotion.

Not only was I able to get work, I have since been able to excel and really just enjoy my career in health promotion. I am good at my job and I am more than capable to have the career I envisioned.

Supporting Women with Disabilities

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to take on additional casual work with a lived experience program co-designing resources and training for women with disabilities.

It has been an amazing experience collaborating with other women who have similar experiences of illness and disability.

I would not have had this opportunity without the same experiences that I was so worried would hold back my career.

The Benefits of My Lived Experience

Even in my other work across different health issues, I am grateful for my own lived experience of disability. It has not only enhanced my compassion for others, but it has also given me a broader perspective of healthcare.

The perspective of lived experience is actually well sought-after professionally.

Many organisations recognise lived experience as a vital voice in healthcare—and those which don’t are absolutely missing out.

My life and career may not be exactly as I envisioned when I started my Bachelor of Journalism all those years ago, but it’s something pretty special.

I would encourage anyone experiencing disability or other barriers to education to embrace their experiences. You never know where it might get you!

  • For information about career support available at Monash, please see our GradWISE page


Pop-up Vaccination Hub

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Expression Australia and Healthcare Australia Pop-up Vaccination Clinic

Two weeks ago the first pop-up vaccination hub was held at Expression Australia’s East Melbourne office in collaboration with Healthcare Australia. This was a great success.

If you missed out or need your second dose, there will be another pop-up vaccination hub next week!

From the 28 – 29 of October 9am – 4:20pm you can either make an appointment, to guarantee a vaccination or walk into our vaccination hub.

  • Expression Australia’s pop-up clinic is inclusive and accessible for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people as we will have Auslan interpreters, qualified nurses, and support staff.

If you are one of the following and in Metropolitan Melbourne, you can get a vaccination:

  • People with a Disability (12+)
  • Paid or unpaid Carers/Support Staff of someone with a Disability
  • Staff/workers in the Disability Sector
  • Healthcare workers
  • Aged Care Workers
  • Indigenous / Torres Strait Islander identifying individuals
  • Family members of any of the above categories (including children 12+)
  • Deaf people or those with a disability. You are welcome to bring friends and family over the age of 12.

*Remember, there will be no 15km radius restrictions!

Expression Australia encourages our community to get vaccinated so we can protect each other and those around us.

Please share this message with your friends and family.

My Disability My Plus

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

My Disability My ‘Plus’ – Join AND’s upcoming Employability Series Webinar

Free Webinar hosted by Helen Cooke, CEO & Founder of MyPlus (UK)

You are invited to join our upcoming webinar to hear from disability expert, Helen Cooke, on how students and jobseekers can use disability to stand out from the crowd.

What we’ll cover:

  • Disability – help or hindrance?
  • Identifying your ‘Plus’
  • Writing your Strength Statement
  • Top Tips
  • Resources
  • You will also hear from a Stepping Into Alumni on their experience of talking about their disability with employers.

Event Details

  • Where: Online via MS Teams

Thursday 28th October

  • Melbourne/Sydney/Canberra/Hobart – 6:00-7:00pm
  • Brisbane – 5:00-6:00pm
  • Adelaide – 5:30-6:30pm
  • Perth – 3:00-4:00pm
  • Darwin – 4:30-5:30pm

Click here to join the session​, or dial in via phone at 1800 571 212, participant code: 921 529 172# to listen in via audio.

  • Accessibility: Please contact if you have any accessibility requirements. We can arrange live captioning with 72 hours notice if requested.

This webinar is part of Australian Network on Disability’s Employability Series. Click here to read more.

Dear Dyslexia Podcast

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Dear Dyslexia Podcast on Dyslexia and Neurodiversity in the Workplace

In this Podcast episode, Shae speaks with Sally Close on Dyslexia and Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Introducing Sally Close – Business Improvement Consultant

Sally Close left her corporate career armed with 20+ years of leadership experience to apply her business improvement prowess to her own consultancy – helping clients with organisational development and cultural change.

Sally is a parent of a dyslexic child and has a deep understanding of the challenges and benefits learning differences can create within the workplace.

Sally imparts knowledge of learning differences and thinking preferences in safe learning environments. Facilitating a growth mindset and diversity of thought to enable creative solutions to complex problems. Learning transfer is supported through the practical application of new skills via the implementation of business improvement projects.

Sally works with companies who believe “our people are our biggest asset” and value investing in their people to bring strategic business plans to life.

Sally was also instrumental in developing our first eLearning course Dyslexia in the workplace> find out more about our course at the DHub.

Or listen to the podcast here


The Neurodiversity Hub

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Neurodiversity Hub Resources

Although there is broad diversity across the population, some individuals have neurological variations that make it particularly challenging for their communication, self-expression and interactions with others.

