This week, we talk to Morgan Cooper, aged 13, about living with cerebral palsy, her passion for netball and learning at school.
Tell us a little about you, your age, disability and current situation…
My name is Morgan Cooper and I’m 13. I have cerebral palsy, left hemiplegia. I was born naturally and on time, however at 3 months my mum discovered a lack of movement on my left side. I had an MRI that exposed a bleed in my brain.
Share with us all the amazing things you can do, especially those that people in your local community may not realise you can do?
I attend St Michael’s College at Henley Beach, although I have some difficulties learning. It takes a bit longer for me to understand and take things on, but I try my best. I did just get an A- in my maths test and I was so excited I hugged the teacher! My friends at school are very supportive. I find it a bit difficult now when we have to change for PE classes. I do everything with one hand and putting on tights can be tricky. I also need help tying shoe laces and there’s always a friend who will offer to help.
What has been your biggest achievement to date? How did you achieve such big heights?
I did attend Star of the Sea School in my junior years and ran a fundraising event at the school to raise money for kids with CP. Everyone wore a white sock just like me for the day. I need to wear a white sock under my Ankle Foot Orthosis, which helps to keep my ankle straight. The NDIS funds my AFO.
I have tried all sorts of sports, from tennis, surf lifesaving (which became too tricky when paddling a board), taekwondo, netball and athletics. I have found that netball is what I love. Grange Netball Club has been very welcoming and I trial just like everyone else. I made division 3 out of 6 this year at my club. I also made the second netball team at school. I’m a great goalie and only use one arm to play.
What has been the hardest barrier for you to overcome?
Mum needs to help me put my hair up and various other things around the home I have difficulty with. The NDIS has funded me with some items to help, which includes a special bowl with a side to help me whilst eating.
I also go to physio sessions every week. As we self-manage our NDIS funds, I am able to choose my physio. I see Sandy Woolman at Adelaide Crows Sports Medical Physio. We do one on one hydro, massage and gym sessions. I also have three monthly Botox sessions to release the muscles in my tight side. I find this difficult as I have a lot of appointments, which takes time away from school and that stresses me out a bit.
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?
Having the NDIS gives me and mum a lot more freedom in the times and places I can have my therapy. We have even looked into art classes, which can possibly be funded by the NDIS.