If I were handicapped, I would want to go to a school where I would be accepted and supported. In the ‘’Grundschule Stieglitzweg ‘’ in Germany, there is a special class for this. On Tuesday, we got to visit a fourth grade and were introduced to what a regular school day of kids with mental disabilities looks like.
There were five kids who needed extra support to learn. Two of them took part in a ''normal class'' and got help by supervisors if they needed it. The other three kids were separated from the normal class. They were taught by two women, one of them took care and watched them, because they have a slow learning process and to improve their concentration level. The topic of the lesson was ‘Niedersachsen’. First they repeated what they did the last lesson and showed it on a map. When they talked about rivers, cities and mountains, they were asked personal things about that.
We noticed that they could follow the main teacher very well and they felt integrated .
About the kids: Two of them have down-syndrome, three have other disabiliies and one has social problems. After a few minutes, we realized that each of them has their own personality and their strengths. Some of them were really self-confident, some of them were naughty and had their own opinion which they wanted to push through. Like kids without handicaps!
After the geography lesson, we went to the library. The supervisors read books for them. First, we did not know what to do, but then one of the boys with down-syndrome came and asked one of us to read something for him. He listened carefully and viewd the pictures with great enthusiasm. When we finished the book, he told us about his math skills and counted the people in the room.
At the end of this exciting day, we knew a lot more about integration of disabled people in elementary school. We learned that they have a slow learning process and that they need special help, but we also realized that besides their disability, they are normal kids finding out what they are good at.
written by Carolin & David