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Children with special needs must feel accepted by their parents – principal in Randpark Ridge

Parents of children with special needs are encouraged to look for the strengths and interests in their children.

The primary school principal at Orion College has urged parents of children with special needs to accept this as early as possible, and seek an appropriate learning environment.

Barbra Robinson said often when it comes to children with special needs, parents are in denial and keep their children in mainstream schooling for too long, where they stand out, lose confidence and self-esteem and struggle to cope.

Among its staff, the remedial school in Randpark Ridge has two education psychologists, two speech and language therapists, two occupational therapists and three remedial therapists.

Orion College’s primary school principal Barbra Robinson still teaches geography across the Intermediate Phase. Photo: Nicholas Zaal

The three educational streams at the school also ensure every child’s requirement is accommodated.

“Sometimes parents also blame themselves and grieve, feeling because their child has special needs that every door will be closed to them,” Robinson told Randburg Sun.

“That is not the case. I would advise parents to accept their children as early as possible and move them to a suitable learning environment where their confidence can grow. Also look for their strengths and interests because often you will find they will accomplish something with that.”

The principal alluded to a former educational psychologist at the school who herself has ADHD and still takes medicine for it, but completed her doctorate and has a successful career.

“We have a girl who struggled in mainstream schooling and thought she was stupid. She came here for a few days and our psychologists did their assessments and found she has dyslexia. We told her and her parents about all the successful people with dyslexia, like Richard Branson, and helped her accept it.”

The girl regained her confidence and with the right academic support, is doing better at school.

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