Achievement Blog – When the pupil becomes the teacher
Charlotte spoke to Julie about her 13 year old daughter, Emma. Emma is using her knowledge and experience to help specialist teachers work more effectively with children with additional needs.
Emma is in mainstream school and has been all through her education. Her 1:1 has been with her since year 1 and Emma has made amazing progress throughout primary and now at secondary school.
Emma is registered severely sight impaired and uses a long cane. She is also hearing impaired and wears hearing aids. Emma’s eye condition is Cone Rod Dystrophy, a group of inherited eye disorders that affect the light sensitive cells of the retina. People with this condition experience vision loss over time as the cones and rods deteriorate.
Educationally, Emma hasn’t let her visual impairment stand in her way. Emma is a fluent Braille user as she learnt from the age of 6. All her school work is done in Braille and is modified for her in order to access the curriculum. She absolutely loves to read and loves maths. So much so she comes top of her class in her maths assessments all the time. She is an extremely bright young lady who is excelling at school!
Emma used her experience at school to help QTVIs (Qualified Teachers for the Visually Impaired), by speaking with them recently at Birmingham University. She gave her own personal account of how she coped through school and what she enjoyed. Emma helped the teachers put into perspective how teaching the right way to any child with additional needs can really help put children on the right path.
In Emma’s school they have a student support centre available for anyone with additional needs to use. The students have set up a lunch club so there is always somewhere to go and someone to talk to. This has really helped Emma come out of herself in different social situations, as they have lunch together and just chat about everything.
Despite being a quiet child Emma has really thrived socially during her time in a high school setting. There were some struggles at the start of year seven, but she has since started to flourish. She has worked hard to become more involved with conversations and make friends!
Outside of school, Emma gets involved in so much. A big fan of theme parks, she’ll go on most of the big roller coasters without even flinching. She does a lot of activities with her weekly Sense social intervener. She loves cooking and going to the theatre.
Julie believes the excellent services provided to her by the sensory support team in the Hertfordshire local authority has made a significant difference to Emma’s life. Being proactive in accessing independent living skills courses that have been made available to Emma has contributed largely towards Emma’s quality of life and her ‘can-do’ attitude.
Her next big milestone is her GCSE options. So far Emma has settled on art, music and travel and tourism. Emma seems like such a remarkable young lady. It is amazing to learn about how someone as young as her has been able to work with teachers in order to improve the learning experience of other children. We wish you the best of luck in your GCSE journey and hope to see you at a VICTA event soon.
A big well done to Emma from all of us at Team VICTA!
Read our other Achievement blogs in our Stories Section.