Open State with Jocelyn Neumueller
Open State is an annual initiative to connect global and local leaders with South Australians, to explore new opportunities and address our state’s challenges together. In 2016, over 25,000 people attended 60 events. John Duthie attended “Democratising disability… taking control” and heard from speakers including Jocelyn Neumueller and Maurice Corcoran. They described their journey as a person with a disability, and the barriers they faced along the way.
Jocelyn Neumueller – the speech
Jocelyn had sudden paralysis as a young teenager and was only the fifth person in the world with this type of motor neurone disease (MND). Coming to terms with this was hard, so was the loss of the majority of her friends. Jocelyn got back into education, and at age 15 started at university. She believes it is essential to belong and to help others and is involved with the Julia Farr Youth, Determined2, Starlight Foundation and Layne Beachley Foundation. Jocelyn’s main point was that regardless of your ability you can achieve goals. There also needs to be pathways and role models to help people with a disability to progress in life. Jocelyn’s future is uncertain as she is living with a degenerative illness but has a goal to represent Australia at the 2020 Paralympics and to continue her disability awareness and advocacy work. She also wants to find a cure for her disease via her medical research and to enjoy life.
More about ‘Open State’
The session explored barriers for people with disabilities. Everyone needs to be able to make decisions in order to take control of their situation. Sometimes people are not given the ability or the freedom to do so.
Some of the answers in the session covered the questions
- How do you do it?
- What are the barriers?
- What will it look like in the future?