Mainstream and Me – meet Ben and Jack
Mainstream and Me project workers Ben and Jack have been in their roles for a few months now, and share how they are helping the community be more inclusive for people with an intellectual or physical disability.
Mainstream and Me is important to me because growing up with a brother with Down’s syndrome and being in a high school where kids with intellectual disability like myself, there weren’t many inclusive classes. In the future I would like to go into schools and help them build better programs for people like me, and for other kids with different intellectual disabilities.
When I was in high school they had specialised teachers who would help me and the other kids with intellectual disabilities in my year level, to finish off our work and do like extra study sessions.
Mainstream and Me is also important because it will help businesses be more inclusive for the intellectual disability and physical disability community. I have enjoyed working with some unbelievable people, like Jack and Steph and Shailaja and Ella and Alex. They’re all great people and I’m really enjoying working with them and doing different things with them now and in the future.
We have all worked on sharing our stories, which will be used to help to educate other people with intellectual disability that come in and work with us. I felt really excited (hearing that advocacy groups including CID would continue to be funded) because it means I’ll be able to work on follow-up projects. I am not sure what they will be, but it will be interesting to see what comes from the feedback from the Mainstream and Me project first and we will see.
Mainstream and Me is about just showing a bit more social awareness, to think of a person with an intellectual disability – or anyone with a disability – as someone who might need some help in some areas. I joined Mainstream and Me to try and make a difference. My philosophy is I always want to try and stick up for, and try and think out of the square, for those people who may not have the voice or the choice in making decisions.
It is important for me to share my story because I’ve had not only the depth of knowledge from growing up with cerebral palsy, but also the experience of having a major back operation for my spine and being tube fed since I was 15.
I have my good days and my bad days but this is what I go through on a daily basis. Hopefully telling my story will inspire a lot of people, particularly people of my own age, to live a good life. I might have this condition, but just have a look at my story to see all the twists and turns life has taken.
To find out more about Mainstream and me, read Mainstream and Me celebrates a lasting impact.
Mainstream and Me was funded by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC)- ILC National Readiness Grants.