This week we chat to Roslyn Sim about her two talented children, Kylie and Neal, who love Minecraft and mathematics, and their recent achievements on two wheels.
Tell us a little about your children, their age, disability and current situation…
I have two children; my daughter, Kylie, 11 and my son, Neal, 7. They both have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They go to Southern Montessori School, which works really well for us. The students keep the same teacher for three years at a time, so they have a really good understanding of the children and build a great relationship with them. Neal was only diagnosed with ASD in October, and it has made us feel more connected as a family in that we can do things, like therapy, together.
Share with us all the amazing things they can do, especially those that people in their local community may not realise they can do?
Their ability to hyperfocus is fascinating to me. Their current interest is in Minecraft. They will play the game, read about it, play act it with friends and it’s amazing to see how engaged and passionate they can be about something. The two of them are also both very strong with visual logic. It’s been remarkable to see them making great intuitive leaps, particularly in mathematical concepts. Neal is only in Year 2 but he will often ask maths questions out of the blue and can manipulate numbers quickly in his head. Kylie can add up the costs of items before the cash register is finished.
What has been their biggest achievement to date? How did they achieve such big heights?
One I’m very proud of at the moment is that they have both started to ride their bikes. They were both very anxious about riding a bike, and we worked with Leanne from Ride A Bike Right for a few lessons that gave them some confidence, and now they have started riding part of the way to school each day. They are gradually getting braver to do more. While they learn, and for the sections that are still too dangerous or difficult for them, I carry them and their bikes on my cargo bike. I’m thrilled with all the benefits this activity has given them, but most importantly it has given them the chance for more independence.
What has been the hardest barrier for them to overcome?
For Kylie, she had a lot of anxiety before we got treatment. She used to hoard things, and would hang on to possessions and get upset if things were taken away. She has now let us pack away some things into the shed and she is enjoying having some more space in her room and freedom to have friends play in there. Last year, Neal was struggling to make friends but thanks to finding some peers with a mutual interest in Minecraft, he has been able to connect with a few different children and even invited them over. I am very proud of the progress he has made.
What is one positive thing about the NDIS for you and how do you think the scheme will assist inclusion in your community?
The funding that the NDIS provides is such an extraordinary help and, more than that, it has meant that we’ve been able to have a coordinated approach across our entire support network. We’ve been able to tie it all together. This year, we are making leaps and bounds of progress because it’s all connected and that makes the future look really positive for our family.