We’re Showing Our Disabled Daughter The World!

Fiona Russo by Fiona Russo Additional Needs

Fiona Russo

Fiona Russo

I'm a busy mother of four, wife of one, and doctoral candidate to my ever-patient university colleagues. My passions in life are many, but there ar...

We’re lucky enough to have mountains, rainforest, beaches, caves, and urban treks right on our doorstep.

Before the little girls were born (they’re only eighteen months apart), we used to take bushwalks to waterfalls, or spend long energetic days at the beach.

These activities slowed a bit when the girls were little, but we always assumed that we’d be back to it once their little legs caught up.

Charlie’s Rett diagnosis brought with it a whole new set of expectations, but we’re determined that it won’t limit her – or us – wherever possible.

We often drive up to Mount Tamborine and wander along the Gallery Walk.

Sampling fudge and sipping coffees and hot chocolates in little cafes during winter, and licking ice cream and enjoying the lower temperatures of the rainforest during the long, hot summer.

The brilliant Upsee has helped us to include Charlie in these adventures.

Even with its help the longer walks to the falls have been beyond her reach.

Last week, we bought a second-hand hiking pack.

The family we bought it from assured us that they had traversed the Japanese mountains with their six-year-old daughter on their backs (obviously far more serious about their hiking than us).

Charlie is not yet five, and a good eight kilos lighter than their daughter had been at the time, so how hard could it be?

We paid their very reasonable asking price, got a quick lesson is how to fasten all the buckles and straps, and off we went.

The following day, we drove to Tamborine.  The whole family was in attendance, and Curtis Falls our destination.

Curtis Falls is a short two-kilometre round trip from the road – perfect for our first time out - and the rambler is rewarded by lush rainforest and an eventual endpoint of a clean,

clear pool fed by a fresh and beautiful waterfall.

It was a mild summer’s day with a light drizzle in the air, and we covered ourselves in insect repellent (along with sunscreen, this is the ubiquitous scent of Australia), strapped Charlie in and set off.


Charlie was incredibly happy, chatting and squealing and giggling her way through the forest.

We took about a thousand photos to mark the occasion, and will definitely be out there again soon.

It’s so important to us that Charlie is able to see and experience as much of what the world has to offer as humanly (and financially) possible.

I suspect we have a window of perhaps two years before we can’t carry her on our backs any longer, so we’d better make the most of it now!


Other Articles You Might Enjoy ...

No results found