Community celebrates International Day of People with Disability

A group of children and adults smile at the camera. Some of the children have their faces painted.
Image: Students and staff from Kalinda school

International Day of People with Disability was an excellent chance for students at Kalinda School to celebrate with their local community.

The school invited local private and public schools, disability service providers, therapists, community groups and locals to join them for a day of fun that included a jumping castle, face painting, and more.

The school caters to Kindergarten to Year 12 students with moderate to severe intellectual and physical disabilities. The event was part of a broader push to ensure students know they're important members of their community in Griffith, Central NSW, and for locals to experience positive engagement with the school and people with a disability.

"We know knowledge is power," said Kalinda School Principal Angela Sampson, "and some people just don't know how to speak with others who have a disability or how to interact with them."

"It's always fantastic to break down those barriers in a non-threatening, fun environment, especially one where you get to jump on a jumping castle!"

Staff also take students out of the school and into the community for curriculum-mandated shopping trips, and help locals learn how to engage with them using their iPads or communication devices.

Students also consistently engage with neighbouring schools, especially Griffith Public School and Murrumbidgee Regional High School, which share their large block of land. Year 11 and 12 students from Kalinda often visit the high school to attend hospitality classes, and younger children interact with their mainstream peers both in and outside the classroom.

"We work very, very closely with Griffith Public School where students from Kalinda School take part in a range of learning and social activities. This is reciprocated by our school. Some of their students access our playground, and we join in with their performances and celebrations." Ms Sampson said.

"Recently, a member of our school community was at a performance and was asked 'which one of those students on stage is from Kalinda School?' That was so exciting. It meant we'd really put in place appropriate adjustments to make sure our students were included and performed alongside students without disability."

Visit the school website and Facebook page to see pictures of the day.

Does your school have a great idea on how to improve learning and wellbeing for students with disability or additional needs? Share it with the team at disability.strategy@det.nsw.edu.au.

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