A Podcast About Disability

Have The Nerve

A podcast that goes beyond surface level information

Have the Nerve is our podcast brought to you by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Do you feel like the only information your hear about, when it comes to disability, doesn’t delve deep enough? We want to inform, educate and empower people with disability, their families, carers, friends as well as people who work in the disability sector.

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Have The Nerve is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Visit www.dss.org.au for more information.


Episode Guide

Episode 30 – October 20, 2023
Continence Poverty – The Cost When You Can’t Afford

How many times a year do you think the average person with a disability, requiring products like these would need to go to the bathroom?

How much does it cost?

What does someone do when they can’t afford basic medical necessities to go to the bathroom?

AND what happens if you are an immigrant who needs continence products and you don’t qualify for any funding at all?

Edwina Spooner from Coloplast is back and we talk about the very sobering realities for a lot of people who don’t have access to a lot of funding or may not have any funding at all and the ripple effect it creates.

Episode 29 – September 21, 2023
Companion Cards and the Meticulous Planning Just To Go Out

It’s getting into the warmer seasons now and when the weather gets warmer people like to go out more.

Senior Community Services Coordinator Laura Burling and Representative Advocate Jade Williams talk with Susan about what a Companion Card is, why they are important and they talk about why more people should understand the meticulous planning behind going to even the most simple of social situations for most people with disabilities.

Episode 28 – July 31, 2023
Have the courage to be your own advocate

In this episode of Have the Nerve I speak to Geraldine Watts. After a series of accidents that affected her spine, in 2016 her intervertebral disc disintegrated and she lost mobility, function and sensation. It was only in 2020 where she was formerly diagnosed with a spinal cord injury that set her off to find and absorb as much information about her disability as possible.

We talk about her journey with mental health and mental wellbeing, the barriers of accessing health services, and even general information living in rural and regional Australia, we talk about courage and how she’s turned from feeling shy to an outspoken advocate for people with disabilities in her now regional community.

Episode 27 – June 30, 2023
Ground Zero at Brand X – Voices from #SydneyWorldPride Part Two

Sydney WorldPride 2023 didn’t just happen in two weeks between February to March, it’s the gift that keeps on giving and Susan will keep giving those gifts.

Let’s cast our minds back, hit rewind, do some reminiscing and hear performances and interviews of the artists that made up Ground Zero at Brand X in Darlinghurst, New South Wales.

Hear performances and interviews of the artists that made up Ground Zero at Brand X in Darlinghurst, New South Wales where we talk about what it means to be a LGBTQIA+ artist performing at Sydney World Pride and some of the challenges that happen when artists with a disability don’t have an equal footing when it comes to performing.

Ground Zero was a performing arts creative development and performance program presented as part of The Flying Nun by Brand X and Sydney WorldPride 2023. Ground Zero was supported by the Wales Family Foundation and audience donations.

Episode 26 – May 29, 2023
Emergency Preparedness and Planning for People with Disabilities

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster prone region in the world.

Australia has a long history with heatwaves, bushfires, drought, flood and tropical cyclones and we’re going from La Nina to El Nino, meaning, potentially a repeat of the 2019 – 2020 bushfires that saw the whole country on fire.

In this episode, Susan talks to Michelle Villeneuve, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Deputy Director at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy at University of Sydney about this emerging interest, how COVID-19 came in and changed everything.

Episode 25 – April 27, 2023
The Underdogs – Disability and High School

TW: This episode discusses suicidal ideation and addiction. Listener discretion is advised. If you are struggling with similar feelings we encourage you to please call the 24 hour crisis support service Lifeline on 13 11 14.

In Episode 23 – Be Curious, Not Judgemental, Paediatric Nurse Consultant Jodie Thompson from Kids Collaborative and Paediatric Clinical Psychologist Amanda Lane-Brown talked with Susan about primary schooling and children with disabilities.

What about high school? In this episode we talk about self-esteem, body image comparisons, raging hormones, bullying and that endless cycle of trying to be someone you aren’t.

Episode 24 – February 28, 2023
Voices from Sydney Mardi Gras 2023 #SydneyWorldPride

It is Sydney WorldPride and Have The Nerve will be bringing you interviews from all over the place, highlighting the voices of people with disabilities in this community.

