Breaking down disability stigma

Breaking down the stigma faced by people with disabilities is a passion for disability champion Hayden Walsh.

Hayden has cerebral palsy but it doesn’t prevent him from making a contribution in the workplace and giving back to his community.

He currently enjoys work as a casual employee at Woolworths in Kyneton where he feels valued as part of the team. He is seeking additional work to further support his young family and desire to become a homeowner.

“I like to go out and earn a day’s work, feel valued in the community and pay my taxes like everyone else,” he said. “I want to be a role model for people with cerebral palsy and other people with disabilities and show them that anything is possible.”

Community-minded, Hayden is senior time-keeper at Kyneton Football Netball Club, helps out at training and even had a seat on the committee in 2018 and 2019.

CVGT Bendigo manager Jennifer Richards has been assisting Hayden in the workforce for the past two years and is on track to helping him secure his next job, but she acknowledges there are still some barriers.

“If it’s a physical disability, employers often think it’s too hard to modify workplaces to suit their needs, which is far from the truth,” she said. “There are programs like Job Access that will come out and make modifications that are paid for by the government, so it’s not actually a financial burden for the business. There are also wage subsidies available.”

Ms Richards said CVGT continued to provide support once people found work, including additional training, transport, equipment, arranging workplace assessments to remove physical barriers ad making sure they felt comfortable.

“There are lots of things available, it’s just a matter of tapping into them and it if you do it through a disability employment service, then it’s much easier.”

Read the full article by Amy Hume online at the Midland Express.

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