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As I’ve mentioned previously, I care for two disabled people, 24x7x365. That’s way fuller than full-time. That’s all the time, and I do other things where I can. Over the years, I’ve had plenty of exposure to people with mental health problems, as well as many GPs and mental health professionals in Victoria.

Now, unlike those professionals, I’ve had no training, nor do I carry any qualification. I just have to keep getting things right in good times, in bad times and during crises, when they occur. Time after time. I’ve had extensive opportunities to compare and contrast how I deal with people who have mental health problems against how the professionals do it.

And I can tell you right now, that at least seven out of ten professionals in Victoria’s Mental Health industry are no better at dealing with a symptomatic patient than any random Jane or Joe off the street.

I kid you not.

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When I’m not writing on this blog – or being half dead of pneumonia, say – I’m the caregiver for two disabled people, 24 hours per day, every day of every year. That’s the sort of thing that keeps you indoors a lot. I’m far from alone in this. Second Life, notably, has a disproportionately large population of users who are either disabled or infirm, or who are caregivers for them.

At one time, this community was estimated to be in excess of 60% of Second Life’s active general population. Second Life is an amazingly useful tool for making and maintaining social contacts and having an active social life when you just cannot get out much – or at all. Leastways, when the platform stability isn’t driving you up the wall, anyway.

Second Life isn’t the actual thing that I’m talking about here today, though.

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Why, it’s me! Actually, I don’t just have dyslexia, but also pattern-triggered functional agraphia. That is, when I hand-write certain combinations of letters, the activation patterns it sets up in my brain cause a temporary loss of the ability to read and write, which can last from a minute or two, up to about a quarter of an hour.

For the latter, well, I don’t hand-write anymore – except in crudely-formed block letters – I’ve been typing since I was four years old. For the dyslexia, though, I employ a different strategy.

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In 2006, the United Nations held a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The text of the Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly, and now has over 100 signatory states, including the US and the European Union.

Legislation to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is becoming common around the world. However, the June 9 World Health Organization study, the World Report on Disability, found significant barriers to equal access for persons with disabilities still exist.

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