Rebecca worked in the area of community care and aged care services as a coordinator and educator before having two beautiful children. Her background and skills in advocacy and training in social role valorisation helped to foster a firm belief in an inclusive and fulfilling life for Rohan, who has 18Q deletion syndrome. Rebecca faced many hurdles trying to gain a mainstream education for her son but, due to her clarity about the benefits of inclusion, she did not give up the dream. Rebecca is an active member of the QLD Collective for Inclusive Education and has been a part of CRU’s family leadership network, parent advocacy organisations and a contributor to education sessions for parents and conference sessions.
Rohan is a grade 5 student whose education has run the full gamut of early intervention, special education school, extreme segregation within a mainstream school and an inclusive classroom. Rohan now enjoys learning in a regular inclusive school and has challenged all critics by achieving high academic results and making strong enduring friendships. He loves going to school and excels at spelling, writing and maths. He has a large group of friends and is seen as an extremely capable student by his school community even though he does not communicate verbally. Rohan has contributed his words, prose and insights to the presentation.
This presentation will explore the pivotal role of parent advocacy and strong leadership skills in conquering the barriers to an inclusive education and a fulfilling life. It will examine how parents can fall prey to the allure of various school placements offered up as inclusive options yet falling short of genuine inclusion. It will include insightful reflections and prose from Rohan, an accomplished writer, capable student and a young man who challenges low expectations. Once deemed not eligible even for a Special school as he was deemed to have “high support needs”, Rohan now flourishes in an inclusive mainstream environment. His words cut through the injustice and myths, and bring inspiration to why inclusion is important for all. His academic and social accomplishments achieved with the support of his school community demonstrate the power of an authentic inclusive education. Rohan, like his peers, has hopes of one day being a lawyer, owning a red Ferrari and having a good looking wife!