On Thursday 25th January I, along with the Loud and Clear Qld Coordinator, some of the Loud and Clear Qld members, and Jodi and Erin from Parent 2 Parent went to Brisbane for the Town Hall meeting for the NDIS Review . I was lucky enough to be asked to be on the NDIS panel with another person with an intellectual disability. I got to talk to Bill Shorten, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and ask him questions about changes to the NDIS. I told him how difficult the wording is for people with disabilities and how they should involve other disability organisations to help us understand.
I was confused about getting to know the train schedule and where we were meant to be when getting on two different trains but the ride to and from was relaxing and sometimes peaceful.
When we got there Jodi and I went to the green room where I met the other person who would be talking. I then met Elly who would be leading the session. I was fitted with a headpiece microphone, it was a struggle placing it on since my head is so small and the wire for the recorder was stuck inside my shirt because I was sweaty. Jodi had to pull it out for me.
Once the microphone was done Bill Shorten, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme introduced himself to me and I spoke to him. I kept repeating that I was nervous and excited about being the only one in my Loud and Clear group talking in front of the NDIS panel and to our guest speaker. Someone led us out of the green room to where we would be talking. Jodi and I sat in front, trying to listen to the talks but I got a bit lost since they were talking about politics and I didn’t understand the politics and complicated words that were being used. I read through my 4 question sheets, trying to decide which question I would ask and I chose ‘Good Communication’.
When it was my turn I got up on stage calm and collected but inside I was not. There were heaps of people in the room, and Elly and Minister Shorten that I had a chat with beforehand. My head was going 100 miles per hour, I was that nervous, I looked around and spotted my friends from Loud and Clear and with that my body told my head to calm down. I started with saying that I didn’t understand what was being said and that I needed it to be in easy English. I talked about Loud and Clear Qld doing the review but was stumbling since I was trying to memorise everything including the questions I would ask.
After the end of the NDIS panel I was approached by a lady whose name was Shelley, she was from the NDS (National Disability Services). She asked if I would be interested in doing some public speaking for them. I was intrigued and still am.
If I can speak in front of the NDIS panel, stumble over my words, be inspiring for other people with intellectual disabilities and still feel like I can’t believe it, then anyone can do it.