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Erasmus+ Project

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The

activities

carried

out

during

the

first

year

of

Erasmus+ Project (2018-2019) were included in three shorter projects. The theme of the 2 nd project was “Live Library”. In this eBook you can find what our guests told us about their life and how they became our live books telling us their story…

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I have b een working i n spec ial educ ation fo r 14 years. I c hose t his pro fessio n b ec ause I lo ved to help ot hers and b ec ause I lo ve chil dren very much. It' s somet hing I lo ve; I t hink it gives me a l ot o f lo ve. I receive great feel ings from c hil dren and it ful fil ls me very muc h as a human.

In t he speci al schoo l, all c hil dren do no t l earn i n the sam e way. As in general sc hool s, every perso n has t hei r o wn way of l earning. We are t here to gui de them. We are t here for t hem . We are the b ri dge whic h i s go ing to t ake t hem to the ot her si de. 5


In Greec e, I b elieve that t he o perat ion o f these schoo ls helps t hese c hildren b ec ause t eac hers c an work o n ot her fiel ds, whic h are not t he case for general schoo ls, suc h as self -servic e, c hi ldren' s au tonomy, etc.

The spec ial schoo l program i s equi val ent to the general school program, b ut i t al so has ot her fiel ds to work o n ( as we said b efo re). S elf -handl ing, ie chi l dren who c annot dress o r wash t hemsel ves. A lso , i t has to do with auto nomy, t hat i s, t hey o ft en need som eo ne next to t hem to supervise what ever they do . In addit ion, I work o n issues of soci al iz at ion, si nce t hey want reinfo rc ement to be abl e to soc ializ e, to bui ld a relatio nship wit h ot her chil dren. Inside sc hool , I don’t fac e any part ic ul ar diffic ult y, but espec ially o utside of it b ec ause yo u have to manage yo ur parent s, col leagues and soci et y i tsel f, regarding ho w much t hey acc ept and how t hey work with t hese chil dren. 6


I recei ve lo ve every day fro m t hese chil dren without t hei r expressing it i n wo rds, b ut by showi ng me co nfidenc e i n what I ask t hem to do , alo ng wit h t hei r smi le, their hug.

A st rong moment I have l i ved so far in my work, I would say that it reall y was l ast year wit h t he class wit h which we prac tic ed co t eac hing, where I found t hat many st udents o f t he general cl ass emb raced 'm y c hil dren' , my st udent s. The y deal with t hem, they co mmunic at e, b ecause they want the chil dren t hemsel ves and t hat is a great succ ess fo r me. Such mo ments remind me that t his is the o nl y pro fessio n would like to do , not any ot her!

If soci ety em brac es t hese c hil dren? It i s a very di ffic ult questio n ... In Greec e unfo rt unately we are not ready yet to acc ept a ll t hese chil dren. T here is an effort, t here are peo ple sensit iz ed, who m eet the dem ands o f t hese c hi ldren. P eo pl e who real ly lo ve and deal wit h t hem .

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My so n Pet er is 32 years ol d and he i s a c hi ld with severe ment al retardatio n. He cannot work on hi s own, his mind do es not hel p hi m . A ll h e c an do aft er pract icing is to repeat t hi ngs. H e has acco mpli shed quit e a lo t , l ike go ing to sc hool , go ing to get her to a supermarket , go ing for a walk and l at el y we st arted working out in t he gym. H e i s al so epil eptic and so he is o n very heavy medic at ion . The t ruth is t hat it is too di fficult to raise a chi ld wit h spec ial needs. First of all , i t i s unpredict ab le when you give b irt h t o suc h a c hil d. So, at first , we were shoc ked. You have to deal wit h a chil d who i s not healthy and yo u do not know what to do. The key in suc h a case is to accept i t . T hen, all the roads are o pened. When I was pregnant wit h Pet er, I was expect ing him wit h muc h lo ve.

