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Written & Illustrated By Janelle McMillan

What is a disability? A disability is when a person's brain or body is not able to function properly. The messages in the brain gets confused or misfires the messages to the body. The body will not do what the brain is telling it to do. Some people with a physical disability can't move their arms and legs like they want to. Sometimes people can't talk properly. There are people with an intellectual disability who can't think or behave appropriately for their ages. There are lots of different disabilities with specific names to help people to identify what is wrong with people, so they can get treatment or physical therapy to help them to have better lives. People with disabilities are not able to help the way they move, talk, think or behave. Sometimes people with disabilities need people to help with things like: Getting dressed. Having a bath or a shower. Going to the toilet. Eating a meal. Playing. Doing school work.

Intellectual Disability!

My name is Angie. I was born with an intellectual disability. I sometimes act or behave younger than my proper age with my social skills, friendships and the activities that I like to do. My brain didn't develop property when I was growing in my Mum's tummy. It might take longer to learn do things like dressing myself, writing, reading or going shopping. I get upset very easily or laugh at the wrong time because I don't understand about what is going on around me. I love having fun with friends and my family. I live with my Mum, my Dad and my big sister called Joelle. I like to cook at home with Mum. I would like to make chocolate chip cookies .

Down Syndrome!

My name is Gus. I was born with an extra chromosome that has given me Down Syndrome. Everyone has chromosomes in their bodies. Chromosomes carry information to be used to help grow a cell. Chromosomes are made up of DNA that makes you who you are. Normally there are 23 pairs of chromosomes or 46 individual chromosomes in a human body. I was born with 47 individual chromosomes to give me Down Syndrome. I have broader facial features. I am shorter than other people. My fingers and toes are short. I need to wear glasses to see properly. I have problems with speaking because I can't say some words properly. I use sign language to get my message across to people. I have been sick with my heart and stomach problems through early in my life, they were fixed with operations to repair my heart and stomach. I get lots of colds and viruses. I am slow with learning things, but I can learn how to read, writing and live independently. I live with Mum and my younger brother Ryan. I have a dog called Max. I visit Dad on the weekends and we watch the football together on the TV. I go for St Kilda. I love to kick the football.

Cerebral Palsy!

My name is Melinda. I was born with Cerebral Palsy. My brain was damaged in my Mum's tummy before I was born or during my birth. Cerebral Palsy has affected the hole of my body movement. Sometimes Cerebral Palsy can only affect part of people's body such as their legs or one side of the body. Cerebral Palsy is a physical disability that affects movement and posture. There are a couple of different type of Cerebral Palsy. Each type of Cerebral Palsy has a special name. I can't control my body movements at all. I use a wheelchair to get around because I can't walk. I can't talk. I communicate with family and friends through a computer by using a head switch to operate the computer. I can understand everything that is going on around me. I live with my Mum, Dad along with two older brother called Marty and Leopard. My brothers like to help me out with feeding me tea, playing games and talking to me. My best friend is called Sally at school. She like to push my wheelchair. I love to listen music.


My name is Matthew. I have Autism. I was diagnosed with Autism in my early childhood. I have trouble with communication, making friends and showing my emotions. I am slow with learning how to talk. I have to speech therapy to help me. I have an iPad with a communication program that I can use to talk to family and friends. I don't really like using my iPad to talk through, but I love playing games on it instead. I like to do the same thing over and over again like turning off and on the light. I like having my sandwiches perfectly square or I can't eat them. I hate loud noises. I don't like going out into big crowds or having haircuts at the hairdressers. My Mum usually cuts my hair while I am sleeping. I get scared. Mum is helping me to get used to these things by taking me out for a small amount of time every week in my stroller. I can walk. I feel safe in my stroller, so I can't run away from Mum. I am very smart, but I can't always show people how I feel and I get frustrated. I learn in a different way at school to other students. I need to have everything set out in a routine to stop me from stressing out. I hate change in my routine, it upsets me. A routine is where people do things at the same time every day. I am very artistic and I can draw for hours on end. I live with Mum, Dad, an older brother called Jack along with younger twin sisters called Tracey and Amanda. Amanda has Autism as well. I don't have a best friend. I like to be on my own for most of the time. I love to swim at the beach.


