Going to university is a rite of passage for many Australian students. It’s a time of adventure and growth, but it can also bring with it a burden of financial worry and pressure. Even with Australia’s extensive HECS-HELP education loans scheme, uni life is expensive - especially for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Education itself is a costly venture. When you add ongoing healthcare and mobility equipment expenses, it can seem impossible to afford a degree or PhD.
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a psychotherapy treatment based upon building a bond with an animal through interaction and play. Due to its flexible and customizable nature, AAT is suitable for both adults and children with almost any kind of disability, mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, or chronic illness. It can also be effective in addiction recovery, and for patients who would otherwise benefit from the emotional support an animal can offer.
Handbiking is quickly gaining traction as one of the top leisure sports of choice amongst the Australian disability community. A handbike, also known as a handcycle or arm bike, is an adapted tricycle which is powered using the arms rather than the legs. Handbikes feature two large rear wheels and one steerable front wheel which is controlled by the rider via a set of handlebars. The pedals on a handbike are typically attached as part of the steering mechanism, and the rider rotates them with their hands and arms in order to propel the cycle forward.
“What it’s like to be a parent: it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but in exchange, it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.” - Nicholas Sparks.
Parenthood is often embraced as one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer, but almost every parent would agree that it is also one of the most challenging. For wheelchair users, raising a family brings an entirely new and unique set of challenges. But, with a little creative thinking and planning, many of these hurdles can be overcome with ease.
An adventurous heart and playful soul are the core elements of being a child. Having a disability should never preclude going on an adventure, but it may need to be adapted slightly in order to include your child’s wheelchair as well. For children, an important part of their learning and development is to play and bond with family and friends through exciting activities and quality time spent together.