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When he was born, hal f o f the fac e was red. At that t ime, in 198 7, sc ienc e had not go ne so far, so docto rs did not know exac tly what it was. A ft er we start ed goi ng to docto rs, we fo und he had a serio us eye prob l em , gl aucoma, and brain dam age. T hey tol d us t hat he has a rare syndrome call ed Sturge Web er and that , acco rdi ng to this, he wil l never be abl e to walk and co mmunic at e. But we lo ved him so muc h t hat we acc ept ed him as he was. We saw t hat he was react ing to som e st im ul i and b egan to l earn t hings at ho me sinc e t he spec ial educ atio n was not advanced t hen. E veryt hi ng t hat P et ros co nquered was wit h a lot o f tro ubl e and ti m e. Li vi ng wit h a disabl ed chil d is a daily struggl e. The first struggl e is to keep a very spec ific pro gram co nstant ly, wit ho ut c hanging it for no reaso n, b ec ause it is diffic ult to get b ack to it aft erwards. The seco nd struggl e is that he t akes m any drugs that c an affect his li ver, so he needs a spec ial diet and a lot o f medic al exams. Peter was my first chil d. We had not seen another disabl ed chil d in Karpeni ssi ti ll t hen, not b ec ause t hey did not exist b ut b ec ause they di d not get t hem out of t he houses. When I was t aki ng P et ros o ut si de, t hey were t el ling me abo ut o ther chil dren. Of co urse he i s not suppo sed to stay in the ho use, they are c hi ldren like you. They are not as b eauti ful as you are, b ut they have feel ings l ike you. 10


My first t ho ught when I gave b irt h to he was We focus o n the peopl e who l ike us, all t he ot hers do n ’t matt er . I t hanked God for b eco mi ng a Mom and I promised I wo ul d fight fo r this c hil d. I did not get upset, nor did I wo nder why this happened to m e. Thro ugh him I b ec ame a b ett er perso n and hel ped ot her c hil dren t o l i ve b et t er. To t he questio n of what I li ke to do wit h my c hi ld t he answer is t hat I l ike to do everything. H e i s disc ipl ined, never crying. What ever I do , he t el ls me: 'efharisto manul a ' - this is Greek fo r t hank yo u mo mm y. What I li ke mo st is go ing to t he t rai ni ng c ent er and walking to get her. Ano ther t hing he l ikes i s t raveli ng. Although it is very diffic ult , it put s i n so much po wer to li ve everyt hing. I am proud b ec ause I have a chil d who i s a fight er. When he was born, o ur doc tors had excluded the possib il ity of t alking, walki ng, and go i ng to school . But he has made great st rides and has do ne too m uc h.

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It i s too diffic ult for societ y to acc ept suc h a c hil d, but we are al l guilt y o f it. We cannot acc ept somet hing t hat is different . We have to work o n it as a societ y, and t hat is t he rol e o f the schoo l b ut first and foremo st of the fam il y. Everyo ne, I t hink, has a pot ential , even the ones wi th t he mo st severe disab il it y. It' s eno ugh to have peopl e to suppo rt them. Yo u do no t have to reject anyo ne and ac c ept peo pl e who do not do as much as you do . T ry to underst and t hem, b ut even if you c annot , do not bo ther t hem or judge them. Behind t hem t here i s a fam ily. I get a grant fro m t he state, b ut I wo ul d reall y prefer t hem not t o gi ve me t hat money, as lo ng as m y c it y is mo re acc essi bl e to peo pl e wit h disab ilities. In general , soci ety pro vi des great er hel p to these indi vi duals. I personal ly do no t need psyc hol ogic al help, b ut t here are peopl e who need i t. It i s very diffic ult to rai se t hese c hildren. Their parents som etim es need ext ra c are and suppo rt . When yo u asked me i f I lo ve him mo re than m y o ther c hil d (something my daughter o nce asked as well ) t he answer is: No , I do no t lo ve hi m more. J ust his needs are suc h t hat I have to co nstantl y c are for hi m. 12


The t ruth is t hat t he great er anxi et y o f parent s li ke us i s what will happen to our c hil dren when we l eave t hi s l ife o r we c an no lo nger take c are of t hem . For t hi s reaso n, act ion is already taking place i n Karpenissi to pro vide auto nomo us acco mmo dat ion i n resi denc i es. T hey are small , independent houses where peopl e wit h di sab ili ti es st ay with someo ne who wil l hel p t hem co nstant ly. My wish for Pet er' s fut ure i s to remai n i n the situatio n he is no w, b ec ause he has already begun to lose hi s si ght fro m his o ne eye. Al so, docto rs tol d us t hat t hey fear paralysis of his right side o f hi s body. Therefore, I hope for his fut ure, just t hat his health do es no t get wo rse... 13


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When I disco vered I was dyslexic, I must have b een in t he sec ond o r t hird grade of Seco ndary Sc hoo l, aro und t he age o f 14. My anc ient Greek l anguage t eacher tol d my mo ther to t ake me to t he t est c ente r to have some t ests.

