JobAccess helps Tara shine her light

Tara Robinson is standing in the classroom and smiling at the camera. On the right, the text at the bottom reads ‘Good News from JobAccess’, and the JobAccess logo is on the top.
Image: Tara Robinson is standing in the classroom and smiling at the camera. On the right, the text at the bottom reads
‘Good News from JobAccess’, and the JobAccess logo is on the top.

Tara Robinson says she has an affinity with her students with additional needs.

“I am not able to have children myself. So, I thought, well perhaps if I can’t have them, maybe I can work with them instead and try to be a positive light in their lives,” says Tara, a teacher for children with trauma-based behavioural and language challenges.

Growing up, Tara saw the struggle of her cousin, who was in a wheelchair, to get the support she deserved. At school, Tara observed the needs of children with disability and other challenges were frequently inadequately met.

“I just saw there is more that we can do. So, I became a teacher for children with additional needs. I love it! It’s really rewarding but exhausting,” shares Tara, who works at the Southeast Language Development Centre in Cloverdale, Western Australia, with children referred by paediatricians or speech pathologists.

Tara lives with severe chronic pain after an existing back injury was worsened by a workplace accident a few years ago.

“It’s been a really tough couple of years. In 2019, I was in and out of the hospital for most of the year.

I am in a lot of pain, and I thought, ‘I have to change my life and concentrate on the positive aspects’. JobAccess has helped me get back to full-time work.”

It has taken Tara some time to acknowledge the reality of her situation and ask for help.

“Yes, I do consider I have a disability. I do identify and I didn’t always. But the fact is, I need assistance.

There are some things I can’t do, and I have had to learn that I can’t do everything myself. I am learning to put myself first. It’s quite hard when you are the carer.”

JobAccess supported Tara by providing a range of workplace adjustments through the Employment Assistance Fund (EAF).

What is the Employment Assistance Fund?

The Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF) provides financial assistance to purchase work-related modifications and services with the intent to remove any barriers in the workplace for people with disability.

People with disability who are starting work, already employed or self-employed, or their employer, can apply for the EAF. If a person is working with a DES provider, the provider can support the participant and employer with lodging the EAF application.

Some of the adjustments provided by JobAccess for Tara included a low kindy chair, so she doesn’t have to bend down extensively and a uniquely designed physio-fitted cushion to support her back.

“It really has helped. JobAccess has been great. The follow up has been amazing and I have appreciated everything they have been doing for me.

I would have been better off if I had heard of it sooner. I heard about it from my Disability Support Service, and I am grateful I got the help.

I think getting the word out there is imperative. More people need to know about what supports are available,” she concludes.

Looking for support with workplace adjustments? Talk to us.

A wide range of support is available from JobAccess for people with disability, employers, and service providers.

JobAccess has managed 60,000 applications for funding workplace adjustments since 2006. Each one makes a difference by helping people with disability get work, keep work, and progress in their careers.

Contact JobAccess on 1800 464 800 to speak to our Advisers about workplace adjustments and the Employment Assistance Fund. You can also submit an online enquiry through the JobAccess website.

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