For Leaders and Parents

North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks (NAGCAT) Guidance:

Ages 12-13 years – Youth should be constantly supervised by an adult when youth are first working with their swine project animal(s), then check every few minutes after the child has become comfortable with the show pig;

Ages 14-15 years – Regular adult supervision based on the child’s ability and successful demonstration that he/she understands his or her own limitations and animal behavior;

Ages 16+ years – Intermittent adult supervision progressing to periodic (check every 15-30 minutes) based on youth’s ability to handle animal and successful demonstration of safe working habits and an understanding of animal behavior.

 

Tips For Including Youth With Disabilities: Making the Best Better

Learn all you can about the child’s disability. Discuss with the child’s parents the nature of the disability and how best to work with the child’s limitations. You may also want to talk with other professionals who work with the child.

Involve the child in project meetings and events just as you would a child without special needs. Provide the same opportunities to develop life skills to all youth enrolled in the project. Everyone grows from the experience of “mainstreaming” a child with a disability. The 4-Her with a disability develops self-reliance and self-confidence by interacting as an equal with other project members. Project members learn that youth with disabilities are not much different than themselves – each has strengths, weaknesses, and unique abilities. Adult leaders and volunteers learn life skills for working with people with limitations. Everyone learns how to be more comfortable with people who are different than themselves.

Promote participation instead of elimination. When necessary, modify project activities to match the ability of the child. Modifications should be designed to meet the child’s abilities, yet challenging enough for to improve his or her knowledge and skills. Not all activities need to be adapted. Never allow modified activities to isolate the child who has a disability. The goal is meaningful inclusion.

Promote cooperation instead of competition. In some cases, livestock show requirements may need to be modified. For example, a 4-Her in a wheelchair may need assistance from a fellow 4-Her to wash, groom, or feed an animal or in the show ring.

Establish an atmosphere were all youth have the opportunity to learn from experience.

Pair abled 4-Hers (junior leaders or ambassadors) with the special needs 4-Her rather adults. Practice at project meetings so all project members will know how to be of assistance.

Help the 4-Her set realistic, attainable project goals. Always include the 4-Her in goal setting and project modifications.

Be prepared to devote extra attention, time, and flexibility to the project. Remember to value each project member as an individual with unique and special talents.