About half a million Australians have an intellectual disability and many are children. There are obvious challenges faced by these children and regrettably, not all children with an intellectual disability or Autism are able to obtain Government funding or NDIS assistance.
This month an amazing young woman named Keeley is turning sixteen. Keeley has an intellectual disability and Autism herself and is making an incredible difference in the lives of other children and young people facing similar challenges.
In her early teens, Keeley had depression and anxiety as a result of her Autism and the recent diagnosis of an intellectual disability. She was unable to comprehend information at school using the current teaching models available and struggled to do basic math. Keeley experienced first-hand the isolation this disadvantage caused her.
If I’m given work on paper, I get overwhelmed. Put that same test on an iPad I get them all right. Go figure!
A simple iPad can make a big difference for such kids. An iPad can help to provide an individual learning plan and creates a voice for the non-verbal who cannot communicate. It can lessen the effects of anxiety and depression by allowing them to be educated and interact with technology they truly understand. An iPad has the power to change the lives of these children by improving their self-esteem and self-worth.
Keeley believed that “despite our disabilities we all have a right to education and dreams”.
In 2017 Keeley created a charity – Keeley’s Cause – to ensure other children like her could get access to the iPads they needed.
“If iPads are what we need to help us learn, then iPads are what we are going to get. No one should have to go through what I am going through, or feel how I am feeling now.”
Keeley’s Cause helps low income families and parents on disability/carers payment to obtain an iPad through fundraising, sausage sizzles, merchandise, iPad sponsorships and donations. They assist as many children as they possibly can and, so far, Keeley has presented more than 76 iPads within Victoria, Sydney and Queensland. She has also personally raised close to $50,000.
Keeley named her charity herself and even designed the logo. As a Cub of her local Lions Club she approached them for help and they have taken Keeley’s Cause on as their project.
Keeley is now attending a Specialist School and kicking lots of goals, including some recent achievements. Last year she won the Moorabool Youth Award for contributing to ‘Improving Outcomes for young people with A Disability’. She was also a semi-finalist in two categories for the Victorian Young Achievers for the following both the Community Service and Social Impact Award and the Regional and Rural Health Achievers Award.
Keeley is an exceptional young woman and this Thank You Thursday we not only wish her a wonderful 16th birthday but we say thank you to her for her kindness, generosity and incredible work to support other children and young people.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.