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Rehabilitation - Page Three

Education and Learning......

Jackson attends Alice Betteridge School for the deaf, blind and multiple-handicapped children. Here Jackson has the opportunity to learn at one of the best schools of its type in Australia. Alice Betteridge School is also internationally acclaimed for its program of education. At this school, Jackson has an individual educational program and what he learns at school is backed up with his home-based program. Through these programs, Jackson has a high quality of life and a well-supported learning environment.


Providing equipment to assist with mobility and rehabilitation has a high cost both financially and in time. All equipment must be well maintained and regularly cleaned. If a piece of equipment breaks down it can cause great discomfort for both Jackson and his carers.

Jackson's equipment consists of one wheelchair for day to day use for eating meals etc and another for his van. Jackson also requires a bath hoist, bean bags, soft play equipment, non-slip mats and the Anderson walker. All form an integral part of the process of learning to move and make safety more certain.

Significant People in Jackson's Life......

This includes his family, with special tribute to Peter Stephens, his maternal grandfather who lives on a farm outside Sydney. As Peter rings Jackson daily to converse with him and visits him weekly, he is a major figure in Jackson's development program at school and home. Peter's calls assist Jackson to learn the concept of 'turn taking' and to develop an understanding of communication.

Jackson's big brothers, Matthew and David, see him weekly and he has cousins and aunts and uncles who are very devoted to him. Jackson communicates through the use of simple words and gestures. He also expresses feelings of happiness and, when appropriate, cries. Much of the communication with Jackson involves observing his body language and facial expressions. Those of us who know Jackson well are generally able to provide him with conversation and a level of understanding that is beneficial to us all.

Jackson's girlfriend Emma come to visit for sleep overs and also they have been to the Royal Blind Society camp together in Sydney.

Cathy Murphy met Jackson when he was 2, she has become his mentor and provides absolute focus to ensure that Jackson has optimum opportunity to recover.


Friday 13 May 1994 - Jackson came home from hospital. Soon after, he had his hearing aids in place. Following Jackson's release from hospital, I studied with the Hadley School for the Blind in Chicago, Illinois. The dedicated team of experts there enabled me to assist Jackson with his vision and to help Jackson to understand his environment. In 1995, I took Jackson to Chicago. I am thankful for the opportunity I had while we were there to learn more about Jackson's condition and for the support the team gave me.

When Jackson was a little over 2 years old, his hearing returned.

Saturday 29 May 1999: Today Jackson walks. He walked 2 kilometres outside his home, in a walker designed in 1997 by our fine friend, Kel Anderson. Initially Jackson was reluctant to walk, but once some modifications were made to the walker, we were delighted with the results. Unbelievably, Jackson has never crawled, cannot sit up unaided or stand up unsupported, but, he can walk! A great tribute to his persistence! Jackson sees his ability to walk as a great means of escape and, like most boys his age, can't wait to take off up the street.

The Future......

Jackson is a great little guy and he brings untold joy to his family and those who take the time to be his friend. Due to the devotion of all those people involved in Jackson's rehabilitation and educational program his future looks very positive. Our focus for the future will on ensuring that Jackson will have the optimum level of opportunity to achieve his personal best. By focusing on what Jackson "can do" our goal is to see him healed completely and lacking nothing.

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