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Bedford Whyalla client and poet, Dwayne hopes his work can inspire others to celebrate and recognise disability as 'a gift'.

Dwayne was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at an early age. When he was 17, he was hit by a car while riding his bike and acquired a brain injury. This unfortunately exacerbated his condition, affected his mental health and ability to work in open employment.

Dwayne expresses himself through his poetry, painting and playing music.

“It started off as an outlet to express how I really felt because I just didn’t feel like there was anyone who could understand me," he says.

"Since high school I’ve been writing and creating, and I’ve never looked back. I’d love to share what I call my gift around the world. I hope that people can be inspired by my work."

His poem ‘The Gift’ emphasises the importance of inclusivity and the acceptance and support he’s found at Bedford.

Behind a disability there’s a person with a care, think not of it as weakness as but a gift to grow and share.

We each battle our own self battle with scars too deep to see, though medicine like kindness and compassion, are often best to remedy.

We are all alike in many ways but difference is the key, mental physical or otherwise we aren’t all people see.

We follow our paths through life’s great mystery, in each of us unique and special person a disability.

Although correctly put ‘differently able’ sounds much better to me.

Some may laugh, some may cry, when they bare all they are, there is nothing more sublime, the strength of their heart even yours or mine is a treasure and gift awaiting its big chance to rise and shine and change the world one moment at a time,

to be put down, to be left out, now that I consider a crime, to be put to shame or made to feel blame for the way that one was born, can do more harm with much less or remorse than a bullet, quick and swift.

But for those who spill hate are far too late for their game is already lost, strength in showing character and happiness is best of all to win.

Day Options was and is the first of many to help great people shine, always remember and be proud there is only one of you, so hold your head up with pride, because like the earth, both special and filled with wonder, you are the only one of a kind.

Having a space at Bedford to take a break and revive his creativity is incredibly important for Dwayne. Fortunately, Bedford Whyalla's sensory room is perfect.

“For people with a heavy sensory disability, or as I call them, gifts of sorts, spaces like this are hugely beneficial. They give us a safe haven. It’s nice to come to work or Day Options just knowing that this space is available and here if I need it. It’s a massive comfort," he says.

While Bedford offers a sensory room at Whyalla and Panorama sites, we have a vision and commitment to create these respite spaces at all Bedford sites.

This is a significant and important project for Bedford and our clients, but with whole fit outs required to accommodate specialised equipment, this vital exercise is costly .

“It’s so important to have this space available and I hope everyone at each Bedford site gets the chance to experience it."

To make this happen, we need your help!

Click here to learn more about the project and make a contribution.