WCED makes school more accessible for children with disabilities
11 December 2020
Carpe Diem School in George gave recognition to the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for helping learners to gain more independence.
The school caters for learners with special education needs ranging from intellectual barriers to learning to health conditions such as muscular dystrophy, brittle bone disease, spinal muscular atrophy, etc. A large percentage of learners come from the poor rural farms surrounding George.
Marali Olën of Carpe Diem said the WCED made it possible for the school to install a wheelchair lift in their new school bus, repair the school’s swimming pool hoist, buy a manual hoist to lift learners in and out of bed, and buy five power chairs to enable learners to have access to the school grounds independently. “This will make an enormous difference in the lives of our learners. Carpe Diem School would like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”
Dheena Achary of the Directorate: Inclusive and Specialised Education Support, said the school had approached the department about their challenges with regards to learners with muscular and mobility barriers in wheelchairs who are unable to access all the facilities in the school and thus experience the same opportunities as their peers who are abled bodied.
“Often these learners are dependent on staff and their peers to propel them to the upper level of the school or to the playgrounds and specialist rooms in order to access the curriculum and therapeutic support.
“Unlike their able-bodied peers, the movement of these learners around the school is limited due to poor muscle tone, etc. This does have a negative impact on their self-esteem, confidence level, behaviour, independence, etc.”
Given the plight of these learners the Directorate: Inclusive and Specialised Education Support made funding available to the school which was also augmented by the school with fund-raising.
“It was extremely heart-warming to see the positive change that this had made to the many learners at the school. It has opened a new world to them. They are now able to independently manoeuvre the power chairs around the school and can now participate in sporting activities and active play with their peers. They can explore their environment and surroundings more freely.”
Achary added that during aqua therapy the hoist is used to transfer learners safely and easily from the therapy pool which previously placed enormous physical strain on their care givers and therapists.