Lily bucks odds to make splash

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Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia at a very young age, Albany girl Lily Alexander became one of the youngest qualified scuba divers in the country at the age of 10.

Completing a PADI open water diver certification involves a theory test that can prove tough for many adults.

Lily’s mother, marine biologist Kirsty Mary Alexander, said despite the difficulty of the theory test, Lily’s determination never wavered.

“She would sit on my laptop after school pretty much every night,” she said.

“Sometimes she would get so tired and so discouraged but she never once said she wanted to give up.”

Due to her dyslexia, Lily, 12, processes information differently to other children her age.

Ms Alexander said it took Lily more time to decode the information given to her, which often led others to assume her intelligence.

“In school sometimes, particularly for dyslexic kids, every single day they will be asked to try harder when they are already trying three times harder than other people,” she said.

“I think to me as a parent, it’s important not to let your kids start to make conclusions about themselves that are not very nice, like if they feel they’re not smart or something, because it’s just not true.

“I teach Lily to think to herself that she knows she can do it. So she tells herself that she is smart and continues doing it, even when sometimes she gets a bit teary because it can be so hard to try to work out this big calculation — even for adults — she persists.” After months of study, Lily’s determination took her to Nusa Penida Marine Park in Bali where she was able to take her first dive.

Lily said studying for her diving certificate was one of the hardest things she had done but the day she passed her theory test was the happiest day of her life. “The test was really hard, and it was a bit confusing at parts because it was like an adult exam,” she said.

“I was really scared because I felt like I wasn’t going to pass but when I clicked on the page and found out I did I was so happy.”

“My brother Jack, he came in and screamed with me.

“It was really cool and I felt really good about myself.”

Now with two years of diving experience under her belt, Lily is eyeing off diving trips around the world and plans to get her advanced open water certificate.

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