future wheelchair attendants in attendance

The first meeting of the ‘development team’ for the new school ‘wheelchair attendant program’ has just finished.  

The Stage 2 & 3 students had been advised of the meeting which would take place in their lunch time break – it was left up to the individual child as to whether or not this was something they wished to be involved with.

I waited at the Library anticipating 10, maybe 12 children.  The door opened, in came the first three, then some more, and more, and more.  We had over forty children in the room.

I explained it was a meeting to develop the program, not actually “get” their licences.  Still, none left.

So we discussed why we need to develop a program.  How the Department of Education just need to know everyone is safe and proper risk assessments have been undertaken.  We talked about what ‘risk assessment’ actually is.  We talked about how they too, as ‘wheelchair attendants’, need to be safe as well as Mac (or any other child) in a wheelchair.  We talked about how it is important to always be respectful of the person in the wheelchair…  not just “taking off” with them.  And we spoke about how some people who use wheelchairs don’t need any assistance at all, highlighting everyone is different and has different needs.

Oh, and of course, we touched on the very important issue of “whether a lanyard would be supplied with the licence”!

We now have three teams.

The Zone Identifiers: this team will work with a map of the school and identify areas where we might have some adult only and stage 3 only push zones.  They will report back next week with their recommendations.

The Exam Planners: this group will think of some practical tests to do as part of the program.  They think they might like  to design an obstacle course and a chair with some water that you should try not to spill.  They will work on how to identify different braking systems on a chair etc.

The Theorists:  this team are coming back next week each with one or two rules or pieces of information they think needs to be given as part of the theory portion of the program.

The summary sheet used to get them thinking about the different aspects of the program can be accessed here.  


If you have any further suggestions feel free to share.

This is a great learning opportunity for these children – but it is also fun.  

They have been buoyed by the fact other school have shown an interest in adopting the program they develop once it is complete.  There is a real sense of importance and pride at the moment in this group of students.

For me personally to see just how many people Mac has had an impact on is absolutely breathtaking.  

There were a number of children in attendance I think some teachers would have been surprised to see.  But what Mac provides is the opportunity for some children to be kind and caring without ‘losing face’ and so, for some of the more ‘hardened kids’, he has a very important role to play in their lives.  I know from the shared experiences of others that sometime the greatest advocates come from the most unlikely places.

It will be interesting to see what the turnout is like next week now they know they have work to do…


Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!

4 responses to “future wheelchair attendants in attendance

  1. Gracie's Mum

    This is fabulous Gina, so encouraging and exciting.
    Sounds like the Dept of Ed are on board now?
    The Wilson-Burns family are doing great things, paving the way for other kids with wheels, supporting Mac and educating the school community at the same time.
    So inspiring x

  2. Gina, I am so impressed with all the ground work you are doing but then knowing you I really expect nothing less! It really is inspiring and I will no doubt be adopting these ideas once Cooper starts school. Big hugs to you and Mac xo

  3. n0thingbuteverything

    How fantastic Gina! You are really inspirational with your drive and your commitment and I bet that as well as the reasons above, the kids are feeding off your positive energy and common sense attitude. It’s so great to read that the kids are not only interested in, but excited about having such proactive roles. And great for Mac too to have so many peers who care. I will be watching this space to read how things pan out – and looking to adapt your ideas for a ‘walker attendant program’ when BC gets to school in 2011. 😉

  4. Mary

    Just brilliant Gina! I can see they’ll be thinking more about accessibility issues too.

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