Seeing the Ability in Disability: Blake McGuiness

As a part of International Day of People with Disability, Blake McGuiness, current Bachelor of Medical Science student, discussed seeing the ability in disability.

We all have our own story. We can all achieve almost anything we put our minds to no matter our ability level.

Keep reading to hear Blake’s story…

My name is Blake McGuiness and I’m a second-year Bachelor of Medical Science student specialising in nutrition. Despite being legally blind, through my study at CQU and the avid help from my accessibility team and family members, I have been able to achieve a GPA of 6.2.

As a result of my hard work and dedication, I have been able to maintain a level of study which places me in the top 15% of my degree, opening up opportunities such as being awarded a BHP scholarship and an invitation to join the High Honours Golden Key Society.

I utilise a variety of tools at home and at university to help me be more inclusive and achieve the goals I set for myself. These tools include tactile diagrams provided by the university, speech programs for computers, an accessibility plan to allow for one-on-one sessions to aid in my learning, as well as an accessibility team who support me in striving hard to communicate with my unit coordinators to make the subjects more inclusive and manageable for my ability level.

All this support allows me to focus on my strengths and apply them to my studies, which after the deterioration of my vision included audio processing, memory formulation and touch sensitivity.

Outside of university I am a considered an elite athlete. I am striving to one day represent Australia as a vision impaired Paralympian in 100m sprint, discus, javelin, long jump and shot put. I also avidly enjoy weekly singing and guitar lessons which I took up after the loss of my sight and am wanting to be more involved in people’s lives through motivational speaking and maybe inspire them through my story. I have been invited to speak at a number of high schools to help engage with the students and inspire them to know that they can always be more, do more and achieve more.

After I graduate, I plan to further my studies and hopefully become one of Australia’s first vision impaired dieticians. I am studying this degree because I want to help others realise, aspire and achieve their goals be that nutrition or weight or anything in between.

I’ve had people say to me that I don’t look blind while holding my cane. What I want people to take away from my story and from International Day of People with Disability is that no one disability or even ability is like a cookie cutter. They are all different, all unique, all have their own stories and can all achieve no matter their ability level, not disability level, ABILITY level.

IDPwD is a United Nations observed day celebrated internationally. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Information on how you can get involved in the day as an individual or organisation and how to break down barriers (both structural and attitudinal) for people with disability can be found online.

Blog written by Blake McGuiness.

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