Every person is born with a purpose and the ability to contribute to society in one way or another. It is inevitable that some have more needs than others.
Integrating children with additional needs into our society, mainstream schools and OSHC is promoting a more inclusive society. Obviously it comes with situations that are challenging but these can be overcome and are only a hurdle in the scheme of things.
I have worked with children from various walks of life who have varying need levels and all have faced me with varying levels of challenge but I have to say they are the most rewarding children and the effort is more than worth it.
By allowing these children to engage with us is providing an empathetic, well minded society of children who are embracing these additional needs children and this will follow them throughout life.
Children today have more opportunity to grow and learn if they are in our environment. The chance to socialise and play with friends from the mainstream environment creates self-respect and confidence for a child with additional needs. Their self-esteem increases enormously.
At YMCA Bray Park OSHC service alone, we have a number of children with additional needs and it is wonderful to watch the children wanting to engage and help wherever they can – whether it be pushing the wheelchair around or helping children to draw. Welcoming these children and helping them feel part of the environment is just the start but how the rest of the children embrace them is amazing to watch. The children learn quickly that these children are accepted into society and are part of day to day life just as they are. All children benefit when everyone is together and learn tolerance for differences.
Supporting children with additional needs is such a fulfilling and rewarding experience and I am glad to be involved in these children’s lives.
Written by Felicity Power, YMCA Bray Park OSHC Coordinator