Thursday, 5 May 2011

Special V Mainstream

When Noah was about to start school we knew that we wanted him to be 'included' in a mainstream school and go to the same school as Jalen.   At first it was about his rights and how he should have access to everything that able students have.  We knew that we had another option which was to send him to a special school, but to start with we wanted him to start in a mainstream school and see how it went.

Noah first day of Prep - how cute was he!?

We were very lucky that the boys go to such a great school, and especially that they are very supportive of kids with additional needs. Right from the start Noah was very well accepted and this was particularly because of what the school did.  I made up special books about Noah for all the different grades.  In the books it showed the kids what Noah liked to do, what he meant when he did different things, and how he was fed (by his tube).  He then went to visit each of the classes with Di (his aide) and Di would introduce Noah to them and talk to them about how Noah may not talk, but he can hear and would love it if they would come and say hi and touch him as they did etc.  Every year he continues to visit the younger classes who haven't met him yet and it's so nice to see how much they accept him and other kids with special needs. 

Noah in Prep

 The photo below was taken in Prep as well. This girl made him a 'feely board' because she knew that Noah liked to feel different textures, and then she helped him feel them.

 I actually forget the some children may not be used to kids with special needs, as the kids at Noah's school are just so good with him now.  Sometimes if we are out somewhere I realise that a lot of kids stare at him, and are obviously curious about why he in a wheelchair.   Sometimes they will actually ask me, but more often than not I will hear their parents try to distract them, so they stop staring, but I'm sure the parents are just as curious as their kids.   I actually love it when they will just come out and ask me about Noah.  The parents usually want to crawl in a hole and hide from embarrassment, but I'm quite happy to talk to anyone about Noah.  If a child asks what is 'wrong' with Noah, I just tell them that his brain didn't grow properly when he was in my tummy and he now has a small brain, which means he can't walk because the brain doesn't tell his legs to walk properly. 

This morning I walked into Noah's classroom at the boys school, and there was a boy with Downs Syndrome dancing to the Wiggles music blaring out of the CD player, with three other girls.  Noah's teacher told me that every morning the girls put their top 40 music on and start dancing, and then the little boy with Downs Syndrome pops his head around the corner and asks 'Wiggles!?' and the girls straight away turn off their music and put the Wiggles on for him and dance with him.  It's seeing things like that, that remind me how lucky Noah is to go to a school with kids who really care about kids with special needs, and they aren't just there to be 'included'.

As Noah has gotten older, we have changed the amount of time he goes to the mainstream school as there are a lot of great programs at the special school, that he can't get from going to mainstream school. He now goes only two days a week to school with Jay and Harri, but we love those days as we know he is going to be treated so well. It's always nice to walk into school pushing him and hearing kids yell excitedly 'Noah!!'.

A couple of weeks ago we were so happy to hear that Noah's class from his special school was going to visit his class at the boy's school.   When I went to pick him up from school I heard from both teachers from each school how wonderful it was, and that all the teachers were in tears as it was so lovely seeing the kids together.  The kids from both schools loved it, and the kids sang a song to the kids and used their names in the song, and also danced for them.

Today was Jalen's cross country carnival.  While we were watching a boy from grade 5 came over and asked Di what she was doing as she was giving Noah his meds.  She told him and then he stayed standing next to Noah for ages, just rubbing his hand.

He only has two years left after this year until he is in high school (!) and then things will change a lot.  He will then go to his special school full time, as we can't see high school working as well as primary school, but for now we feel really lucky that Noah has the opportunity to go to both a special and mainstream school. 


  1. That's one of the most beautiful things I ever read. If only adults could be as accepting and unafraid as children are.

  2. Inclusion like this is great just wish more schools were like it. Great picture of the class, I heard it was a lovely visit!

  3. what a lovely school, and class he is in! he looked so cute in the first picture :)

  4. lovely post.... missing a pic of Miss Wells though!!!

  5. I reckon all the parents would be grateful to have their children interacting with Noah - awesome way to teach them about differences. Oh Lisa you make him sound so OLD saying high school is in two years - Im realising Jay is in high school NEXT year!!!

  6. Oh that made me cry. You will have to find that Grade 5 boy's parents - what a lovley kid - he gives such hope for the future.

  7. Tears tears and more tears. It is so nice that Noah can touch so many kids and teach them how to be loving and accepting. It seems to me Noah can teach so much without words whilst so many struggle to teach a few with a lot of words.

  8. how sad that things change from primary school to high school.... dont you wish they all could know before Noah gets to high school just how blessed they are to have Noah at school with is obvious the Primary kids know it!!!!

  9. Adults could take a leaf out of kids books. I love love that photo of Noah in Prep. Time goes so fast - gr 4 already, the big 10 next month (26th) - ok so I just put the date in brackets to show off to you that I remember the date!! LOL.

  10. Aawww! He was so cute. I love it when children (and adults) are so accepted. It makes the world a better place.


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