My name is Sarah. I am blind. I can't recognise the detail of objects through my eyes. Sometimes I do see some colours or shapes, but they are not related to anything that is happening around me. I feel things with my hands to recognise what different objects are and to tell where the door handles, light switches or furniture are. I have learnt to pay extra attention to sounds and noises that people who have full vision wouldn't necessary pick up on with their hearing. I use smell to identify things such as different foods, flowers, soaps, deodorants and things that might be old or new. I have been taught to recognise the different surfaces like grass, footpaths, hallways, driveways and carpet by the sounds they make when I walk on or how those surfaces feel under my feet. I can tell where I am in particular places by counting doors in hallways and driveways. I use the wall in places to guide me. I listen out for the air conditioner and feel for the carpet or the wooden floors to get to different rooms. I can read braille books with my fingertips. Braille is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. I also listen to books of CD's. I also listen to electronic books that my iPad reads aloud to me. I enjoy listening to TV shows. I can use a computer that reads out what I have typed back to me because I can't see what I have typed. The information on the computer screen can be translated into braille for me. I will get a Guide Dog, when I am old enough to have one. My dog will be trained to help me out. My dog will be able to help me to recognise things like stairs, curbs and holes. She/he also will be able to keep me company and become good friends. I live with my Dad because Mum died when I was 3. Dad and I look after each other. I like to go to country music concerts.


My name is Mitch. I am Deaf. I can hear some noise but I can't really make out what the noises are. I need to have some help to hear more noises because I have a cochlear implant. When I wear my cochlear implant, I can hear quite a lot of different sounds and noise. I like to communicate through sign language called Ausland. I am learning how to lip read, but it is hard because there are some words that look the same when people say those particular words. I can talk to people by using my voice but it may sound funny to other people. I don't know what my voice sounds is like, because I can't hear myself talk. I work with a speech therapist to improve my speech, so people can understand me better. I still can do anything that other kids can hear can do, but I do very little of everything without hearing. I feel the vibrations of music through the different speed and beats. I have an interpreter in my class to translate what the teacher is saying in Ausland back to me because my hearing is not the best when people are talking quickly. I am very noisy because I can't hear myself. I live with Mum and Dad. I have 5 brothers. I am the youngest out of my brothers and I am the only one who is deaf in the family. Everyone in my family talks to me through sign language so that I don’t get confused with trying to read their lips. I love to read books. I enjoy reading adventure books.


My name is Jade. I have Epilepsy. I have seizures that can happen any time of the day or night. A seizure is be also called a fit by some people. A seizure happens in my brain. It is like a short circuit in my brain. There is a period of time where I am not aware of what is going on around me. I could be staring into space for a while and I don't know that I am doing. I don't answer people because I am not aware of them talking to me. I may fall over and start shaking, I can't help the shaking. I could become very sleepy as well. I take medicine or tablets to try control my seizures. The doctor needs to watch how many seizures I have because the doctor might need to give me more medicine or tablets. I can have a seizure, when I feel tired, upset or I have been very busy for a long time. Please get the teacher, my Mum or Dad to come if you think that I am having a seizure because they will be able to help me. It would be a great help if you move anything like chairs or tables away from me, so I can't hurt myself on them. I am like a normal kid, I am able to take part in the same activities as all kids. It is just a good idea to take an adult to the pool or the beach when I go swimming, in case I have a seizure in the water. I live on a farm with my Mum and Dad. I have 2 brothers and 1 step sister that are older than me. We have to help Mum and Dad out with feeding the cows, horses, pigs and chickens. My best friend at school is called Hugh. I like to play computer games at night time.

Spina Bifida!

