Twenty year old Kim Berry is showing students at Pakenham Hills Primary School that disability is no barrier to achieving your dreams through her new position as a teaching assistant at the school.
Kim, who lives with cerebral palsy and is vision-impaired, says the teaching assistant position is enabling her to be one step closer to her lifelong goal of becoming an integration aide.
“I’m learning new skills every day, like how to assist with different styles of learning and what are the best ways to communicate clearly to students. It’s been amazing,” said Kim.
Kim volunteers once a week to the Grade 3 and 4 art classes at Pakenham Hills Primary School, providing in-class support and advice to students.
Leading disability service provider Scope organized and facilitated Kim’s teaching position after finding out about her dream to become an integration aide.
“At Scope, we provide support to every person with a disability to achieve their goals in life,” said Scope CEO, Dr Jennifer Fitzgerald.
“Scope sought to find Kim opportunities to develop the skills and gain experience in teaching, so she was able to decide whether becoming an integration aide was something she’d definitely like to pursue in the future.’
Ms. Fitzgerald also says Kim’s presence as a teaching assistant is hugely beneficial for the primary school students in learning about inclusion.
“For the students, they learn that Kim and other people with a disability can take on leadership positions in our community and see first-hand the enormous value people with disability bring to our communities,” said Ms. Fitzgerald.
Kim says the teaching position has cemented her dream of being an integration aide and helping children with a disability.
“I’ve wanted to be an integration aide since I was four. I’ve always loved teaching and I love being around the kids,” said Kim.
“Being a person with a disability, I’m passionate about helping other children with a disability learn. This teaching assistant job helps me to be one step closer to my dream.”
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