Aaryan’s story

Aaryan’s story
Posted on Wed 4 Nov 2020

Aaryan is a dynamic undergraduate in his first year at Macquarie University with a passion for sport. He’s studying Media & Communications and has his sights set on a career as a sports broadcaster.

Living with cerebral palsy, Aaryan has been supported by CPA since he was 3 years old. He and his Mum Rima have some great advice on how to manage years 11 and 12 at school, and how teens coming to the end of their time at school can transition to a post-school environment.


Moving from primary school to high school

Going from a small school environment with just 300 students to one with over 1600 was a struggle for Aaryan – the sheer size of high school led to him getting lost, and often being late for class.

Finding his feet and getting to know people was another challenge. Aaryan tried to make new friends but would often feel out of his comfort zone. So he stuck to his primary school friends, which helped him get accustomed to the new environment and build confidence.

“I had this preconceived idea in my mind about how people would be, what you’re meant to talk about with them. I kind of talked to the wrong people about the wrong things!” says Aaryan.

Getting his first electric wheelchair in year 11 increased Aaryan’s independence. However, he still experienced some accessibility challenges, including not being able to access all rooms or get to the basketball court, until the school installed a lift.

“The basketball court was an important area to socialise.

A new block was built, however people were not sitting in places I could get to, and they moved around frequently. I found this quite challenging because I couldn’t strengthen my relationships with people at school,” says Aaryan.

Despite these challenges, by years 11 and 12, Aaryan developed many friendships that are still strong today.


Going for gold in sport

Aaryan’s greatest passion has always been sport. He sets the bar high for himself, thriving on the competition, physical exercise, and social aspects of sport. He also finds it helpful for managing stress.

As his favourite aspect of school, Aaryan started playing sport early. During primary school, he discovered Boccia, eventually going on to represent the state and nation at an international level.

To support Aaryan to reach his goals, and get the most out of other school sports, CPA Physiotherapists worked with his school to modify PE and sports programs for greater accessibility.

“I enjoyed school PDHPE lessons where I got to try out new sports such as European Handball. The PDHPE staff made a huge effort to make me feel included in all activities, especially in year 11 and 12.”

“However, the majority of my sport occurred outside of school, this included walking, swimming, going to the CPA gym and playing Boccia, all of which I still participate in today. Sport helps me with stress and social interaction.

My main goals with sport include improvements in flexibility, strength, balance and stamina. For Boccia, it is about improving my game and being the best and most competitive I can be,” says Aaryan.

By the time he’d reached high school, Aayran had made firm friendships in his Boccia team and in the CPA swim club, Allambie Seals. Aaryan and his peers from the swim club have a mutual love of footy (Sydney Swans) and often head out to games together. They also participate in overnight camps and programs together, facilitated by CPA.


Advice for the final school years

In year 11 and 12, Aaryan became much closer to his peers after plucking up the courage to put himself out there and socialise. He found the support of his friends really important through these years and advises others to:

“Make the most of any kind of social time. As much as school is about working hard and doing well, it’s also about building relationships. You can make some of your best friends at school”.

When it comes to school work, Aaryan’s advice is to do as much as possible inside school hours. “Using your free periods and taking notes are real time savers, and working as soon as you get home after school means you can unwind after dinner” says Aaryan.

Aaryan’s Mum, Rima suggests applying for University early, especially if you’re doing a lot of extra-curricular activities, like Aayran. Aaryan agrees this made a huge difference, taking the pressure off and enabling him to focus on exams rather than leaving it to the last minute.

Aayran’s school commitment and sporting tenacity has certainly paid off. He’s applying the same grit and perseverance to his career path – by continuing to hone his knowledge, and develop his presentation and communication skills, he is now well placed on an upward trajectory towards reaching his dream job in sports broadcasting.


CPA Student Success Guides

Secondary school might seem scary, but at CPA, we’re here to help you make it a great success.

How do you develop independence, build healthy friendships, get in to good study habits, feel like you belong and eventually transition from school in to the community? These are big questions that we’re excited to help answer.

To ensure students can achieve the best possible outcomes during this crucial life stage, we’ve created the CPA Student Success Guides.

Each guide has been informed by evidence based thinking and long-time learnings. We’ve also looked closely at the Australian Curriculum, to see where our programs and services align, not only within curriculum, but also with the known educational, social and emotional goals of students as they journey through secondary school.

The full kit includes three guides, each covering two school years: Years 7 & 8, 9 & 10, and 11 & 12.

This kit will assist teachers, parents, and students living with a disability to discover the wide range of fun and engaging programs and services students can access through CPA to support achievement of those goals.

Learn more and download the guides here: https://cerebralpalsy.org.au/studentsuccessguides

In support of World Autism Awareness Day at CPA, Tamsin Colley, one of our CP Active Champions, shares her experience being diagnosed with autism, her strengths, ambitions and the shifts she would like to see in attitudes towards autism. 

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