SCHOOL INCLUSION: Mitchell and Leah Wallis encourage everyone to get down to the free advocacy workshops for families of students with disability in the Maranoa next week.
SCHOOL INCLUSION: Mitchell and Leah Wallis encourage everyone to get down to the free advocacy workshops for families of students with disability in the Maranoa next week. James Liveris

Open communication is the key to school inclusion

THE smile never leaves Mitchell Wallis's face when he attends class and gets to be with his school mates.

Mitchell has cerebral palsy and is a Year 2 student at Roma State College.

His mother Leah Wallis said having access to inclusive education has allowed Mitchell to build friendships with his peers.

"Building a positive relationship with the school has allowed us to set realistic goals for Mitchell,” Mrs Wallis said.

"We have been able to work together to set goals that are appropriate for his disability.

Next week in Roma, Community Resource Unit Ltd, a Brisbane based disability support agency, is hosting two information sessions outlining the Department of Education's Inclusive Education Policy and associated supports tailored to enhance education opportunities for students with disability.

"Having open communication with our school has played a very important role in providing Mitchell with the best possible education because we work together on common goals that benefit him,” she said.

Mrs Wallis said the Roma community have always been very supportive of Mitchell and she would encourage any parents to attend the workshops to learn about working in partnership with a school team, and how families can gain the knowledge and skills to do this.

Dr Lisa Bridle, a social worker and parent of a young adult with Down syndrome, will present the workshops at the Roma Community Hub.

Dr Bridle said the workshops build the confidence and capacity of parents to advocate for their children's inclusion through the school years.

"Even in smaller communities, parents of students with disability can feel isolated,” she said.

"These workshops will help attendees to clarify their dreams and goals for their child, learn to speak up and develop skills for working collaboratively with their child's school.”

Dr Bridle has worked at CRU for the past nine years, will share the legacy of school inclusion for her son, who is now 24.

"Going to the neighbourhood school helped Sean develop a wide friendship network and being known in our community has been a great safety net for him since he moved out of home,” Dr Bridle said.

"When families come together around the hopes and dreams for their child, something powerful happens - we find our voice and families support each other.”

WHERE:

Roma Community Hub, workshops are free

WHEN:

Tuesday, August 27 (9.30am-12.30pm) and Wednesday, August 28 (9.15am-2.30pm)

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