Friday, April 9, 2010

The Value of Information

I would like to introduce a staff member of IDEAS who would like to share her experiences of her work within the disability sector and the importance of information in empowering and motivating an individual. Information allows people with disability, their carers and families to act and to find ways to live independently, information can lead to a greater quality of life and it is often knowledge that ABLES an individual. Please enjoy her story.

I work as an Information Officer for IDEAS NSW, an information service for people with a disability.

My role is as the first point of contact for people looking for information to assist them. I try to find the right service for the person to gain assistance from, whether that be supplier's of equipment, or accessible holiday options etc. Basically anything that we are asked in regard to disability we try to find the answer for. This makes my job challenging as I search for different things to suit different people daily. I never know what the next question will be!

I find my work particularly rewarding as I see people empowered by the knowledge they gain to assist them in their daily lives. This may be a little thing, like where to find a shower chair, or something seemingly larger like where to get financial assistance for oxygen support. This information empowers people with a disability and helps them to live more independent lives. For example, that information can enable a person to decide where to buy a set of small wheelchair wheels and a battery which in turn affords them significant independence and their carer relief.

Another example was a recent enquiry from a couple wanting to travel across the Nullabor Plains. We discovered how many accessible toilets are available. This allowed them to have the holiday they didn't think they could.
Information itself is necessary, particularly at turning points in a person's life or when a new situation arises. That's when it is very important to have a single point of contact that makes finding the solution less confusing. We often find that people are frustrated when they call us as they have tried so many other numbers to find the information or because they haven't been listened to. When they can contact us first, we can do the hard work for them.

Part of my job that I particularly enjoy is researching articles on accessible travel for our bi-monthly newsletter. I gain a lot of information for this research from our accessible accommodation database which I also help to maintain. As we are so busy answering enquiries this database is sometimes hard to keep up to date, so please call us to make sure you are getting the most up to date information on 1800 029 904.

My move from the dental industry to the disability sector has been thoroughly rewarding and I have found satisfying work in rural NSW. The skills I am learning I will be able to take with me anywhere.

This article was published on the carecareers website.

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