When I was first told about Carson Street School, I think I only heard what made sense to me and that was that Carson Street School was a special school that catered to students with disabilities. Sure, I was prepared to see a couple of students walking with crutches, maybe even a few in wheelchairs, but I heard wrong.
Carson Street School is more than a special school, it's an amazing school. Carson St School is the only education support primary school in Western Australia. The majority of the students require wheelchairs, are non-verbal and have disabilities that are so severe that they are unable to integrate into a mainstream school. They would have to be the bravest children I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Even though every single one of them is at war with their very own bodies, fighting it to walk, struggling to communicate and at times battling with it just to be there. The only thing stopping me from bursting out in tears, as any father would, was seeing that every one of these battling children was doing just that. They were fighting, they weren't after anyone's sympathy or pity, they just wanted to get on and learn. Basically these children were winning.
The day I attended the school had planned an excursion for the students - bowling. It would be one of the very few times in a year that these amazing children get to do what most primary students would do many times in a term. The bowling centre was about a ten-minute bus ride from the school which in theory seemed simple. So simple that again when I was told that, I thought we will be done early today. I even texted my partner to say, I won't be late tonight.
I stood at the front of the school with my producer while we waited for the students to get on the bus, as we were there to film the excursion. I could see he was upset, and like me was disguising his shock, but we both agreed we couldn't sympathise for the children, instead we chose to admire them. Every single task that was required to be completed was done so with care and precision, however, consumed time and consumed valuable energy from each and every child. What should have taken 5 minutes we budgeted ten minutes to film, ended up taking more than 30 minutes to complete. And even worse after a short ten-minute bus ride another 30 minutes was stolen from each child getting them off the bus.
As each child was wheeled off the bus and onto the chairlift we got to see why each teacher, parent helper and volunteer worked so hard to make this day happen. A day that took months to plan and required as many adults as there was students to assist. And that was to see each and every one of these amazing children who are stuck in a battle no child should have to fight, win and for a moment just enjoy being a kid.
The children at Carson Street School don't need your help, they deserve it. Your kind support will help the School purchase a custom-fitted bus that would massively reduce the time to load and unload the bus, allow the school to plan more excursions and ultimately give more opportunities for the wonderful children that go there.