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Rhiannon hits new heights

The volunteers at TAD’s Port Macquarie group found that school lessons were not what they used to be when they made an access platform for six year old Rhiannon.

These days, dusty blackboards are out and interactive technology is in. Ra, as she is more affectionately known, and her classmates have a learning program projected onto an interactive whiteboard. The children are then encouraged to choose answers on the whiteboard.

Ra has Cerebral Palsy which causes weakness on her right side making her muscles tight and tense. This makes both fine and gross motor tasks more difficult for her to complete. Ra finds it difficult to reach up to the board from the platform which the other children use because she needs to take smaller steps up and have handrails for support.

Ra’s occupational therapist Amanda contacted the TAD group to see if a stand with support rails could be made to provide smaller steps for Ra to reach the board.

TAD volunteer Ken Webb took on the job to build the rail for Ra. He made the metal frames by bending steel tube and welding on the cross braces, on which he mounted plywood decking. He made sure that the platform would remain stable when in the rest position, by fitting an axle to the front ensuring all four feet were firmly contacting the floor. When the open-end is lifted, the stand can be easily wheeled away from the whiteboard when it is no longer required.

Ken gave the rail a nice fresh coat of red paint and made the decking white, Ra’s favourite colours. He also applied non-slip strips to the step and deck so Ra can feel secure as she jumps up to answer questions. Now Ra can take part in her lessons alongside her classmates.

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.