Matthew Dileva is an 18 year old Wellington High School student who has been coming to the Wellington City Libraries since he was three years old. His mother, Maria, would bring Matthew to Island Bay Library on Monday afternoons where he would listen to CDs, and read with his mother.
The Librarians at Island Bay were “always very understanding about Matthew’s disability,” Maria said. Matthew is autistic and has ADHD. At primary school, Matthew would visit with his class, and help the Librarian with the videos, and music.
Maria said that the “library is a safe haven, a comfortable place where he is welcomed.” The library also provides a soothing environment for Matthew. He sees it as a calm place, where he can read quietly.
Maria has noticed a big improvement in Matthew’s hyperactive behaviour as a result of being in the library. Matthew now comes to the Library unaccompanied which enables him to be independent. “Matthew would be lost without the library,” Maria said.
Matthew visits several of the Wellington City Libraries, and he likes to help staff at Kilbirnie Library every Friday afternoon. He has also started volunteering at his school library.
When Matthew’s not at the Library, he is a keen sportsman. He has gold and silver medals from the Special Olympics in running and long jump. Matthew also plays the guitar, goes bowling, and has a keen interest in hip hop, basketball, and goes to the gym. The library has made a huge contribution to Matthew’s well-being which has enabled him to lead a full and active life in his community.