Olympic and Paralympic Values: Determination week

A school with a difference

Related Stories

A day in the life of Sean, who has cerebral palsy and attends Multikids Academy in Ghana.

Sean's story

Temperatures in Ghana regularly hit 40 degrees, so having a school swimming lesson is a great way to cool off!

11 year old Sean loves swimming. He says, "It makes me happy. I enjoy myself. It makes me excited making my legs try to splash the water and make a big wave."

What is cerebral palsy?

Sean has a condition called cerebral palsy. It means his muscles don't always work properly. It sometimes makes it harder for him to speak and to control his legs.

Children have a school swimming lesson Cooling off in Ghana

His swimming teacher David thinks exercising in the water is helping to strengthen Sean's muscles.

Sean says, "Uncle David makes me do pull stretch, and front leg and glide. And I really like that because it lets my body go forward and move, so I can go and touch the wall."

Sean goes to school at Multikids Academy. The thing that's unique about his school is that any kid can come here - whether they have special needs or not.

Little tour guide

Sean couldn't wait to show us around. He showed us the playground, the library and his classroom. All of the classes at Sean's school are named after flowers. Sean is in Black Hollyhocks class.

There are 6 children in Black Hollyhocks class. About half of them have a special need like Sean. Keeping class sizes down means the teacher can give all the children the right amount of attention.

Sean with Kris the researcher When we weren't filming, Sean liked helping Kris, our BBC Researcher behind-the-scenes

But what do Sean and his friends think about being educated in a mixed-ability class?

9 year old Ruben says, "I think it's good because not everyone is the same. And since everyone is different it's not good to be laughing at them. I think it's good here because people will learn not to laugh at people with other abilities."

At Multikids, Sean can get all the help he needs under one roof - like extra help with speaking.

The reason Sean finds it difficult to speak is because he can't always control the muscles around his mouth.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Around 1 in every 300 children in Ghana has cerebral palsy. It's caused by complications when you're born. Sean is lucky because his mum is determined to support him in every way possible. Some children with disability in Ghana are neglected.

Sean's mum says, "Parents either give up, or they hide them. Those who don't hide them will just abandon them at home. They will cook and feed them, but they don't encourage them to do anything. But most of these kids are so smart up here. They may not have the use of their arms and legs..but there's something they can do."

Children in a speech therapy class Filming Sean's speech therapy class

Sean had trouble learning to walk. In fact he was five years old when he took his first steps. Some children with cerebral palsy never learn to walk.

Sean's cerebral palsy makes it harder for him to grip a pencil and to write. So he practises everyday at home.

Sean's head teacher Mrs Duah has noticed his progress.

Mrs Duah says, "He's eager to do things. Even things that he's unable to do very well. He tries hard to do them. He has cerebral palsy, but then he's not limited. He doesn't allow that to limit him. He just pushes ahead and I like that spirit about him."

Sporty Sean!

Sean loves sport. He likes playing football, basketball and running.

But keeping up with the other kids can be a challenge for Sean because sometimes he loses control of his muscles and they jerk suddenly, making him fall over.

Sean with his drawing of an African mask Sean draws an African mask in his art lesson

But Sean picks himself back up and gets on with things. He says he'd like to be a policeman or design motorbikes when he's older.

Multikids Academy is the only school of its kind in Ghana. There are thousands more children like Sean who don't get the help they need. The teachers here hope that one day there will be more schools like this one, to give every child, whatever their ability, the chance to succeed.

Sean's mum says, "I believe we are all born for a particular purpose in life. I don't know Sean's purpose yet, but whatever he wants to do, I am 100% backing him to do it."

Schools World Service is a BBC British Council co-production

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

Commonwealth Class Stories

Get involved

  • Image copyright Chris GraysonSign up

    Join Commonwealth Class and contribute to our monthly debates

  • Commonwealth Class - Assembly packsEducation pack

    Download your Commonwealth Class education pack

  • cclsComing up

    For more information about upcoming debates

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.