My first job as a qualified physical education (P.E.) teacher was delivering P.E. to children with physical and learning disabilities. I had to deliver P.E to pupils with a range of disabilities and behavioural issues including autism, down syndrome, aspergers, aggression and mental complications. Not only was I responsible for their indoor and outdoor P.E, I also had to deliver swimming which had challenges such as health and safety concerns.
Getting settled in, I learnt the pupils and their routines, and began to realise what children with physical and learning difficulties could achieve and what they could teach me. I am far more accepting and relaxed around pupils with different disabilities and difficulties, as they are just like you or I.
I find it easier to make bonds with all children, no matter their physical or learning capabilities. As with you or I, it’s understanding what makes them tick, what makes them happy or sad and their individual character and abilities.
But more importantly it’s made me appreciate that no one has limitations, there is nothing no-one can’t achieve.
At the end of primary seven pupils with down syndrome were throwing shot putts and discuses for miles and pupils with autism were overcoming water fears to become excellent swimmers.
And no child will appreciate your efforts more than a child with learning difficulties. If you take the time to get to know them, tear down their learning barriers and help them progress, they will appreciate it for the rest of their lives.
Cameron is a P.E. teacher in Glasgow.
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