The Brenda Milner specialized school in Chateauguay was inaugurated on Sunday, October 6 in the presence of the great lady for whom the school was named.
Brenda Milner, 101 years old, delivered a speech before several people who gathered together for the event. The representatives of the two school boards who piloted the project since the beginning transcended the joy.
‘’We could have built this school 30 years ago because we needed it so much,’’ said New Frontiers School Board chairman David D’Aoust. ‘’When Marie-Louise Kerneis (chairperson of the Grandes Seigneuries School Board) asked me to associate with her to produce this project, that seemed to have had a greater impact on the government, which finally accepted to finance it,’’ he explained.
Midway between school and hospital
This specialized school for heavily handicapped children will enable several of them to avoid riding buses for hours in the morning and evening to get to specialized schools outside the territory.
‘’This is a first in the Montregie West,’’ confides school principal Christian Trudeau. ‘’We had several specialized classes in our existing schools, but it was on a smaller scale, and they were inserted in the space we had. Now, it’s the first time that we construct a school with classrooms especially conceived to receive this type of clientele.’’
Since September, about 50 pupils are animating the corridors and classes of the new building. ‘’It requires a great adaptation for everyone: It’s as if there are secret codes to decipher. We must respond to their needs, by basing ourselves notably on their health situation,’’ Trudeau explains. The children also have several pieces of equipment with them (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.), which requires wider corridors.
In all, the institution can receive close to 90 pupils from 4-21 years of age, a number which should be reached next year. The pupils are surrounded by several specialists: specialized teachers, psychologists, physiotherapist and ergotherapists, for example.
In addition to classrooms, the school has multi-sensory halls, music therapy, a therapeutic basin, a gymnasium, a hall of medical meals, and a hygiene hall, among others.
The budget allowed by the Education Ministry for the realization of this project comes to about $28 million.
Who is Brenda Milner?
Nicknamed ‘’the great lady of memory,’’ Brenda Milner is a neurologist who holds more than 20 honourable titles, including the Order of Canada, for her research on the functioning of the brain and particularly of the memory. She was born in Manchester, England on July 15, 1918, before installing herself in Montreal in 1944 where she taught psychology at the University of Montreal. Since 1950, she is affiliated with the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University.