Storm Robbins

My name is Storm Robbins and I have a mission to change people’s attitudes and perceptions of what a disability looks and feels like.

I was born in Thailand in the year 1990 with Cerebral Palsy. At two and a half, my parents decided to move to Australia in order to have access to better health services and support for the latter. In Australia, I had 8 operations at the Royal Children Hospital and later became an ambassador for them.

I attended mainstream schooling where I was often picked on by other students for being different. But I had a fighting spirit and decided to stand up for my rights. I eventually became the school captain of both my primary and high school and won the most modest student award in my final year of high school.

I have a Diploma of Community development from RMIT.  My career goals include counselling, social work or working as a disability advocate and I get the opportunity to see how disability advocacy works whilst volunteering at Annecto and Speakers Bank. I need to strengthen my social network, I need to feel more included and that’s with the activities that I do. I need to get on the NDIS and that is a process I am currently doing and I’m nearly there. I want to try to learn some more life skills for example, money, shopping, how to pay bills. I’m working toward a goal of independent living, as much as I love my mum, dad and sister if I don’t have that independent living they’re not going to be there, and I need to learn before things get really bad. It’s a slow process but a worthwhile process.

My motto ‘Train hard and don’t lose sight of your goals’ has helped me to achieve. I won a Merlyn Myer Youth Award for leadership skills in 2008, won the Wyndham Mayoral Youth award in 2009 for Community Service, Volunteering and Leadership skills; and have won several awards for my public speaking skills from Toastmasters.

I recently went to Japan and that was a lovely time. I learnt a lot about culture and how to live life the right way. I took a lot of things out of that for example, respect is very important. It’s an important attribute that you must have in life and this was amplified because you see everybody on the street and they’re not arguing, they’re working together, they’re saying hello. How they live their lives and their diets was very eye opening. Japan is very small and very clean but not very disability friendly, so you have to bring your wheelchair and access things as best you can. The transport system is good but if you’re not a native speaker it can be very difficult for example, if I wanted to go on a train I would have to tell the train conductor beforehand, so I could get there but if you don’t do that then you’re stuck.

I like going to the movies, my favourite movie is Spiderman and funny fact is I hate spiders. I like Anime which is animation cartoons and reading. I like to read fantasy novels about dragons and stuff like that.

My mission in life is to educate people who have little knowledge on what a disability is and for people to be better educated at the end of it. I do this by giving out presentations from my own personal life and adding my own personal experiences to what my disability was when I was growing up. I want to help the community realise that a person with a disability is no different and they need to be respected and valued like any other individual in the community.

For more information about Storm please contact Speakers Bank’s Project Officer on 03 9314 0988 or speakersbank@annecto.org.au

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