Image of antique school desks.

School Of Hard Dots

The year is 1988. Billy Ocean is singing “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”. Steven Hawking has released A Brief History of Time. Rain Man is topping the box office. Big hair and thick scrunch socks are in. Partying involves the Blue Light Disco hosted at the local concert hall by the police. Google is not yet invented. Mobile phones are not on the market. A bag of hot chips costs less than a dollar. And this is high school. My Perkins Brailler, invented in 1951, yet still the most used mechanical braille writer in the world, weighing in at 4.8 kilograms thumps awkwardly against my thigh. Its bell tinging ever so slightly with the movement of my footsteps as I hurriedly lug it down the shabby corridor toward my designated room. It’s a room that by its very necessity marks me as someone who doesn’t belong, despite what my school uniform is designed to portray. It’s a room […]

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Image of a woman's hands with planet earth hovering above them.

For All The World To See

What would you do if you could see? The question is posed by a stranger on the train, a shop assistant, colleague, potential employer, acquaintance, friend, or society in general, like a spider meticulously threading its web of power and liberty around a fly, innately illustrating yet again to me just who has the upper hand in this situation. I can almost see the expectation hanging in the air between us as I take a deep breath and gather my wits about me like a protective cloak, knowing this could get ugly. Of course, I am expected to reward such obtrusive attention with a walk along the moral high ground, with its gracious answers and honey sweet nectar. Never mind the encroachment, intimacy, invasion or intrusion on my very being, let alone the offensiveness or impossible nature of the question. The fact is, everyone does disability differently. There are as many means, ways and work-arounds for people with disability as there […]

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Image of a blank menu on a table.

A Braille Menu Please

I think we live in a society that does not value diversity, difference or disability. If anything, our society sees anything other than sameness as a burden, bother or threat, unless it is temporarily convenient to view it as otherwise to meet an ableist objective. We don’t seem to realise that it is our cultural, community and communication values, as well as the systems and structures we continue to put in place that are the real problem. We continue to overlook the untapped potential and unused resources of our vast and creative population. But for what purpose? It is our intricacies that necessitate the drive for innovation, and it is our need to belong that brings us together and pulls humanity into the future. But what happens when we continue to create barriers to participation? Not only does it hold people with disability to ransom, and ensures they remain beholden to a society that is intent on punishing them for it, […]

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Image of a wolf's face looking dangerous with a hunter's look in his eyes.

Running With The Wolf

I am acutely aware that to have my vision restored is somewhat of a phenomenon. It’s the equivalent of finding diamonds in the bottom of my breakfast cereal. I can barely believe it myself. Could I have actually outrun the wolf? How do I form the words to express something so big and unexpected to the rest of the world? It’s a world far more accustomed to people losing their vision rather than gaining it back. A world of haughty assumptions and expectations. Let me explain. I have a congenital eye condition that not only has me well within the bounds of legal blindness, but has been considered inoperable for as long as I can remember. Over the years, my vision quietly deteriorated into darkness without my permission or my comprehension, leaving a trail of questions, confusion, and chaos in its wake. So in one oh so desperately desperate effort a little over a year ago, I sought a new ophthalmologist, hoping […]

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Image of a single cloud in a vast blue sky.

Blue Sky

The sky shimmers with a life-affirming blue that penetrates my soul to the core. I cannot stop looking at it with a mix of disbelief and awe. Who put that there, I ask the expanse, fully expecting it to answer. However, it says nothing. It simply watches me. An entity of endless patience and relentless stillness, neither moved nor unmoved by my discovery of its presence. I wonder how long it’s been standing there. Hello, I want to shout at it. Hello up there, can you see me? Here I am, and there you are, isn’t this amazing? I want to jump up and touch it to make sure it’s real, but my jumping and reaching doesn’t seem to get me any closer to its big, blue belly. I climb up on the outdoor table in a bid to hold it in my hands, but the blue eludes me. How is it that I can see it but cannot drag it […]

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