Before coming to the Sydney Story Factory, Ricky had never written a story. He is a conscientious student who wants to do well at school but this was the first time he had ever delved into his own imagination to see what he might find.
Ricky, aged 10, has speech development delays and autism. Though his family speaks English at home, his Chinese Mum Joanna speaks English as a second language and isn’t always confident in her speech. This term Ricky has been working with storyteller Craig in individual weekly tutorials as part of our Support Needs ‘Proof of Concept’ program. He’s been writing a Beach Story, in parallel with our Sunday morning students.
Joanna says that because of his struggles with speech, Ricky often forgets what he wants to say and gets stuck. This makes him nervous, and the more nervous he gets the more stuck he feels. Because of the many demands on their time, teachers can't always wait for Ricky to say what he wants to say, so Ricky has struggled at school.
In his workshops at the Sydney Story Factory Ricky has the time to say what he means. He says that coming to the Sydney Story Factory makes him feel happy. “Very, very happy.” He says that he comes because it “helps my brains get better at my work.” Now when he gets stuck at school, he thinks back to writing with Craig. “I can remember things that make me not stuck. My teacher was very happy when I was doing my work, and then in one second, done!”
He's is simply gleeful talking about his writing sessions, especially the crazy names he came up with for his characters. His favourite is Power Parmixing. “I never, never, never know that name, I just make it, it just came out of my own ideas!”
Every week, after a furious hour of imagining and writing, Ricky has asked Craig, “Did I do good?” and Craig has reassured him that he’s done great. After every workshop he greets his Mum with a triumphant double fist pump and a beaming grin.
Ricky came along to the end-of-term celebration with the Sunday morning students - the first time he had joined a group here. Not only did he meet other students who’d been doing the same program as him, he was also able to read his story out to the group. After one read-through with Craig’s help, he practised by himself until it was his turn. He read in front of everyone with confidence and excitement, needing only the occasional prompt. His smile at the round of applause he received was ear-to-ear.
Ricky says that now he’s started he has so many more stories to do in his head. His brains are firing and he’s raring to go. We can’t wait to see what comes next!
Read Fallyrings’s Story & Parmixing’s Story by Ricky HERE.