International Day of People with Disabilities 2020

International Day of People with Disabilities will be taking place on Thursday 3 December with an aim to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

Aileen Curtis, Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Aileen Curtis, Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist at The Royal Marsden

The Royal Marsden’s very own Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist, Aileen Curtis was interviewed by ‘Frontline’, the national magazine for members of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. This article shares the story of three individuals with different disabilities.

Read Aileen’s exclusive version of this interview where she speaks about living with her disability, Ehlers Danlos syndrome, and her experience of working at The Royal Marsden.

Aileen Curtis: my story

I have been a physiotherapist for 34 years, specialising in pelvic health physiotherapy since 2000. I have a disability called Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder causing hypermobility, fatigue, digestive problems, circulatory problems and chronic pain. This was diagnosed in my 40’s; however, I was more recently diagnosed with dyslexia and wear a hearing aid.

At work, what matters most to me as a physiotherapist with a disability is that my strengths can be appreciated and utilised over my weaknesses.

Aileen Curtis, Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist at The Royal Marsden

My disability means I experience numerous difficulties such as short-term memory loss, musculoskeletal pains, feeling faint and hearing loss. However, it has also helped me build my emotional intelligence, relate to my patients with greater compassion and empathy, and improve my communication skills when approaching others with learning disabilities.

At work, what matters most to me as a physiotherapist with a disability is that my strengths can be appreciated and utilised over my weaknesses. Everyone in the workplace should be treated fairly and environments should be modified with the necessary facilities to benefit everyone’s capabilities. 

Good team working and clear communication and having some fun at work, make all the difference – and this is what makes working at The Royal Marsden a positive experience for me.