A future leader and advocate for people with disability.
Antony is an intelligent, energetic and compassionate fifteen-year-old. He has a passion for music, including playing piano, flute, and is a talented composer. He has a fascination with history and loves the concept of space exploration. He’s your typical teenager except he’s also legally blind.
Antony’s mum, Christina, describes the moments leading up to his diagnosis;
“There was no indication of any issues when I was pregnant with Antony, but when he was born, we noticed he wasn’t opening his eyes like other babies. He had a series of tests and at three weeks of age, he was diagnosed with Microphthalmia.”
Microphthalmia (pronounced: mi-croph-thalmi-a) is a congenital disorder in which one or both eyes do not develop fully, so they are unusually small, which significantly affects vision.
Soon after the diagnosis, Antony began his Early Intervention therapy with Can:Do 4Kids. Christina mentions the immediate impact these services had;
“From our first session, I knew that Can:Do 4Kids was the right place for us. Not only did they have the experience to support Antony’s development, but the therapists remained focused on the positives and what Antony was going to be capable of doing. They were also realistic but very respectful of our family’s situation and gave me the tools to help Antony get to where he needed to be. It was just a magic click and that start made all the difference.”
Antony also accessed Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy services through Can:Do 4Kids at a young age.
“Speech development was a challenge for Antony because he couldn’t see how other people’s mouths formed to make speech patterns and sounds which made it difficult for him to learn those skills himself.”
Despite these initial challenges, Antony’s confidence began to grow;
“The improvements we saw throughout his therapy, and more importantly, the trust Antony had for this therapists meant that he became more willing to explore new and larger spaces. This was a huge milestone for him, seeing him confident enough to try new things.”
Since then, Antony has developed into a bright and motivated teenager who has high musical aspirations and even a potential career in politics. He even has the foresight to identify areas of future development before he needs them;
“We noticed that when he was navigating his way home at dusk, even if I was with him, he would get off-track. So, he identified that he needed night training and rather than waiting until it’s a necessity at university, he was proactive and has commenced that training with his therapist already.”
Perhaps his greatest passion, however, is his desire to advocate for accessibility within the community, as Christina describes;
“Antony has not only developed an understanding about his vision impairment and is able to identify what he needs to be successful in life, he has also shown his willingness to advocate for other people with disability to make sure they get what they need.”
Antony has all the qualities of a future leader in our community. We can’t wait to see what comes next for him and we look forward to being there with him and his family every step of the way.
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