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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: The Access to Work scheme has provided Liz with various forms of support, including support workers who assist her with her teaching and research.

I also have - I applied to Access To Work, the scheme. And through that I have two support workers, who are my graduate students as well. And they are fantastic. So they kind of got on board before that was officially set up, because they wanted to help. And they've just been - you know - they're in the library right now, waiting to kind of do things for me if I need it, and stuff. I mean, I can't do basic things, like retrieve books from shelves or anything any more. So I'm going to need support workers probably for the rest of my career. But the two I have now are just fantastic, so. And I had a surgery last week on this hand, on Thursday. And I was supposed to teach on Friday. And I did, but I didn't think I could do my morning lecture, because I wasn't sure how the surgery was going to go. So I set up with one of my - they're called my research associates - I set up with one of my research associates to do the lecture, if I didn't feel like I could that day. And she did it. She just rocked up, and did a great lecture. Which meant that I could do my teaching in the afternoon. Which was great, so - you know. That, having that level of confidence in the people that I work with, and - and just having - you know - knowing that I have these safety nets in place, these people that are willing to step in at the last minute if I need it, is huge. That's what allows me to get back to work, is the other friends and colleagues I have right here. And just, yeah. Again, hugely lucky.

They do - they have to plug in things for me. Like plug in projectors, because I can't do that, for giving a lecture. They have to nip downstairs and get photocopying for me, to save me the twenty minutes it would take for me to do that. Actually I don't think I can get through that door. And they're - but they're also sort of helping me deal with converting my teaching materials into digital formats. Which is a more difficult task. And when I start to become research active again, I think they're going to be sort of helping me write articles, and produce - I've got book projects that need to get done. So I'll be working very closely with them, to achieve those projects. So they have a - they have all those kind of practical things that they do, but there'll also be this kind of research assistance level of help as well. Which is great. And that's all organised through the Access To Work scheme. But we had freedom within that to employ who we wanted. And I wanted people that are advanced in the subject, because it just makes it easier. Especially once they start doing research assistant type work with me, so. Yeah. They're great.