Stephanie Rocca completed work experience with Accessability Narrogin as part of Forrest Personnel’s WorkAbility Week. That led to a paid position, which has allowed Stephanie to work towards her goal of financial independence. This is her story.
I work at Accessibility in Narrogin. I really enjoy it, not only because they are really accommodating but also because I am working with other people with disability.
I have had jobs before [in housekeeping and in retail] where they have not understood disability.
This is the first time I have had a job where I fit in. At other places, I feel like my diagnosis may have led to me being passed over for opportunities.
Dealing with multiple diagnosis
I was diagnosed with PTSD several years ago, which came from an abusive childhood. Then there came the provisional diagnosis of ADHD. Right now it’s a provisional diagnosis, I’m currently transferring to a specialist psychiatrist and I’m trying out some new medication.
At times I have struggled with PTSD and ADHD and I have found things overwhelming, I found it hard to cope with some sensory things. I have also struggled with my hearing. I have problems there which I am still getting sorted out. But [at my work] they don’t mind if they need to help me out with that. I am feeling so welcomed here, I feel part of the team.
I never struggled with applying for jobs – but once I had an anxiety attack in the middle of an interview. I struggled to keep up with my studies, I didn’t really know what the reason was – I thought I was going crazy. After I found out everything and started reading about ADHD I could not get over how much it described my experiences. It was a big moment of relief when I realized I was not alone.
There needs to be more awareness of what ADHD actually is. It is not ‘Oh I saw a butterfly and now I’m distracted’. It affects everything – it is a real condition. Yet people brush it off as a matter of focus. I want to do so many things, but sometimes having ADHD is very difficult to live with.
The right role, the right employer
I began working with Forrest Personnel right when I was put on a disability pension. I hadn’t been working while I was trying to figure out my diagnosis. When I came to Forrest Personnel, that opened up some opportunities.
I did some work experience with Accessability during WorkAbility Week, which led to paid employment.
The first day [of work experience], I was really nervous. I did not know what to expect. The first job was working on reception and it was the right fit for me. I was able to take things at my own pace, make my own systems and rules for organizing thing.
I have not had experience in reception, so I was surprised at how much I was able to do. It’s a bit like retail, but I have my own systems and I don’t have the stress of dealing with lots of customers face to face.
Now I am the receptionist and I also work as an administration assistant. I sort out some paperwork, I answer the phones, I do some filing when needed. I also direct clients as to where they need to go. It’s lovely.
Working towards independence
This job has given me some financial independence – and that’s important because I have been dependent on my mum for a while. She is still my carer, but I am slowly trying to work up independence and get my life together. I really would like to get on top of my PTSD and ADHD
I have a lot of thoughts about employment opportunities for people with disability. I’ve really begun to care more about it since I am now working with people with disability. It’s the most important thing.
Employers need to remember that people with disability are people, and just like other people, it is important for them to have financial independence. Having that independence allows them to make other choices which will benefit their lives.
Forrest Personnel supports people with an injury, illness or disability to find and keep jobs.
If you’re looking for work or looking for staff – we’d love to work with you.
Send us an email or call us on 1800 224 548.