Parent education night – very informative

We are very grateful to Mrs. Danielle Ramos, from RISE Behaviour Services, who gave a Parent Support Group sponsored Parent Education Night on the topic of Neurodiversity and Inclusion.

Danielle’s presentation included an explanation of neurodiversity which includes, but is not limited to

ADHD, Down Syndrome, Autism, learning disabilities and behaviours associated with bipolar, obsessive-compulsive and Tourette’s behaviours.

In today’s society, where we are increasingly including individuals with neurodivergent ways of interacting with the world, this was a very well-received presentation that increased our understanding of neurodiversity and how we can include children in a school setting. We learned of the many challenges neurodivergent people face as well as the challenges that schools and families must surmount. We also learned that neurodivergent individuals often have gifts that we neurotypical individuals do not have and are of a benefit to us.

The following day, Danielle Ramos returned with one of her workers from RISE, Hannah Ayton. They gave a presentation to students to explained how all of our brains work differently. Some concrete activities, such as working with marbles, provided hands on activities to help students understand this issue. One exercise in particular had the students draw a rainbow only using red. What a wonderful way to show how excluding those with differences limits the vibrant expanse of life when we include everyone. These concepts parallel our belief that every child is made in the Image of God and has been given gifts and talents with which to serve the whole community.

Recently a parent remark that St. Joseph’s is a wonderful place for students to learn tolerance and compassion to others in a safe environment. Research (Keys, MacMahon and Viola, 2014 *) has shown that students who work with neurodiverse classmates experience the benefits of improved pro-social behaviours, a strengthened sense of self, and life-long understanding and acceptance.

Thank you, Danielle and Hannah and for your presentations. Danielle has been a member of our school community as a parent for over ten years. She is currently a board certified behaviour analyst and has recently been contracted to work with students and staff. We are looking forward to her support as we endeavour to assist all children in reaching their potential with us. special-needs

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