A fun, free event will celebrate the contribution of people with disabilities in the Onkaparinga region.
“There’s no limit to what you can do other than the limits you put on yourself.” This is Caleb Murray’s philosophy.
Caleb, of Old Reynella, is a lot of things: a senior remedial massage therapist running his own business, a keen fisherman, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a DIY home renovator. Caleb is also blind.
“Well-meaning people are often aghast at the things I can do and choose to do,” Caleb says.
“In no way, shape or form am I telling people to take unnecessary risks. I have a lot of support to do things outside the box: my wife, children and extended family all help me to achieve my goals, for which I will be forever grateful.
“But set your goals and go for them. Get support. Don’t be told you can’t. Don’t be restricted by your disability.”
Caleb lost his sight as the result of a car crash 20 years ago at age 16, when he was studying Year 11.
He credits his wonderfully supportive family and friends for helping him transition to life with his disability.
He had to learn to type, read basic braille and use screen readers. He also had to overcome his resistance to using a cane, so he could remain independent. For someone who says he wasn’t the “most studious of students” — much preferring to be on the sports field or in the tech room — the learning curves were steep and plentiful.
Finding a career was one of the most challenging adjustments.
“I was going to be a diesel mechanic,” Caleb says.
“We were raised to work and when I lost my sight that didn’t change. It was, ‘OK, what can I do?’
“I didn’t want to work behind a desk or in a factory line.”
Remedial massage ticked all the boxes for Caleb. He’d be on his feet, using his hands, and interacting with people.
He completed his SACE and studied for a diploma and then an Advanced Diploma in Remedial Massage, with a focus on sports and chronic injury management. Caleb says learning from touch instead of sight gave him a unique take on his craft.
“An added bonus is people come in feeling bad and leave feeling really good.”
Caleb’s business, Back in Balance Remedial Massage, will be showcased at the upcoming Abilities Expo hosted by the City of Onkaparinga at South Adelaide Football Club on Saturday, 30 November.
Running from 1pm until 8pm, the free event is part of International Day of People with Disability, which celebrates the impact people with disabilities make in their communities.
Entrepreneurs like Caleb, plus artists and hobbyists with disabilities, will share their skills and wares at the event, alongside stalls from exhibitors that provide services and support for people with disabilities and their families.
Inclusive and accessible clubs and groups have also been invited along.
Food and drinks will be available, and there will be entertainment from people living with disabilities and their supporters.
Among performers will be the Shedtastics, a singing group comprising adults with acquired brain injuries, who came together while participating in the council’s Shed Program.
There will be guest speakers, panel sessions and workshops, covering themes such as wellbeing, employment, housing, future opportunities and support for families.
The expo arose out of feedback from the council-facilitated Regional Disability Network: a group of people with disabilities, their family members and carers, and service providers. They are all passionate about improving life for people with disabilities in the Onkaparinga region.
Organisers hope visitors to the expo will not only have a great time, but will leave feeling inspired and more informed.
Caleb says he has used some disability services in the past but for the most part, he figured things out on his own, which was often the hard way.
He said events like the expo shine a light on the aids and help available for people with disabilities.
“It’s going to be an eye opener — no pun intended,” he says, with a smile.
Visit onkaparingacity.com for more information.
Help shape the Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020–2024
The council is currently developing its Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020–2024 (DAIP). The DAIP will set out measures that enable the full inclusion of people with disability into community life, providing improved access to mainstream supports and services.
To ensure the DAIP represents the views and needs of the community, council will engage with people with a disability, their carers, families, and the wider community. The first round of engagement, focussing on the barriers to access and inclusion, attracted participation from 400 people. Their feedback provided real insight into the challenges faced by people with disabilities and what can be done to create a more inclusive city. What was learned will help develop the draft DAIP, which will be available for community feedback towards the end of the year.
The City of Onkaparinga would love to hear from as many people as possible, particularly people with a disability, their carers and families. If you are interested in participating in future engagements, please email the council’s Ageing and Disability team at email@example.com to register your details.
The City of Onkaparinga’s programs for adults with disabilities include:
- Disability walking group
- Aqua Movement class
- The Shed Program for adults with acquired brain injuries (activities include mosaics and basic carpentry)
- Shedtastics singing group for adults with acquired brain injuries
- Fortnightly social activity groups (activities include cooking, excursions and sport).
The council is currently developing its Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020–2024 (DAIP).
The City of Onkaparinga would love to hear from its community, particularly people with a disability, their carers and families. If you’re interested in participating in future engagements, register your details with council’s Ageing and Disability team via firstname.lastname@example.org
Caleb Murray from Back in Balance Remedial Massage; Roberto, Bryan and Terry at the the council’s Shed Program; participants of the Day Program; craftsmen John and Terry; Tony, Janet, Robert and Veronica at the Day Program.