National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant and lawyer, artist and fashion designer Carol Taylor

Determined: Carol Taylor began painting after her accident to help with the depression and post-traumatic stress that followed her injury. Pic supplied.
Determined: Carol Taylor began painting after her accident to help with the depression and post-traumatic stress that followed her injury. Pic supplied.

During the past 20 years, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant and lawyer, artist and fashion designer Carol Taylor has steadfastly refused to let stumbling blocks stand in her way.

After the car accident, which left her instantly paralysed and a quadriplegic at the age of 34- newlywed and desperate for a baby- Carol persevered with IVF for eight years only to conceive naturally and give birth to a healthy son, though doctors had told her she would never have a child.

When Carol decided to return to her career, she found the world she'd left reluctant to welcome a woman in a wheelchair who couldn't use her hands and needed flexibility.

So, Carol set up her own law firm.

When her first attempts at painting failed to yield the results she hoped for, Carol found new ways to hold the paintbrushes, switched from oils to watercolours and has since won several art prizes, including a $10,000 award with Access Arts Queensland.

And when she found herself frustrated every time she shopped for clothes because there was nothing in the shops that fit the altered body shape of a permanent wheelchair user, Carol took matters into her own hands and started designing clothes.

"I'm a born problem solver," Carol said. "I couldn't go to the shops and buy what I wanted; shopping was such a sad experience. So I looked at the situation and thought, okay, how do I get around that problem, and so I designed my own clothes."

Carol has found success in this part of her life too. In 2019, she was invited to design an inclusive collection for the Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival in Brisbane. Now, she hopes to create her own fashion label with a difference.

"I believe I am the only quadriplegic in the world designing clothing," said Carol. "But I don't just want this to be about practical clothes, I want the fabric to be a vehicle to showcase the beautiful artwork of people with disabilities.

Carol agrees she's an over-achiever, but she says she couldn't do any of the things she does without the support of her devoted husband Rob, son D'arcy, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

"Before I joined the NDIS, I relied completely on Rob for all my care. He and D'arcy can now have boy time together because there is a support worker at home to care for me."

Carol has NDIS funding for transport assistance and assistive technologies, including a powered wheelchair and accessible car modifications. Support workers help her with all her personal care and daily activities six days a week.

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