AN INSPIRATIONAL young woman with cerebral palsy will help shape the country’s special educational needs policy as it is reviewed at Westminster Palace tomorrow.
Nadia Clarke, 19, and mum Katie, os Savile Park, Halifax, have been invited to tell MPs about their experience of her mainstream education in Calderdale.
Nadia, who uses a wheelchair and speaks with a voice aid, went to Savile Park Primary Schoo, Ryburn Valley High School, and Calderdale College. Now she has her sights set on university.
“Nadia will be telling them how positive her experiences have been in Calderdale, about how she was supported in mainstream school and about the people who believed in her along the way,” said Katie, 50.
“She’ll emphasise the importance of high expectations and having good support from family, the education department and in schools.”
Nadia is already a familiar face at Westminster. When she was 15, she spoke in the Commons in a campaign for better support for people with communication impairment.
Katie said: “She’s quite an old hand at it now. Nadia takes everything in her stride - she is very good at overcoming challenges.”
Katie, who works for disability charity Contact A Family, will speak about the importance of families’ emotional well-being and having a strong support network.
She said: “It’s from years of listening to parents’ stories and supporting families to feel good about who they are as parents of disabled children and positive about having the same rights as everybody else.”
Nadia’s next adventure is a trip to the US in July for an international communication conference. She was awarded Winston Churchill Memorial Trust grant to go.
Katie said: “It will be a great trip because she’ll be meeting other communication aid users, like her, from all over the world.”