Emma Chapple of Kurri Kurri was addressing a large audience at a breakfast to celebrate the International Day for People with a Disability. The breakfast was attended by local employers of people with a disability and potential employers. Emma admitted she was nervous - she need not have worried, reports Aurora.
“Who would have ever thought that I would be standing here talking to you this morning? Or working in a funeral home?” Emma’s story is one of hope, growing confidence, satisfaction and success. The daughter of Brian and Maria, and younger sister of Nathan, Emma was born with autism spectrum disorder.
Once this became apparent, the road was not easy and in fact Maria and Brian were told that she might never attend a regular school. They took that with a grain of salt and determined that she would have every opportunity they could offer her.
Educated at Holy Spirit Infants Abermain, Holy Spirit Primary Kurri Kurri, St Peter’s and St Mary’s Campuses of All Saints College Maitland, the girl became a friendly, open and competent young woman who thrived as a member of a supportive community. She graduated from St Mary’s with a Higher School Certificate (Life Skills).
Maria says: “The Catholic school system educated Emma from Kindergarten to Year 12 and beyond, and Brian and I are so very grateful for all that has been made possible.”
Director of Schools Ray Collins sees Emma as a success story, but is quick to acknowledge that Maria and Brian have played a major role here. “Maria was one of the pioneer parents who advocated for children with special needs to be educated in the schools their brothers and sisters attended.
Since 1994 the Special Needs Working Party has advocated for families of such children.
FULL STORY Young woman blooms at funeral home! (Aurora)