KidzWish lets twins find their feet safely

Jamie and Rhys Zahra-Skinner are not identical twins but they share disabilities that shut them off from the world around them.

A lack of immunity means school, fun parks and shopping centres are out of bounds for the 10-year-old boys, but one activity is proving safe and sound.

Their mother, Louise Zahra, said the KidzWish music and dance program was the only group activity that the twins were able to enjoy.

"They are non-identical twins but genetically they are identical," she said. "They both have permanent brain damage, are both autistic and they share three blood disorders that affect their immune system.

"They both have epilepsy as well as sleep apnoea and another chromosomal disorder that is still undiagnosed. Because they have so many different disabilities they have to see many different doctors every week.

"So the music and dance group is the only outing each week where they know they're going to have fun, rather than be poked and prodded at."

Ms Zahra said the boys' time at school had been short-lived because they picked up every virus and infection. She now home-schools the boys, and home is where they spend 95 per cent of their time.

"They can't go to play zones, shopping centres or anywhere there's lots of people," she said. "But they can go to the KidzWish group because all the kids have special needs and the parents don't bring their kids if they're sick as they know there are kids who have low immunity.

"And because it's so heartbreaking for me to see the things my boys can't do, to see the joy they get from something they can do is just wonderful."

KidzWish executive director Chris Beaven said the program, funded by Oak Flats and Shellharbour Community Bank branches, gave disabled and disadvantaged children the chance to enjoy music, singing, dance and craft.

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