Susie Mallett

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Developing life skills in the conductive environment

"Oli, aged 3, teaches his Great-Granddad, aged 89, how to use the computer!"

On Saturday we organised an information day for the parents of children who attend conductive groups and Kindergartens. They were given the opportunity to talk with conductors, school assistants, children, students and other parents about the many possible paths that their children could take through the education system.

For three of our school children it was a new experience in their social development. They were present because it was their experiences as children in mainstream education that the parents were most eager to hear. Two of the children who have speech difficulties had chosen to have others speak for them but answered questions confidently. The third child was very brave and said a few words herself about her school life to a smaller group of people.

It was lovely to see how these children now take this kind of experience in their stride. We try to offer them as many opportunities as possible, within the sheltered community of the charity that provides their conductive education, to widen their horizons and practise their social skills. This helps them to feel more confident at school when they must stand before the class and speak on different subjects, when they take oral exams and when they spend  a week or two in work experience placements.

Present yesterday was a young lady who was one of our very first children in the conductive education groups. She was also the very first child to be provided with a school assistant by the charity that now, more than 15 years later, provides well over 200 children with school assistants. 

This young lady is now coming to the end of her three-year Bachelor Degree and she still has a personal assistant. The three teenagers from our afternoon group were wide eyed and opened mouthed as they listened to this uni-student talk with such composure of her school experiences. She provided such a wonderful example for them of what they too can achieve through their own inniative and with the help of the team around them.

We reached far fewer people yesterday than we had hoped for, but for the children who took part in the discussion circle, and were not tempted by the wonderful woodwork-workshop that was going on next door, it was a huge step in their social development and I think that they learnt much that will help them and their parents with future decision making.


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