Chairperson: President Peter introduced Jenny who is the Well-Being Contact at Carranballac P-9 School at Point Cook. Jenny asked us to imagine a (typical) classroom of 30 students, 2 with severe behavioural disorders, 3 with significant learning difficulties, 2 with severe depression, 2 with Autistic Syndrome Disorder, 1 with Asperger’s, 2 totally disengaged and who cannot form relationships with their peers. Teachers must provide a range of differentiated learning tasks to suit all styles and abilities, while trying to maintain discipline and a positive, happy learning environment. There is continual assistance provided by the school team of Principal class, welfare, speech pathologist, support staff and regional office psychologists, as well as regular and on-going meetings with class teachers. Parents can be very anxious if they suspect a learning difficulty with their child and therefore also need support, especially if given a diagnosis of intellectual disability. Funding cuts and strict guidelines are enforced but a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach is needed, along with improved funding, for students to achieve to their full potential.
President Peter thanked Jenny for an extremely informative talk and called for questions, of which there were many. He praised the work Jenny does at his and wife Kaye’s campuses, and gave further insight into a special team he has formed to assist the welfare system at his school. Jenny is also invaluable as the Out-of-School-Hours program coordinator for 600 families.