Neurodiversity is a broad umbrella and is not just autism.

Neurological variations can include autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and tics. (However, Judy Singer, who coined the term, proposes that we are ALL neurodiverse because no two humans on the planet are exactly the same.)

The environments within which individuals with these neuro-variations learn, work and live can either facilitate or inhibit their growth and development.

A Community of Practice to Support Neurodivergent Young Adults

The purpose of this initiative is to create environments that will maximally facilitate these individuals to grow and achieve their full potential.

It is about facilitating a community of practice for universities, colleges, employers and service providers to work together to create these environments and opportunities for neurodivergent young adults.

The Resources section includes a vast array of resources that have been created or curated for use by neurodivergent students, their parents and carers, employers and universities.

Click on this link to explore the hub

PhD Scholarship Opportunity

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Living with Disability Research Centre – PhD Scholarship Opportunity

The Living with Disability Research Centre is delighted to offer a Research Training Program (RTP) PhD Scholarship opportunity for an outstanding candidate to explore a disability related topic in a discipline such as social work, disability studies or any other of the social sciences.

They are seeking a high achieving candidate, preferably with experience in the disability sector, to develop a project and conduct original research on a suitable theme.

Specific areas of interest include social inclusion, the effectiveness and quality of disability services, and the rights of people with intellectual disabilities.

Apply Now

Join a leading Research Centre and work with a multi-disciplinary team of disability researchers at La Trobe University.

As an applicant you should have an interest in improving the social inclusion of people with intellectual disability through research.

  • Applications are now open and will close on 31 October 2021.
  • Please note, applications must be made through the La Trobe Graduate Research School. See link below.


  • a La Trobe Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship for three and a half years, with a value of $28,597 per annum
  • a top up scholarship of $8,000 a year for 3 years
  • a fee-relief scholarship for up to four years
  • opportunity to be part of one of the leading disability research centres in Australia


  • This opportunity is only open to domestic students.


  • Please contact Professor Christine Bigby to discuss your ideas for a project.
  • Email:
  • Phone: 0438 602 264
  • You must apply directly through the La Trobe Graduate Research School by 31 October, 2021.

Click here to apply

Disability in Arts Forum

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Disability Representation, Access and Inclusion within Performing Arts

The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music and Performance Critical Performance Studies Stream announces:

A Forum on Disability Representation, Access and Inclusion  within the Performing Arts Industry

A 90 min open forum on disability representation, access and inclusion within the performing arts industry with a focus on lived experience.

This forum will be moderated by disability arts organisation, Loom Arts and Management, with a panel of some of Melbourne’s most exciting performers with disability.

We extend an invitation to ALL interested Monash students and staff and members of the public to join us in this important and engaging discussion.

  • Wednesday 20th October 1 – 2.30pm
  • Zoom Link:

The forum will be facilitated by Zoe Boesen and Hannah Reekie from LOOM Arts and Management.

The Panel

  • Rima Hadchiti (she/her), whose practise spans acting, performance art, Middle Eastern and contemporary dance, burlesque, cabaret, and aerial work. Rima has performed for MTC, Circus Oz, Dark Mofo and for the past four years has been touring with Cirque Du Soleil. Rima is a person of short stature.
  • Andrew Tresidder (he/him) who is an actor and film critic. Andy is agraduate of Ignition Theatre at Melbourne Polytechnic and a member of Rollercoaster Theatre’s ensemble. Andy has performed in multiple productions including short film Comican’t for which he won Best Actor at Tropfest 2019. Andy has lived experience of disability.
  • Artemis Muñoz (they/them) is a prolific cabaret performer,writer, and actor. Artemis is soon to complete a Masters in Writing for Theatre At VCA. Artemis is currently developing their solo cabaret show “Artemis: Utter Mess” which explores their intersecting identities and societal labels. Artemis is neurodivergent, gender non-binary, aspec (asexual) and bi-racial.
  • Kate Hood (she/her),actor, writer, activist with 37 years of experience within the industry. Kate Performed in a long standing role on season 8 of Prisoner as Kath Maxwell. Once Kate began using a wheelchair her job prospects drastically changed. Kate is a well known advocate within the disability arts community, Artistic Director and founder of disability-led theatre company, Raspberry Ripple, and remains an exceptional actor.
  • Dr Melinda Smith (she/her) is a dancer, aerial performer, visual artist, mentor and lecturer with lived experience of Cerebral Palsy. Melinda has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal, and an honorary Doctorate from Deakin University for her outstanding contribution to the arts and inclusion for people with disability.

*This forum is supported by Monash University Performing Arts Centres funding.

  • For more information contact Felix Nobis <>

COVID19 Vaccination at Monash

Friday, October 15th, 2021

COVID19 Vaccination Information for Staff and Students

The Monash University Health Service encourages all staff, their friends and family to book for their COVID19 vaccination if they have not done so already.

