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Getting to know your lived experience

You can use your lived experience to make a difference and work towards change.  In order for you to use your lived experience to help shape and work towards change, it is really important you first understand your lived experience.

Below you will be asked to think about your own life experiences to answer some questions. This will then help you in being able to use your lived experiences to work with some scenarios you may be faced with as a community champion.  

It might be a good idea for you to save these answers so you have them on hand when you need them.

Step 1:

Think about your own experiences with your disability. There are things that you’ve experienced that are unique and this understanding and knowledge gained from your experiences is extremely valuable.  There are things that you know about your community or yourself that nobody else would know.    An example has been given to help you.

Because of my disability I know that:

  • It is difficult to find sporting clubs that include people with disabilities into mainstream teams
  • There are beaches that offer access ramps and there are beaches that do not
  • Not all restaurants offer access options so they loose a lot of business

Step 2:

Similarly, your lived experience makes you aware of issues in your community that others may not be aware of.  An example has been given to help you. 

Because of my disability I am aware of these issues:

  • People with physical disabilities are often spoken to as if they do not understand
  • People who use AUSLAN are often excluded due to most people not understanding or having learnt AUSLAN

Step 3:

Unfortunately, it is often society that ‘disables’ a person, not the persons disability. Your lived experience with your disability means you have an understanding of what society has limited you or stopped you from doing based on your disability. An example has been given to help you.

Because of my disability, society has stopped me from:

  • Accessing the shopping centre closest to my home
  • Making friends at school because nobody understood AUSLAN
  • Seeing my favourite band live in concert