Anastaysia Skiba is a vibrant sixteen year old girl originally from Uzbekistan, now living in Adelaide with her mother Tatyana. Anastaysia wouldn’t be where she is today without the help and support of Can:Do 4Kids.
Moving to Australia from Uzbekistan seven years ago, mother Tatyana had no idea what support would be available for Anastaysia.
“In Russia there were no support services available, you enrolled your child in school and that’s it, so I did not expect there to be any help when we got to Australia.
In Russia children start primary school from seven and this is when Anastasia attended school for the first time. Anastaysia attended the Bilingual Boarding School for the Deaf – the only Deaf school in Russia at the time where sign language had equal status with written or spoken language.
Anastasia was bullied – the boys and girls would physically fight all the time. One particular time I received a phone call telling me Anastaysia had gotten a black eye. It was not the best environment, but this was the only Bilingual School, there were no other options.
After I married we set to move to Australia. I was nervous about how Anastaysia would cope at school as she had only ever known the boarding school environment.
From the very first day at the Centre for Hearing Impaired at Brighton Primary School, it was like I had a different child. The class numbers were much smaller and Anastaysia was introduced to Tracey from Can:Do 4Kids. I was thankful that Can:Do 4Kids found us and offered Anastaysia and myself support transitioning into our new lifestyle.
Tracey worked one on one with Anastaysia, ensuring she felt supported and did not fall behind in her first year of school. Tracy also helped Anastaysia with many social aspects of school that she was not accustomed to – simple things like how to get a teachers attention in class were different to the boarding school.
When Anastaysia was ready to start High School, the choice of Adelaide High was simple –they have a Centre for Hearing Impaired and encourage students to develop a positive self-concept and approach to their impairment, and of course Can:Do 4Kids was there when we needed them.
“At school everyone is treated the same whether they can hear or not – it’s great! Sometimes it is frustrating when other students are talking and I am trying to get the teachers attention, waving my hands about, but that’s ok – I feel comfortable seeing the teacher after class” says Anastaysia.
Currently Can:Do 4Kids Pathways Consultant Chelsea meets with Anastaysia every Thursday. Chelsea works in collaboration with teachers and Anastasysia’s family to achieve different goals, needs and wants. Currently Chelsea meets Anastaysia at her home and catches the bus with her to school – a process that many of us think is easy, but with Auslan as her first language it can be overwhelming. Anastaysia says “I am not ready to catch it alone yet, maybe soon though. I still feel a bit self-conscious using Auslan out of school because people sometimes stare”. With the support of Can:Do4Kids, Anastaysia will gain more confidence over time.
Anastaysia is like most sixteen year old girls; she enjoys dancing, spending time with friends and does not like helping with the housework! Her mother is adamant that she would not have the confidence to get the most out of life and achieve what she has academically or socially without the support services from Can:Do 4Kids.
After high school Anastaysia hopes to go onto study at TAFE. She hasn’t yet decided what yet “maybe hairdressing or cooking, most definitely something practical, I love meeting new people and making new friends”.
Whatever she chooses, we’re sure that Anastaysia has a bright future ahead of her.