Looking at another school

I’ve been having a bit of a rethink in regards to a special school. There’s a school called Heatherwood that caters to special needs kids, the problem is that it’s so far from us. We’re in Belgrave/Upwey and they’re in Donvale. It’s not too far as far as driving goes but I’ve got 2 other kids to think of and their school is in the opposite direction. I’ve heard that there is a bus but I’m tipping that it’s at least an hour each way by bus which cuts out any downtime that Beth may have in the evenings. In the past however I’ve discounted the idea of different schools because of their reputation or because I haven’t thought they would be suitable before looking at them. I feel that I need to at least go and see what Heatherwood is like and find out about the transport – it may not be as hard as I think. I’ve left a message for them to call me back.

It’s such a hard thing to think about, high school. Basically it scares the shit out of me. At the same time I don’t want to do Beth a disservice by assuming that she wont cope. When I spoke with Heatherwood this morning they told me that there aren’t any waiting lists so we could apply as late as fourth term. I’m going to go and have a look. Our principal from Beth’s primary school has said that she would be happy to come along with me as she knows the ‘hard’ questions to ask. I want to see if there are kids like Beth. I don’t want her to go to a school with kids that are all low functioning as she will assume that role too. I want her to be an equal amongst others, I want her to have a social life outside of school and I want her to be happy to go to school. Surely that’s not too much to ask? If I like what I see I’ll take Beth and her current aide who has kindly offered to come with us. I will also take her to the high school we are looking at. I figure that we should know with our transition days to high school whether she’ll be happy to go there or not. I will ask her which one she likes best. The good thing about no waiting times for Heatherwood is that we can try Beth out at the high school and change her to Heatherwood if it doesn’t work out. I just feel so confused and anxious about all of this at the moment, I can only imagine how Beth is feeling.

I was talking to a friend in the staffroom at school this morning and I heard Beth come into the sick bay. She didn’t see me but she was in an argumentative mood and telling her aide what she should be saying. Beth kept saying that the aide had to call me, that she was homesick and wanted to go home. She’s been so unhappy lately, not wanting to go to school at all. I have no idea what’s going through her head. She got quite upset when the whole class was to go to a high school visit. I had told her about it that morning, explaining that it wasn’t the school that she was going to and that it was just a visit. Our principal called me to say that Beth had had a meltdown and what did I think. I said that as it wasn’t our high school there wasn’t any harm in her not going. I said that when it comes time to visiting our high school I would be going also, at least to get Beth in the door. I wont tell her we’re going so she doesn’t worry. I think it’s the fear of the unknown, once we get somewhere Beth is usually ok. I think I’ll do this with both high schools if the Heatherwood one is suitable, then she hopefully wont be as stressed. I’ll write on the calendar where and when we are going for future visits so she knows it’s not permanent yet. Poor luvvy, it’s stressful enough for most grade 6 kids thinking about high school, it must be so hard for her as we don’t really know what she understands and what she doesn’t. I asked our principal to be honest with her opinion of Beth going to mainstream high school. She said it worried her too.

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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2 Responses to Looking at another school

  1. Lisa Roberts says:

    Cant imagine Sarah what it’s like – hard enough for mainstream parents. You have so many other considerations to worry about. You are doing an amazing job and such a proactive parent. How wonderful to have a mother that never gives up, doesn’t settle for 2nd best and stands strong for her child. I wonder if you realise what an incredible inspiration you have become to others? I love your Blogs Sarah. Im really thankful to have the chance to read them.

  2. Sarah says:

    Oooh thanks so much Lisa, you make me feel all teary! I don’t feel like I have any other choice, that’s my job as a parent to fight for my child as much as I can. I’m so lucky that I’ve got a supportive family and supportive friends to prop me up along the way and give me encouragement. I’m pleased that you’re enjoying the blogs too. Thanks again, lots of love xxx

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