A SPECIAL program delivered to Orange Christian School students yesterday could be a crucial element in how the next generation treats people with a disability.
The Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) teamed up with Wangarang Industries communications and development manager Jayson Hanrahan to deliver the program Just Like You to year 5 and 6 students.
Mr Hanrahan said the program would help students learn how to incorporate people with a disability in their everyday activities.
“There needs to be a cultural shift in how we treat people with a disability and it’s our next generation that can foster positive attitudes towards people with a disability,” he said.
“It’s important that we start early and this program will certainly help young people learn what is right and wrong when it comes to people with disabilities.”
As part of the program, Mr Hanrahan and his guide dog Davey attended classes and went through a work book with students.
He said the students were cautious at first, but were right behind the program by the end of the class.
“The work book highlights the issue of disability and helps educate students how best to deal with it,” he said.
“After working through the books they were given the opportunity to ask any questions they liked. The session was meant to go for half an hour, but we had to stop questions after an hour.
“It just goes to show how interested the kids were on this topic.”
Mr Hanrahan and the CPA will return to Orange Christian School next week for the second and final instalment of the Just Like You program.
“We’ve given the kids the opportunity to go home and talk to family and friends about what they’ve learnt, and follow up with another session,” he said.
“At this stage the program is aimed at primary school kids only, but because of the success the program is having, they [the CPA] may look at extending it to high schools in the region.”
Just Like You coordinator Prue McCarthy said the program was a relatively new initiative and must attract volunteers in order to guarantee its survival.
“We need some able-bodied volunteers as well as people with a disability to continue this program,” she said.
For information on how to volunteer, contact Prue at CPA on 6360 1455.