Grace’s story

“The scooter is helping Max to lead a fairly ‘normal’ teenage life”

I noticed the Inclusive Kids collection boxes in some shops when we first came to the Sunshine Coast. At the time I thought it was a great idea and now, years later, my son has benefitted from the grant program as we were able to purchase our electric scooter.

We needed a mobility device to enable Max to attend a senior school where he could complete grades 10 to 12. The senior schools all have larger campuses where the distances between buildings are too far for him to walk. The scooter enables him to get to all his different classes without becoming exhausted. Without a mobility device we would have had to consider something like distance education. However, we would have had to arrange compensatory activities such as youth clubs so that he could engage in social interactions with peers. Being able to go to a school is so much better for Max. I feel it prepares him better for life as he is meeting all sorts of young people. Also, this school is very strong in Industrial Technology, which is Max’s area of interest, so he has the opportunity to prepare himself for further education and employment in that field.

Max is a confident, out-going young man with good self-esteem. Thanks to his scooter he is able to meet up with friends and join in with their activities outside school. Being young teenagers they like to go to movies and meet up at the Plaza and Max can join them in all of these activities. The size of the scooter enables him to go on buses and trains and negotiate smaller spaces such as the walkways in the shopping centre. He can go to the movies and remain seated on his scooter.

Max has just got his Learner’s Permit to drive a car. That has been a major endeavour! We had to go through a lot of hoops and find doctors and Occupational Therapists to support us in our quest. Sometimes you just have to make things bend a bit to accommodate a special needs child. But you learn early on that there will be difficulties and you just have to get on with things. Max is my inspiration – I respond as best as I can to his needs. He is very bright, sensible and social and he deserves as normal a teenage life as possible.

Getting the ‘L’ plates has been a bigger rite of passage for Max than it is for most teenagers. Max will honour and value the right to drive a car. He seems to have in-built preservation. I guess children with special needs know enough about pain to want to avoid taking risks and hurting themselves.

When he can drive a car he can take the scooter with him and get to most places. Being able to join in with his friends and lead a relatively ‘normal’ independent life is an ability Max will treasure.