disability

True Stories: Jenny Spinak – Never thought I would end up working at Sydney Opera!

Jenny SpinakI never thought when I undertook my social work degree that I would end up working at Sydney Opera House one day.

In 2006, after spending many years working in the disability sector with both adults and children, I began working as Sydney Opera House’s Program Manager, Accessibility. The role was created as part of Sydney Opera House’s commitment to improving disability access.

My role involves managing the House’s accessibility program by overseeing its auxiliary access services and facilities, conducting regular staff awareness training, providing advice on physical building upgrades, implementing equitable ticketing policies, upgrading our website’s accessibility and customer access information, as well as creating student internship and employment opportunities.

I also organise live performance experiences for people with disability – through such initiatives as autism-friendly performances, audio-description of the opera, sensory tactile tours and sign-language interpreted performances.

True Stories: Jason Ballerini – Life change after accident

Jason Ballerini_editedI know for me it feels like I did not chose this line of work, I believe it chose me. As a fit and active 16 year old, with my life ahead of me, social work was the last thing on my mind. After a diving accident in 1996 left me a quadriplegic, not only did I lose the ability to walk, I felt as though all my options, dreams and aspirations washed away down that creek as well.

True Stories: Helena Young – My story

When I started at university my first career of choice had been dietetics and I always wanted to work in a hospital setting. I had been told that for dietetics, I would have to major in chemHelena-Young_editedistry for my B Sc degree. I had to choose one more subject in first year and the subject coordinator at the desk on my first day at university suggested Psychology 1, which I knew nothing about. However he convinced me with the simple statement, “Psychology 1 is going to be very useful to you”.

In the first year of BSc, I met lots of students from all sorts of backgrounds and it was a stimulating learning environment. I made friends with a group of young women who were all aiming towards Occupational Therapy (OT) as a career. It sounded like an interesting profession and I “hung out” with the OT group most of the time.