Keeley's cause- Focusing on the ability
Recently we had the pleasure of being introduced to Keeley. An incredible entrepreneurial 16 year old from Victoria, in Australia. Keeley started her own charity to raise money to buy iPads for kids with learning challenges, such as herself. As she found that learning via an iPad had a significantly better outcome than via traditional classroom methods. Having experienced the benefits of iPad learning first hand, we wanted to share Keeley's story.
Since launching her cause, Keeley has won many awards, been featured in parliament and her cause has gone national around Australia. The long term vision for organisation is to be able to support kids with diverse needs in third world countries. She plans to do this by asking the kids that received iPads via her funding, to pay back the cost of upgrades. This will teach kids valuable life lessons and enable the funding to be re-invested into kids in third world countries.
Keeley's story is an amazing example of how focusing on ones ability vs their challenges can lead to great things. No labels! This is the story, in Keeley's own words...
I recently attended a school with a view to attending a high school. With the many difficulties faced by people with disabilities including anxiety, social interaction issues and the fact that the nearest school is 30 to 40 mins away, my parents decided that home-schooling would be my best option.
I have lots of trouble with work. I don’t understand it. I can’t comprehend it. In grade 3 my lovely teacher had brought this to my mum’s attention:
If I’m given work on paper, I get overwhelmed. Put that same test on an iPad I get them all right. Go figure!Anyway, my mum asked the school if I could have an iPad held by the school to use permanently, but there wasn’t enough to use as other kids in the school needed access to them also so my mother tried to get funding for one and that failed too.
Not only did that fail so did I, by the school system, you see this meant I wasn’t learning properly, doing my work etc, so when mum decided to home-school me she also decided to get a cognitive report done to see where my strengths and weaknesses were to best suit my learning program she would design for my home-schooling.
The school had passed me off as Year 7 ready and Grade 6 for Maths. The cognitive report however told another story, one that made sense to everything that was going on for me. I was diagnosed with an intellectual disability with a score under the 70 mark which requires me to have a full-time aid.
The only wrong thing was that instead of the school designing a program to suit my learning needs I was simply pushed through the system, even when my mum had requested such testing in school and told that I wouldn’t meet criteria for a fulltime aid and I’d have to just tap in on the aide that’s currently in the room. That is what’s lead me to start Keeley’s Cause.
I don’t want another child with special needs just being pushed through the system because we are too much work. I don’t want another child not having the use of an iPad permanently for use in Primary School for learning and communicating.
I don’t want another child to struggle and get to where I am and now not even be able to attend high school because I now no longer meet the entry requirement as I am now assessed properly at only a grade 4 level.
You’ll be happy to know I’m now with the Victorian Distance Education who provide a program suitable to my needs and I now do this through home-schooling. So, out of all this I’ve developed Keeley’s Cause for Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder or have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability that requires and iPad for learning and communicating.
I pledge to fund and raise money and awareness to support this cause in giving children in need an iPad for full time use within schools, home and NDIS will fund the apps in your plan to access the Autism Programs from Apple.
Every child regardless of their disability deserves, and has a right to a proper education. Had my mum not decided to home-school me and get me tested, we would never have known and I would have just been pushed through the school system and failed academically every time.
Well I’m here to say we are not just good academically. We are good at life skills and so much more beyond our disability and “our disability should never define our ability”.
So, I present to you: Keeley’s Cause.
Keeley’s Cause Foundation is affiliated with the Ballan Lions Club.
Support Keeley and her incredible initiatives by heading to https://keeleyscause.org.au