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Special Interest Matter - See Me - Stories of Ability

Tuesday 28 September 2022

[11.23 a.m.]

Ms ARMITAGE - Today, I would like to shine a light on a fantastic project that is happening in Launceston. See me - stories of ability is a City Park Radio Launceston Podcast that was born from the idea that more work needs to be done to better tell the stories of people with disabilities.

Jodie Lowe, former ABC Launceston newsreader and journalist, and my former electorate officer, has poured her passion and time into creating this podcast. A conversation with her 16 year old son, Josh, who has autism, helped Jodie realise she needed to do something herself to create more understanding around disability. The idea behind the podcast is that people with disabilities are given a platform to share their stories on a deeper, more meaningful level. They are their stories, told their way. Focusing on the ability rather than the disability, can create conversations and change entrenched preconceptions and beliefs about what people with disabilities are capable of, professionally, creatively and emotionally.

Over six episodes, See me - stories of ability, meets and hears from some truly wonderful people.

  • Derrick Jonas, the first person to complete the 94 kilometre wheelchair accessible section of the Launceston Urban Fringe Trail;

  • Gopi Maya Rai, a young Bhutanese woman with an incredible singing voice;

  • 11-year-old Bonnie, who helps her family care for animals at their not-for-profit Kanamaluka Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at Legana;

  • artist Michelle Murphy from Interweave Arts Studio;

  • Avery McDougall, the author of Invisibly Grace and

  • Jacquie Spencer, from the Launceston Master Swimming Club.

Each of these episodes hands the platform and the microphone over to the person whose story is being told. Additionally, Jodie uses her skill in media to follow the golden threads and draw out the details that encourage reflection and understanding. Avery, who has autism and atypical autoimmune disease, called the experience therapeutic and rewarding. In a recent interview with Belinda King on ABC Northern Tasmanian breakfast radio, Avery explained:

I think for me, what I really want people to know when they hear this podcast, is I am someone with a rich life and I am really happy with my life. I am really focused on living my best life. The challenges I face don't limit me or define me. They just show me a different way of looking at the world. [TBC]

It is always a team effort to make a podcast and Launceston City Park Radio's Chris Ball has given strong support, technical assistance and encouragement throughout the entire process. The entire City Park Radio family has also given great support. I encourage all members to listen to See me - stories of ability, which is available on City Park Radio's website, under Podcasts, as well as on streaming services Spotify and Google Play. I congratulate Jodie and her son, Josh, whose hard work has seen this project come to fruition and thank Derek, Gopi, Bonnie, Michelle, Avery and Jacquie for telling their stories.


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