...I have just about enough brain cells left over to type this post out! My brain has been aching for the last 3 days, in which I participated in a Portage Workshop.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the term Portage; let me explain...
....Portage is a home visiting educational service for pre-school children with additional support needs and their families.
In a nutshell, I am training to become a volunteer and will aim to work with families to help them develop a quality of life and experience, for themselves and their young children, in which they can learn together, play together, and participate and be included in their community in their own right. I will play a part in helping to minimise the disabling barriers that confront young children and their families receiving Portage services & support the national & local development of inclusive services for children.
I will make regular home visits, supporting development of play, communication, relationships & learning for young children within the family and I will work together with parents/carers within the family, with them taking the lead role in the partnership that is established. I will help parents to identify what is important to them & their child and plan goals for learning & participation, keeping a shared record of the child's progress & other issues raised by the family, responding flexibly to the needs of the child and family when providing support & working closely with other agencies.
It has been a tough few days (& actually quite an emotional few days too-particularly today as we had the privilege to meet a mum & her young Son - who has Downs Syndrome - as well as 5 her children!) she was one of the most inspiring women I have ever met & I found it desperately hard to keep the tears at bay! - Her beautiful little boy lit up the room as soon as they walked in & we all enjoyed playing on the floor with him singing his favourite songs (twinkle twinkle & row row the boat!)
At the end of today's assignments we were handed a poem & also an article written by a mother who has a Downs child & they both reflect the disabilities that we, as a family, face with our children...
A Work of Art
A child is born, we all rejoice & shout hooray, hooray,
But as he grows a silence falls as we hear someone say...
There's something wrong, he isn't 'right', whatever can it be?
He appears to be quite 'normal', but he isn't like you or me.
Why can't we call him 'normal', what other word is apt?
To describe this little person, of course...he's handicapped!
He won't see life the way we do & he'll never understand,
He'll need us all to be there to lend a helping hand.
He'll bring such joy & happiness to people near & far,
He'll make us question why we're here & who we really are.
He'll give us everything he's got with trusting open arms,
And all he'll ever ask of us is that we shield him from life's harms.
So if you see a child like this, don't turn & walk away,
Stop & have a chat with him, he'll brighten up your day.
For who are we to take this child & set him far apart,
He may not be like the rest of us, but he's a work of art...