You may be wondering what’s this is all about? Well, it’s a special journey that my son, Reagan, and I will be taking in November this year. Picture this, 27 days, over four states, bonding with my 16-year-old son, on a big Kawasaki towing a trailer.
For those of you who don’t know Reagan, you might be thinking “So what’s the big deal?”. Well you see Reagan has Autism, he was a typically developing child up to the age of two, when the world of Autism became an obvious part of his life. He has significant support needs and requires 1 on 1 help for most aspects of his daily life.
Reagan is an amazing young person; he’s funny, loving, inquisitive, determined and brave. He has been challenged socially and medically over the past 16 years! So, what better way to help him reach his full potential, and for us to learn from each other, than by exploring our beautiful country, while breaking down the barriers of autism and promoting Universal Design on behalf of our sponsor, Count Me In Foundation.
The motivation came from a longtime friend, Sam Paior (at The Growing Space) who planted the seed and helped me with logistics and the planning of it all.
The inspiration for this come from an episode on ABC ‘s ‘Australian Story’ and the book ‘Sam’s Best Shot’ it’s about a father and son’s life changing journey through Autism, adolescence and Africa. Dr James Best took his son Sam, who has Autism, on a twelve month journey through Africa.
Although our journey is only one month, and here in Australia, I believe… no, I know, that we will achieve some amazing outcomes and moments that will help shape both of our lives for the better. Reagan has always loved getting on the back of the bike and I have always loved taking him, but this journey will take him and I completely out of our comfort zones and place us in an everchanging environment; where we will have to adapt and accept challenges as they may, and no doubt will, arise. Reagan uses an iPad to communicate through an app called Proloquo2go as he doesn’t yet speak. His use of the app is getting better and better all the time and I believe that this journey will give him a huge boost in communication. Our helmets have blue-tooth headsets, so that we can communicate while riding. I will be talking to Reagan about the things we are passing, where we are going and what we are going to see. I will be listening, encouraging and hoping for some spoken word replies.
Another aim of this ride is for those whose path we cross on the trip to learn about and embrace Reagan and his Autism and to help grow an inclusive and universally designed society for those who are living with an ASD. I plan to use my newfound skills I have learnt through completing radio school (special thanks to Shaun Craig Murphy for his mentorship) by spreading the word about our journey through Facebook, podcasting, possible weekly radio updates on MMM, ABC radio and Channel 7 Today Tonight are keen to do a story on us before we leave and of course I’ll talking to everyone we meet on the way.
As you know doing such a journey doesn’t come cheap. I have calculated costings and have discovered that it will cost around $6000. This includes accommodation, food, ferry crossings and petrol. Well the wonderful people of “Count Me In Foundation” are sponsoring the trip. They are a not-for-profit organization that celebrates and brings awareness to Universal Design principles. Through Universal Design, Count Me In Foundation provides the community with accessible public places and buildings, advocacy of Universal Design from people with a lived experience of disability, finding employment for people with disabilities and my favourite, promoting inclusion for all in sports. For this wonderful organization to continue their good work I will be fundraising through this Go Fund Me along the way.
How can you help?
If you think you, your family and friends or organization would be able to donate, you can do so here. I am also happy to advertise organizations on the bike trailer, social media and any media opportunities that arise.
Also, if you live in one of our stops along the way, please let us know if we can have a meal or a drink together – it will be great for Reagan to meet lots of new people, and for you to meet Reagan!
And of course, please like and share this Go Fund Me page so that you can donate, follow us for all the updates and memorable moments and photos from ASD and a Kawasaki.
If you wish to receive a receipt for this donation, please email [email redacted].au and we will provide one.
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