janelle Born without a fibula, Janelle had her foot amputated at the age of six.

Growing up she didn’t know anyone else living with a disability, but that didn’t stop her leading an active lifestyle and playing competitive tennis against other children.

“There weren’t as many support services and networks for people living with disability and their families back in the mid-1980s,” says Janelle.

“With four daughters – me the youngest living with this congenital disorder – they were up against it and coped as best they could.

“I had a lot of surgeries and setbacks and my parents constantly adapted and made modifications to help me with everyday living.”

Now a mother to two boys aged 10 and 12, Janelle says that a resource like the Disability Gateway would have been a great support to her family.

“If this (the Disability Gateway) was available in the 80s, it would have been invaluable, not just for my parents, but also my siblings.

“Siblings are often overlooked when considering disability support for a family; having a family member living with a disability can have a big impact on them. Siblings need to be supported and be able to find support.”

Working in childhood education, Janelle often sees children and families like hers, and believes she can refer parents of children living with a disability to the Disability Gateway for help.

“I still see children with congenital disorders like mine, and families with a child living with a disability. The Disability Gateway is a helpful resource I can share with families to help them find the support and services they need.”

Although Janelle currently manages her disability independently through support services such as her prosthetic technician and physiotherapist, she believes she may look to the Disability Gateway for future support.

“I’m currently working, mobile, live independently and have excellent professional support services – but that may not always be the case as I get older,” says Janelle.

“In the future I may be less able; I may need to look for work or seek assistance with mobility and transport – this is when I will be able to use the Disability Gateway to find help.

“For now, I’ve embraced and am proud of my disability; resources like the Disability Gateway have contributed to this and are so important in supporting and shifting perceptions of people like me.”

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Janelle’s story

An Easy Read case study


Janelle was born without a fibula – a bone in your lower leg.

When Janelle was 6 years old, she had her foot removed.


She didn’t know any people with disability when she was growing up.

But she still played tennis with other children.


Janelle explained that in the 1980s, there weren’t many supports and services to help people with disability.


When Janelle was younger, she had lots of surgeries.


And her parents changed parts of their home to support her.


Now, Janelle is a mother.

She has two sons who are 10 and 12 years old.


Janelle said the Disability Gateway would have been good for her family.


She also said siblings of people with disability need support too.


Janelle works in childhood education.

She sometimes sees children and families like hers.

Janelle said she can help those families by sharing the Disability Gateway with them.


Janelle manages her disability on her own.

But in the future, she:

  • might need more support
  • can use the Disability Gateway to find support.


She said,

“I am proud of my disability. Resources like the Disability Gateway have contributed to this.”