A Few Thoughts...

Matt Laffan
Sydney, Australia


I just stumbled across your web site page from my home in Sydney, Australia.  I thought perhaps a few thoughts from this far away city might make a difference for a few of the Mums and Dads and kids.

I myself have DD and I am 28 years of age.  I was fortunate to be blessed with two wonderful parents who ensured that their lad got what opportunities he needed to forge his way through life.  It so happened that the journey never seemed to be that hard to me, despite the comments that others made at times, which were along the lines that I was doing remarkably well despite it all.

Despite what, I used wonder?

At the age of 10 my scoliosis/kyphosis problem became very serious indeed.  Unfortunately my treating doctor of the day had failed to address my needs with any real professionalism and the spine reached a stage of acute concern.  Eventually a doctor was found who performed the necessary operation, however, paraplegia was the inevitable result.  Something that causes obvious mobility difficulties.  But such is life.

I grew up on the Far North Coast of Australia in a coastal town called Coffs Harbour.  It was a fabulous place to grow up as a kid.  The summers were hot and the winters never too cold.  Throughout that time I had a normal education, whatever the term 'normal' means, as I attended the co-educational local Catholic primary and high schools.  I then attended the government State run high school for my final two years.

I was fortunate enough to find my way into the University of Sydney after High School and wander off for my great adventure in Sydney.  At University I resided on the university campus at one of the Colleges, St John's College.  It was a turning point in my life.

I attained my Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees there and now I work for the State Prosecutor (a lot like your DA, but fortunately we don't have the Kenneth Starr portfolios).

Here in Sydney I appear regularly in our various courts, carrying out a number of advocacy roles.  I am currently instructing in a murder trial for the next few weeks.

I live in a three bedroom/three bathroom apartment which I rent with two terrific flatmates (one is a lawyer and the other an engineer).

I mention all this, not as a breast beating exercise but simply to illustrate that even down here in this neck of the woods there are people with DD and yes I am fortunate to be achieving a comfortable and rewarding life.  I regard this message to you as simply being a little note in a bottle sent forth to the young 'uns coming on and their mums and dads as a means of saying hang in there and work at it.

Since first I took those short, sharp breaths that came with my birth, to now, my journey has been an interesting one.  It is has had challenges and rewards.  There has been some discomfort, there have been occasions for reflection as I wonder what it is that is expected of me and where it is I am supposed to go, and of course there have been loves lost and loves desired and all that flows from them. But really life has been very special.

When I clicked through your title page of our favourite people what struck me were the kids.  Their smiles and their eyes, no none of the pain of adulthood, a pain common to any adult no matter what her stature, and it is that deep sparkle that must be retained by the young 'un if they are to reach their great heights in life:  in work, in love, in time.

I wish all of you well.  I don't belong to any DD groups and actually I don't want to. I just go about my thing.  But I hope this message from the antipodes at least gives some Mums and Dads that extra kick a long to know it is going to be alright.


Matt Laffan
Sydney, Australia


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