Autism won't stop young sprint and discus champion
A GIRL from Lismore who was diagnosed with an intellectual disability last year is fundraising to compete in the national para-athlete championships held in Canberra next month.
Caitlin Bargwanna from Lismore Heights Public School competed at a state level earlier this year and qualified to take the 200m sprint and discus to the next level.
Family with autism
Caitlin is sister to three older brothers who all have autism.
Her mother Kerry Delaney said sport has helped Caitlin find her feet.
"She's loving it, she's really enjoying it ... I'm very proud," she said.
"The sport is a real self-esteem raiser for her.
"She's being a role model for other kids, not just with disabilities but younger kids who doubt themselves," Ms Delaney said.
Moved from remote area
Ms Delaney and her four children moved to Lismore from Mungindi, inland on the border between NSW and QLD, in 2013 after two of her sons were diagnosed with autism.
"We needed access to more services, the doctors, the support groups out there," she said.
"Being a remote area we weren't getting a lot."
Ms Delaney raised the money to pay for the team levy, but is hoping to recover some of the costs through fundraising site gofundme.com/hm6k8ar5.
"We hope to use that to pay for travel and accommodation in Canberra," she said.
Ms Delaney said her family was like any other, in that "we all have our ups and downs".
Struggles the same
"How hard the struggles are will probably be the same as anyone else, but on a different scope," she said.
"My son has to wipe dishes 20 times before he considers it dry and he now has to have toast a certain colour brown otherwise it goes in the bin.
"We have our moments but what parent doesn't," she said.
"A teenager is a teenager, they hide dirty clothes under the bed, they growl and they grunt and they groan when you ask them to do chores, it's no different."
Ms Delaney and Caitlin will be raising money through Lismore Heights Public School at Bunnings Warehouse on November 28.
The National Track and Field Championships will be held in early December.