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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Outreach and what it means

Getting Good Shepherd almost finished is fine for the 120 children with disability who are attending but our friend Dr Pat Scampion was keen to use the school as a platform to reach out to more children who for various reasons could not get to the school. One reason is that the school is now full!

So would it be possible to create an outreach programme to help children and families further afield?

Ed Paulat and friends raised enough to buy a vehicle. Pat started a charity called Improving Chances to fund an outreach project and it has now started.

She took a team of clinicians to Uganda a couple of months ago and  this is what she told us;

The team I took with me this time assessed over 60 children in two weeks plus some of the children already in the school. Many  of the children had epilepsy, and others profound cerebral palsy or other neurodisability. Theresa's teachers were very receptive, particularly to our ed psychs advice on behaviour management, and differentiating the curriculum. Theresa was also able to find a local physio from the Referral Hospital who is prepared to visit once a month and follow up the work we did.

So now Theresa has five groups of 4-6 very severely disabled children being brought into school once a week in the vehicle generally with a parent, for play, stimulation and parent to parent support, and some basic pysio. The children are truly little survivors and their parents obviously very committed, but we didn't feel able to ask them for fees given the overt and hidden financial burdens such heavily disabled children present their families. However, I think we may find that some of these parents are sufficiently assertive to want to develop the service themselves in due course. In the meantime "Improving Chances" is funding this development.

Also I have sent you a picture of Hannington who is our Student for the Out reach programme.  He is a young lad with epilepsy, who has been longing to go to school, but because of the sickness it could not allow him to live a normal life, like any other boy of his age.  He is now very happy as he comes to our school, Good Shepherd and get practical skills which will help him to live an independent life and also become a useful Citizen with a future.  He likes wood work very much.  His Parents are also very happy they could not imagine that their Son will also do something useful in life.  Also as teachers we also feel very happy to see our objectives are achieved.

1 comment:

Joanna Bircher said...

It's wonderful to see how many things can develop from initial ideas combined with enthusiasm.