Adelaide boy with cerebral palsy inspires his family to get stepping to breakdown misconceptions of disability
His proud big sister signs up entire family for 10,000 steps a day STEPtember challenge
ADELAIDE, WEDNESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2014 –An Adelaide school boy and his family are changing perceptions of disability – one step at a time.
9-year-old Nicholas Mann was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was three years old. Regular therapy has helped Nicholas do everyday tasks that other school kids take for granted – like holding a pencil and doing up his buttons and shoes.
His mum Natasha said conquering these seemingly mundane tasks were huge milestones for Nicholas.
‘Many kids aren’t accounted for when their disability isn’t immediately apparent which can be really hard on them’, Natasha said.
‘Even though Nicholas could walk at a relatively young age, his cerebral palsy affects his fine motor skills. To this day, he still cannot hold a pencil well and his speech isn’t what it should be for his age. He attends fortnightly speech and Occupational Therapy Sessions to improve his skills as well as physiotherapy when needed.’
It was Nicholas’ older sister Ashley, a Year 7 student, who persuaded her family to get active in helping educate the wider community about cerebral palsy.
When she heard about the STEPtember challenge, where people wear pedometers and each do 10,000 steps a day for an entire month and raise money for therapy, equipment and research into the condition, she was determined to sign up the entire family.
Their STEPtember team, ‘The Walkmanns’ includes two children and their mum and medico dad. He has added his pedometer to his stethoscope as he does his rounds in the fast-paced Emergency Room of an Adelaide medical centre.
‘We are so proud of Nicholas for everything he has achieved, and just as proud of Ashley for getting us all involved in STEPtember’, mum Natasha said. ‘I expect both kids will rise to the challenge and make it to 10,000 steps in their PE class and just by being kids. Nicholas is a very determined boy who won’t let pain or anything stop him from completing the STEPtember challenge.
‘STEPtember is not just a great opportunity to raise awareness for all those Australians living with cerebral palsy but it will be a great way to enjoy time as a family and keep active together’, she said.
To support “The Walkmanns’ on their STEPtember journey go to www.steptember.org.au
Released on 10 Sep 2014