Nadia Clark With Her Mother

Nadia Clark With Her Mother

Nadia Clark is severely disable with cerebral palsy, combined with deafness.  When she was six her family moved across the country so she could experience a mainstream education.

Now 17, Nadia is looking forward to studying at Calderdale college.  She was elected local youth parliament delegate to the Calderdale council.

The Teacher Guide list of Special Education Resources, US 

The Alliance For Inclusive Education, UK

From an article about her in the British paper, The Guardian, by Martin Wainwright: 

“In 1998, the Guardian told the story of Nadia Clarke, whose family moved across the country to find their bright but severely disabled daughter a place in mainstream education.

It was an admirable but depressing saga of the problems, and sometimes prejudice, that led the six-year-old’s parents to give up jobs, uproot their three other children and travel 100 miles from a sought-after village to a town with an iffy reputation for schooling.”

“Back in Northumberland in 1998, where there was talk of some parents sending their children to private school if Nadia went to the village primary and gobbled up time and resources – as they saw it – the family dreamed of a school where their child could tackle the same life as everyone else, just as she did at home.”

The key to Calderdale’s decision to resource children such as Nadia is recognising that everyone benefits from having a Nadia at the same table in the primary school, or at the secondary school’s next desk. When she turned 12, her family found exactly the same welcome from Ian Adam, the headteacher at Ryburn high school, who said: “We haven’t done this before and we’ll make mistakes, but we want it to work.”

“The council held that attitude universally. Officers had looked at events in Spain that led to Unesco’s Salamanca initiative in 1994. They established two resource centres for deaf children at primaries, one at Savile Park, where the emphasis was on welcoming everyone.”

Nadia chips in at this point, after getting new batteries fixed in her voicebox – running out of power just as we met was a typical small glitch. “I was excited about meeting new friends at Savile Park,” she says. Although her movements are restricted by the cerebral palsy, you can see the recall in her wide grin and expressive eyes.

“Now I’m off to college and then after that uni, I hope, maybe travel the world for a year, and then go on to my dream of working in healthcare.” Inputting that sentence takes a couple of minutes, and Nadia’s support worker Adele Kneen helps me with the robotic American voice’s struggles over “Savile” and “uni”. But as with celebrated fellow victims of paralysis such as Professor Stephen Hawking, you soon think: “So what? Tell me more.”