Living with a disability can be a challenging road, with many hurdles along the way. The resilience of those living with a disability can be quite extraordinary, and to see the world through their eyes can help build the understanding and respect these incredible individuals deserve.
A tale of resilience is exactly what one of Rocky Bay’s young customers, Angel, represents. Angel is a 12-year-old girl who lives with a complex neuro developmental profile including mild truncal ataxia with dysdiadochokinesis and dyspraxia, which significantly impacts her overall physical development, as well as her speech and language development. Despite these challenges, Angel works extremely hard to achieve any goal set before her, and helps inspire other children around her to gain confidence and resilience in their lives.
At only 12 years of age, Angel has delivered an inspiring speech to her school peers and created a support group called ‘Kids Helping Kids’.
“Since being with Rocky Bay I have improved my nerves of talking in front of people. I never give up, I didn’t just stop at learning speech – I went on to start helping other kids,” says Angel.
Angel has been a customer of Rocky Bay since 2017, and is supported with speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, out of the Rockingham hub. During this time Angel created a special bond with her Speech Therapist, Ramishka Thilakaratne, who she has been working with since 2020.
“Of all the many qualities about Angel, it is her confidence and resilience that inspires me the most,” says Ms Thilakaratne.
“Angel is always working hard and trying her best to not only improve herself, but to also make the world a better place for other children.”
At the end of 2021 Angel stood up in front of her school and made an inspiring presentation, an incredible show of strength and courage given Angel’s challenges with her speech. Angel’s presentation encouraged her peers to continue to practice confidence and resilience in everything they do.
When asked what inspired her to present, Angel said:
“Some people give up” says Angel.
“Some people don’t push their limits or believe in themselves, and they should. Some people get bullied, and they shouldn’t, because we are all the same inside, and people need to see that.”
Angel then went on to create a support group called ‘Kids Helping Kids’. This group is for children with disabilities to come together for activities and to support and encourage one another. Angel thought of this initiative on her own, with the desire to encourage these children to never give up on their hopes and dreams.
Kids Helping Kids has now grown to having 25 children in the group. These children, led by Angel, meet once a month to engage in fun activities – with Angel’s mum being in charge of emailing the parents the schedule.
Angel’s next idea is to get a firetruck out to one of their meet-ups, so the children can have that enriching experience of learning about fire safety – something Rocky Bay is helping her to achieve.
Ms Thilakaratne is blown away by the young girl she supports, and has learnt more from Angel than she ever thought possible.
“Young as Angel is, she has achieved much more than one could possibly imagine! I hope she continues to shine that unstoppable light she has in her!” says Ms Thilakaratne.
To learn more about the services available at Rocky Bay, including Speech Therapy, please visit rockybay.org.au/services/health-wellness/ or get in touch with our friendly team on (08) 6282 1900.