My name is Ashley and I am the proud mother of three beautiful Children. My family and I live in Gunnedah NSW. Gunnedah is a great town with some fantastic facilities. Unfortunately not all facilities accommodate to everyone in the community, especially the local parks.
My three year old son has Autism, a disability that effects his development and social skills. Because he has no perception of fear and danger and has a tendency to wander off (a trait of Autism) a simple childhood pleasure like visiting the park can be a stressful experience and is best avoided. This means my son misses out, and his able – bodied siblings do to.
As a mother of a child with a disability I have been told of many ways to encourage my son to be more “normal” and act “appropriately" in society. My son’s disability is a part of what makes him the kind and beautiful l little boy that he is. He doesn’t need to change. It’s the outside world that needs changing. We need to show acceptance and inclusion, starting with our public facilities. They need to change, to accommodate to the needs of all of our children, regardless of whether they are abled or disabled.
Whilst researching resources online I came across the Touched by Olivia Foundation and was introduced to the amazing concept of all inclusive play spaces.
Seeing an opportunity to help my son, and the need for an all- inclusive play space in our community, I contacted Bec Ho from the touched by Olivia foundation who was more than thrilled to work with our community. I am excited about the possibilities for the children in our community, by driving this amazing project.