VIC CHAMPION

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Charlie Park (she/they)

LIVED EXPERIENCE
Disability & Autism

KEY INFORMATION

Place of Birth: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Current location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Age: 43 years old
Language/s: English only
LGBTQIA+: Non-binary gender
NDIS Participant: Yes
Diagnoses: Autism, Addison's Disease, Hashimoto's disease, Migraines, Bruxism, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Endometriosis, Orthostatic intolerance, Restless legs syndrome.
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Mental Health, Allied Health, Secondary and Tertiary care

BIO

Charlie is a proud chronically ill, disabled, autistic, yogi, dancer, gamer non-binary person. Their special interests include disability pride, neurodiversity, the recognition of energy impairment as a disability, and the accessibility of mainstream, community and healthcare services. Charlie integrates their lived experiences with her past work as a clinical psychologist. Their activist toolkit includes consulting via committees, public speaking, media interviews, workshop facilitation, blogging/writing, and creating public artworks.

Their lived experience is of having undiagnosed conditions including being undiagnosed with autism until the age of 39 years, being diagnosed with the rare disease of Addison’s on their death-bed, and an ongoing 30 year struggle with undiagnosed chronic fatigue, chronic pain and period pain. In 2019, after 3 years of self-advocacy including seeing 5 endocrinologists, Charlie gained access to a novel, off-label treatment for Addison’s Disease – an insulin pump for steroids to improve their quality of life.

Charlie's previous professional career was as a child clinical psychologist with a doctorate, presenting at an international conference in Italy, with publications in peer-reviewed journals and experience training other clinicians in autism assessment. These skills complement Charlie's advocacy toolkit, equipping them to be a highly-informed, articulate and academically-minded member of a range of committees and working groups since 2018.

Beyond committees, Charlie's activism has been diverse and extensive. They were instrumental in Australia's first Disability Pride Mural in Footscray and it's resurrection after being removed by local council - creating and pasting up activist artworks, advocating to Council, speaking with the media, appearing in a short film, and being an organiser of the event. Charlie is a talented creator and writer, publishing articles with People with Disability Australia, Women with Disabilities Australia and creating two successful blogs - 'Chronically Crappy' and 'Not My Bread and Butter'.

Charlie's lived experience and advocacy toolkit can deliver sustainable change for the neurodiverse, disabled and chronically ill community. 

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Consulting with multiple organisations as a founding member of the Experts by Experience working group at Women with Disabilities Victoria from 2019-2021.

  • Published articles with People with Disability Australia and
    Women with Disabilities Australia.

  • Featured on 'Meds, meds, meds!' episode of the Pill Pops podcast.

  • Since 2018, Charlie has worked on disability advisory committees and working groups including with the NDIA, the Growing Space, the Australian Autism Research Council, Women with Disabilities
    Victoria, the Autism Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New
    Zealand, Maribyrnong City Council, and Western Health.

  • Member of the team who successfully advocated for the return of the Disability Pride Mural in Footscray after it was removed by local council. Charlie displayed two activist-artworks in the new mural and was interviewed in a short documentary about the mural.

  • Charlie developed and wrote the blogs Chronically Crappy (6,400 views, 3,200 visitors), and Not My Bread and Butter (21,000 views, 12,000 visitors). These blogs helped other Addisonian’s to access a novel treatment and encouraged people with food intolerances to enjoy eating out.

  • Charlie presented their doctoral research on the language skills of pre-schoolers with autism at an international conference in Italy in 2010.

  • Publication of two research articles in peer reviewed journals in 2012.

  • Awarded a Commonwealth research scholarship and graduated
    from a Doctor of Clinical Psychology in 2011.

LINKS