It was a simple message from 13 year old Asha Melville, but one that left a lasting impression on a class of Year Two students during a recent visit to North Woodvale Primary School.
Asha dropped in on the seven and eight year olds after learning about some of the great work the school has been doing in celebrating diversity and implementing programs to help kids build positive relationships.
Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at age 4, Asha has never been one to let her disability stand in her way. A keen dancer, singer and hard-working student at St Mark’s Anglican Community School, Asha hoped her story of facing challenges head-on would inspire a younger generation.
Asha spoke to the class about what cerebral palsy is, how it can affect different people in different ways and how she has overcome the physical challenges she faces daily, including having to work extra hard on her hand-writing and also how she adapts to situations such as school sport.
Asha says her regular sessions with Ability Centre physio Rowan Johnson have made a huge difference in helping her take-on all the activities she loves so much including her jazz and ballet classes.
“I wanted the kids to see that even though cerebral palsy is something I have to live with every day, it doesn’t mean I can’t achieve what I love,” she said.
“I also wanted them to understand that even though I may be a little different, I’m really just like everyone else, with dreams and plans and things I want to do.”
For class teacher Rachael Robertson, winner of the Western Australian Positive Teacher of the Year Award 2016, Asha’s visit was a wonderful re-enforcement of everything she has been teaching her class about diversity and acceptance.
“We have spent the year celebrating differences in our community and learning about accepting those differences and being proud of who we are. Asha’s talk to our students consolidates everything we have been doing.”
It’s likely this won’t be the last time Asha stands up in front of a class, this vibrant teenager has her own dreams of one day becoming a teacher so she can continue to spread the word that anything is possible.