My name is Michelle. I was born with Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida happened while I was in my Mum's tummy before I was born. My spinal cord didn't develop properly in Mum's tummy. Everyone has a spinal cord. The spinal cord has lots of nerves. The nerves helps people to feel or control their legs, arms and chest. I had a hole at the bottom of my back near my bottom. The doctors have to do an operation to fix the hole in my back. My spinal cord got damaged. I can't feel or move my legs very well. I am not able to tell when I need to go to the toilet because I feel when I need to go. I need help with going to the toilet. I might be in hospital a lot of the time because I am sick or needing to have operations. I also have some learning difficulties that I need extra help at school. I have a wheelchair I use to get around in. Sometimes I use a walker or sticks to walk short distances. I live with Dad. I spend lots of time with my Nan and Pop because Dad is busy with work. I have my best friend who lives next door to me. We play together after school and at the weekends. My best friend's name is Annabelle and she helps me with school work. I like to play wheelchair basketball.

Born Without Any Legs!

My name is Taylor. I was born without any legs. My legs didn't grow in my Mum's tummy before I was born. The doctors don't know why my legs didn't grow before I was born. I can do so many things without legs. Having no legs will not stop me from doing things in my life like getting a job, getting married and having children. I might even go around the world. A powered wheelchair or a skateboard helps me to get around the place fast. I walk on my hands. I live with my Mum and Stepfather. I don't have any brothers or sisters. I love play with my cousins on the weekends. I love doing English at school. I like to skateboard along the footpath beside the beach.

Acquired Brain Injury!

My name is Molly. I had a push bike accident that caused an acquired brain injury. An acquired brain injury means that I was born without a disability and lived a normal life until I had my push bike accident. My body worked just fine. I could play, walk, talk and feed myself just like other kids. My brain got damaged in my accident because I hit the road extremely hard with my head. I wasn't wearing my helmet to protect my head. I was very sick. I was taken to hospital, so the doctors and nurses could look after my brain and try to make my brain better. I stayed in hospital lots of months. I started having therapy each day in the hospital. Therapy is where I work on their walking, talking, dressing, and feeding myself. Some people's brains only get better a little bit after their accident sometimes. My brain only has gotten better a small amount. I will have a disability forever. My speech is slower than what it was. I am still having speech therapy to help me to talk better. I do speech activities with a speech therapist. I can't walk by myself. I need a powered wheelchair to move around and someone to care for me now. I live with my Dad and Mum along my 2 brothers. I have a little dog called Molly. Dad made a trailer for Molly that hooks onto the back of my wheelchair. I like to take my puppy dog for rides.

Spinal Cord Injury!

My name is Sam. I dived into the pool head first. My head hit the bottom of the pool and caused a spinal cord injury. I was born without a disability and lived a normal life until I had my swimming pool accident. Everyone has a spinal cord. The spinal cord has lots of nerves. The nerves helps people to feel or control their legs, arms and chest. I was taken to hospital after my accident, so the doctors and nurses could look after my spinal cord and try to make my spinal cord better. I stayed in hospital for a lot of months. I started having therapy each day in the hospital. Therapy is where I work on my walking, sitting, dressing, and feeding myself. Some people's spinal cord only get better a little bit after their accident sometimes. My spinal cord only has gotten better a small amount. I still have a lot of hard work to do to try to get more feeling and movement in my legs and arms. I will have a disability forever. I have trouble with telling my arms and legs to work now because of my spinal cord was injured. The messages that I send from my brain to my arms and legs don't work anymore. I can't move my arms and legs or feel anyone touching them. My arms and legs are cold most of the time, but I don't realise because I have no feeling in them. I need help with going to the toilet. I drive an electronic wheelchair with my chin to get around. I operate my computer with my eyes. I need to someone to care for me now to do everything for me. I can't do anything for myself. I live in my own home with Mum. I have people come in to care for me day and night because it is too hard for Mum looking after on her own. I like to talk to my school mates.

People Who Don't Necessary Have A Disability!

