Marie wears many hats as a student, Disability Support Practitioner and intern

Marie wears many hats as a student, Disability Support Practitioner and intern
Posted on Thu 11 Aug 2022

I’m Marie. I wear many hats; as a student in my first year at Western Sydney University studying communications, and I work as a Disability Support Practitioner for Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Supported Independent Living accommodation.

My journey with Cerebral Palsy Alliance began in 2020, when I had to take a break from my studies due to the pandemic. I started work part time as a Disability Support Practitioner (DSP) and have loved every minute. Ever since, alongside my colleagues, I’ve advocated for clients, and helped them to improve their independence and communication skills. Helping a visually impaired client recognise the voices of staff and their names was one of my biggest achievements as Disability Support Practitioner. This client’s communication skills were declining and I noticed that Robbie’s family played card games with him, so I continued to play these which made such a difference to his speech and enjoyment.

Another achievement was when an Occupational Therapist worked together with the House Manager and together created a control button for a client that had little to no hand mobility. This button allowed him to tilt his chair whenever he wanted to, instead of having to ask staff for help. He was so excited to have this kind of independence, and seeing his smile was very liberating and rewarding.

CPA’s not just the organisation I work for, I’ve formed valuable relationships that have helped me in my professional career and personal life.

‘I was fortunate enough to work with the great and supportive team at Ryde house and that has been so rewarding. The whole team has had a great impact on my life - both professionally and personally. Working together to bring out the best of our clients is really our biggest goal.’

I believe that to be a Disability Support Practitioner you need to have an open mind and compassion. When I first started the job, I was so nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but my genuine desire to care for people won and I soon learned with the training I was given and support from my colleagues.

With the help of my manager, I’m currently interning with the Communications and Marketing team which has been a great learning experience and allowed me to see the organisation from two different perspectives. I’m so happy to have brought my experiences as a Disability Support Practitioner to my internship and I’ve been inspired by my colleagues and clients.

‘The support has been overwhelming in my transition into the corporate side of the organisation. As a DSP, I was able to interact with clients and their families, which I have enjoyed so far, but I’ve also been able to follow my passion for communication.’

CPA has been part of my professional development story and I hope for it to continue in the future as a Communications professional.

If you are interested in becoming a Disability Support Practitioner (DSP), CPA offers full training, find out more here.

Disability activist and author Hannah Diviney talks about celebrating the community wide commitment to STEPtember, her excitment for the upcoming World CP Day and the endless possibilities of assistive technology in her column this month. 

Cerebral Palsy Alliance-backed disability tech startups PolySpine and ResusRight have both been awarded prizes at the 2022 Good Design Awards, Australia’s most prestigious showcase of innovative and creative design


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We have been providing supported short and long term accommodation for people with a range of disabilities for more than 60 years.