TW: This episode does contain content about abuse that can be triggering to some people.

In this episode, you’ll here from Aspen Luke, a 17 year old Susan met on the train, who is about to participate in his first Mardi Gras on Aspect/Austism Australia’s float and former president of People With Disability Australia (PWDA) Dr David Abello who participated in the first ever Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 1978 and is on the 78ers float in 2023.

Episode 23 – February 7, 2023
Be Curious, Not Judgemental – Disability and Primary Schools

It’s the beginning of a new school year for students in Australia. For the first episode of 2023 (coincidentally starting with Episode 23!), Paediatric Nurse Consultant Jodie Thompson from Kids Collaborative and Paediatric Clinical Psychologist Amanda Lane-Brown talk with Susan about how being curious to ask questions without judgement is THE key element for children with a disability entering primary school.

This is two part series, we will be following this up with an upcoming episode about high schoolers and disability.

Episode 22 – December 22, 2022
Finding your confidence on the days when you really feel disabled

On the final episode of 2022, Emily Bray comes on to talk about confidence, meaning and purpose on the days when you really feel disabled.

What does that mean? These are the times where something has happened and you have the very confrontational thought: “Holy crap. I’m actually disabled”.

Where do you find the resilience to keep going when you have a body that requires you to think about added challenges?

How do you feel confident going to the shops or going… anywhere with a running commentary in your head about what your plan b, c, d and e is if everything goes wrong?

Emily from SCIA’s Resilience Programs and Susan talk about gaining and retaining confidence, meaning and purpose, especially when there are situations with unavoidable everyday anxieties, confronting those “Holy crap. I’m actually disabled” days, and finding your community.

Episode 21 – November 14, 2022
NDIS, WTH?! (Where’s The Help)

When you don’t know what something is, how do you know what to ask for?

The most major reform for people with disabilities in Australia, but so fraught with tedious obstacles. This is the third episode where we have covered the NDIS because it is such a complicated beast.

In this episode Louise and Mel from our Community Services team and April from our Policy and Advocacy team talk about how NDIS support plans seem both too broad and too specific, how educating NDIS planners and Local Area Coordinators can really benefit participants, how all of these combined contribute to everyone getting NDIS burnout and the inaccuracies behind the phrase “NDIS blowout”.

Episode 20 – October 20, 2022
The Overlooked Victim Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

TW: This episode talks about domestic violence, sexual assault, coercive control and suicide. Listener discretion is advised.

If you need support you can call the National Domestic Family and Sexual Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT or visit https://www.1800respect.org.au/

In Australia, on average, one woman a week is murdered at the hands of a current, or former partner, and approximately 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries perpetrated by spouse or domestic partner and evidence shows that women with disabilities in Australia are two times more likely to experience sexual violence and intimate partner violence.

Nicole Lee is a victim survivor of domestic, family and sexual violence and uses her first hand experience as a person with a disability to help advocate for others with a disability who are also victim survivors of abuse.

Episode 19 – September 8, 2022
I Am More Than My Disability

It is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week in Australia and this year we’re saying #IAmMoreThanMyDisability.

Emily Bray is a wife, mother, social worker, researcher and PhD candidate.

Susan and Emily talk about the language of disability and subconscious bias. What happens if you don’t want to be an athlete? Well… nothing, you just live a regular life. But why does it seem to hard for the broader community to grasp?

We cover so many things: awareness days, disability only events, being congratulated for just living and existing, the difficulty of finding friends, the difficulty in finding work, so many things when people don’t look beyond and consider the person first.

Episode 18 – September 1, 2022
Neuroplasticity and The Human Body

For this episode of Have the Nerve, Susan talks to Dr Camila Quel de Oliveira, Lecturer in Physiotherapy at UTS, and NeuroMoves Physiotherapist Hannah Maslen about the most amazing part of the human body – the brain.

From in the womb to end of life, we talk about neuroplasticity and the information super highway that is the spinal cord. How does this relate for people with spinal cord injuries? Camila and Hannah will tell you all about it.

Episode 17 – August 18, 2022
The Importance of Diversity in Politics with Senator Jordon Steele-John

In this episode Susan speaks to Western Australia Greens Senator, Jordon Steele-John.

We talk about his first day working at Parliament House as a person with a disability, the importance of disability representation in politics and diversity and how including people with disabilities in legislation goes well beyond topics such as the NDIS and Disability Support Pension.

