Australian disability and aged care support network Mable has launched the world’s first podcast reflecting the personal lived experiences of people with disability.
Launched on 3rd December in-line with the United Nations International Day of People With Disability (IDPWD), ‘The Invisible Podcast’ immerses the listener into a deep sensory experience of the unique circumstances of four Australians living with disability.
Many of the 4.4 million Australians with disability often have difficulty expressing how it feels to live with a disability, how it impacts them, and getting others to truly understand their life perspective.
Mable Chief Operating Officer, Rachel Debeck says the ‘The Invisible Podcast’ was created to build awareness of how some individuals experience their disabilities, especially invisible ones.
“One-in-five Australians identify as having some form of disability. We often hear from our community that they feel it can be difficult for others to understand what the experience is like for them living with disability,” she says.
“By creating this podcast, we wanted to not only share what the lived experience of these people with disability was like, but we wanted others to take a moment to try and experience what it is like.”
“Understanding a person’s experience of disability is the first step to better inclusion in the community.”
Episode 1: The Disarrangement – Nina and her experience of Multiple Sclerosis
Episode 2: The Disaffection – Robert and his experience of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Episode 3: The Disaccord – Gabrielle and her experience of Psychosis
Episode 4: The Disappearance – Tina and her experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Those featured on the podcast describe in detail the physical, mental and emotional effects of their disability, helping to construct the multi-sensory podcast scripts and direct soundscapes that reflect what they experience on a day-to-day basis.
For example, in ‘The Invisible Podcast’ Episode 1: The Disarrangement, listeners will hear sounds that reflect fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and cognitive impairment in the workplace, reflective of Nina’s experience with Multiple Sclerosis.
Nina says her episode was exactly what her disability is like.
“This is so visceral and true to the experience of multiple sclerosis, that it was actually difficult for me to listen to,” she says.
“I actually hope it's difficult for others to hear too, so they can start to understand the impact of invisible disabilities on those who live with them.”
For Robert, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, the soundscapes really brought to life his own disability.
“These podcasts will provide a further step towards bridging the gap and integrating the disabled into the mainstream community, as listeners are put into the proverbial shoes of those living with disabilities,” he says.
Robert says he hopes the day will come when people’s understanding of autism is not based on the stereotyped portrayals in mainstream media, but rather an innate understanding developed through slow and gradual exposure to information such as these podcasts.
“(Listeners) can close their eyes and imagine themselves in the difficult situations that are faced every day by those living with invisible conditions. With this, the experience will become visceral and internalised within the listener, and a passive form of empathy can be formed.”
'The Invisible Podcast’ is available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music.
Click here for more information or to listen online.