I took Beth to the media school that I have talked about in previous posts. I picked her up early from school and we had a 3pm appointment. The first thing I noticed was that it’s not terribly big. It’s in a group of businesses in a row, the type that has parking in front of each one. I think both Beth and I were expecting a school type of place, or even a place like Irabina (early intervention)Â was with lots of rooms off of corridors. This was a big room that you first go into with a few smaller rooms off to the sides. There was an animation room (they had Gumby) and a room they do they TV presenting from. There is an animal lovers group. Next year there will be a radio announcing group. They have a creative writing group. All sorts of things. The kids (I know they’re not kids anymore but I think I’ll always call mine my kids) learn and organise their day first, as in writing their script for the tv presenting. They can have their own little segment and it was quickly caught on that Beth’s segment would be on – drumroll please – Disney! She seemed rather keen on that idea. If they are doing the tv presenting then they also learn how to do the filming and the sound and all the other things that go on behind the cameras. If they do the animals then they do excursions once a month, then spend the other 3 weeks making something to do with theÂ animals that they visited. Or making money to help certain animals or organisations such as the guide dogs. The activities are for the whole day so if it’s something that Beth is interested in she doesn’t have to dread part of the day, just look forward to what she’s doing.
I was so impressed and James, the driving force behind it all was fabulous. He was so enthusiastic and said he grew up with his mum being involved in organisations with disabilities so it’s always been in his nature to enjoy kids like ours. They even do travel training. So (eventually, and I mean a long time in the future) I could potentially pop Beth on the train to get there. It’s very daunting but at the same time seems that it could be manageable one day. I could go with her on the train so that I can remind her where she gets off each day. Then eventually they said that some parents put their kids on the train and sms them the carriage that they’re in. Then the staff are at the station to pick the kids up. It’s not far from Ringwood station and they either walk or if it’s raining they will drive. Of course I’m anxious but I could even follow her for a while to check that she’s looking out for the station. As they said we’re talking a year or two into the program. Good to think about anyway.
As we don’t have the futures funding yet we can still access their services now but pay ourselves. So we discussed this and said that it would be good for Beth to go one day a week to try out all the things they have to offer. She could try something different every week. This would be about $75 per day so once a week would be manageable. That way she will transition and once we get the funding when she’s 18 she can choose the subjects she wants to do and she’ll already know them.
I spoke to Beth’s teacher last night and we discussed the whole rewards system thing. She agreed that she would let Beth read after lunch if she had cleaned up after herselfÂ to the teacher’s standards. She came out with Beth to explain what a good job Beth had done today and how she got to read a book this afternoon. And Beth looked proud as punch, so chuffed to tell me what a good girl she’d been. So so far so good, it seems to be working!