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Celebrating a young boy in Vietnam this International Day of People with Disability

This International Day of People with Disability we’re celebrating all the young people living with a disability.

Nhat is a happy, kind boy who loves to colour. He lives in the Cao Bang Province in Vietnam. Nhat also lives with Down Syndrome. With support from his teacher, Hoang Van Don, he is thriving in a disability inclusive school environment.

At first his parents thought he was just shy. His parents noticed he was much smaller than his peers and he was falling behind in school. Although teachers noticed he was struggling, they weren’t sure how to support him. That changed when teacher, Don, moved to his primary school.

With more than 16 years’ experience as a teacher, Don was trusted to teach children with all types of disabilities. Don said that, to start with, he faced many challenges in supporting Nhat to integrate into the classroom.

“At first, I was very confused. I did not know how to build a teaching plan to suit students with disability, how to choose content to get the best results or how to help children with disability cope with long school hours,” he said.

He spent time doing his own research on inclusive education for children with disability, but he said that “it wasn’t as effective because I still wasn’t sure how to identify the abilities and needs of the children.”

Don joined one of ChildFund Vietnam’s disability inclusion training sessions. This training was developed to help teachers identify the abilities and needs for children with disability and then how to develop individual learning plans. They also support teachers in creating an inclusive learning environment.

During the training, he learned about different types of disabilities, learn from consultants, and collaborate with other teachers on teaching methods and skills for children with a disability. “I now have enough knowledge to develop an individual education plan to identify the abilities and needs of the children, and build a suitable lesson plan for children with disability.”

Don organised a one-on-one lesson with Nhat so he could identify his needs and plan for how to make lessons more engaging for him. The plan was clear and easily implemented. Nhat now sits in the front row where Don can more closely support him.

Working with Nhat’s family, he is making remarkable progress. To start with, Nhat could only speak and write simple words, but now he is improving his handwriting, language skills and is more settled and focussed when in the classroom.

His family says that he comes home from school happy and shares many stories from his day. He is also more confident helping his mother around the house with simple chores like washing dishes and helping cook the family dinner.

In time, Don hopes that the ChildFund program will provide more teachers with the same opportunity to learn about creating an inclusive learning environment. Through this training and ensuring that classrooms are equipped to support all children with a disability, he hopes that this will mean that no child is left behind in their education.

International Day of People with Disability is an opportunity to celebrate young people like Nhat who, with the right support, should be valued in all their diversity and contributions they make to our society every day of the year. Today is also an opportunity for countries to make sure that children with disabilities are not left behind in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two years, we have witnessed the flexibility of the communities we work with and believe that these skills can be harnessed in ensuring the recovery from the pandemic includes children with disability, so that they can access quality education as children begin to return to the classroom.

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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