Tony Abbott may have left the Lodge but his spirit certainly lives on.
Anybody who was of the impression that the sentiments of the Coalition would change under the leadership of Malcolm Turnbull, must be thinking again. Nothing has changed except the delivery.
Turnbull spares no thought for the struggling amongst us. Last week he proved this by pushing forward with parental leave cuts punishing the lowest paid workers by cuts of up to $10,000. These are cuts that have been modified slightly after they were rejected when Tony Abbott introduced them.
These cuts were modified by the Social Services Minister Christian Porter, the same Minister who described the disabled as a burden on society.
Classy. I wonder if he pulled the wings off flies as a kid.
With so many already doing it tough and prospects not looking to improve imagine if you were one of those with a child that society saw as “special needs” but you know they are special in so many other ways.
Through work last week I met one such parent and her daughter Rachael.
Rachael is one of three kids, and at just nine years old it is fair to say that life has not been something that has been easy for her as she has grown older, far from it.
Rachael suffers from severe migraines, anxiety, and is legally blind in her left eye. Add to that she suffers from Epilepsy, and as if that is not enough, Rachael has also been diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.
A lot to handle for a nine-year old.
The focus muscles under Rachaels eyes are under developed and as a result she began to lose sight in her left eye three years ago.
This condition has made simple things that we take for granted an utter nightmare. A routine matter like walking through a shopping centre or anywhere there is a crowd becomes like trying to negotiate a minefield. Rachael has a slow reaction time along with her vision impairment, which means she is often unaware of other people until she walks into them, sometimes causing her to fall to the ground.
As we swelter our way through summer, spare a thought for Rachael who can’t go for a swim or even near a pool without one on one supervision. This even rules out school swimming days.
It is terribly cruel that Rachael can’t go for a swim like most other children as she also suffers greatly from the heat. The heat causes her to become tired and exhausted quickly which brings on anxiety. Often this will result in an epileptic fit. Despite taking medication twice daily Rachael is still prone to fits that can vary in strength from mild to severe.
Another thing summer brings that is problematic for Rachael and her parents is thunderstorms.
Storms freak Rachael out in a major way, and thunder scares the hell out of her. This makes even the prospect of a cool change a scary thought for her parents, lest it brings a storm with it.
Rachael’s recent diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome has provided greater understanding for her parents regarding her behaviour, but sadly no relief. Although relief is something Rachaels parents are accustomed to living without as she is rarely apart from them, due to suffering separation anxiety.
Despite all of these issues Rachael is a happy and bubbly child who loves painting and drawing.
While Rachael’s condition and diagnosis seem to go from bad to worse, there is one light at the end of the tunnel.
Rachael has been accepted in the Smart Pup programme.
The Smart Pup programme is a service that provides a companion dog for children with autism and seizure related disabilities.
A trained dog is more than just a pet to these children, it is a major factor in improving the child’s mobility, as it will act as eyes for Rachael where hers have failed. It will help with a child’s confidence and vitally in Rachael’s case, it will be a calming influence at times of stress.
A Smart Pup would make the world of difference to Rachael, however a tailor trained companion dog doesn’t come cheap.
Smart Pups is a non-profit organisation and as such rely on donations and corporate sponsorship to provide their service. As such the cost to the family for a Smart Pup is $25K, which is tough for any family, let alone one with a child with special needs.
Rachaels parents have started a Go Fund Me account to assist with the cost of the dog, and if you would like to help you can do so via this link or by clicking on Rachael’s picture below, I know it would be greatly appreciated.
However, it is important to note that Rachael is not the only child suffering through no fault of their own, there are many others just like her.
In this age of social media we sometimes see stories like these appear in our timelines, and more often then not we quickly scroll past them without a moments thought.
I’m sure we would all love to be able to help out every child we come across that needs assistance, but we all know that is simply not possible.
However bear this in mind. While you might not be able to help, someone else you are linked to may. So even if you can’t offer money, one thing you can do is hit Share or ReTweet. One click of your mouse will only take a fraction of a second for you, but it could make a lifetime of difference to a struggling child.
It’s certainly worth a second thought.