“Our disability will never define our ability.”

Hi, my name is Keeley and I recently turned 18. I spent years lost in the education system. You see, I am a woman living with Autism and an intellectual disability, and many people don’t understand that girls [especially] can be misdiagnosed because we are able to mask our symptoms. Once diagnosed, my life changed [for the better]. It hasn’t been without its challenges but ever since I was 13, I have made it my mission to spread awareness.

I turned my vision into a reality by creating the charity, Keeley’s Cause. I am the founder, but I also spend my days working at my regular job, completing my education and raising awareness and funds for children living with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities.

Keeley’s Cause use the funds raised to purchase iPads for children diagnosed with Autism or an intellectual disability who are lost in the education system. We donate these iPads to their forever homes/recipients.

It is my goal to make sure that no child is left behind and that we all have a chance to learn.

“If I’m given work on paper, I get overwhelmed. Put that same test on an iPad I get them all right. Go figure!”

Anyway, my mum asked the school if I could have an iPad held by the school to use permanently, but there wasn’t enough to use as other kids in the school needed access to them also so my mother tried to get funding for one and that failed too.

Not only did that fail so did I, by the school system, you see this meant I wasn’t learning properly, doing my work etc, so when mum decided to home-school me she also decided to get a cognitive report done to see where my strengths and weaknesses were to best suit my learning program she would design for my home-schooling.

The school had passed me off as Year 7 ready and Grade 6 for Maths. The cognitive report however told another story, one that made sense to everything that was going on for me. I was diagnosed with an intellectual disability with a score under the 70 mark which requires me to have a full-time aid.

The only wrong thing was that instead of the school designing a program to suit my learning needs I was simply pushed through the system, even when my mum had requested such testing in school and told that I wouldn’t meet criteria for a fulltime aid and I’d have to just tap in on the aide that’s currently in the room. That is what’s lead me to start Keeley’s Cause.

“The school passed me as Year 7 ready and Grade 6 for Maths. An independent report told another story.”

I don’t want another child with additional needs just being pushed through the system because we are too much work. I don’t want another child not having the use of an iPad permanently for use in Primary School for learning and communicating.

I don’t want another child to struggle and get to where I am and now not even be able to attend high school because I now no longer meet the entry requirement as I am now assessed properly at only a grade 4 level.

You’ll be happy to know I’m now attending Melton Specialist School, Victoria. With a program designed to fit the way I learn.

I pledge to raise funds and awareness to support Keeley’s Cause by giving children in need an iPad for full-time use within schools, and at home.

NDIS will fund the apps in your plan to access the Autism Programs from Apple.

Every child, regardless of their disability, deserves and has a right to a proper education. Had my mum not decided to home-school me and have me tested, we would never have known, and I would have just been pushed through the school system and failed academically every time.

I’m here to say we are not just good academically. We are good at life skills and so much more beyond our disability, and “our disability should never define our ability”.

So, I present to you: Keeley’s Cause.