Help­ing shine a light on liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity

In­spi­ra­tion duo help smash down bar­ri­ers with youth

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY GRACE EVANS [email protected] ne­me­

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL Day of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­ity was cel­e­brated all over the world last week and Euroa Se­condary Col­lege stu­dents were for­tu­nate enough to get a deeper in­sight into what it means to live with a dis­abil­ity.

Strath­bo­gie Shire Coun­cil ADAC com­mit­tee came to­gether with Val­ley Sport to present Lin­coln Budge and Sam Bramham from Dis­abil­ity Sport and Re­cre­ation Vic­to­ria.

Year 10 and 8 stu­dents lis­tened to both Lin­coln and Sam’s sto­ries and were given the op­por­tu­nity to ask ques­tions in an open fo­rum.

The pair shared very dif­fer­ent sto­ries of their lives grow­ing up and the con­stant strug­gles and stigma’s that still sur­round dis­abled peo­ple.

Mr Budge, who is in wheel­chair and has been for 11 years, said the aim of the day is to cel­e­brate and show the kids there are peo­ple who live with a dis­abil­ity that are con­tribut­ing mem­bers of society.

“It helps them be ex­posed to it and re­alise we are just nor­mal peo­ple and we don’t have to be hid­den or avoided or they don’t have to be scared of ap­proach­ing us,” Mr Budge said.

“I like to be able to show the kids that any­thing is achiev­able re­gard­less of your cir­cum­stances.”

Liv­ing with a pros­thetic leg has made Mr Bramham’s story a dif­fer­ent one, but he said he still feels like talk­ing about dis­abil­ity is con­sid­ered a “taboo topic.”

“We try and smash down those bar­ri­ers through ed­u­cat­ing the kids and make them feel com­fort­able to ask what­ever they want,” he said.

“Hope­fully they take away that knowl­edge home and then feel com­fort­able to talk about with their fam­ily and friends.”

The kids were also able to gain a phys­i­cal un­der­stand­ing of liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity, as they spent their af­ter­noon learn­ing the ropes in wheel­chair bas­ket­ball and AFL.

Mr Budge said the games re­ally help to break down the bar­rier of in­clu­sion and just know­ing that ev­ery­one can get in­volved and en­joy it.

“Once they get in the chairs and see ten of their friends play­ing the game, they kind of for­get about the dis­abil­ity side of it,” he said.

“I see a change al­most in­stantly in the way they will ap­proach me af­ter that.

“The wheel­chair as­pect al­ways has a big im­pact on the kids.”

GAIN­ING PER­SPEC­TIVE: Euroa Se­condary stu­dents came to­gether with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Dis­abil­ity Sport and Re­cre­ation Vic­to­ria to dis­cuss what it means to live with a dis­abil­ity. Pic­tured are (back, from left) Ladelle Nan­son, Annabel Gall, Ben O’Con­ner; (front) Zali Greasley, Lin­coln Budge and Molly Red­fern.

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