Our School & Life program has launched! It’s been a journey and you may be wondering what started it. Three years ago, we began a series of meetings and conversations with dedicated staff, families, and schools. The goal was to review and improve our supports for children and their families between the early and middle school years.
We found that while our efforts were impactful, our approach largely centered on staff providing support in the school environment. However, we also believe in the importance of home and community support. The stage of middle childhood, which bridges early childhood and young adulthood, needed a holistic support model that would go beyond the classroom walls.
I know this from my son Karim, who was diagnosed with a disability when he was 3 years old. In the early years our priorities were to help him eat, walk, talk. When he started going to school, it became clear that building a good life for him and our family was most important.
Karim showed his love for performing when he was in preschool. He was always the first to volunteer as an audience member to get up on stage, even though he had no language. We actively nurtured and developed this strength over the years.
We also wanted an ordinary life in the community for him, so we used NDIS funding to help him follow his interests. This included attending martial arts, dance and drumming classes, all based in the community. Being unable to speak, these activities became another way for him to communicate and express himself.
Now, as a young man, Karim has his own business. He works with an actor to perform Karim’s Mojo Disco, a show that raises awareness of people with disability and gives practical ideas on inclusion.
That’s why we believe in the importance of good transitions and ensuring that families and their children are equipped not just with the tools to excel in their learning, but to thrive in life.
So here we are. The School & Life program was built from the voices of families, our team and the community. Thanks to them, it will be the springboard for future strategies and
programs that are built on contemporary approaches to disability, which seek to adapt the environment to support the child’s participation and connection.
We’re looking forward to supporting families to nurture academic success and a life rich in experiences, friendships, and independence.
Learn more about School & Life