Super Cooper inspires his classmates

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Cooper Campbell and other students learning braille at Emu Plains Public School. Photo: Melinda Jane

Living life legally blind can be difficult at the best of times, but a local primary school is breaking down barriers and embracing their students’ abilities, one Braille Club at a time.

Emu Plains Public School has been running a Braille Club for three terms, which legally blind Year 3 student, Cooper Campbell, helps run.

Vision Support Teacher, Wendy Murphy, said that it was fantastic to see Cooper, also known as “Super Cooper”, being a role model for the alternative print format.

“Because Cooper is learning braille at school we thought it would be a great way to connect his friends with his braille, and for the other students to have the opportunity to actually learn some of the basic codes,” she said.

Learning numbers, the alphabet, as well as creating braille readers, up to 15 children choose to forgo their lunch play time to take part.

Cooper’s dad, Alan Campbell, said the interest from the kids had been amazing.

“Cooper gets really excited to be able to share that sort of knowledge of braille and the nice thing is, that it gives the other students an insight that this is another way that we can view the world around us,” he said.

Cooper Campbell and other students learning braille at Emu Plains Public School. Photo: Melinda Jane

“It’s phenomenal the extra effort that the staff put in here, to understand how things can be done to make life a little bit easier for Cooper.”

Braille Club isn’t the only thing that the school has embraced, with students also learning the Paralympic sport, Goalball.

Recently competing in the Sydney West/ South Regional Goalball Championships, the school’s three teams walked away as champions, with both the junior team and senior team placing first and the second junior team placing third.

They will contest the State School Championships later this year.

“The wonderful thing about Goalball is that you can play right up to a national level no matter what your eyesight is like,” Mr Campbell said.

With the sound of Cooper’s braille machine now just a normal part of class, both his teacher and support teachers reflected on Cooper’s growth in confidence, which Mr Campbell said was a result of the school’s inclusiveness.

Lauren Suttie

Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.

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