Parents, carers and disabled parents
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Disabled role models in schools

WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
Hi all, 
         I hope that everyone is well. Firstly, thank you for taking the time to read this. I am looking to develop a presentation whereby I go into schools, primarily looking to begin with primary and secondary school aged children, to talk about what it is like to live with a disability, how it can affect a person's mental wellbeing and also how adversity can be overcome. I believe that educating is a key way of removing prejudice and helping to better understand what a life is like for a person who lives with a disability, the barriers they may face and how these can be overcome. I used to give talks when I was at school along these lines as I have Cerebral Palsy and found they had a positive impact and we managed to link it in with anti-bullying days. I think there is a possibility of this having a positive affect for both disabled and able-bodied students. I also feel there is a greater need for there to be more disabled role models in educational settings. I know that when I was at school I felt as though there was no opportunity for me as none of my teachers had physical difficulties as I did and they seemed to represent the majority of the school population. I want to ensure disabled students feel supported throughout their education and to work towards a more equal society.  I am really keen to pursue this and am exploring different options but I wondered if I may, please ask people what they think to this idea from a parent's perspective. Please only share if you feel you would like to and I greatly appreciate any feedback. Many thanks. 

Replies

  • coletcolet Member Posts: 68 Pioneering
    Hi @WestHam06

    OMG this is exactly what I would like to do as job too!!! And also talk to new parents who has had just had their child diagnosed with a disability to rensure them 

     I have cp as well and done lots of presentations in school and actually in college I exempt from some of lessons in health and social care to go to talk to another lesson about me etc.

     I exactly was a voice for children and young people with special education needs and disabilities for my local council  which was for a year but it was best year for of my life so far 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,038

    Scope community team

    edited August 2020
    Hi @WestHam06

    Children definitely need to have more awareness of disability and you giving talks about your life will help educate our next generation.

    I also had an idea.  If you felt comfortable doing it, it might be worth you contacting universities that have teacher training courses.  There is a big gap in teacher training around disabled students needs and  you could enquire about delivering a presentation to help them better understand the challenges faced by pupils with CP.  What do you think to that? 
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @colet
                     Great to meet you and thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Wow, please may ask, how did the role with council of being a voice for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities come about and what did it entail? Good for you for sharing presentations about yourself and your disability when you were at school, more of that is needed, not only to educate other students and teachers but also to show other students with SEND what is achievable. I am really keen to try to achieve this and am looking at ways too. Thank you. 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @Cher_Scope
                                 Thank you so much for sharing your advice with me, I really do appreciate it. It is interesting what you say about universities, I only really discovered that there was a gap there after posting another conversation on the online community. I really like the idea of approaching universities but I want to ensure I have the presentation right first, I suppose I'm looking to have a basis of a presentation which can be adapted according to audience. I do have a couple of people to look over the presentation but please may I ask, is there actually any official guidance on training in disability for any educational setting's but in particular universities? I know initially I am looking at primary and secondary aged students but it looks as though, more and more, there is a place for it at universities which is definitely worth exploring.  I'm also keen to get the understanding across of the impact it can have on mental wellbeing as well. As I have said in your post regarding A-levels, I have never been to university so I don't have that personal experience. I also don't know how best to approach it, whether it be through a charity or alternate route. Please may I ask would you have any advice on this. Thank you so much. 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,038

    Scope community team

    edited August 2020
    Hi @WestHam06

    I'll do a little research and get back to you about guidance on disability training in educational settings. I am pretty sure that your lived experience and thoughts in their own right will be of real value to non-disabled people but if I can find any guidance I will let you know :)
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @Cher_Scope
                                Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. I will also do some research and see what is out there. I suppose I worry that if there is training it is just the text book type training and to some may come across as almost meaningless which it is absolute not. There is so much to learn and gain from understanding disability and inclusion within educational setting's. It has been interesting to learn that there seems to be the idea that it is needed at every level of education. There is so much to consider and I want to ensure I do it the justice it deserves and try to make a positive impact. Thank you.
  • coletcolet Member Posts: 68 Pioneering
    edited August 2020
    WestHam06 said:
    Hi @colet
                     Great to meet you and thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Wow, please may ask, how did the role with council of being a voice for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities come about and what did it entail? Good for you for sharing presentations about yourself and your disability when you were at school, more of that is needed, not only to educate other students and teachers but also to show other students with SEND what is achievable. I am really keen to try to achieve this and am looking at ways too. Thank you. 
    @WestHam06

      I was attending meetings and speaking for children and young people with disabilities and at strategic level, did a couple of presentations to a few employers about what help is out there for them. And sharing my experience.

    I really want to achieve this goal as well just getting a qualification in level 1 in mentoring people with talking aids (AAC) which could be a step in the right direction 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,038

