Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Death of Shane O'Reilly

Son who activated campaigning family
Legacy lives on

Shane O'Reilly has died unexpectedly at his home in Australia. At the height of the Conductive Education excitement of the late nineteen-eighties he and his family came to England to access Conductive Education, as 'disability exiles', where he grew up and his father David died. His education over, he and his family returned to Australia.

In England his mother Sue was a doughty fighter for Conductive Education, well known amongst the pioneers of RACE (Rapid Action for Conductive Education). Back in Australia she has been a forceful figure in the hard political struggle for due recognition, rights and services for disabled people and their families. Shane's elder sister and brother, Laura and Jordan, have joined the struggle. Shane has left those who knew him a legacy of loving memories. He has also left a social legacy, for the benefit of all.

Condolences and tributes pile up on Facebook and doubtless elsewhere too, to Shane and the O'Reilly family, for example:

A time for personal grief and sympathy. And a time to acknowledge, yet again, the driving role of disabled children, and the families whom they activate and politicise out of love and hope and despair. They are the mainspring for change and development, everyone else is at best secondary. Whatever our own role, wherever we struggle for Conductive Education and for fit and proper lives for the disabled, Shane's death diminishes us all.

Shane in Sydney was one of ours. So is his family.

Marching on

Mad as Hell

Fighting Chance

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