Caitilin Punshon

Caitilin Punshon
Caitilin Punshon

After more than 20 years with a debilitating chronic illness, I'm still trying to find ways to live well. I strive to make meaning from my experiences but it doesn't always work. Visual art fascinates me and I also like playing with words. I'm curious about how people see the world, the marks we make and the stories we tell.

After more than 20 years with a debilitating chronic illness, I'm still trying to find ways to live well. I strive to make meaning from my experiences but it doesn't always work.

Caitilin Punshon's articles

A girl looking down with her head in her hands.
Girl with her head in her hands

The right to be safe from abuse.

The Victorian Government is conducting an inquiry into abuse in disability services. The first stage of the inquiry has already been completed. Stage 2 is happening now. The inquiry is investigating why the abuse of people with disability is not reported. It is trying to find ways to improve systems and stop abuse from occurring. People can make submissions about their experiences to the inquiry. Speaking up about abuse can be confronting. But hopefully this will help keep people safe from abuse and neglect. Submissions to the inquiry close on 30 October 2015.
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A woman using some wool to make a needlepoint image
A woman using some wool to make a needlepoint image

To engage in society.

Last year an inquiry into social inclusion among Victorians with disability was carried out. It was undertaken by the Committee for Family and Community Development. This is a committee of the Victorian Parliament. The inquiry looked into how people with disabilities are included or excluded in society. It developed a definition for social inclusion. There were 25 recommendations in the report of the inquiry. The Government tabled its response to the report last month. It says the recommendations will help to inform the new State Disability Plan 2017-2020.
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A magnifying glass hovering over a list of the url prefix http://www.
magnifying glass

Websites should be accessible.

I run an editing and writing business called Artful Words. A few years ago I made a website for my business. Now I am creating a new one. It is important to me that my website is accessible to all visitors. I have been learning a lot about this. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines discuss issues with website accessibility. I need to think about these as I build my new website. Development, design and content all matter. There are also tools I can use to check the accessibility of my new website.
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A form with a list of criteria including family income and housing expenses.
The eligibility criteria may change.

The eligibility rules may change.

The welfare system in Australia has been under review. The final report of this review has been released. It makes many suggestions for changing the system. This includes reducing the number of payments. Eligibility rules will also change. Five payment types are recommended. They include a Carer Payment and a Supported Living Pension. There are some good ideas in the report. But not everyone receiving welfare needs more encouragement to find work. Often the problem is that there are not enough available and accessible jobs. It is now up to the Australian Government to decide what changes it will make to the welfare system.
3 comments - last comment on 23/05/2015
Pink flowers, one of which is on fire.
The MS campaign

They are burning.

Seeing MS is an innovative project that launched in 2014. It aims to make visible some of the hidden symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Around 20,000 Australians live with MS. It affects the central nervous system. Many of its symptoms are invisible. Through this project, nine photographs were created. Each one shows a particular symptom. An app was also developed. It allows people to put special filters onto their photographs to show what it is like to have MS. This project has had many positive outcomes. People with MS say it’s easier now to explain their experience of the illness.
4 comments - last comment on 13/04/2015
Her words compelled us to challenge our attitudes.
Her words compelled us to challenge our attitudes.

Her words compelled us to challenge our attitudes.

Stella Young has died at the age of 32. She was a much loved writer, commentator, comedian and disability activist. Her words caused people to think and ask questions. They were funny but also wise. She gave an influential TEDx talk and was editor of the ABC ’s Ramp Up website. She wrote many memorable articles including two letters to herself. Stella was a passionate advocate for a lot of important causes. She achieved a great deal and will be sadly missed.
6 comments - last comment on 04/01/2015
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A person being interviewed. The interviewer is holding a microhone.
Telling their stories to the media.

Telling their stories to the media.

A program for people with disabilities was recently run in Geelong. It was called LEAD Barwon. The program helped people become more confident. It also taught them communication skills. This enabled them to share their experience of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Nineteen people participated in the program. They told their stories in the media. They also gave feedback about the NDIS. This information will help improve the NDIS for others. The participants all got a lot from the program. But it has been good for their communities too.
1 comment - on 31/01/2015
Swab applicators in glass tubes.

A swab is taken from the cervix.

Pap tests are part of good health care for women. They can help prevent cervical cancer. Every woman who has been sexually active needs to have a Pap test every two years. But not all women with disabilities have access to regular tests. There are several reasons for this. PapScreen Victoria is aware of these problems. They have resources on their website for women with disabilities. This includes information about accessible clinics. Pap tests save lives. It is important for women to be able to have them.
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The book cover.
Kate Richards book Madness, A memoi

Both gripping and graphic.

Kate Richards is a Melbourne writer. Her first book is called Madness: A Memoir. It is about her experience with mental illness. Parts of the book are disturbing. It contains descriptions of depression, psychosis and self-harm. But there are moments of beauty too. Kate's book has won several awards. It is very well written and has had a positive response from readers. In the end, it is an important and uplifting story.
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A man is sitting at a table being interviewed by a woman. In the background are other one-on-one interviews.

The report has an employment focus.

A new report suggests making big changes to Centrelink payments. The report has a strong employment focus and recommends that people on welfare payments be encouraged to work as much as they are able. However, it is not always easy for people with a disability to find work. Sometimes employers do not want to hire people with a disability. It would be good if the review results in better support and opportunities for people. The government is asking people to let them know what they think of the review. You can make comments and submissions about it until 8 August.
2 comments - last comment on 03/11/2014