Saturday 25 March is National Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) Awareness Day. FND, aka Conversion Disorder, is a relatively common neurological condition about which little is known.
To help raise awareness and to celebrate Global Skills’ job seeker Caitlin’s employment success, we took the time to learn about Caitlin’s lived experience with FND and her journey through employment.
Caitlin generously shares how the support she receives from Global Skills, along with her employer, has enabled her to commence and sustain a Traineeship. Caitlin is currently working towards a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education & Care.
Although 200-300 new people are diagnosed with FND per year in New South Wales alone, it is a condition which is not widely known. FND is a medical condition which involves a problem with the functioning of the nervous system and how the brain and body send and/or receive signals. It can encompass a wide variety of neurological symptoms, such as limb weakness or non-epileptic seizures.
Caitlin who experiences these seizures explains what they are, “I experience muscle spasms that mimic epileptic seizures but are not caused by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. In my case, these seizures can be set off by stress; sudden light changes such as flashing lights, strobe effects; and tiredness. Any or all of my muscles can be affected during a seizure, my arms, legs, eyes, even my breathing.”
Caitlin, 23, joined Global Skills Disability Employment Services (DES) in early September 2021 and was connected with Employment Consultant Johanna Holzer. In November 2021, Caitlin began her Traineeship with Crestwood Early Learning Centre. She is thankful for the support she receives.
“I am very grateful for the support I receive form Global Skills. From taking the stress out of trying to look for a job, to helping me with my uniform and supporting me with travel, where needed, since I’ve been working. I very much appreciate being able to work with Johanna 1:1 in finding what works best for me in managing my condition at work and having someone to talk to when I feel overwhelmed. Johanna is always just a phone call or email away.
“I really appreciate the support I receive from my employer too. They are aware of my condition and are mindful about the activities I participate in. They support me in needing to do things at my own pace. I like working with kids. They are always just excited to learn. With kids, there can be an excitement in even the simplest of things.”
Thank you Caitlin for sharing your story and raising awareness of FND. Congratulations on sustaining your Traineeship. We look forward to celebrating your graduation later in the year.