Lesley Potgieter

Lesley Potgieter was born with CP and attended a specialized school before being mainstreamed in grade 7 and later qualifying as a teacher. Four years ago she suffered a stroke which has added to her challenges. Lesley has an integral, personal knowledge of the issues she writes about. Her Aware Bears project aims at addressing many of the issues she raises.

sad mom

Special Needs, Support

COVID Taught the World About Grief and Isolation; Special Needs Families Already Learned These Lessons

Maybe the world now recovering from the COVID pandemic can learn something from parents of disabled children who have already developed coping skills.

dad and son having fun at the beach

Behavior, Special Needs

Nurturing the Emotional Development of Children with Disabilities

Lesley Potgieter writes about the emotional development of children with special needs. As we focus on our children's cognitive and physical development, are we ignoring their emotional development?

group of friends


Do you have the courage to redefine disability?

What does disability look like to you? How do people with disabilities interact with the mainstream world? What can you do to help?

blind child listening

Communication, Visual Impairment

Helping your blind child develop effective listening skills

Learning to listen carefully and distinguish between different sounds is an important skill for any child, but espeically for children with visual impairments. Lesley Potgieter explains how to assess your...

Lesley and her dog


How My Disability has Taught Me to Embrace My Own Uniqueness

Perhaps if we all made a positive difference in our own unique way we would feel more connected to each other and less afraid to be imperfect.

Bear's shirt showing

Eye Conditions and Syndromes

Hi, I’m Helen. I have Cerebral Palsy.

Is this speech, Lesley talks about learning to imagine an accepting community and encourages her listeners to empathize with others while also acknowledging their own deep feelings.

Little girl with a rainbow umbrella


Looking Deeper to Find the Person Within

Lesley Potgieter writes about reaching a child who cannot speak. Our ability to communicate via speech is the way the world accepts and interprets us, but Lesley argues that we...

Lesley with her husband


Learning to Forge my Own Identity while Living with Cerebral Palsy

Lesley Potgieter writes about how it can be difficult to live up to mainstream standards as a person with disabilities. She encourages parents to help their children create their own...

Education, Special Needs

Reaching the Disabled Child in the Mainstream Classroom

What happens when a child with a disability is in a mainstream classroom? How can teachers accommodate their students with special needs? Lesley Potgieter describes her own experiences as both...