A young boy has been praised online after a heartwarming photo of him helping his father give skin to skin contact to his premature twin siblings went viral. Love this! (Credit: Facebook/NINO Birth) #9Today
PEACOCK SPIDERS! Just when you thought there was already enough creepy crawlies in the world to freak you out, along comes these stunning spiders. An Australian scientist has discovered seven new species of the multi-coloured arachnid - who are known to lurk in scrub and bushland in southern parts of Australia. http://trib.al/qLWSmSi (Via courtesy Jurgen Otto. Watch more here: http://bit.ly/1Pe14gr)
Taylor Anderton and Michael Cox, who were both born with Down syndrome, have known each other for six years and been a serious couple since last year. When Michael partnered Taylor at the 16th Gold Coast Debutante Ball for Disability, they had already decided they will spend the rest of their lives together.
When she first boarded Flight JQ527 from Sydney to Melbourne three weeks ago, Sophie Murphy felt an "awful tension" in the cabin. It was 10pm on a Sunday and 180 tired, grumpy strangers were sniping and squabbling over luggage space inside the A320 Airbus. A cabin announcement, mindful of the mood, implored the passengers to "be nice" to one another.
That's when Murphy spotted the teenage boy.
"He was perhaps 14 and had Down syndrome," she says, sitting at home in Ashburton. "He walked onboard and he was just smiling and joyful. But he was the only one."
The short journey after that was largely uneventful, until the cabin crew announced that they could not land. The equipment was fine. The weather was clear. So was the runway ... but someone would not get into their seat.
"If it was a cartoon," says Murphy, "there would have been smoke coming out of people's ears."
They circled the night sky above Tullamarine, banking and waiting, running low on fuel. Cabin manager John Chesson, 45, says this is when things got stressful.
The problem was the little boy. He felt sick. He was laying on the floor and would not get up, not even with the help of his elderly parents or adult brother and sister.
Chesson has dealt with disruption before. He has kicked people off planes before takeoff because of drunkenness, or racial abuse, but problems in the air are different. They call for doctors in cases of emergency, he thought. This seems like an emergency.
So he made a request over the loud speaker: "Is there a teacher on board this flight? Is there a special needs teacher on board?"
There was. Murphy, 42, is a teacher of two decades experience, now lecturing and completing a PhD at the University of Melbourne.
"Teachers get such a bad rap," she says. "I was proud to go back there, knowing I could help. This is what every single teacher does, every single day."
She found the boy in the aisle, sprawled on his belly. She met the family, then lay down on her stomach to face him. "We didn't talk about the plane, or being on the floor," she says. "It was just teacher mode, teacher talk, teacher voice."
She asked his name. Shamran.
She asked where he was from. New Zealand. (He had come from there that day.)
She asked his favourite book. Winnie the Pooh.
He felt sad and itchy, he said, so she held his hand and they talked about Piglet and Eeyore, and SpongeBob SquarePants, too.
Eventually they sat together. His parents cried and nodded "Thank you."
Murphy asked for sick bags then held them – one after another and another – while he vomited, including on her. "It's OK," she said. "I'm your friend. We're OK. We're going to do this together."
She asked for something to clean up. Tissues and wipes were offered from a dozen hands. The rosiness came back into his face. He grabbed his sister's long hair and sniffed it. They looked through the window at the Melbourne lights, and he pointed out his favourite colours.
After taxiing to the gate, the seatbelt sign dinged and no one moved – no impatient stampede to get off and get home. The passengers let them walk down the aisle first, quietly clapping and smiling as they disembarked.
Later, a young woman approached Murphy. She said she was sitting one row back throughout the ordeal, with her husband, a doctor. "But he didn't know what to do. Apparently he actually sat watching, taking notes," says Murphy. "Parents always tell teachers about the impact they have on their child, but the acknowledgement is rarely public. I just want people to know that all teachers have these amazing, incredible skills that can be called on in many settings at any time. Teachers rock."
Story written by Konrad Marshall | Photo: Paul Jeffers
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"Two months ago was the first time I cried during parent/teacher conferences. A mom of a student who I have taught for two years showed up at my table with a list of her daughter’s teachers. Each one had “yes” or “no” written next to it. My name had a “yes” next to it, so she proceeded to explain to me the reason for her daughter’s extended absence. Her daughter- a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman- not only planned to commit suicide, but was in the act of doing so when the police got a Safe 2 Tell report, broke in, and stopped her. She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world. As her mom sat across from me, we both had tears streaming down our faces. Feeling helpless, I asked if I could write my student a letter to be delivered to her at the hospital; she said her daughter would love that. My student got the letter; her mom said that her daughter cried, turned to her mom and said, 'How could somebody say such nice things about me? I didn’t think anybody would miss me if I was gone.' It made me realize that I was way too close to losing another student to suicide. I spent the next 2 months writing cards to every one of my students- over 100 of them- telling each one what is special and unique about them. Suicide is growing to be more and more common, and I can’t help but to think that it’s a direct result of the pressure we put on these kids- to be successful, to fit in, to be the best in their class/sport/etc. We need to remember that each human being is unique, and that is what makes them special. Instead of trying to change it, we need to embrace it, because together, we can make a difference, and we can save lives!"