Christopher’s passion is cars. I remember walking through carparks holding my four year-old son’s hand and he would be saying ‘that’s a Toyota Camry, that’s a Nissan Navara, that’s a Holden Gemini’. He was always right too, even at such a young age. I was blown away. Cars just sunk in. He absorbed all the information he could – and still does today.

Being Christopher’s Mum is wonderful most of the time. It has been a different road, interesting and full-on at times, but we have lots of laughs together. He’s a typical teenager, which can be frustrating sometimes, but he is also kind, generous and very caring. We’ve always accessed lots of therapy since getting a diagnosis when Chris was young. It’s wonderful when the therapists come to your home, but we also go to lots of therapy groups and sporting clubs. Sport has played a big role Christopher’s life. Both in terms of therapy, for gross and fine motor skills, but also for social inclusion, community participation and making friends.

From the word go he has always been so willing and enthusiastic about taking part. Our whole family has really. For the things we enjoy and believe in, we’re willing to go all the way and push the realities of disability in the community. Inclusion is such a big thing. It shouldn’t be, but it is. I guess I’m an advocate for people with disability in terms of the positions I’ve held, but I don’t see it like that. I’ve sorted of fallen into these things because if I believe in something then I’m happy to stand up, say so, and be counted. But I also believe in being partners with the professionals around you. They can’t necessarily know what’s right for everyone, but then I won’t always know what’s right for Tom, Dick and Harry. I believe in helping not just Christopher but others in the same boat.

Mum’s very focused on going to talks and groups things these days. I tell her not to worry about me because teenagers can look after themselves and I’m very busy these days. I have TAFE and see my tutor Monday and Tuesday; Wednesdays I go to work experience and have soccer training; Thursdays I work with an exercise specialist, and there is football training in the evening; and Fridays I see my support worker who helped me learn how to use public transport. Now he’s helping me learn how to make meals. On the weekend I have swimming, football and soccer games or training, and I also help out at Dad’s cricket club.

One day I’d like to either work in sport, become a mechanic or help others who have disabilities. Or maybe all of those things.

Helen & Christopher Cairns
Inaugural Therapy Focus Parent Reference Group Chair & Therapy Focus client

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