Special education: graduates show their creativity

About forty graduates of the Special Education Techniques program at Cégep de Victoriaville presented their graduation projects during a general public activity on Monday.

From early afternoon to early evening, these graduates welcomed visitors to the Cégep conference room to present and explain their projects.

Divided into ten teams, the graduates carried out an equal number of projects that responded to very real needs. “It was a semester project for them. They were connected with 10 employees, organizations such as the Center de services scolaire, social organizations and the city. They went to meet the employees to find out what they wanted, to find out their needs and they developed and delivered a very real and concrete project. It had to be a project that was tested in the community,” explains teacher Joé Turgeon, holder of the Integrated Intervention Project course.

The students managed to arouse the pride of their teacher. “I am amazed and proud, they have worked hard. It has produced results. The employees are delighted, especially as these are often projects they don’t have time for,” said Mr. Turgeon.

Monday’s presentation allowed the discovery of several projects, such as the one that offers activities in boxes adapted to specific needs, such as the clientele of the Association of Cranio-cerebral Traumatized People of Mauricie/Centre-du-Québec.

To respond to an anxiety problem experienced in the school environment, graduates created a mobile classroom to manage anxiety. “A mobile classroom that needs an hour to set up where the anxious student can go for an exam, for example, to relax,” says the teacher.

The creation of a library of materials in the city of Victoriaville, ie a bank of games adapted to different clientele, a yurt for teenagers deployed at the farm school of La Fermentière and awareness activities about eating disorders in adolescents, these are just some of the projects launched by graduates have been put forward.

Others have set up “Ferme pas la porte”, an experiment with dropouts from days of farm work.

For its part, the Semeurs team has launched the “Cultive ta benevolence” project related to the Cégep work platform which, since 2007, offers work experience to people with intellectual disabilities or one of the autism spectrum.

“We first created an awareness and integration kit for employees in the workplace. We also conducted awareness-raising activities to connect the college community, students, teachers and CEGEP staff with the workers on the plateau.

It was their need to be more recognized and integrated,” said two of the team members, Ève Doire and Alissa Nolet.

The team has also created a kit that is available in an app that can be exported and used anywhere in Quebec. A kit containing information posters, promotional posters, activity sheets and a detailed list of materials.

“The kit can be expanded over the years by students who can add other activity sheets. This kit will become a major bank of awareness-raising activities for these customers,” said the graduates, who also created information leaflets that can be distributed in cafeterias and student cafes.

Employment assured

“The needs are very great in the field. The placement rate is 100%. Employers want graduates to come out,” says Joé Turgeon.

A specialist educator, he specified, works with clients with problems, from childhood to the elderly. This includes mental health, intellectual disability, behavioral problems, language problems and autism spectrum disorder.

“To become a special educator, you have to have the guts to want to help people,” the teacher argued. But you don’t come to such a program to solve your personal problems. We will work a lot on soft skills, how we deal with people. Educator’s job is to work in everyday life, from morning to night, they will accompany them in their daily activities. They really make a big difference in people’s lives. †

These specialized educators work in a variety of environments. “We find them in schools, in CIUSSSs, in social organisations. Wherever people have a hard time, there are specialized educators. When you train an educator, he is ready to work with all clients, that’s what makes our program special,” concludes Joé Turgeon.

Following the public presentation of the projects, several grants totaling $2,250 were awarded, including one for perseverance and another for the audience award.

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