Tag Archives: teaching

todos com todos

everyone with everybody…

A fantastic documentary about the inclusion of children with disability in mainstream schools in São Paulo, Brazil.

While almost the entire doco was “quote worthy” I particularly like the simplicity of this translated statement by Samuel’s father…


“I don’t see any other model.

In the segregation model people with disability don’t learn their autonomy and people without don’t learn to deal with the difference”.
Samu’s Dad


This movie is part of the Why Heloisa Project www.porqueheloisa.com.br
I think I will be spending some time clicking around in that project/website in the coming days.

For our English language blind viewers I have requested an English translation… will post it here if I can get my hands on it.

todos com todos…



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Filed under Accessing the Curriculum, Inclusion... straight up!

the society I see… is the society for me!

I watch one of Mac’s classmates, “C” scurry back into the room after the bell had gone.

“Have you got one of those wheelchair sheets?” he asked the teacher, “I’m taking one home for my Dad.”

‘What’s a wheelchair sheet?’ you ask …

Well, it seems the kids are working on inventions and mods for Mac’s wheelchair at the moment, some work is going on in class… others are taking it home to keep working on.  But “C” decided his Dad will probably have some good ideas on how to make Mac’s chair work for soccer… C’s dad also uses a wheelchair.

I had a good chuckle with C’s mum about the fact her husband is now getting homework.

But… let’s just think about what is going on here.

Mac’s peers and Mac are designing wheelchair modifications and activities to make it possible for Mac to do more stuff WITH THEM.

I’ve seen a couple of the blueprints.

clipart image of a blueprint drawing with a ruler and pencil laying over them - blueprint sketch is ambiguous and not relevant to story - it's just an illustration

There’s a multi-net cricket catching contraption, a catapult style bowling attachment (yay for the girls for finally coming up with a catapult) and one of the boys is working on how to attach the class carpet sweeper to Mac’s chair, so he can help out with class chores.

Part of this ties in to their “Awesome in August” class challenge, but much of this innovative thinking has followed some of the other kids designing a way for Mac to play handball with them in the playground.

The handball idea was the kids’ initiative.  They do seek out our assistance (but generally only when they need me to buy something LOL).

This is our future generation, this is the society we get to look forward to.  A society where where inclusion and innovation reign supreme.

So why would anyone want less than this for their kids?

Why do people choose segregated schools, segregated classrooms or segregated activities?  Why don’t they want what is on offer in a place where “all means all”, where disability “value adds” and where innovation, problem solving and broader thinking is the norm?

I can see the society I want my son to grow up in, and I look forward to it.  I’m not convinced that the other choices don’t actually weaken a society.


Filed under Access all Areas, Inclusion... straight up!, things that make me go "glll"

in which Tim becomes a teacher…

So the last day of Grade 3 has arrived.  This is Tim’s last day as he has now completed his teaching degree and next year moves onto the local casual rosters with the hope of picking up a full time teaching position in the area.

We always knew we only had the year with Tim in the teacher’s aide role and, while we are sad to see him go, we know there is a bond between he and Mac that will likely stick.  I chuckled when one of the teachers told me about the boys at the class party and how Mac was eating green icing of Tim’s finger…  like it was the most natural thing on earth.

I am really proud of Tim – he has been so open to learning and embracing the mindset we share about disability.  He is going to be a very different teacher to the one he would have been 12 months ago.  It is wonderful to hear him acknowledge those same sentiments.  Tim has established some great opportunities for Mac that I believe will set him up for the remainder of his primary schooling in a very social and engaged way with his peers.

As a farewell gift for him from Mac and the class I had to sneak around to all the kids for them to give me ‘words to describe Tim’ and develop a ‘wordle’ which I then framed for him as a piece of art to hang on his wall.  He was pretty thrilled with his wordle and the kids were blown away seeing their words turned into something so permanent and lasting.




Thank you Tim for the most amazing year.  Mac will be working on learning about text messaging & emailing in 2013, and since he has your details in his iPad I expect you’ll be at the top of his list ;-).

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December 20, 2012 · 11:44 pm

our bookshelf

Are you after some quality reading on inclusive education, teaching students with multiple severe disabilities and/or using fascinations to your advantage…

Here’s a sensible seven to get you started.



Filed under Inclusion... straight up!

good ‘n bad

There are times when choosing the path to ensure your child is able to access an ‘ordinary, inclusive life’ is plain tough.   I knew there would be times where I would feel like all we do is battle, where you have a permanent ‘brick wall imprint’ on your forehead, where you just feel like no-one ‘gets it’.

Thankfully there is always good things to come of the bad.  

For instance, Mac couldn’t go to school on Friday, there was no aide available for his classroom, everyone was away.  And, it seems, casual ‘Learning Support Officers’ within the district are not kept on a central database (I was surprised at that one…).  It was suggested I could volunteer my time to support Mac at school, but since I had some work deadlines I was trying to meet it didn’t seem fair I should give up my wage and time for “no wage and loss of time”.  So, we stayed home for the day.  I worked, Mac coped (just) and we marveled at just ‘how wrong’ on so many levels the situation was.

So where’s the good in this?  Well, for starters the school now knows they have a problem and (hopefully) will be proactive in solving it (it hasn’t been resolved as at Monday but hopefully on the way to being fixed). 

But the best bit… I have been contacted by a couple of parents who have let me know just how ‘outraged’ their children were at Mac not being at school.  They said the kids just ‘knew in their hearts it was not fair’.

Mac has some fine advocates on his side albeit in the form of 10, 11 and 12 year olds.  

These young people will grow up knowing what’s right and what’s not – in reality… they already do.

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


The school system is not completely without hope.  Just as I believe much of the problem in DET lies at a grass roots attitudinal level…

I also know the silver lining is found in the same place.  NSW DET has some amazing teachers who simply ‘get it’ when it comes to teaching & including children with additional support needs.

Mac’s teacher for Term 2 and Term 3 is a recent grad, and, let’s face it… his class is not a ‘walk in the park’.  Mac, with his multiple, severe, complex disabilities is not the only child with additional support requirements in their class of 23 children.

It is wonderful to see her embrace this challenge – a lesser mortal may have run a mile.  

Miss A is a great teacher and this experience so early in her career will ensure she goes on to become a phenomenal teacher.

What I love most is seeing the development of the relationship with Mac and Miss A go from guarded uncertainty, to slight wariness, to reasonable comfort and finally, what is now a full on ‘gotcha’.  

Miss A and Mac sent a text message to one of Mac’s aides the other day.  The text went something like this…

“Dear R, I have just snuck over to Miss A’s desk to use her phone while she is busy with all the other kids.  I just want to send you a very Maccy Moo Birthday Wish.  Love Mac”

What I love about this wasn’t just hearing how excited ‘R’ was about receiving it. 

I love Miss A understands that these moments do need to be facilitated, but that doesn’t make them fake.  

It shows her recognition and respect for Mac by providing him a delightful one on one opportunity with her, his teacher.  She said he loved doing it – he knew they were up to something tricky.

Often kids with Teachers Aide supports miss out on ‘one on one’ opportunities to interact with their teachers – Mac’s teachers have been excellent at ensuring this isn’t the case.

Oh, also… we know Miss A is ‘fully got’ because she has had the ‘Mac running & talking’ dream – that is more impressive than the ‘Mac walking’ so many others have had.  

Now there’s an IEP goal if ever I saw one…


Filed under kindergarten at last