Fletcher in­spires writer

Canning Times - - NEWS -

THE strength of chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties is cel­e­brated in a book about friend­ship in­spired by young Fletcher Gar­rett.

Fletcher has cere­bral palsy and the book, Friend Like Mine writ­ten by his dis­abil­ity sup­port worker Sa­man­tha Warne, cel­e­brates in­di­vid­ual strengths and abil­i­ties.

Ms Warne, an East Vic­to­ria Park res­i­dent and for­mer teacher, said the book would lead to a se­ries of in­clu­sive work­shops to ed­u­cate chil­dren that dif­fer­ent wasn’t wrong.

“I be­lieve chil­dren need to be taught that just be­cause some­one is born dif­fer­ent, does not mean they are born wrong,” she said.

“A Friend Like Mine fol­lows Fletcher, a young boy with cere­bral palsy, as he nav­i­gates his com­mu­nity and friend­ships with kids just as unique as he is.

“Though it is im­plied that the char­ac­ters he en­coun­ters have a dis­abil­ity, the take-away mes­sage is that it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter.

“Ev­ery char­ac­ter has a strength or tal­ent that makes them spe­cial out­side of their dis­abil­ity.

“This story teaches kids to cel­e­brate the things that they or oth­ers are good at, not the things they are un­able

Ato do.”

Ms Warne, a Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Ser­vices WA Dis­abil­ity Sup­port Award win­ner, said her aim was to show­case Fletcher and the strengths of chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties.

“Fletch is very aware of ev­ery­thing that goes on around him and is a cap­ti­vat­ing and vi­brant kid in spite of the rough hand life has dealt him,” she said.

“It is im­pos­si­ble not to love Fletch, who has found his own ways of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, even though he can­not speak.”

To fund the book, Ms Warne cre­ated a GoFundMe page where she shared her emo­tional driver for pub­li­ca­tion.

More than four mil­lion, or one in five Aus­tralians, live with a dis­abil­ity and one in 12 peo­ple liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity had ex­pe­ri­enced dis­crim­i­na­tion or un­fair treat­ment.

The book is on­line at www.afriend­likem­ine.com. its LANG­FORD Abo­rig­i­nal As­so­ci­a­tion (LAA) shared an art­work with Brook­man Pri­mary School to ed­u­cate stu­dents about the im­por­tance of cul­tural preser­va­tion .

The group re­cently ex­hib­ited a topo­graph­i­cal, em­broi­dered quilt map of the Lang­ford area cre­ated this year as part of the Re­vealed Ex­hi­bi­tion and Art Mar­ket.

Com­mu­nity Arts Net­work pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor Natalie Sholtz said they ap­proached the as­so­ci­a­tion to talk to stu­dents from the school’s art and Noon­gar lan­guage class due to the project’s prox­im­ity to the school.

“Due to the ex­ist­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween LAA ladies and the prox­im­ity of the Brook­man Pri­mary School to Lang­ford, it felt rel­e­vant to cel­e­brate the al­ter­na­tive and cre­ative de­vel­op­ment of the tex­tile map and Noon­gar words to lo­cal youth,” she said.

The tapestry is con­tem­po­rary in style and com­bines a cur­rent map of Lang­ford, com­plete with roads, schools and wa­ter­ways with a his­tor­i­cal Dream­time story rel­e­vant to the area.

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