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Determined Olly

Oliver (Olly) Ganley-Rushton has every piece of the pie when it comes to being different. He is on the autism spectrum, has epilepsy, and is non-speaking — but none of this stops him from living his best life.

Olly is the middle child of five and lives with his grandma, Patricia, and his mum. Oliver is the typical middle child and is often affectionately referred to as the ‘loving ratbag’.

Why loving ratbag? Oliver and his family are based in Tauranga and as a kid who loves to explore it’s hard not to get lost among the trees and bushes around his house. Olly has a determined mind and would sometimes go exploring unnoticed by grandma or anyone in the family.

“At times Olly had to stay inside the house with everyone because it was too dangerous to leave the doors open,” says Patricia. “If there was no adult supervision he could not go outside”.

Patricia knew getting outdoors was an important part of Olly’s life. With the support available from Enable New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Health, a suitable plan was developed to install fencing at their home.

“We’d been trying for years, but once we got Enable New Zealand on board it wasn’t hard…it was actually really helpful,” says Patricia. “[The fence has allowed Oliver] to be happy, have a lot more independence and a lot more freedom to do his normal things.”

In 2020, Oliver found a new love for gymnastics, so Patricia decided to enrol him in his local gymnastics club. With the fence, Oliver can practice outside in his own time, at his own pace.

“Oliver is unusually strong for a 10-year-old and it’s important to get him to use his muscles,” says Patricia.

Gymnastics has been a game changer for Oliver – massively increasing his confidence.

“At gymnastics, Oliver is able to have the confidence to swing on the bar which requires a lot of trust,” says Patricia.

Oliver continues to grow in confidence, attend his gymnastics classes, and live up to his reputation as a boisterous and loving brother.