Lynn is our Events and Administration Manager and a valued member of our team. She also works as an integration aide in classrooms. In this role, she supports children with disability to integrate into a mainstream school environment. We talked to Lynn about her experience of being an integration aide. 

A head and shoulders photo of Lynn de Kretser

The right to an inclusive learning environment

A child might need extra support for a variety of reasons, says Lynn. Some children might have a developmental, physical or psychological diagnosis whilst others might just need support through working in a small group or a one-on-one type of learning model. All children have the right to access an inclusive learning environment. As integration aides, we do our best to support children with additional needs to feel as included as possible in a mainstream school environment.
For example, we might make changes to a child’s worksheet, so that it’s more accessible for them.
When we do this, we try to make sure that their worksheet still looks like the worksheets that the other children have.

An average day, that is far from average

The work that we do differs from the roles and responsibilities of a teacher aide. While teacher aides support teachers and their classes, integration aides focus specifically on supporting children with additional needs. This support goes beyond just helping them to learn. It also benefits their physical, mental and psychological wellbeing.

The work we do in a day can vary. We might follow a single year level to each of their classes and withdraw a small group of children to a quiet space to learn within the classroom. For other children, however, working in a quiet space outside the classroom might better support their learning style.

The joy of small achievements

The most rewarding part of my job is the small things! The little achievements, which may not look much from the outside, but to us, it could be something we have been working on for days, weeks or even months. To see the joy when they finally achieve that is the greatest!

Being an integration aide has taught me that disability looks different for everyone. No 2 people are the same, regardless of whether they have the same disability or not. I found that you need to take each individual on a person-by-person basis and work from that to establish how to best support them.

My work as an integration aide has its similarities to the work that I do at the Information Access Group. In both roles, I support people who require an extra level of comprehension and understanding in everyday language and situations. And, in both
roles, ensuring that the products we provide are exactly what a single person or group of people may require, is of the
upmost importance.