An inventor and filmmaker smash down barriers

Two students with disability share their stories and dreams for life post-high school.

03 December 2020
Photo of male student
Image: Riley Saban: ‘I aspire to become like the brilliant minds that design and create meaningful technology.'

When Riley Saban completes Year 12 next year he will already be well on his way to achieving his dream of being an entrepreneur having already patented a design.

Likewise Tracey Ly is determined to get behind the video camera again after winning the People’s Choice Award in the recent Film by Online Film Festival senior category.

In an article written for the International Day of People with Disability, Riley, who has cerebral palsy, said technology was his life.

“I use technology to assist me every day,” he writes in the article on the Student Voices Hub.

“I am always waiting for that next piece of equipment that will extend my capacity to be involved in a variety of situations.”

However rather than wait, Riley is also proactive in creating technology that will open opportunities for him.

In 2019, with his father, he took part in a 16-week accelerator program called Remarkable that assisted them to commercialise their invention, Polyspine.

Polyspine is a form of brace that allows people with a disability to undertake activities such as paddle boarding and independent swimming that they might not otherwise be able to do.

"I aspire to become like the brilliant minds that design and create meaningful technology, who think outside the box. I hope when I finish school I can create many innovative businesses that use assistive technology to enhance people's lives,” Riley writes.

In her movie, I’m human ... just like you, Tracey confronts the issue of bullying.

Created while she was completing her HSC this year at Bossley Park High School, the film examines the negative impacts of bullying, particularly on a student with disability.

Tracey said she was excited to win the People’s Choice award at the film festival.

“It is not only that I won, it is also because it has been a platform for more people to see the movie and hear its message,” she said.

Speaking ahead of today’s International Day of People with Disability, Tracey said the response to the movie had also been inspiring and unexpected.

“I’ve had lots of messages from people to say that the movie has really helped them and raised awareness [of the issue],” she said.

Tracey said she planned to make more films and was determined to use her success as a kickstart to study filmmaking post-high school.

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