There are some people who might talk, walk or behave a bit different to other people, but they don't necessary have a disability as such. They might not be told by the doctors that they have a disability because they get better with their talking or walking as they grow older. The doctors might think that someone might have a disability when they are older in their childhood because of the way the child is walking, talking or behaving. Sometimes those people might go to have some speech therapy or physio therapy to help them with their walking and talking. There are people with feelings the same as other people. These kind of people and people with disabilities can't help the way that they are. Everyone is different with their own personality. People should be kind to everyone and treat everyone like people want to be treated. It doesn't matter if someone who might talk, walk or behave a bit different to other people, they can be good friends to people.

Can people with disabilities enjoy life like everyone else? People with disabilities are able to get lots of enjoyment out of life like everyone else without disabilities. There are lots of people who can lead wonderful lives with heaps of fulfilment. There are some people with disabilities that are married, have children and go to work every day around Australia. Some people with disabilities have achieved lots of extraordinary achievements in their lives that people without a disability are not able to achieve. Sometimes doing activities or things may take longer for people with disabilities to do them. Some people with disabilities might need to do some of the activities differently to other people, such as paint holding a paint brush in their mouth or operate a computer with their eyes. People should encourage everyone with a disability to have a go at something new and help them to achieve these things. It doesn't matter about how small or big the achievement is. It might be a simple thing like catching a ball or writing their name. People with disabilities can teach people so much and be inspiring to many individuals.

How do people treat people with disabilities? People with disabilities are no different to people without disabilities when it comes emotions. They have the same feelings such as sad, happy, mad, frustrated and upset as everyone else. Most people with a disability have a sense of humour and like to have a laugh with their friends. They can make good friends, give support and love people. There are a lot of people with disabilities who are bullied around Australia because of their disabilities and being different due to the lack of understanding from people without disabilities. This is not very fair because people with disabilities can't help who they are. Stop the bullying and be more understanding of the feelings of people who has a disability. Treat people with disabilities just like everyone else with love and respect.

Meeting A Person With A Disability For The First Time!

There are many school friends of children who could have brothers and sisters with disabilities, but they might go a different school to get special help. The brothers or sisters with disabilities might be older or younger and live at home with their family. The family has decided to look after the brother or sister with a disability at home. Some of the brother or sisters with no disability will have some of their school friends sleep overs or come to play with them at their houses and meet their friend's brother or sister with a disability for the first time. The school friend might feel nervous, sad, scared or frighten because they might not seen a person with a disability before. They could be wondering what has happened to their friend's brother or sister with a disability. They could be wondering why their friend's Mum or Dad are helping the brother or sister with a disability to eat, drink, go to the toilet, have a bath and get dressed. It is a great idea for their friend to talk to them about their brother or sister with a disability and tell about what kind of disability that their brother or sister have. This will help the school friend to feel more comfortable around the brother or sister with a disability. It is important for school friends to just be themselves around the brother or sister with a disability and talk to them like any other people with no disability. The school friends could make friends with the brother or sister with a disability.

About the Author! My name is Janelle McMillan. I am an artist in Hobart who has used my computer to create a number of bright, colourful, fun and unique artworks over the years.

I have a physical disability called Cerebral Palsy which causes my body movements to be uncontrolled. I am in a wheelchair and I am also non verbal. Technology has allowed me to operate a computer system that is tailored to my needs.

I decided to create this book to assist children in the 5-10 age group to give an insight into what a disability is, to try and break some of the misconceptions and barriers about people with disabilities. I hope that my book will help prevent bullying of children with disabilities in schools.

All of the illustrations in this book have been illustrated by me.

This book has been created for children in the 5-10 age group to get an insight into what a disability is, to try and break some of the misconceptions and barriers about people with disabilities. I hope that my book will help to prevent bullying of children with disabilities in schools. The book talks about what is a disability, a range of different kind of disabilities and the way to treat people with disabilities.

Children's Disability Awareness Book For 5-10 Age Group  
Children's Disability Awareness Book For 5-10 Age Group  

This book has been created for children in the 5-10 age group to get an insight into what a disability is, to try and break some of the misc...