Before my grade 4 class had the Just Like You workshop, my student, Owen – a boy who has autism, had never ever been invited to a classmate’s birthday party. Following the presentation, when the kids learned that differences are good, Owen got invited to his first birthday party!

That was a big day for Owen, as he finally got to truly be accepted for who he was. Since then, he has been invited to 4 more parties, and kids are learning that even though he may do things a little differently than they may, he is just like them and wants to have friends and be included too.

Sandy Fletcher – Grade 4 Teacher

Education Program Overview:

Our Ability Diverse Education Program is based on the belief that barriers can be removed through education, increased awareness and creating environments of acceptance, understanding, and celebration of differences.

We know that misunderstood beliefs can be a huge barrier to acceptance and when we openly talk about people living with disabilities, how they overcome obstacles, and how we can all contribute to making the world a more inclusive place then we begin to break down stereotypes and negative perceptions that exist.

Variety Alberta is currently bringing the “Just Like You” education program that is delivered by Variety – New South Wales to Alberta and piloting it in Cochrane AB this fall.

The “Just Like You” education program was created by Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia. This organization asked Variety New South Wales to take over and deliver the program.

The YouTube video was created by CPA when they facilitated the program. The YouTube video below references CPA, but will be modified when the program is delivered in Canada.

The “Just Like You” education program will:

  • Raise awareness and increase understanding and acceptance of people who are living with disabilities;

  • Address the need to support a culture of inclusion, where all children regardless of ability or specialized need are accepted and celebrated and deserve to be positioned to succeed and achieve their own victories;

  • Help children have a greater understanding of the potential of people with all types of disabilities;

  • Provide opportunities for children to openly talk about differences and to develop an understanding of social responsibility; and

  • Provide opportunities for children to talk about bullying and why children who may look or act differently want to play and have friends just like everybody else.

For more information on the “Just Like You” education program Link HERE