Episode 16 – August 3, 2022
The Psychology of Grief, Pain and Complex Trauma

Listeners are advised that the following podcast does discuss situations around grief and trauma that can be triggering to people.

On this episode I talk about the complexities of grief and trauma with clinical psychologist, Skye Dong. Skye helped develop SCIA’s Engage Program as part of our broader Resilience Programs. We’re going to talk about the different ways people manifest pain and trauma, and why the way we deal with trauma and pain in terms of disability is a lot more than the disability itself.

Episode 15 – June 3, 2022
Employment, Disability and Changing a Culture of Discrimination

Finding work and having a disability is hard. No like, it’s really hard.

In this episode, Susan talks to Phat Ngo, Employment Service Manager for SCIA’s EmployAbility Service and Dominika Jachym, EmployAbility’s Employment Coach about the obvious misconceptions of disability and employment, how that feeds into the hesitation a lot of employers have when hiring someone with a disability, how employers can better themselves to be a more inclusive workplace, help people with disabilities climb the career ladder and how COVID has forced people to start looking at what employment means in a different light.

Episode 14 – May 5, 2022
Why is standing so important for people who can’t move their legs?

Maybe some of you may not have thought this was possible. Maybe some of you didn’t know that this could and should be something to consider.

We’re not talking about miraculously standing up and walking around, NeuroMoves Physiotherapist Colbey Van Leeuwen and Exercise Physiologist Alicia Payne talk about the importance of standing in therapy, particularly for people who have had traumatic spinal cord injuries, the technology and what the research says.

Episode 13 – March 31, 2022
Sexual Rights, Sex Work and Disability with Rachel Wotton

Rachel Wotton is a Sex Worker living in Inner Sydney, Churchill Fellow and PhD candidate at Western Sydney University. Her PhD is about exploring the experiences of people with disabilities accessing sex workers in Australia.

Susan and Rachel talk about the misconceptions of two marginalised communities, the legacy of her 2011 documentary Scarlet Road, how her work has helped many people with disabilities to find independence and confidence and how she helped get sex work on the NDIS.

Episode 12 – February 3, 2022
So, How Disabled Do You Need To Be For The NDIS?

Eligibility within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), is a bit of a grey area. From proving your disability is permanent enough to accessing the scheme to prioritising which aspect your disability is the most important one to fighting – for a lot of people their medical condition doesn’t qualify to be on the NDIS despite their condition having lifelong physical impacts.

In this episode, Susan talks to SCIA’s Senior Support Coordinator Louise Hilton and Policy and Advocacy Officer Megan Bingham.

Episode 11 – December 2, 2021
Tourism, Access and City Planning with Access Bondi

Now that Summer is upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, Mike Cerrone, Project Officer for Waverley Council’s Access Bondi! talks to Susan about why it’s important for tourist destinations to be accessible for all people of all abilities.

Bondi Beach is a popular tourist destination on the east coast of Australia that brings in millions of visitors every year. We talk about how decent and suitable access can change society’s perceptions on inclusion, give people freedom of choice when they go out and how your input can help encourage local councils to make accessibility a priority.

Episode Ten – October 14, 2021
Psychosexuality, Sexual Self-Esteem and Disability

Candice Care-Unger and Arlyn Owens from Royal Rehab’s Sexuality Service in Sydney talks to Susan about how sexual self-esteem and empowering sexual confidence in people with disability is more than the literal mechanics of sex.

Whether you’ve had your disability long term, or recently, Candice and Arlyn talk about psychosexual intervention, the holistic approach to sexual wellbeing and how the media’s ableist portrayal of sex has skewed society’s expectation of dating someone with a disability.

Episode Nine – September 23, 2021
Nazim Erdem – Paralympic Gold Medalist, Wheelchair Rugby

We’re celebrating the diversity of disability and highlighting spinal cord injury awareness for the entire month of September.

In this bonus episode of Have The Nerve, former Australian Steeler and Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Gold medalist, Naz Erdem joins us to talk about his life as a Paralympian across five Paralympic games, his post Paralympic career and his hopes for the future of disability and sports.

