Recently I was invited to join my primary school class for the week long residential at Oxenwood Outdoor Educational Centre. With an itinerary including climbing wall, canoeing and mountain biking I was concerned about how included I would be. I need not have worried, as the centre staff and my mother went above and beyond to ensure I was given every opportunity to experience all activities. Memories of being excluded the year before evaporated, making way for new.
With a can-do attitude anything is possible combined with the belief that special needs children are worth the extra effort. Half the battle is won in the mind and the other is triumphed with an adaptable and flexible approach to the practicalities as proven by the staff at Oxenwood.
Being included makes me feel loved and part of the team as opposed to different and lonely. Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to experience life in all its fullness.
This is my poem on the residential.
Inclusion at their heart,
Tidal waves of belief,
Esteem growing with my part.
Escaped on bikes; elated,
Hair ruffled in the breeze,
Views absorbed; time stands still,
Free-wheeling downhill with ease.
Friends clapping cheering chanting,
I’m rising to the sky,
Pulling me to freedom,
My ovation soaring high.
Proud member of Rhine class,
Great team forged with laughter,
Fantastic friendships last!
© Jonathan Bryan