Imagine a very sociable little boy, just 5 years old, who gets invited to the birthday parties of other children whom 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 are very positive aspects of Nathaniel’s world.
Nathaniel also has 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 has to work hard at learning skills that come easily to most children his age: dressing, toileting, using scissors and pencils, climbing, speaking so that he is 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 did whatever the other children were doing and had fun. 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 as he was getting ready to be a schoolboy who is 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 – was 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!