10 year old aspiring author thriving with NDIS

Posted on 18 June 2018

Ipswich's Rohan wants to be a writer, the Prime Minister of Australia, and a fighter pilot–lofty goals for any 10 year old. In this short animation Rohan explains his story and how he's planning on reaching his goals.

Rohan's story transcript (HTML 5KB)

"My biggest heart's desire is for people to be able to read and enjoy my stories. I want my name to be beside J.K Rowling, Steve King, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss and all of the greats," Rohan said.

"I have many dreams and I am so excited because the help I get will propel me towards those dreams so that I can make them real."

With a combination of Asperger's Syndrome, muscle dyspraxia, sensory issues and central sleep apnoea, Rohan struggles with everyday tasks but, according to Mum Shelley, is "the most positive, optimistic, hilarious kid you'll ever meet". "He's got a real can-do attitude and, even when something is hard, he'll give it a go. He always sees the cup half full," Shelley said.

"Rohan tells me he loves me every day, he hugs me every day, he tells me I'm awesome every day." Rohan is home-schooled where he is able to concentrate on therapy and his beloved writing.

"At school they couldn't support him as much as he needed to be supported, so even though he's crazy smart he was failing and he was being bullied," Shelley said. "He got beaten up at school and lost a tooth when he was in kindergarten after being punched and kicked in the face. Because he was failing his school work, he was also starting to think that he was stupid and label himself in a way that wasn't helpful."

Before Rohan and Bryn entered the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) last year, the family received only three hours a week of carer support which left single mum Shelley at breaking point. "2017 nearly killed us all. There was too much for one person to cope with and really I was at the point of a complete breakdown. Physically and emotionally I was done and I could see my family breaking down," Shelley said.

Rohan and Bryn now receive considerably more carer support hours through the NDIS, in addition to funding for speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

"The carer support that we're receiving affects the whole household. By having someone who can take Bryn to an appointment, it means that I can be here with Rohan writing stories." Rohan is now able to go to the gym three days a week to help manage the pain and low muscle tone from his muscle dyspraxia and hyper-mobile joints.

"He's got a lifetime of weak muscles through his hips and his back, so he gets a lot of back pain. He's only a little kid and he can't walk around without having a sore back and sore feet. Being able to go to the gym is building all that up, so he can have less pain and move more, and it's working."

Shelley said whilst Bryn would always need a lot of support, the potential outcome for Rohan from his NDIS-funded therapy could be life-changing.

"It's making a big difference. If Rohan didn't have the physiotherapy, there's the potential that he would have physically become less and less capable and become depressed and completely dysfunctional. But instead, he's gaining confidence and he's proud of himself and he's gaining physical ability."

"Getting him on the right path, and believing in his own potential, is so important."