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.

It was not long into my rehabilitation that I began to feel this passion inside of my stomach, the passion to overcome the social attitudes and barriers I was now facing. From that day on it was my mission to never let anything stop me from achieving what I wanted. Although motivated to achieve, I was still uncertain in what? It wasn’t until the last month of my rehab (my rehab lasted 4 months when I was told I’d be there for 8-10 months), that I realised a lot of the other patients were coming to me for advice, to have a chat or for guidance and hope. It was then that I realised that social work and the community health sector was my calling.

Looking back at the last 13 years, I can acknowledge that it has been mighty tough, especially transcribing and typing my 20,000 word honours thesis with one finger, but hey it has also been the best 13 years as I have grown so much, and the passion to succeed in this industry is as strong as ever. I have loved every minute of studying and working in this field; the feeling of helping someone, advocating for change, and changing attitudes and policy, still drives me to get up every morning and go to work.

Jason Ballerini

Advocacy Development Officer

IDEAS (Information on Disability Education and Awareness Services)

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