Andrey (the names are changed) went to a usual kindergarten and now goes to common school in spite of Down syndrome. Specialists insisted on studying at home but his mother (she has two other children) wasn’t afraid of difficulties and protected the right of her son to study at a common school. Today the boy studies just a little bit worse than his peers and according to the mother everyone at school is in good relations with him.
The family lives in a small town in Minsk Oblast. There is only one school and all the children, Andrey went to kindergarten with, now study with him at the same class. According to Elena there were no difficulties at all in kindergarten for a child with special needs.
- We were very lucky with teachers there. The teacher accepted our son from the first day and helped to adapt and helped other kids to learn to communicate with our son and everything turned out great.
Of course children saw that our son is different and the teacher did a lot in the situation and very patiently explained the children the reason why.
The time we had spent in kindergarten was great. Children accepted him and now in school they consider him to be their friend and accept the way he is.
The boy learned a lot during the three years in kindergarten – the company of other children was very helpful.
That is why we went to common school in order not to lose these children although we had a choice to stay at home for two more years. I have to admit that we were afraid that other children wouldn’t accept Andrey.
First problems appeared at school and everything was not as good as we thought it would be. The kid had problems with orientation: he didn’t understand why he had to sit for a long time at one place and it was difficult for him to study. The teacher immediately told the mother that a parent has to be present during classes. Elena thinks it was a mistake.
- I understand that at first I had to be somewhere close, in the hall, for example. In this case my son would have an opportunity to study himself. Sometimes with the help of the teacher, sometimes with the help of classmates… My presence at classes during 5 months didn’t do any good – he just got used to me sitting nearby.
Andrey felt comfortable and other kids supported him. For example, if he throws away pencils or a book nobody is laughing at his odd behavior but vice versa helps him.
- At the same time the teacher wasn’t doing any good. She didn’t want to accept him and denied the fact that a child with peculiarities of development can study at common school. Once she said: return to kindergarten. I don’t want to see you here anymore.
We were very happy that the rest of teachers hadn’t left the situation without their attention. Many of them were protecting the mother understanding that Andrey has the right to study with peers, to grow and develop with them and realizing that the loss of friends would be the best change in his life. Andrei was transferred to the parallel class and it was the right way to do.
- The teacher in this class very professionally approached to teaching of a child with peculiarities of development. For example, in the previous class we had been ignored and Andrey was never called to answer questions near the blackboard. In this class it is completely different.