This week, we talk to Sara Silva about her amazing son, Samuel, who has just started school.

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Tell us a little about you, your age, disability and current situation…
​Samuel is 5 years old his disability is a rare neurological disorder.

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Share with us all the amazing things your son can do, especially those that people in your local community may not realise he can do?
Samuel started school this year and is going three days per week. He does conductive education at school and this has been modified to suit his abilities. He is doing well. He has also started to communicate using the PODD system, which is new to us and we are getting used to using it.

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What has been your biggest achievement to date? How did you achieve such big heights?
The biggest achievement would be Samuel attending school. It has been great for his social development and I’ve noticed he is trying to communicate and being more vocal. At this stage, I think three days is enough for Samuel, as he gets quite tired and, on the days he is not at school, we have rest days.

Another big achievement was going on holidays to Tasmania. Lots of preparation but it was a lovely trip!

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What has been the hardest barrier for you to overcome?
The hardest thing to overcome would have to be accessibility. So far, we haven’t had too many issues and when there are issues, such as not fitting the wheelchair into a place, I just avoid them.

How people look at me and Samuel when we are out in public makes me feel uncomfortable and at times sad.

What is one positive thing about the NDIS for you and how do you think the scheme will assist inclusion in your community? Can you give us one idea that would help your community be more inclusive?
The NDIS has given Samuel an opportunity to do therapy either at home or school. This has been great. As well as providing him with a wheelchair and other equipment at home.

One thing that the NDIS could look at is public accessibility in public areas, such as providing a ramp at beaches and accessible changing areas. At a lot of places, you have to go to a door further down that makes you feel unwelcome.