|They're a different breed|
It’s great to be back in harness again.
Last week I worked in a rural “High School Top”. These schools are generally large primary schools in townships lacking the population to warrant a separate secondary department.
Usually, they work well with the primary section of the school, as there are resources available (such as science labs and home economics facilities) over and above primary schools.
I have two students on my caseload at this school, one of whom uses crutches to get around. The school is typical of many in the Queensland bush – built on concrete stumps with elevated walkways linking the various blocks.
A few years ago, a lift was installed which gives this student (and any others who might turn up in wheelchairs) access to the upper floor classrooms.
Unfortunately, this particular student’s home classroom is separated from the lift (and the rest of the school) by a small flight of stairs – three steps in all. This student has to negotiate them, and can do so because they have handrails each side, but there is a risk in this that has to be managed. The student is ataxic, which means that she has a fair bit of difficulty establishing stability relying only on her crutches.
Her Physio has shown her a method which involves her giving the crutches to another student to hold whilst she goes up and down the stairs using the handrails. When I took her through the process the other day, accompanied by a couple of her good friends, I was given a lot of advice by one of them.
This was interesting, and is indicative of the self-confidence exhibited by youngsters these days. I actually found it useful, as this kid was smart, and she had lots of good ideas. She was careful how she put them forward, usually prefacing her suggestions with “I’m not a professional, but……”
One piece of advice I rejected was that her friend with a disability use the handrails only when going down the stairs, as falling up the stairs was less dangerous than falling down. I guess when you’re eleven years old; the whole W H & S regime is a foreign country.
it’s very real, and litigation often follows any student injury at school.
These kids look after each other very well, and it’s a credit to their maturity and the way they’re managed at school. I hope they carry these attitudes on into adulthood.