100 Hours of placement was all I needed
My name is Melinda Nay. I am 18 years old.
I am a university student, a swimming coach and an older sister to Megan, she is 14 years old, and has Down syndrome. This year I moved from my family home in the Hunter Region to attend University in Sydney.
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies at the Australian Catholic University. I had always dreamt of being a teacher, but realised my passion was in advocacy for people with a disability.
When selecting my placement for my university course, I knew I wanted to be a part of the CID team. Even though it was only for a short time, I knew that CID would be able to provide me with knowledge and experiences that other organisations wouldn’t be able to. For example, being involved in NDIS focus groups, NDIS training workshops, presentations to other university students, learning how to do easy-read documents, helping with event launches, celebrating other advocacy services milestones, and most importantly networking with other advocacy services and learning how they support people with a disability.
Being at CID I have learnt two major things:-
- Inclusion of people with an intellectual disability is critical to be able to make changes in the community.
- Sit back and listen to the conversations that people with an intellectual disability are having. Listen to what THEY want.
Having completed 100 hours of work placement and thinking about my time at CID I hope that after I have completed university I am able to continue to work alongside people with a disability. I would like to help people with a disability become more involved within the community, in being able to live independently, become employed, and participate in social activities.
Having a younger sister with an intellectual disability I have seen how the people in my local community have included her. Although my family and I have been lucky with inclusion, I wish I had the power to tell other people in the world, that people with an intellectual disability have the power to learn and to be involved.
When talking to my sister about her future, her dream careers are constantly changing. One day she wants to be a doctor, then a teacher, moving onto a waitress, becoming a dentist and finishing as a sport coach but they all have a common theme, which is helping others.
Having a close relationship with my sister I have always been able to see the potential she has to offer, and with support she has the capability of doing so much and achieving her goals. I want to help other people with a disability achieve their goals and show their potential to themselves, their families, friends and the community.
I am so grateful that the staff at the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability agreed to let me conduct my work placement with them as they have opened my eyes to many more avenues that people with an intellectual disability require to live an inclusive lifestyle.
Note from Aine Healy, NSW CID Director of Advocacy -
“CID was so pleased to have Melinda, such an enthusiastic and positive student, do her placement at CID and believe that Melinda has a great career ahead of her”.