Emma Hall was working as a youth worker in South Australia when she was inspired to take the next step and start her own NDIS-registered small business.
Her goal was to provide disability support to adults with intellectual disability, but she felt she needed to take her qualifications to the next level, to advance her career.
With a Bachelor of Psychological Science behind her, Emma needed a study option that was flexible and available online—a postgraduate option that could be tailored to her interests and one that would give her the confidence to expand into other areas.
Emma chose to enrol in the Master of Disability Studies at NextSense Institute, specialising in Sensory Disability.
‘I had no qualifications in disability and wanted an overview and to be recognised as a professional in the field with a more targeted qualification than psychology,’ Emma says.
‘I have family responsibilities and the thought of studying again was a bit daunting. Would I be able to juggle everything and would it fit in with my busy life?’
‘NextSense Institute stood out as one of the few postgraduate options that ticked all the boxes. What impressed me most was immediate dialogue from the Institute, and from the get-go, I received the support I needed.'
— Emma Hall, allied health professional
The NextSense staff talked me through the process, in contrast to other universities I considered, where I just left their website or the conversation feeling confused.
Emma also benefited by learning about available scholarships through her NextSense Institute contact. ‘I wouldn’t have otherwise known about scholarships—it led to me receiving $5,000 towards my course fees. No other university had informed me about that possibility.’
When the Master's program began, Emma was hesitant to share what she knew, but her knowledge was welcomed and she realised that the NextSense Master's program was ideal for allied health and other professionals wanting to complete studies in disability or advance and develop their career in the growing disability sector.
‘Now I’m more aware of the needs of people with a sensory disability, I’m inspired, and I’ve had the confidence to expand into other areas, such as behaviour support and now developmental education,’ Emma says.
‘For me, it’s more than just being a small business owner—it’s about knowing I have the knowledge and skills to be an NDIS provider.'
Emma’s business is based in Gawler, near the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. She provides accommodation, care and field support for adults with intellectual disability, in the home and community. Since completing the Master's program, she has expanded to provide outreach allied health support to people with disability.
Her advice to other allied health professionals considering this Master's program?
‘Learning should be lifelong. It doesn’t matter if you take on one unit or four, just knowing that you are working towards expanding and updating your knowledge of disability in the face of a changing landscape provides confidence. I’d absolutely recommend this course.’