The Oamaru local, who attends Western School and lives with her sister Keana (11) and mum Amber, also lives with autism and finds travel stressful.

But Amber was determined to take Indiah and her sister to Australia for both a well needed holiday and so that Keana could represent New Zealand in a beauty pageant.

Unfortunately, Indiah’s Great Nana Sybil, who had always accompanied the family on other occasions, was unable to go.

Air travel makes Indiah very anxious and this, coupled with looking after both girls safely while alone on the plane, made Amber feel that despite her best efforts, the trip to Australia just wasn’t going to be possible.

But through discussions with CCS Disability Action Service Manager, Kay Page, and lots of planning, the local Needs Assessment and Services Coordination Service were approached to fund a support worker to travel with Indiah.

"Kay said to ‘leave it with her’. She really worked some magic. The support she helped put into place was a godsend,” says Amber. “I was able to spend quality time with both girls knowing support was there.”

Amber says they had an amazing time on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. So much so, they are now planning a trip to the United States for another beauty pageant, this time involving Indiah. She will have the opportunity to participate in ‘A Night of Hope’, an event which gives girls with additional support needs the chance to give pageantry a go.

Indiah enjoying her Gold Coast family holiday

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