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Disability Narratives

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Interview excerpt: After discussion with her college, Mary was given ‘retrospective sick leave’ from teaching, helping her catch up with other work; she was also provided with disability leave to train on her new equipment.


Image representing Mary

So this was just college. So what happened was I suppose I just kept on going, that first year [laugh]. In a sort of crazy way. Yeah. I don't regret it, because I think - well, I love the job. And I really enjoy teaching. And I think having that contact with the students is, is just really lovely. And I imagine that - I mean, I’ve stayed very buoyant throughout, on the whole. And I think maybe if I'd just been at home, I think I might have got quite depressed, to be honest. And I think just keeping going and keeping busy was great. But I wasn't able to do nearly as much of the job as I should. And I think in discussion with them, and then when I was talking to my GP about how little - how impaired my movement was, and how I was in a lot of pain - it was before I'd been put onto quite strong painkillers. So it was all quite difficult. I can't remember if it was myself or the GP. She said "It sounds to me like you should have been on sick leave for the last six months." And then I was in discussion with the senior tutor and she said "Well maybe we should do that." So. Yes. So it meant that I guess I had like a, a term with no teaching. To help catch up on other stuff. But we just called it retrospective sick leave.


Well, I think it was in the second year that I had the problems. So it was after I'd had the Access To Work assessment. And it was clear that I was going to have to take a lot of time for training. There was something called - I can't remember it. Is it disability leave? So I asked the college, the faculty if I could, if I would be - if they would consider giving me some disability leave. Which they granted. And so I used that time to try and get to grips with all the technology. And again, that was really helpful. So I was still going into college and still doing some teaching. And sort of feeling part of the academic community there. But it took the pressure off. Yeah. That was very much appreciated.

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