There are available appointments on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for Pfizer, 1st and 2nd doses – regardless of where you got your 1st dose.

  • Here is the link to the booking page:

Children 12 Years and Above

Monash’s UHS are vaccinating children from 12 years and above.

For those unsure or with questions about the vaccine please email  – or they can make an appointment with a GP via telehealth to discuss vaccination.

Celebrate with GradWISE

Friday, October 15th, 2021

GradWISE Celebrate an Incredible Year of Graduate Outcomes and Partnership with Monash!

Through the extraordinary circumstances of COVID-19, GradWISE students and graduates have demonstrated agility and resilience in what has been a year of transformation during 2021.

Are You Thinking About Your Graduate Career?

On the back of the great success achieved in 2021, GradWISE look ahead to a new year and look forward to helping you shape your future careers.

Through one-on-one, group and online services, GradWISE will give you the skills, assistance and industry exposure you need in finding your perfect graduate or entry level role.

GradWISE Information Session

Join the GradWISE team for an information session to learn about the award winning program and supports available to students and graduates living with a disability, injury or illness in securing sustainable employment in their field of study.

  • Register here to save the date: Wednesday 24 November 2021 at 11am AEDT

Workplace Adjustments to Support Mental Health

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

What Workplace Adjustments are There to Support Mental Health?

One in five Australians are affected by mental health conditions in any given year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic compounding existing issues such as stress and anxiety, it is particularly important to pay attention to our own mental health and that of our colleagues.

One of the keys to creating a more inclusive workplace for employees with mental health conditions is offering adjustments to remove barriers and enable them to succeed in their role.

For advice on what kind of adjustments there are and how to access them, we ask National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) Professional Adviser Rob Crestani.

The Importance of Mentally Healthy Workplaces

“There’s a clear business case for creating mentally healthy workplaces. Mental ill health has a huge financial impact on Australian businesses every year,” Rob says.

“Studies have found that this cost can be dramatically reduced through relatively simple measures, and the return on investment is great. A 2014 analysis by PwC actually found that for every dollar invested in creating a mentally healthy workplace, businesses get an average return of $2.30.”

“We can do a lot to create mentally healthy workplaces that isn’t just about supporting individual employees with existing conditions, but also about preventing undue workplace stress in the first place. A great resource, especially for managers, is the Heads Up guide for creating a mentally healthy workplace, which also defines mentally healthy workplaces and gives tips on how to support a team member you may be concerned about directly.”

Heads Up Guide to Mentally Healthy Workplaces

The guide, Heads Up also identifies features that mentally healthy workplaces have in common, like:

  • a positive workplace culture
  • well-managed workloads
  • deadlines and other risks to mental health
  • good communication between staff and from leadership
  • support for staff with mental health conditions
  • and a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.

Finding Solutions

“Communication is key when supporting staff members with mental health conditions. People living with mental illness are often aware of the stressors that can trigger symptoms for them, so they may already have suggestions on how they can be better accommodated,” Rob says.

“Many workplace adjustments for mental health conditions come at little or no cost at all. Examples include flexible work hours and arrangements, mentoring, additional training, modifying and reallocating tasks, or engaging an Employee Assistance Program or counsellor. You may also want to establish goals and regular check-ins with an employee, especially if they have recently been off work due to their mental health condition,” he continues.

“It is important to avoid making assumptions about what your employee will need. Not everyone needs adjustments, and the same adjustments might not work for different people. Having regular, open conversations ensures that the situation is working for everyone, but remember, employees are only required to share information about their mental illness with you if it could have an impact on their ability to complete the tasks required for their role,” Rob suggests.

Accessing Support Services

“Many people may not know that JobAccess via the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) can assist with funding for Mental Health Awareness Training in the workplace. It may also be able to provide funding for one-to-one support with a mental health specialist to assist with working on a work-based mental health plan,” Rob says.

“To learn more about the EAF, visit our website or get in touch with JobAccess at 1800 464 800 to speak to one of our Professional Advisers. You can also find an overview of short courses on both disability and mental health here.”

Other Services for Mental Health Assistance

  • Heads Up was created by Beyond Blue to give businesses and individuals the tools to create mentally healthy workplaces and offers a range of resources on their website.
  • Head to Health can help you find digital mental health services from some of Australia’s most trusted mental health organisations.
  • Beyond Blue offers support services, programs, research, advocacy and communication activities as well as COVID-19 advice and information through the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
  • Black Dog Institute is an independent, not-for-profit medical research institute designed to investigate mental health across the lifespan.
  • MindSpot is another free service for Australian adults who are experiencing difficulties with anxiety, stress, depression and low mood.