Latest News

Behind a great child is a great mum

We recently met Chrissy after her 16-year-old daughter, Jazzy, graduated from Edge’s Charged Up for Work (CUFW) pilot program. Chrissy is a Director at Team Collaborate, has a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Education and is completing her PhD at ECU. On top of that, she is the mum of two daughters, Jazzy and Maddy, and is looking forward to celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Jazzy was Chrissy and Paul’s firstborn, arriving in 2004. As new parents, learning the parenthood ropes, Chrissy and Paul anxiously watched Jazzy grow and develop. “Being a mum is challenging, especially when your child’s development is noticeably not at the pace of your friend’s children.”

At 17 months, Chrissy and Paul started Jazzy on a series of tests. Something didn’t feel right. By the time Jazzy was in Kindy, it was confirmed she was significantly developmentally delayed. Her autism diagnosis was formally received in Year 6. It was tough, confronting news for the parents, “You have no choice except to go on, and to muster every ounce of strength, each and every difficult step of the way.”

Throughout Jazzy’s school journey, Chrissy felt that people with disability were often poorly catered for, sending her on her own personal mission to find inclusive and supportive education for her daughter. “Shenton College is not only a great school for people with disability, but it has given Jazzy access to many incredible opportunities, including Edge’s CUFW program.”

This program allowed Jazzy to feel independent and socially included, “What I loved was that it was delivered in a ‘non-disability’ way and everyone made Jazzy feel valued. Now she wants to do it all again, despite already graduating!”

Chrissy’s pride for her daughter is luminous. Jazzy, now in Year 11, is an impressive young lady with her own business, Mitso Magic, selling gift cards and lip gloss, designed by Jazzy herself. Jazzy has also been working at Trainwest and was recently acknowledged as their Super Star Employee of the Month.

10 of Jazzy's cards

Chrissy is extremely grateful to employers who embrace inclusion, “These organisations role-model diversity and recognise that in every job, there is something that can be done by a person with disability. It is amazing knowing that someone else is also supporting Jazzy to be an independent person in her own right.”

As Chrissy prepares to celebrate Mother’s Day, reflecting on the incredible mums out there. She acknowledges, with hindsight, that through her lived experience of having a child with a disability that she has found passion and purpose in supporting secondary school students with autism. “It is not only Jazzy who needs to leave school armed and ready for the future, but every other child with a disability. And I want to play my part.” Being the mum of a child with a disability can be hard, but Chrissy knows she is not alone. She focuses on striking a balance, “I also have a 12-year-old daughter without a disability, who is navigating adolescence. She needs her mum too.”

For mums of children with disabilities, it involves re-examining expectations and learning new ways to care and support your child, in the early years and beyond. Importantly, you need to look after yourself so you can support and celebrate your child’s unique needs.

We wish you all a very happy Mother’s Day.

Stay updated with Edge

Join us on our journey as we share how we are changing lives through the power of employment.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.