Leonie Donohue

Working in a Government department for 17 years I now know our workplace was never inclusive for people with disabilities.

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis my employer could not get me out of the door quick enough. Years of education including a post graduate degree just flushed down the toilet. I am now known as a liability due to my disability. This leaves me feeling excluded and worthless.

My whole working career has been about looking after my clients, yet my employer couldn’t give me the same courtesy and compassion. I have tried applying for positions back at work, but as soon as they find out I have multiple sclerosis they don’t want a bar of me. I wish people could understand how this makes me feel. I’m a highly educated person and just because I have this disability does not mean I can’t do my job just as good as an abled body person. I just want to be treated like any other person, with dignity and respect.

I have now been home for 4 years, and there hasn’t been a day that has gone by that I don’t think about going back to work.

Employment inclusion for people living with disabilities should be in the forefront of the government’s agenda. We should be made to feel like we are being included in society, that just because we have a disability doesn’t mean we can’t still live a full life, like any other human being. The impacts of excluding us can also have impacts to our mental health and well-being. I never truly understood discrimination against people with disabilities, until I got a disability myself. I have now seen first hand how rife discrimination against disabilities really is, and I’m disgusted.

I could never treat a person, the way some people with disabilities get treated. It needs to be taken more seriously, and more opportunities should be given to those of us with disabilities.