Hot Topics, Life Stories

A disability does not define a student

A school in Gary, Indiana has given out a Most Annoying Male award. It was awarded to a 11 year old boy on the Autism Spectrum. I find this very disturbing as I have a disability myself and I had trouble at school, as well as identifying another issue.

Where was the Most Annoying Female award? Was there one? Or  was the Most Annoying Male award completely made up, just because they needed to give every student an award  at the end-of-year presentation?

Regardless of the reason, it is very disappointing that the teachers couldn’t see any positives and had to resort to negativity. When I was at school, not everyone got an award and I was lucky to get 10 merit awards in the school year. On Presentation Day, I didn’t get many class awards but got awards for languages and academic achievement. I wasn’t an angel, I didn’t tow the line but I shone in my favourite subject, Languages Other Than English (LOTE) where I studied mainly Italian, but a bit of German and later Indonesian. Not bad for a girl with a speech impediment!

Why couldn’t the teachers at this school in Indiana see the positive things that this child does?  Aren’t we supposed to be teaching our children empathy, compassion and inclusion?  Teachers should be setting the ultimate example for the next generation not doing the complete opposite.   What did this ‘stunt’ teach the students present at the award  ceremony?  Nothing. Nothing except apathy, inconsiderateness and exclusion.  The three things that a child should never, ever learn.

Every child has a right to feel safe and respected at school, as well as the right to an education.  Learning is an essential part of life and you never stop learning.  A student’s disability does not deprive them of these things that non-disabled people can freely access. 

Hot Topics, Life+Style, Uncategorized

Start the New Year with me: Setting goals, simplifying life and enjoying the results!

Over the past few years, my life has been a pattern of setting a goal, working for it, achieving that goal and look towards the next goal.  Last year, all I did was live and breathe goals and didn’t really do anything else besides work to be my best.

“2019 will be different.  It’s time to simplify my life, identify what is weighing my soul down and look at life positively.” I thought because I want to improve my thinking.  I want to break free from the bad and focus on the good. 

Simplifying life just means going back to eating healthy, meditating, yoga and exercising.  It also means carving out time to do something that I’ve always wanted to do – keep a visual you could say yearbook full of photos, artwork, remnants and journaling. I want to document everything I not only achieve but things like events, photographs and items that I want to remember.

Basically, my aim for 2019 is to live life to the absolute full, whilst living simple.  It sounds like hard work, but I look at it this way, the less money I waste, the more money I can spend on stuff that I really want or if I go out, I can buy silly stuff like the traditional showbag at my local show.

In the next instalment of my New Year series, I will show you how I’m staying on top of everything using a journal! 

Hot Topics, Uncategorized

Public Broadcaster Must Stay In Public Hands

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At a recent Liberal meeting, a motion was passed to look into privatizing the national broadcaster, the ABC.  The ABC prides itself on providing a non-biased, independent opinion on news and current affairs and is the leading broadcaster of children’s programmes.

Here in Newcastle, we’ve already felt the brunt of ABC cuts to local programming back in 2014, including the much loved Afternoon programme hosted by Carol Duncan. It’s like “Here we go again” for us if there are more cuts coming, will we lose the remainder of our local programmes and lose the ability to do emergency broadcasting when we have a situation like a bushfire or a flood?

When we had the April 2015 storms, nearly every household radio was set to 1233 ABC Newcastle to find out the latest news on the unfolding situation.  Although we had Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the radio provided the older generation with the vital information plus a friendly voice to keep them company.

The television shows we see across the four ABC stations are quality and substantial, compared to what’s on the commercial television stations.  The thing I like most about the ABC television programming is the shows are majority Australian and focuses on delivering fact-based current affairs such as Four Corners and Australian Story. Play School is another quality show that has entertained children for over fifty years and is a staple of a toddler’s daily routine.

The question is if the government does privatize the ABC, will this change the quality of the programming that is delivered into Australian homes?  We don’t know what the pending privatization will mean but the ABC is Australia’s National Public Broadcaster, so it must remain in public hands!

Hot Topics

Gender Doesn’t Define

In the news this week, the Victorian state government announced a crack-down on “gender definition” in schools across the state.  This generally means any kids franchise such as Thomas The Tank Engine and Peppa Pig will be scrutinised under a new crack-down, something said characters wouldn’t understand.  Here’s my take on it.

As a kid growing up with a disability, I played with toys that I was able to play with unassisted (Except Barbie, Barbie needed to be dressed).  I wore blue and pink,  owned a big, yellow Tonka truck, watched Johnson and Friends and owned a Baby Born.  I loved getting down and dirty in the garden, that was after I came home from shopping!  I saw no difference between me and the other children, I was different because of my Cerebral palsy not because of what I did.  In my opinion, my lifestyle was a great balance of boy stuff and girl stuff, something I have continued into my adult life because I can.

When I heard the news about the Victorian government’s plan, I cringed, “Isn’t anything sacred anymore?” I thought with the biggest eye roll I could muster at 7:35 in the morning.  I believe in gender equality, but not going this far.  There wasn’t a law banning boys from the Barbie aisle at Kmart nor was there ever a public outcry over a little girl picking up a Bob The Builder plush toy.  Kids are their own personalities and we should be embracing that.  If I ask my nephew when he’s older “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and he replies “I want to be a Preschool teacher, Aunty Kait!”, I will just smile and give him a high five or a cuddle and say “That’s great to hear Oliver,  go chase your dreams buddy! “.

I will close this post with a quote from a song from Linkin Park, “In the end, it doesn’t even matter”