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Specialist Equipment Makes all the Difference

1 November 2020

Inclusive use of specialist equipment has many benefits for all children. When children of all abilities are able to participate meaningfully in all aspects of the program, all children can learn vital skills for life. These skills include increased empathy and increased understanding of difference. Kindy Patch Bligh Park share how their use of specialist equipment has helped all children to engage in shared experiences together.

Lola is four years old and to participate fully she requires physical guidance and support from staff. The service has accessed some free specialist equipment through the Inclusion Support Program’s Specialist Equipment Library.

The photos show Lola sitting in the low-lying chair (Special Tomato Sitter on a mobile base). The chair enables Lola to be at the same level as her peers who position themselves so that Lola can see the book and enjoy the story. After the educator finished reading, Lola’s two friends took the book and sat with Lola. They proceeded to re-read the story making sure she could see the pictures and helped her to move her arms for the actions.

Rachel, one of the educators, shared with her Inclusion Professional that the educators role model ways to play and interact with Lola. From the start, Lola’s peers have been very caring towards her.

They seek Lola out and offer help to join in the activities. When Lola is in the low-lying chair, children will grab a ball or another piece of equipment and play with her. Rachel has heard the children say things like “We need to go to Lola because her legs don’t work”. Some children are mindful that she may not understand some things as easily as they do. They help by passing things to Lola; and they return things when they are out of reach. It is wonderful to see how positive and responsive Lola’s friends are and how observant and conscious they are of her needs.

The Australian Government funded NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency is managed by KU Children’s Services, in partnership with Include Me and Gowrie NSW.