Imagine a very sociable little boy, just 5 years old, who was invited to the birthday parties of other children who attended his childcare centre at Glenwood. Think of his enthusiasm for trucks, cars and trains. Share his anticipation of going to school with his older brothers. These were very positive aspects of Nathaniel’s world.
Nathaniel also had challenges that result from Aperts syndrome. For him to even experience the joy of playing with other children, his parents had to take the risk that he would ‘catch’ ordinary childhood illnesses that challenge his suppressed immune system. Nathaniel worked hard at learning skills that come easily to most children his age: dressing, toileting, using scissors and pencils, climbing, speaking so that he was understood.
Luckily, there was a committed and collaborative ‘Team Nathaniel’ who ensured that his childcare day gave plenty of opportunities to practise the skills he needed for school while he had fun and did whatever the other children were doing. On the team were Nathaniel’s childcare educator, a STaR special educator and his speech pathologist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist, all guided by his parents’ priorities. They planned the steps and the right amount of assistance and praise as Nathaniel became more competent and independent.
2018 was a big year for Nathaniel. He was getting ready to be a schoolboy who was able to follow instructions, take part in news time, manage his lunchbox and schoolbag, write his name and take turns in an activity. These skills – and his dazzling personality – have been a recipe for a successful start to school, along with the welcoming attitude that Cherrybrook Public School has shown.
Nathaniel is a brilliant reminder that STaR children are so much more than their diagnosis labels!