Hello! I’m Lauren, one of the Disability Advisors here at Flinders University, and I’ve decided to take a dive into the wonderful world of blogging… gulp!
I’ve been away from Flinders on Maternity Leave for a bit over 12 months, and a lot has changed since I left. I’ve come back to a new office space and a new look team. It’s actually pretty exciting to be back!
Over the next 12 months I’ve set myself the goal of contributing to this blog at least once a month, so I thought I should start by introducing myself. I’m Lauren, I’m one of the Disability Advisors. My main role is to speak with students with a health condition or disability and discuss the supports they might require to ensure they are able to study at Flinders. For some people this might mean developing an Access Plan to let teaching staff know what sort of supports they require.
One of my personal goals within my role as a Disability Advisor is to raise awareness and the profile of disability within the university. I’ll probably introduce some of our other staff here at Disability Services along the way, and hopefully manage to provide some posts to make you think, and some posts with some useful information!
So, after all of that, I’d like to start my blog contributions off with a book review! Whilst on Maternity Leave I was super excited when I found this book had been released (yep… Nerd Alert!).
Haben -The DeafBlind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law – Haben Girma
I purchased this book as soon as I found out it had been published, a little behind the times, but not too much so. I was quite excited to read it, as I’ve had the pleasure of working with students who are DeafBlind both in my capacity as a DA here at Flinders, and in previous work places. I have first-hand experience problem solving alongside students who are trying to find alternative ways to engage in person in lectures and tutorials, its tricky stuff!
Recalling stories from throughout her life, Haben provides a funny, warm and down to earth narrative of her experiences living as a DeafBlind woman in an ableist world. Haben highlights and calls out ableism as she has seen and experienced it, and provides an invaluable insight into the daily experience of ableism for someone who is DeafBlind. Recalling her school trip to Mali to assist in building school, Haben shows how her passion, resilience and persistence have shaped her life. She is also a Guide Dog user and provides a realistic account of her experience, training to use a guide dog as her main mobility aid.
In her work role as a disability rights lawyer, Haben has already taken on one of the world’s largest digital libraries and started breaking down digital barriers to access, which will benefit many. With a list of accomplishments that include graduating from Harvard Law, meeting President Barak Obama, and making it onto Forbes 30 under 30 list, her book not only provides insight into her world, but also demonstrates how Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation.
For me personally – reading Haben’s book has reignited my motivation to work harder and smarter as a Disability Advisor to problem solve and collaborate with students with disability to enable them to achieve the best outcomes possible.
Haben can be found here: https://habengirma.com or @HabenGirma on Twitter and Instagram.
Interview with Haben and Australia’s very own Nas Campanella here: https://www.centreforideas.com/article/haben-girma-harvards-first-deafblind-graduate