CHILDREN WITH DISABILITY New Zealand, KIDS STORIES: Children with Disability NZ Our mission is to make New Zealand the most disabled child friendly region in the world! Search for: Our C.W.D Kid Story's Around New Zealand Alex's Journey Sam & Her Son's Journey Cyrus's Journey My disabled child & our journey together Kids Stories: This Is Alex's Journey: Alex As the parent of a disabled child, you are thrown into a whole other world. There's a lot to learn, so you can navigate this new world as best you can. You learn about your child's condition, their needs, their issues, their equipment, and their accessories. While also learning about their personality and what their likes and dislikes are. You meet lots of professionals involved with their care, and you can face many hospital appointments and stays.Sometimes it can be a struggle to even get a formal diagnosis for those with less visible disabilities such as dyslexia or autism. Whatever the child's diagnosis is, they still have the same common needs and wants as other neurotypical or able-bodied children.However, there are usually more challenges in society for children with additional needs. Whether it's accessibility, acceptance, support, or inclusion. - I Am Alex! - Alex & Mum Kylee. & Mum Kylee... One of the first things people can do when they see or meet someone with a disability is to simply say "hello" A friendly, welcoming approach is so much appreciated, rather than avoiding or staring at them. These people have feelings too. They want to feel connected and accepted, so address this person directly first rather than assuming they need their career to answer for them.Treat them as you would any other person: "Hello, how are you?" If their career responds with "Hi, this is Alex, he's good, thanks". Then you can follow their lead and understand that Alex may not be able to speak for himself. Sometimes children are unsure how to approach someone who seems different. Modeling a positive example and behavior towards others will encourage children to follow your approach. There's a common phrase that is sometimes spoken of but often forgotten: Be kind." It's actually just that simple.Be kind, Aotearoa! Kylee Ostermann Blog A Caring Child "I don’t think the worst thing that could happen to me is raising a child with special needs. I think the worst thing is to raise a child who is cruel to those with special needs." -Kylee. My Disabled Child & Our Journey Together This is Sam sharing her son's journey: Mother Sam: As a mum of a child with autism If there's one message I can send, it's this: rather than focusing on raising awareness of disabilities, start accepting the differences in people. We are all unique and deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. Treat people with kindness, and please lead by example. Being the parent of a child on the autism spectrum has its own unique challenges. The hardest part, though, is acknowledging that others will avoid, bully, or isolate your child. The rest we can manage, as it's within our own circle. - Sam and Her Two Boys! & Her Son... My child having a disability can be hard enough without others adding to the challenges already faced. We have to become stronger to protect our family and create our bubble of safety. I am a mom with a wonderful husband and two of the most amazing boys who couldn't be any more different if they tried! My passion is my family first and making the most of what we have. That includes advocating for more support for children with disabilities to have improved support and, therefore, improved future opportunities. "As parents of a disabled child, we are learning about our child's needs." The Disabilities You Have Can Be A Gift "The disabilities you have can be a gift. You were put on earth to offer others the abilities you have." -Glen McMillan. My Disabled Child & Our Journey Together Kids Stories: This Is Cyrus's Journey: Cyrus The Change Maker and His Mum Kris... "I’m not dumb, deaf, or stupid." "I like to do the same things as other 14-year-old boys," says Cyrus (Waikato Tainui). "Why do people never think about people with disabilities when they design things?" asks Cyrus. "To me, they are the stupid ones." "I’m just fixing things that are broken," says Cyrus on his journey to make Wellington accessible.Cyrus found playgrounds boring because there was nothing he could play on. He changed that and raised money to fix the problem. Cyrus won an award for his efforts. Help disabled children swing and play Wellington Is Our City... The new sign promoting Wellington at the waterfront was not accessible. So he changed that too. "Me and my mom wrote to the mayor and the council to say they needed to fix the problem". And they did. The refurbished St James Theatre in Wellington reopened in June 2022 ($41 million upgrade).It did not have an accessible fire exit. So now Cyrus is changing this too. "Don’t just moan about it; do something about it," says Cyrus.Kris his mom knows that every day can be a struggle for families supporting kids with disabilities. Kris throws the challenge back out to the community to "get with the program." It shouldn’t have to be up to those with disabilities to point these things out and fight for change. - I Am Cyrus! "Parenthood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you’d have." - Cyrus & Mum Kris. Children's Testimonials “When you focus on someone’s disability, you’ll overlook their abilities, beauty, and uniqueness. Once you learn to accept and love them for who they are, you subconsciously learn to love yourself unconditionally.” -Cyrus.