ANZAC Spirit Strong for the Children of RIDBC

Major Edwin and the cadetsMajor Edwin from the Salvation Army with James Ruse High School Cadets at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School’s ANZAC ceremony

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) has celebrated ANZAC day in a ceremony catering to the sensory impairments of its students.

The ceremony was held at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School in North Rocks, where students aged between four and 18 who have a significant hearing and/or vision impairment, as well as an intellectual disability, are enrolled.

The ceremony was arranged by the Curriculum Co-ordinator Jessteene Clifford in conjunction with senior teacher Celia Vild, both of whom took the day as an opportunity to bring the important ANZAC tradition to their students.

“The key to the ceremony was making it as accessible as possible, so we used a variety of sensory cues to engage the students; rosemary for touch and smell, a slide show of images of war to provide a visual connection, and a short film playing the National Anthem in both Auslan, and captions,” said Jessteene.

The event was attended by eight James Ruse High School Cadets who stood in military guard throughout the ceremony, with Major Edwin from the Salvation Army playing the Last Post and Reveille on his coronet.

“It is fantastic that the Cadets could come along and be part of the day. Their presence gave our students an experience of a traditional ANZAC ceremony that they might not have otherwise had. I know that it was also a good learning opportunity for the Cadets - a reciprocity that remembers the spirit of the ANZACs,” said Jessteene.

“ANZAC Day is such an important event in the Australian calendar – it is a day when we remember community, and revere the qualities of endurance and fortitude.

“The children at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School have lots of challenges in their lives to overcome, and so we wanted to bring them the positive sentiment that ANZAC day, and the ANZAC spirit, remembers.”

The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children provides vital support to over 970 children with significant hearing and/or vision impairment and their families across Australia, and provides assessments for over 2000 others each year.