Basic al ly, I knew I was l earni ng di fferent ly fro m my ot her cl assm ates. One day my mot her too k me to the Karpenissi E xam inatio n C ent er ( KEDY ) to do so m e t ests. All thi s was li ke a gam e to m e. A ft er 1-2 weeks I was tol d t hat t he result of the di agno st ic test s was t hat I was dysl exic . The first t hi ng I t hought was 'H ere’s som et hi ng else in whic h I'm di fferent than the ot hers' .

I was neit her sad, nor glad when I fo und o ut about it . Fo r m e, not hing wo ul d c hange anyway, b ec ause I had m ade a decisio n from the beginni ng, no m att er what t he resul t 15 would b e.


Al l I knew was t hat I had diffic ul ty i n underst andi ng t he meaning of a text and I had to read it many t im es to finall y l earn it . A lso , when I writ e, I do not have diffic ult y; o thers find it di ffic ult to read m y wri ti ngs. So met im es I c an co nfuse m y lett ers or t he order o f the words I writ e. St range enough, b ut t hat's ho w my brain works. I felt perfec tly normal. My t eac hers sim pl y told me t hat my not eboo ks were sc rib bl ed and they did not make sense o f what I wrot e. But to m e i t m ade sense. That' s why I also got b ad grades. My family was b esi de me, as always, not hing c hanged. It was just lo gical to t alk abo ut dysl exia and acc ept it , not t hat so met hing c hanged. A s for my cl assmates ... t hey just asked me wh at t ests I had done at the t est c enter and I sai d, "Not hing, I just skipped 2 hours from schoo l." They asked me if so met hing c hanged b ecause I went t here and again I tol d t hem: ' I do no t know. But i f you see so met hing different , pl ease l et m e kno w.’ 16


In my dail y ro ut ine and i n m y li fe in general I would not say that I fac ed diffi culti es, just som e t hi ngs I had to deal with, l ike t aking o ral exams. T hi s m eans that i n t he Greek l anguage essays I had to say what I was t hinki ng b ec ause if I wrot e it , it wo ul d not m ake sense. E ven i n Mat hematic s, I had to keep no tes and expl ai n t he sol utio ns. No w t hat I have gro wn up and I have to send an e-mail I have to chec k it o ut t wic e, to see if I have m ade a mistake. So t here are no diffic ul ti es, it' s just a di ffer ent way o f dealing wit h t hings. Dysl exi a is not a prob lem t hat o nl y appears in t he Greek l anguage. It i s simply a different way of t hinking i n all l anguages. You think of t hings differentl y. It al so has m any fo rm s. One can co nfuse t he o rder o f the l ett ers, anot her the way he/she reads, anot her how he/she underst ands a t ext.

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I do not t hink my dyslexi a has affect ed my co urse. F ro m a young age I want ed to ski and I was looking fo r a way to do it mo re and more. The onl y t hi ng t hat was rel evant to i t was s choo l and cl earl y the sub ject o f l earning and underst andi ng. Fo rt unately, ho wever, I found a way to underst and what I co ul d not do , since my mo ther wo ul d read it t o me just o nc e, whil e o n my o wn I wo ul d need to read it many times. Ho wever, it is b est to t ell you from an earl y age t hat yo u are dysl exic and l earn to deal wit h i t. To day I feel happy t o be abl e t o do what I li ke every day. A nd t hat is skiing. Fo r t he fut ure, I wo ul d l ike to t ry to realiz e all my dreams. I have many athletes as mo del s ... E ve ryo ne has hi s goo d and b ad points. I t ry to get anything posit i ve fro m everyone. A nd I fac e defeat just l ike I fac e victory. T hese feel ings are t here for a whil e, and t hen yo u just have to go o n. I got my first m edal in the 5 th grade, I was 11 years ol d. I did a lo t of sports li ke swim mi ng, at hl et ics, footb al l, and ended up do ing what I liked most . The advice I wo ul d gi ve yo u i s never to gi ve up o n your dreams and t ry to m ake t hem c om e t rue, no m at t er how hard t hey are. 18


We ALL have a story to tell…

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