Home' Teacher : December 2010 Contents PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 7
to maximise the availability of support staff
and to build the capacity of staff to provide
these students with the skills necessary for
their inclusion in the regular school setting,'
Boyd explains. During the day, the children
leave the regular class setting and meet with
specially trained staff to concentrate on their
fine motor skills and other tasks.
The program has been very successful,
with the children now well integrated into
school life and into the broader community.
'That outcome is immensely gratifying and
something to really celebrate,' Boyd says.
While experience in special and diverse
learning needs education helped bring focus
and clarity to the program's design, Boyd
says the initiative was guided by a 'hefty
dose of creativity and a firm belief in the
children's potential.' The school also has
two Aspect satellite classes -- classes oper-
ated by Autism Spectrum Australia that pro -
vide autism-specific support for children on
the autism spectrum, but, says Boyd, 'Expe-
rience with past cases doesn't mean there is
a template approach out there to providing
the best education for these children.'
Mary Givney-Clark's daughter, Sarah,
has Down syndrome and cœliac disease. 'All
the things I was hesitant and anxious about
with Sarah starting school just haven't come
to fruition,' Givney-Clark says. 'I wanted
Sarah to come to school here. This is our
parish and people here know us and know
Sarah, and this is where she will live, study
and work later on.'
Givney-Clark, a head art teacher at
St Patrick's College in Sutherland in Sydney's
south, says she and her husband are delighted
with Sarah's progress. 'Sarah is starting to
read and write, and that's just the best bonus
and we just marvel at that,' she says. 'What
has surprised me is that the parent commu-
nity and the children just see Sarah as Sarah.
They are very understanding and supportive.
I thought I'd have to explain about Sarah and
some of her behaviour that may or may not
be associated with her syndrome, but that
hasn't been the case. Every other weekend
we take Sarah to the birthday parties of her
school friends and that's been very pleasing.'
Givney-Clark says she's never heard any-
one referring to Sarah as 'one of the Down
syndrome kids.' 'The other parents just can't
believe she's at the stage that she is and just
how smooth everything has been,' she says.
'She is really thriving. We've come a long,
Links Archive November 2010 Jan-Feb 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page