Katie Kelly is a two-time Paralympian, founder of the Sport Access Foundation and a disability inclusion advocate. She’s also a NextSense Ambassador. But her association with us dates back to long before she became a sporting legend.
Before her Paralympic journey began, Katie was involved in community sports, and in particular Deaf Sports Australia. She came to know NextSense through visiting children using our school services. Katie has Usher Syndrome, which is a genetic condition that affects both hearing and vision.
I just felt so connected to those young children who reminded me of my five year-old self of feeling confused and needing that support... I have always been very passionate about RIDBC – now NextSense.
Since then, she has had support from our centre in Toowoomba, and through her Paralympic outreach to schools has observed NextSense clients thriving in a mainstream school environment because they are getting the support at school that they need.
In her advocacy work, Katie now focuses on the importance of all people with disabilities being able to fully engage in the community and reach their goals.
So, this International Day of People with Disability 2023, we talked to Katie about the importance of bridging gaps in understanding of disability. And we asked her to discuss something positive about hearing and vision loss that others might not know.