Brooke Thompson wanted to work in the disability sector to help others with disabilities to reach their full potential. Now, there’s no stopping her.

When you speak to Brooke Thompson, her passion and desire to help others is truly infectious.

Brooke enrolled in Chisholm’s Certificate IV in Disability as she wanted to inspire other people with disabilities to reach for the stars.

As someone with auditory processing disorder and developmental dyspraxia herself, Brooke felt she was in a special position to help.

“I wanted to show everyone that even though I have a disability, I can still do the job just like everyone else,” she says. “Sure, I have a disability, but it doesn’t limit me in what I want to do.”

Brooke was a star pupil at Chisholm. She made loads of friends and overcame some big personal hurdles during her time with Chisholm.

“I have severe anxiety, to the point of being medicated,” she says. “From starting this course until now, I have been off all anxiety medication. I can answer a phone call now because I feel more confident about myself, and that’s thanks to the support of my TAFE and I also have other supports helping me.”

Having faced bullying in the past due to her disability, Brooke found Chisholm to be a safe learning environment.

“At the beginning of the year, I was nervous doing role plays and didn’t want to do it in front of others,” she says. “Now, I help other students with their assessments, speak in front of everyone and I’m feeling more confident now to go to job interviews because of the confidence I gained at Chisholm.”

Brooke found the course itself to be really interesting and enlightening.

“I loved expanding my knowledge,” she says. “The course was very person-centred. Living with disabilities and learning different strategies was really beneficial.

“Everything we learnt from the course I started using with my brother, and he actually told me off,” says Brooke, with a giggle.

Brooke found the teachers to be very encouraging and she formed a special bond with them.

“They were 100% supportive,” she says. “The experience the teachers had within the industry was amazing.”

Towards the end of her course, Brooke did placement at a special school and really enjoyed the experience. She was able to implement the skills she learnt through Chisholm, such as how to assist non-verbal students or those struggling with sensory overload.

Overall, Brooke made a profound mark at Chisholm and won Vocational Student of the Year at the Chisholm Education Awards. She was also nominated in the Victorian Training Awards.

Her dream is to work in the disability sector and become a guest speaker spreading the word about how much people with disabilities can offer to the community.

Brooke encouraged others with a desire to work in the field to enrol in the course.

“It’s lifechanging,” she says. “You’re forever learning something new. At the end of the day, when you help someone with a disability and they smile, it actually makes your day.”