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A Special COLT Learner

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Dino (not his real name) was one of the first children to start at Children of Light Educare (COLT) in 2017. He returned to our Educare at the age of 9 years in 2021. An Occupational Therapist from the Department of Education assessed him and found that he was functioning at a 2 year level, possibly due to lack of stimulation or a developmental disorder.

Counselling was given to his mother who is unstable and she was assisted with applications for Birth Certificates and Identification documents. COLT teachers worked closely with the mother to ensure progress for Dino. Consistent communication, insistence on daily attendance, and developing clear boundaries at home and at the Educare for Dino was vital. With time, co-operation became solid and his mother came to the school bus each morning to give updates. In 2022 Dino was placed in a local primary school in Grade 4 which was age appropriate, but he was functioning well below 6 years developmentally. He remained at the school, receiving support from the principal and COLT teachers.

A psychologist’s assessment was completed and an application for him to attend the Mary Harding Special School in Athlone was opened. There is a stigma attached to special schools in the community and his mother was not happy and shared that she and Dino would be teased. With education and counselling, she agreed to attend interviews and complete the application process. His application was successful and he continues to attend Mary Harding.

When the COLT Aftercare Pilot Project commenced in early 2023 Dino was enrolled and had intense individual sessions with an Occupational Therapy student. The focus was on life skills because with no parental input he has to look after himself. He learnt how to make a sandwich for himself and how to wash up the dishes. Developing helpful skills are vital for problem solving and managing future challenges.

An exciting initiative launched this year is the monthly Youth Yoga Program for COLT graduates who are between the ages of 10 years and 14 years. Dino is one of the 12 children who participate in the program, which offers them further support especially during their teenage years.

For further information about the Youth Program please contact Priya at


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