For the Whole of Their Life.

Principal Blog - Autism and Special Education

Posted 10th August 2022
By mandy eggins

After the last two years of COVID restrictions in place, you can imagine how exciting it was to be able to have all our staff together in one room for our mid-year conference. I have so appreciated the warm welcome I have received at every single DALE and YP campus as I have travelled around each week and it was a great feeling to be able to finally have everyone together, recognise names and faces and to feel like I was amongst friends.

It is a blessing to work with the dedicated staff at DALE and YP but also to partner with our parents. The highlight of the conference for me was when one of our mums from our Gosford campus, Megan Hunt, spoke to us about what it is like to live with autism. Megan is a teacher and is currently doing her PhD research in Autism and Special Education. Her presentation was inspiring, articulate and informative. It was so much more engaging than a textbook education or training. She gave us firsthand insight into the world from the perspective of an intelligent, compliant but often confused, misunderstood and anxious, undiagnosed schoolgirl and her transition into adulthood. Megan’s presentation was not only moving and inspiring, but it also drew us into her world in a way that formal teacher training cannot. For example: what a meltdown feels like and how to understand and support our students during these times; how confusing and distracting idiomatic or metaphoric language can be, when filtered through a literal mindset; and how exhausting it can be to get through a ‘normal’ day at school because of the additional sensory and processing challenges that someone with autism experiences.

One of the teachers told me that it was the best professional development he had ever experienced and one at another campus said what a difference it had made in listening to and understanding a student who was struggling on their first day back. Megan helped us to make sense of her world and the world of so many of the students that we teach. She is a perfect example of the vital difference that a person with autism can make in the world. Her articulate and intelligent explanation of her now diagnosed ‘disability’, inspired us all to appreciate the unique ability and treasure not only in her, but in every one of our students.

As we educate your beautiful children, we are also grateful for what we learn from them in return. God has created each of us uniquely different, uniquely challenged and uniquely gifted and we all need each other:

“All the parts work together to help each other. Then if one part of the body hurts, every other part also hurts. If people praise one part, every part of the body is also happy. All of you together are Christ's body. And each of you is a part of that body.”

1 Corinthians 12:25-27

Every Blessing,

Michelle Cairelli

The Life

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