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Lesson for Holyrood in overcoming fear

(Photograph) - THE FIRST blind Dumfries and Galloway pupil to be integrated into a mainstream secondary school is to address a Disability Scotland conference next week on what the Scottish parliament can do for young people with special needs.

Claire Maxwell (above), who is in her sixth year at Lockerbie Academy, says that full participation in the school has entailed "a great deal of commitment" from herself and the staff to "overcome the fears of educators".

She says: "I was the first blind pupil to be allowed to sit an office and information studies exam without having my paper endorsed, because it was felt I was accessing the course as completely as my sighted peers."

Claire added: "This has been the case with all of my courses. It has just meant a little more thought and determination.

"In October last year, I took part in an International Baccalaureat exchange to Figeac in France. I went with a member of the school staff who was the IB co-ordinator. That aside, I was more or less independent and mixed with the international body of students there."

Claire is working at Lockerbie as a paired reader with a first-year pupil, and she is compiling a newspaper on CD-Rom for Baccalaureat students.

Photograph by Gerry McCann

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