Episode Eight – September 16, 2021
Louise Sauvage – Paralympic Gold Medalist and Coach, Wheelchair Racing

Have The Nerve is celebrating the diversity of disability and the importance of disability representation for the month of September.

In this episode, Louise Sauvage (Former wheelchair racer, Australian Paralympic Wheelchair Racing Gold Medalist and now the coach for up-and-coming wheelchair para-athletes and Australian Paralympic gold medalist Madison de Rozario), talks about growing up in Perth, her career as a Paralympian and the importance of universal accessible design and disability representation.

Episode Seven – August 12, 2021
Talking about first experiences after a spinal cord injury

When you think about first milestones in your life what do you think about?
First day of school? First kiss? First boyfriend or girlfriend?

….What about the first time you realised your injury is permanent? Or the first time you fell out of your wheelchair?

It’s not often we get to talk about what it’s like to experience, or sometimes re-experience, things for the first time following a spinal cord injury.

Chloe and Jacob talk with Susan talk about the confronting realisation of acquiring a spinal cord injury and the path of first time experiences that have shaped the way they see their disability now.

Episode Six – July 8, 2021
Over 65’s, NDIS and Aged Care funding

Navigating support funding for older Australians with a disability can be difficult. What happens if you are aged 65 and over and acquire a disability?

For this episode we’re going to be discussing supports for older Australians with a disability from the NDIS to My Aged Care Funding.

You’ll hear lived experiences from Susan who sustained a brain injury in 2005 and was able to get onto the NDIS before she turned 65 and Di, who is the wife and primary carer of her husband, Gary who sustained a spinal cord injury in 2019 at the age of 70. They discuss and compare their experiences alongside our systemic advocate, Megan, who breaks down how the funding works, what’s changing and how you can advocate.

Episode Five – June 3, 2021
Pain Management and Medicinal Cannabis

What is like to live with pain that never stops? What is out there for pain management? Neuropathic Pain can be debilitating.

CONTENT WARNING: This episode discusses suicidal ideation and addiction. Listener discretion is advised. If you are struggling with similar feelings we encourage you to please call the 24 hour crisis support service Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For this episode we talk about how medicinal cannabis is changing the lives of people with a spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions with Cannadoc, as well as first hand experience of what the effects of pain can have on someone who sustained a spinal cord injury 33 years ago and struggled with increasing pain for over 16 years.

Episode Four – May 6, 2021
What you should know about SCI and bowel management

Spinal cord injury (SCI) can significantly affect the bowels. When you have a spinal cord injury, bowel management can be debilitating. In this episode we explore everything you need to know when it comes to bowels and quality of life. For such a normal thing that everybody does, poo is such an unspoken topic. Not here! Edwina Spooner from Coloplast from digestive management to intimacy, we want people to start thinking about their bowels!

This is a two-part series about continence.

Episode Three – May 6, 2021
What you should know about SCI and bladder management

Let’s start a conversation about continence care. How much do you know about how a spinal cord injury (SCI) can affect the bladder?

SCI can significantly affect the bladder. Edwina Spooner from Coloplast explains what a neurogenic bladder is, the importance of hygiene, good catheter technique and considerations you should make for situations like going out an intimacy.

This is a two-part series about continence.

Episode Two – April 1, 2021
Life Lessons with SCIA’s Peer and Family Support Team

Can having a disability change you?

The SCIA Peer and Family Support team talk about their lived experiences and the reality of living with a spinal cord injury.Hear from Rob, Dan and Jess about what is truly important, lessons they’ve learnt along the way like patience, advocating for themselves, independence and dealing with mental health.

Let’s put disability into perspective; changing mindsets, learning from other people, engaging in support and services available and not forget about how important mental health is.

Spinal cord injury isn’t just doom and gloom, it’s about living your best life and focussing on what brings you joy.

Episode One – March 4, 2021
Got Pride! Identity, Discrimination and overcoming barriers for queer people with disabilities

What are some of the challenges that people with disability within the queer community face when finding supports?

Join host Susan Wood, SCIA Peer and Family Support Coordinator Jess Pellow, SCIA Policy and Advocacy Team Leader Michael Magro and ACON Community Health Promotion Officer, LGBTQ+ People With Disability Project Charbel Zada to talk about the QueerAbility NDIS Toolkit, dating and relationships, representation and what can we do as a society to better understand the issues and take action.