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What is My Disability Matters?

My Disability Matters (MDM) has been created to improve the lives of people who live with disability.

Living with disability can be lonely and very challenging. Despite over ONE BILLION people worldwide living with disability, many do not have access to the information and resources they need that could improve their lives. Many do not feel a sense of community.

For Founder Dale Reardon, his motivation starts from a personal perspective.

“I have been a blind disabled person for almost 30 years, since I was 17. I personally understand many, not all of course, of the struggles and discrimination that disabled people face. I seek to help empower disabled people and give them a voice. MDM provides a place for disabled people to find information, ask advice, network and debate issues around disability. They will find their community.”

MDM provides two valuable online resources for the disability community.

  • The News website publishes news and opinion articles on disability issues and disability rights.
  • [Launching very soon] The community site, the MDM Club, is a social network. It is a place for members to have open discussions of disability issues, to meet others affected by disability from across the world and find peer support.

What My Disability Matters aims to achieve

Our Goals

In addition to the social impact achieved through the provision of services through the News and Club websites, MDM has two further social goals.

As MDM grows, we look forward to employing disabled people into as many positions as possible. People with disability will undertake roles across the business. In Australia, almost half of people with disability are not in the labour force (46.6%), compared with 16.8% of those without disability (ABS 2015).

The goal is to create a sustainable business. Longer term, as profitability is achieved, we will reinvest a significant portion of the profits back into the disability community through the creation of a foundation.

At this early stage, we envisage the Foundation providing grants to disabled people to enable them to start up their own business. When the foundation becomes a reality, it is feasible the scope may broaden to other purposes as well.

 

Our Vision

  1. Create an empowering and safe online community for those impacted by disability to meet, share, learn and discuss.
  2. Be the authority source for disability news and opinion, created by the disabled for the disabled.
  3. Provide work opportunities for people with disability.
  4. Create a foundation to provide start-up funds for disabled people wanting to start a business.

 

Our Mission

Provide an online news, information and discussion presence to address the isolation, marginalization and information void of the disabled in Australia and internationally.

 

Sustainability

All services of My Disability Matters are delivered online. Access to the News site, and personal membership of the MDM Club are free and this is how we intend for it to continue.

As is common online, free content and services include the presence of advertising. Advertising and other sources of income will be pursued so that MDM as a whole can be sustainable and continue to provide services for the disability community, for which they will not need to pay. It is only through a sustainable business that our goals can be achieved.

About Dale Reardon, Founder of MDM

I am 45 and have been blind since the age of 17. My seeing eye dog Charlie is 7 and is my fourth dog.

I have a law degree with honours and have practised as a lawyer in Tasmania, WA and Victoria. I have owned several businesses and currently operate other businesses with my wife, Jo.

I was born in Tasmania and have lived in many parts of Australia, and have travelled broadly. So far my favourite place to visit is France. The wine, food and culture are great.

Jo and I now live in the beautiful beachside suburb of Kingston Beach in Tasmania. Charlie is particularly happy that the dog beach is very close by.

Find Dale on LinkedInFind Dale on Twitter

My Disability

I am blind, and currently using my fourth guide dog, Charlie. Mind you he is on sick leave presently due to tearing his second ACL! I also have depression and anxiety as additional disabilities.

I lost my sight at the age of 17 when in Grade 12 at school. The cause is genetic and is called Leber’s Optic Atrophy.

I have served as a Director of Royal Guide Dogs Association of Tasmania and I was also the inaugural founding President of Blind Citizens Australia, Tasmanian Branch. I am currently a member of the NDIS Independent Advisory Council, which advises the Board of the NDIA and the NDIA itself.

Over the years I have experienced discrimination in all sorts of ways, ranging from refusal of entry to hotels and restaurants, employment discrimination and problems with University Education. I have also been refused by many taxi drivers and considered unsuitable as a parent by a Government Department due to my disability. Consequently I have a great deal of experience in relation to anti-discrimination complaints and advocacy. Mental health disabilities provide particular challenges in this area.

I believe that I bring a wide range of lived disability experiences to this venture and will use my business and disability experience to guide the venture.

My Work Background

I lost my sight in the final year of school and went on to attend the University of Tasmania (Hobart) the following year and obtained a Law Degree with First Class Honors. Over the years since then I have practised as a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston, Western Australia and Victoria.

I have owned and operated tourist accommodation businesses in Battery Point Tasmania, conducted business online, tutored at University and even worked for the Australian Tax Office. I also commenced a PhD in Law but due to mental health issues I did not complete that.

I was an early adopter of the internet starting to use it for business purposes as far back as 1996 and believe in the power of technology and information. I even met my wife through internet dating!

I have served as a Director of Royal Guide Dogs Association of Tasmania and I was also the inaugural founding President of Blind Citizens Australia, Tasmanian Branch. I am currently a member of the NDIS Independent Advisory Council, which advises the Board of the NDIA and the NDIA itself.

Since 2011, my wife and I have operated a number of other businesses, which give us the skills and infrastructure to start this endeavour far more easily and quickly.

I believe I am capable of creating this venture and building it into an exciting community where we can all learn and benefit.

My Personal Background

I was born in Tasmania and have lived in many parts of Australia including Perth WA, Melbourne, Frankston and Gisborne Victoria, Hobart, Launceston, Alice Springs and even Ipswich Queensland for several months.

I am 45 and married to Jo Reardon. We live in the beautiful beachside suburb of Kingston Beach in Tasmania. My wife is not disabled but will be key to the running of the operation for the beginning, from an admin, project management and web design point of view.

I have travelled overseas to quite a few countries and love experiencing different food and culture. French wine, food and culture are my favourite of all thus far. A great deal of my travel has been possible through the power of frequent flyer programs and frequent flyer point earning which you could say is a personal hobby.