The simple gift of a trampoline has brought a new bounce to Harrison and his family. At age two, it started to become apparent to Harrison's parents that something wasn't quite right. His repetitive behaviours and agonizing meltdowns were increasing, but it wasn't until he was five years old that doctors finally diagnosed Harrison with Autism.
Being a lifelong developmental condition that affects how a child relates to the environment, Harrison's family provides unconditional love and support through the day-to-day hurdles. But the biggest challenges he faces are socially. "We can't go to a lot of activities because Harrison doesn't cope with noisy and unpredictable places," his mum Kyla says. "He has a lot of trouble making friends and doesn't get invited to [play dates] and birthday parties very often," she explains. Even when his sisters have friends over, it distresses him knowing that he doesn't have the same interaction with kids his own age.
As Harrison and his family are originally from New Zealand, they are not eligible for any funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia, which is difficult even at the best of times. As it's essential for his development to receive help from psychologists and speech therapists, his condition will always place a heavy financial strain on the family.
So when ToyBox granted Harrison a spring-free trampoline, it provided much more than just entertainment for a young boy who loves AFL and racecars. Engaging in high-energy activities helps kids like Harrison stay on task and focus longer. It's given Harrison a place to unwind after school, rewards him with some independence, and helps with his physical activity. "It means we get to have a break and [it] can often calm Harrison down," Kyla says. All Harrison's family want is for him to have as normal a life as possible. In the future, the thought of him getting a job and having a family of his own brings a lot of joy and hope. With support from charities like ToyBox and Autism WA, it makes the journey for Harrison and his family over the next couple of years a little calmer.