Connecting with elementary students
The staff at Cerebral Palsy Association of BC (CPABC) are always thrilled to receive feedback from students throughout the Lower Mainland who attend our Disability Awareness Program. This was certainly the case when we open up a large manilla envelope from Chantrell Creek Elementary School in Surrey. Inside, we found colourful thank you cards that had creative drawings and comments from students about what they learned from the presentation.
Back in April of this year PADS Service Dog Breeze and Tammy van der Kamp, CPABC’s Family & Individual Support Worker, were invited to do several presentations at the Surrey school. CPABC presented to 210 s. The presentations at Chantrell Creek started off as many school presentations during this past year. As the HandyDart pulled up to the school to drop off Tammy and Breeze a number of students gathered around the bus to look at who was being let off the bus during recess. Some students were shy and curious onlookers while other asked if they could pet the dog. The students were told that they could not and would learn why during the presentation.
The beauty of diversity
The presentations were well received by the students at Chantrell Creek. They are designed to teach kids that disability is another aspect of human diversity. The presentations begin with an overview of working dog etiquette. After that, Tammy (and Breeze) try to get the children thinking about all the ways we human beings are the same, and all the ways we are different. Kids understand that we humans come in a variety of colors. They know we come in all shapes and sizes.
It’s not a big step from there to “people with disabilities are just people, too…”
Tammy then continues by sharing personal stories about living with a disability and how her life is similar to that of their parents and highlights that everyone needs help from time to time. She also points out that we all use tools on a daily bases to perform activities whether that is eyeglasses, dentures, wheelchairs or a computer. Finally, a demonstration of some of Tammy’s equipment she uses including the skills that PADS Service Dog Breeze performs for Tammy. Demonstration of the dog’s abilities is very popular with the students. Tammy ends the presentation with a question and answer period.
It was obvious that the students at Chantrell Creek were listening. They asked about Tammy’s job, her hobbies, and how she managed her daily activities from getting up in the morning, to how she eats, drives, goes to the washroom or manages stairs.
The thank you cards CPABC received showed that our message of human diversity is getting through. Some of the comments we received included:
“Thank you for coming to our school. I enjoyed your visit. Even though you are different you can still do a lot of things.” Student ,Chantrell Creek Elementry School
“Thank you for showing us how hard it is to do things if your hands don’t work well.” Student, Chantrell Elementry School
“It was good to learn about people with disabilities and even though you look and do things differently, you are like me in many ways” Student, Chantrell Creek Elementary
CPABC would like to thank the students for sending beautiful cards They are very much appreciated.
The CPABC continues to offer informative and engaging presentations to schools, clubs, businesses, organizations, and other groups. This crucial service offers information on a variety of topics pertaining to cp, from disability awareness to aetiology.
To request a presentation, you can call our office at 604-408-9484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammy will be facilitating a workshop for staff at MediChair and local community therapists in the Coquitlam area on September 29,2010 at 1:00PM. The presentation will cover programs and services available for people with cp and information on CPABC services.
Tammy van der Kamp is the CPABC’s Family & Individual Support Worker, and a member of the Speaker’s Bureau.