Sincere Congratulations to Margaret Cole, original founder of Kalparrin and recent recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Health Sciences from Edith Cowan University.
The Doctorate was awarded, most deservedly, after a lifetime of commitment to supporting families caring for children with disability and additional needs.
You can read Dr Cole’s Award Citation here or take a look at Margaret’s comments about Kalparrin Mothers who she credits as a source of inspiration and who have “enriched her life immeasurably by their generosity, resilience and courage.”
Thank you Margaret and our love and thanks for blazing a trail on behalf of families raising children with disability and additional needs and for all that Kalparrin has become over the last 30-plus years.
“I would like this award to especially recognise and celebrate the families mentioned in the citation. This is no small group. Kalparrin alone has over 12000 member families and recent health department figures suggest that at least 9% of children under 15 in Western Australia have a disability, long-term illness or pain that puts a burden on the family. This could be 40,000 families and in 73% of cases the primary care-giver is the mother. You do not hear much from or about these exceptional women probably because they are too busy to post photos of their dinner on Instagram.
Having a child with a disability is not a choice but it IS a life-changing event.
I have watched as these women, out of necessity and commitment develop doctoral level core skills to support their children.
They demonstrate expertise in research, communication, leadership, project management, critical thinking, collaboration, and conflict resolution. Yet despite their constant challenges they give warmth, humour, sensitivity and support to others.
And they do all this while enduring ableism and invisibility. One mother, who had been born and lived all her life in Subiaco was known only as that lady with that boy after the birth of her intellectually disabled son. It is really sad that in 2020 we are still a society that struggles with acceptance and inclusion.
My admiration and respect for these women, who just get on with it, knows no bounds. It is indeed true that my life has been enriched immeasurably by their generosity, resilience and courage.”