Just a few short weeks ago, we were fortunate to have been featured on A Current Affair, sharing the heartwarming story of Abbie. She’s had a hard fight through serious injury, and we are proud to have been able to support her in her journey.
In some respects, Abbie is any normal kid from Queensland – she likes drawing and reading, and loves animals. But unlike most other normal kids, when she was ten, Abbie had a horse riding accident which caused severe damage to her spinal cord which left her paralysed. Unable to walk or move anywhere, Abbie could not go to her normal school, or even live her regular life in the way she was used to.
“Well, Abbie’s loving going to school via [the robot]. She loves it. Without it, she’d still have no connection to that school or her friends. She’s getting to know some of the other kids and they know her. I think when she does go to school, it won’t be such a transition. It will just be, oh, Abbie’s finally here.”
The injury left Abbie devastated. Another serious consequence of the injury was the missed school. She had always loved going to school to learn and see her friends, but after the injury she grew quickly fatigued and was barely able to go to class. In and out of hospital for months, Abbie ended up at Queensland Children’s Hospital School (QCHS). QCHS had put in a huge amount of work to help Abbie and support her in keeping up with her education. However, as a function of being in hospital long term, it was extremely difficult for all of the needs of Abbie’s curriculum to be met. Further, it was hard for Abbie to make long term friendships, and most of her connections were with adults instead.
The stress from all of the missed school and time spent in hospital was starting to compound, leading to signs of school avoidance. Left unresolved, Abbie would have fallen even further behind in her education, while her mental health would continue to worsen. With all that, Abbie’s mum reached out to MissingSchool to enquire about a telepresence robot. Abbie’s mum hoped that the robot would be able to help keep Abbie connected to her school, support her study through the hospital school, and bolster her connections with her friends back home.
It took a while to get the robot properly set up, but once up and running, it has been invaluable to Abbie. Even giving Abbie a presence in the classroom to see what is going on made a huge difference to helping her feel connected, and Abbie is loving going to school on it. It also gives her a chance to get to know people at school and make some new friends – so that when she’s at school in person, they know her. This showcased a real strength of the telepresence robot – where other technologies, like Webex, might have simply connected Abbie to school as a viewer, the robot instead gave her the agency to drive around her classroom and engage on her own terms. She was unmissable.
This robot solution gave Abbie an incredible opportunity to connect with her friends and participate in her own learning journey. This highlights how transformative the telepresence robot can be in the most challenging times.
If, like us, you want to help make meaningful school connections for kids like Abbie…
There are many ways to help:
- follow along and cheer us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- share this newsletter with your family, friends, or colleagues so we can reach more sick kids, and
- donate towards getting a seriously sick child back into their classroom.
Every action moves us closer to the finish line: a world where every sick child is seen and heard.
Let’s keep connecting.