Women with intellectual disabilities inspiring others to find work
Alanna Julian had to overcome several barriers in life to gain employment as an adult woman with an intellectual disability.
As a teenager her first job was at a sheltered workshop — an environment where people with disability are employed — where she said she was only paid 50 cents an hour.
"I found the work really repetitive and not for me," Ms Julian said.
"I felt I was discriminated against sometimes because it was a very male-dominated sheltered workshop too."
Facing difficulties since childhood
What was initially thought to be a developmental delay during her childhood was later diagnosed as an intellectual disability after her teachers noticed she was struggling at school.
Ms Julian said she struggled with bullying and teachers who could not support her needs.
At the age of 14 she left school.
"Ideally if things were different I would have wanted to go to years 11 and 12," she said.
To further complicate matters, in her late teens she was struck by a car and sustained a mild acquired brain injury.
Finding a dream job
After years of volunteering, Ms Julian found the confidence to apply for a job with the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) where she now works as a workshop facilitator and community engagement officer.
"Throughout my life, having an intellectual disability certainly had its challenges because people would not see your disability," she said.
"You feel like it's a hidden disability and they would treat you a certain way at a high level and [as a result] you're just falling through the gaps."
Since gaining employment she has taken on several leadership roles within her community and is actively involved in advocacy for people with disabilities.
Ms Julian is currently involved in a working group drafting a shadow report on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
"There's limited opportunities that they don't give enough people with disabilities, there's just so much they can do," she said.
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