School Inclusion

 
 
 
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The first confrontation with the outside world often takes place at school: it is a deciding step in the socialization process. The child must realize that, although of small stature, he or she is intellectually normal and that a growing number of little people complete higher education. Memory problems sometimes observed in children of small stature would be explained by the constant physical effort created by a non-adapted environment.

In most cases of school integration, parents get the cooperation of school administrators. An occupational therapist is involved in the process to clearly define the needs of the child and make the necessary changes. These adjustments amount in actual fact to a few things: an adapted working desk and chair, a lowered hook, a bench, an ergonomic chair, a toilet seat, an accessible locker.

The little child, welcomed with his or her differences, will have all the chances to become independent, to take responsibility for his or her life, and to live freely. For their part, his or her classmates will learn to treat a person with disabilities as an equal person.

The following testimonial is several years old, but it is a fine example of entering kindergarten for a little child. To share with other parents of children with dwarfism or to obtain individual support, please visit the members’ section (see the page Participating in the AQPPT under the heading About Us).

A Very Successful School Inclusion!

Our son, Daniel Carmichael, started kindergarten last September. The AQPPT came to explain to students throughout the school what was our son's disability was all about. The experience was very positive. The explanations by Francine Boutin and Karine Villeneuve largely satisfied the curiosity of the children in his class. So, congratulations for the initiative by the AQPPT that took the time to teach children everything about dwarfism with simplicity and efficiency.

Of course, there was the time at the beginning when the children from other classes looked through the window to see what Daniel looked like. But the questioning quickly gave way to acceptance. Now we hear "hello Daniel" here, "hello Daniel " there. We must teach Daniel to answer other children's questions correctly even if he does not know them. In his class, children seem to see in Daniel more his personality that his disability. Besides, he has no trouble making friends.

We have also been part of a pilot project with the Centre Cardinal Villeneuve on school integration. Last year, Daniel was filmed in his pre-kindergarten class; his teacher and I also participated in the video. This tape was presented to his kindergarten teacher before the school year began. She really enjoyed having a glimpse of Daniel before welcoming him. I have seen the importance to give information to the teacher who welcomes the child and has to meet his needs. She or he must be well informed because it is her or his responsibility to establish the best approach to follow with other children.

In addition, the school fully cooperated with us. At the end of August, a meeting was set up with the principal, the teacher, the psychologist and a member of the pilot project to get them all acquainted with the situation and for them to see together what could be done to facilitate Daniel's new school year. On the first day, I attended a parents' meeting. The principal took a few minutes to inform them that there was a child of small stature in the group. She then asked them to have a quick word with their children at home to inform them about Daniel. I was very touched by this great initiative.

To do his work, Daniel has some technical aids like little benches to reach the drinking fountain or do some painting, a lowered latch on the toilet door, a Tripp Trapp high chair in the cafeteria, etc. An attendant helps him in physical education. Because of his hips, he has a walker he uses to go outside. Unable to get on the school bus, he uses the Paratransit service, that is, he goes to school by taxi. We made the request to access all these technical aids when we registered him for kindergarten last February. The occupational therapist and physiotherapist looking after Daniel came to the school to assess his needs.

Consequently, we have the joy of seeing a little boy fondly leaving for school every day. For us, this indicates that he is well integrated in his environment. We are very grateful to all those who contributed to this success. I hope this testimony will encourage and give ideas to parents of young children of small stature.

Aline Côté,
mother of Daniel Carmichael

 

 
 

© 2011 AQPPT - Translated by George Bravo and Judy Murphy