Of Armenian descent, I was born in Iran. I lived in Tehran in a predominantly Armenian area with my relatively small family, during which time we lived through the harrowing years of the Iran/Iraq war between 1980 and 1988.
In 1990, at the age of 14, I was involved in a serious road traffic accident. I acquired a brain injury, resulting in some sensory and physical impairments. Life became very restrictive as I was essentially confined to my home environment. I faced various physical barriers preventing me from engaging in daily life activities that I had previously taken for granted. I started to feel isolated as my friends began to drift away, unsure of how to interact with the ‘new’ me.
In the autumn of 1996, I moved to the UK where I was able to resume my education and gradually adopt a proud ‘Disabled’ identity. My journey started at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford. I then completed an undergraduate course at Staffordshire University. Whilst studying at these institutions, I made new friendships, many of which continue to this day.
In 2003 I moved to Leeds to undertake an MA in Disability Studies at the Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds. Having obtained my MA, I studied for a doctorate in the same field. I completed my PhD at the Centre in 2011.
Presently my time is divided between being an Independent Disability Researcher — my primary interests remain in the fields of Disability, education and internationalisation, with a particular emphasis on inclusive education — and an activist. I also have a keen interest in all things healing. My dream is to marry these passions of mine to make a real contribution to my community and to experience fulfilment in my own life.