Ebony uses personal experience to support children
The Sector > Workforce > Early years teacher Ebony uses her medical trauma to support children in her care

Early years teacher Ebony uses her medical trauma to support children in her care

by Freya Lucas

January 05, 2024

Ebony Prelc, a 25 year old teacher who works with young children in Penola, in the south east of South Australia, is using her childhood experience of significant health events to help those she teaches to navigate their learning and balance it with their needs.


Ms Prelec was first diagnosed with a fist-sized tumour on her brain stem when she was six years of age, which recurred when she was 14 years of age. 


Just two weeks before Christmas, she underwent a third major surgery for the same tumour, and says that all of the challenges and successes she has gone through have bred “a real passion” for supporting others. 


This passion was rewarded in late November when she was awarded the prestigious Minister’s Graduate Achievement Prize by the Teachers Registration Board of South Australia.


“I can see how important it is to support children at an early age so that they can access their potential and be supported to learn in the best way possible for them,” she shared with the ABC. 


“It’s been a long — and at times winding — road, but I’m proud that I’ve reached the point where I can work in an area I’m really passionate about, and I’m looking forward to continuing my learning.”


As well as leaving scarring, which has left an impact on her cognitive and motor function, the surgeries have led to subsequent health conditions, including cerebral palsy – a condition affecting muscle control, as well as cognitive processing and eyesight challenges.


“Lying prone in my operations, combined with pressure build- up from cerebral fluid has created a vision impairment – nystagmus, which impacts my focus and depth perception,” Ms Prelc explained.


“My eyes are never still, so when I’m reading it makes things jump around. I need a larger font, and at a certain distance because I have a focal point.”


When studying for her teaching qualification Ms Prelc said she was well supported by the University of South Australia in Mount Gambier, where she completed her studies early in 2023.


Now working as an early childhood teacher at Naracoorte, she said she was “enjoying using the strategies” she had learned and developed to assist her own young cohort.


To read the original coverage of this story please see here

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