    Scope community team

    @WestHam06 I don't think there is any standard way of delivering training, and being your most authentic self and speaking from the heart will have the biggest impact.
    Keep up the momentum and let us know how you get on!
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    Want to tell us about your experience on the online community?  Talk to our chatbot and let us know.
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @colet
                     That sounds amazing and I would imagine that it had a really positive impact. Please may I ask, how did you come to engage in this role as it sounds as though it was an amazing opportunity which could have led to a really positive impact for children with disabilities? I would like to thank you for doing this, we need voices to make a difference. Best of luck with your qualification. Thank you. 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @Cher_Scope
                                Thank you so much for all of the advice and encouragement, I greatly appreciate it. I think it will boil down to me approaching schools, universities etc as well councils to try to find a way forward with this. I am really passionate to do this and will ensure I do it to the best of my ability. I know that with the situation with Covid getting into schools will be a challenge at the moment but if I can develop my presentation and find a suitable support system now, when schools are easier for visitors to access I can approach them. Thank you, I will be sure to keep you updated. Thanks
  • coletcolet Member Posts: 68 Pioneering
    WestHam06 said:
    Hi @colet
                     That sounds amazing and I would imagine that it had a really positive impact. Please may I ask, how did you come to engage in this role as it sounds as though it was an amazing opportunity which could have led to a really positive impact for children with disabilities? I would like to thank you for doing this, we need voices to make a difference. Best of luck with your qualification. Thank you. 
    @WestHam06
    That team runs a forum where I live and I went for the opportunity. It was lovely to see people who would say “oh, you are from the forum thank you for your hard work” 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @colet
                      Yes I imagine it was great to see people acknowledging you and thanking you for your hard working and sharing your experiences, you deserve it :) Thank you. 
  • _theslytherincat19_theslytherincat19 Member Posts: 11 Connected
    I wish I had a disabled role model in school and that sounds like a job I told love to do but Im not sure if I’m fit for it but I have a playlist talking about my condition hemiplegia and CP about the condition and day to day tips if this helps anyone of your students then I’m grateful it helped someone and you are an inspiration all of you for being on this forum talking about your experiences 
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_vq1Fd2zdpzLHXjLZKwFeM5nctwfsPAi
    if this isn’t helpful I understand it all so has my experiences too 
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @_theslytherincat19
                                          How are you? Thank you for sharing your videos with us. I watched the Cerebral Palsy one where you answered 10 questions and it was very good. It is so important to spread awareness and it looks like you're doing a good job of that. We have lots of members here on the community who have CP so please do check out the CP page and we also have a great CP Specialist Information Officer here on the community so if you ever want to chat more or ask questions please do take a look. Thank you. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    @Richard_Scope is our great CP specialist officer. :)

    I think disabled role models are SO IMPORTANT! To feel represented almost to be seen and feel accepted. We need to see disabled people and hear those stories.  <3
    Scope

  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @Chloe_Scope
                                   How are you? Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I am in absolute complete agreement with what you say. We do need to see disabled people and hear their stories and this will help other disabled people to feel accepted and represented. I passionately believe in this, particularly in the education sector, as I feel there are many disabled students who don't feel represented and don't see people like themselves which can massively impact on how they feel about their disability and where it places them in society and what they may be able to achieve in the future. If you have any more thoughts on this, I would really appreciate you sharing them if you would like too. Thank you
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Most definitely @WestHam06! If we don't see ourselves reflected when we're growing up, then how will we hold on to the desire to succeed?

    Scope

  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Absolutely @Chloe_Scope, if we don't see ourselves reflected in society then how do we imagine ourselves as adults in society. I know I always used to privately think about where people like me were in the adult world as I very rarely saw people like me. Thank you. 
  • DereshaDeresha Member Posts: 28 Connected
    Disability awareness should definitely start from the youngest in society, perhaps even from preschool. 

    I had an almighty fight to get my son into play school. Many said they couldn’t meet his needs, and got away with it because preschool isn’t ‘statutory school age’. Once allocated a school the headmistress convinced us to remove him from school due to accessibility for his chair. This was illegal actually but we didn’t fight it and moved him schools because we wanted him to be somewhere he was welcomed.

    Once into a school who promised to do all they could - There were barriers every day. No ramps were put in. His routine fixed to the schools. His learning difficulties disregarded as already had a 1:1.  The school has a disabled toilet, and one level to hall and offices,  but steps throughout the rest including classrooms. My son is a wheelchair user but is not wheelchair bound. He managed.

    He’s not at school now. I removed him in favour of home educating.

    At the same school was another family who’s mum was the wheelchair user. One day, Parents were invited to a classroom assembly, presumed to be in the school hall but it wasn’t, it was in the classroom. The mum couldn’t get there, and the school suggested she wheel herself to the fire escape at watch from the door. That day, the class was essentially taught this was acceptable.

    Why, in 2020, are schools not fully accessible?

    The local secondary school is accessible, and employ teachers with disabilities. (KSA in Kettering, Northants). There are numerous wheelchair user teachers at this school. Whether they employ any other and/or hidden disabilities I couldn’t tell you.

    Every school’s workforce should definitely represent the diversity of its children, in every respect.
    Widow/Mum to a child who is ventilator dependent via tracheostomy, he is deaf and autistic, and homeschooled.
  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Hi @Deresha
                           How are you? Firstly, I would like to apologies for not being able to reply to you sooner, I have been away. Secondly, thank you for sharing your experiences with us, I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you and your son have faced in trying to access an education he is entitled too. It is simply not good enough for the school to just expect your son to manage, if I am correct, under the Equality Act 2010, they should be making reasonable adjustments to meet individual's needs and the story you share with regards to the parent who was a wheelchair user being expected to sit at the fire exit is just upsetting and as you say sending a message that is not helpful. However, the secondary school you mention sounds great and it is so important for students to see people with disabilities in a variety of roles, both in school and in the wider community. Please may I ask, how are you and your son finding home schooling? As I said, thank you so much for sharing your experiences, I think your post shows there are positive examples out there but there is definitely more that needs to be done. Thank you
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