Il a inventé un vélo pédagogique pour les élèves ayant une déficience intellectuelle

À lire sur le site Radio-Canada:

Gabriel Couture : trouver l’exemple pour réussir

Gabriel Couture
Gabriel Couture   Photo : ICI Estrie/Carl Marchand
vélo pédagogique

Le vélo tango, créé par Gabriel Couture Photo : YouTube/Université de Sherbrooke

« L’élève est placé dans une situation où il pense qu’il est seul. Éventuellement, ça devient de plus en plus sécurisant et il peut aller vers un vélo normal », raconte le jeune diplômé.

« Je ne suis pas capable. J’ai peur. »

Il a d’ailleurs pu l’expérimenter lui-même. Assis à l’arrière, l’enseignant a pu rouler avec une élève qui n’était jamais montée sur un vélo à deux roues. La peur qui l’animait s’est transformée en fierté d’avoir surmonté un obstacle.

« Ç’a nourri mon âme. Au départ, c’était une « patente », je ne pensais pas que ça allait fonctionner! » lance-t-il.

Gabriel Couture

Gabriel Couture Photo : ICI Estrie/Carl Marchand

J’ai donné un outil pédagogique réutilisable à une école qui est bon pour la vie. C’est formidable! C’est plus qu’un projet de baccalauréat.

Gabriel Couture

Le fait d’être capable de rouler sur un vélo standard est loin d’être anodin. Il faudra des mois, voire peut-être un an à un élève avec une déficience intellectuelle pour y arriver. Mais ce temps, il faut le prendre, insiste Gabriel Couture. Et si on arrive à rouler aujourd’hui, qui sait ce qui peut arriver?

« Il faut beaucoup de confiance pour eux. Il faut leur donner la chance de réaliser des choses. On se sert souvent d’exemples de réussite pour plus tard, pour leur apprendre d’autres choses. »

Gabriel Couture admet que l’exemple de réussite l’a lui aussi changé et lui a fait comprendre qu’il avait ce qu’il fallait pour enseigner à des élèves atteints de déficience intellectuelle.

« Au départ, je ne pensais pas que j’étais capable. »

Gabriel Couture

Gabriel Couture Photo : ICI Estrie/Carl Marchand

(…)

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Sometimes the “oh” can mean pity, like “oh, I am sorry”

To read on The Mighty website:

The Unspoken ‘Oh’ of Finding Out a Baby Has Down Syndrome

It happened.  The unspoken “oh.” The reason I have been so open about my son Asher having Down syndrome even before he was born was so everyone would “know,” in hopes of lessening some of the awkward moments. I also try to share what I have learned about Down syndrome to hopefully educate others.

Recently I ran into someone I am not friends with on Facebook and whom I have not seen in a while. I was pushing Asher in his stroller, and this person looked at it inquisitively. I said, “Did you know we had another baby?” “No,” was his response. If he didn’t know we had a baby, then he didn’t know we had a son and that our son has Down syndrome. So I turned the stroller around and introduced him to my sweet Asher. Then there was the “oh.” 

pity

The “oh” can mean many things, and I can’t always interpret it. It can mean, “oh, he is so sweet.” Usually that “oh” is accompanied with oohs and ahhs and lots of baby talk. This is my favorite kind of “oh” because, after all, he is adorable. Sometimes the “oh” can mean pity, like “oh, I am sorry.” Most of the time it probably means “oh, I don’t know what to say.” I am not sure which “oh” this was, and I thought about saying something about him having Down syndrome, but then thought I shouldn’t have to “explain” my son. I instead said nothing at all. If I could do it over again, I would say something like this:

We found out Asher has Down syndrome before he was born. Initially we were shocked and upset. Now that he is here we are really doing OK. We are actually doing better than OK. He is a true blessing and brings joy to our lives. Sure, there are times where I wish things weren’t so hard for him. For example, he has to work for every milestone (like sitting and rolling over) while “typical” children do these things with ease. 

I probably would have stopped there, but I could go on. Asher has shown me that sometimes difficulties can become blessings. I’ve always known this, theoretically, and James chapter 1 tells us this, but it is one of those things that is easy to say, but difficult to live. 

When Asher was a few months old, he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was prescribed medication. Not a big deal. Except that he had to take the medicine by spoon. Remarkably, we managed to get him to take it from the spoon. He has also had some problems swallowing because of his low muscle tone. Early on he had to have his milk thickened, and he saw a speech therapist who specializes in feeding because of his difficulties. We had to hold him a certain way, give him a specific type of bottle, and most of this was learned by trial and error with her guidance. She led us through all of this, and eventually he outgrew the swallowing problems and we were able to stop thickening his milk. We continued to see the speech therapist, and she was there guiding me as I gave him his first bite of food on a spoon he already knew how to use because he had been taking medication daily for a while. She also instructed me along the way on advancing his diet, showing me things to do to help him chew his food properly, etc. Who knew eating could be so difficult? Now, he is actually eating pretty well. Because he had the problems early on, we had the speech therapist early on and because he has a thyroid problem, he used a spoon way earlier than he needed to for eating. Both of these things have helped us avoid bigger problems — food aversions, gagging, and even refusal to eat — commonly seen in children with Down syndrome. 

So what is next on the agenda? Eating his first piece of birthday cake! 

baby with down syndrome eating cake