YOU can see the excitement in Dax's eyes as he gets ready for another day at school.
The Burrill Lake resident was born with Cytomegalovirus (CMV) which left him with several conditions including quadriplegic Dystonic Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, vision loss and small head size.
Dax is now in Year 1 at Ulladulla Public School and being "at big school" is something Dax loves and it looks like so does everyone at his school.
"The interaction with his peers has seen a dramatic increase in his vocalisation," his mum Bree Pennie said.
"He has a newfound love of books, quite often, his classmates will read to him.
"He is so excited to be at school and from all accounts from visiting therapists, teachers, aids and parents, not only has Dax thrived, but so have his peers, and it is beautiful to watch."
A few uncertainties did confront the family when Dax was getting ready to go to school.
However, Bree knew Dax would fit in - with the help of a few strategies.
"Dax is non-speaking, but boy does he have a lot to say," she said.
"It made me think. I understand his non-verbal cues, I know his dislikes and likes, I know his routine, I know Dax. How were his classmates going to get to know him?
"We had a few strategies that we implemented.
"Firstly, we wrote a letter to the Kindergarten parents, introducing ourselves and Dax.
"We wanted them to know it was okay to acknowledge Dax's disabilities, but we hoped they would not define him. We included some resources and also made parents aware that we were approachable for any questions.
"Secondly, we made a poster for his class, which again introduced Dax, his likes, his hobbies, his families and why he does things a little bit different to them.
"We shared some fundamental keyword signs weekly in the first term, which enabled his peers to interact with him.
"This soon spread to other classrooms; even Dax's sister's class in Year 2 was learning them."
Then came his fellow students and they got the chance to ask questions
"Lastly, which has been the most effective, we fed the natural curiosity of his peers when it arose," Bree said.
"We were present to answer their questions before and after school, and if we weren't, we asked Dax's teacher if she couldn't answer the question to say - 'that's a great question, let's ask Dax's mum when she gets here'. We explained that there were no silly questions."
Bree has had children in year six stop and ask her about Dax's walker
"There was a genuine interest and thirst for knowledge from the students," she said.
"The questions were honest, sometimes confronting, but it opened up the communication channel, which has enabled us to celebrate his differences and highlight how diversity can be great."
Bree said these strategies have led to some meaningful relationships for Dax.
Bree first shared this story with Reframing Disability.
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