A visit from Emerson

We had a visit from Emerson school this morning at our primary school. They can’t make their decision until term 4 which they have already told me but they need to observe the child who the application is for to assess whether they would be a good fit for their school. I met with the lady and our principal in the principal’s office. It was difficult in a way as now that we know that Beth more than likely has depression I sort of wish that they had seen her after our paediatrician’s appointment so that we could have some sort of explanation for her mood at the moment.

I will call the lady who came Clare so that I don’t have to keep calling her ‘the lady.’ When our principal and I asked her what the assessment entailed Clare told me that firstly they assess whether we are in the zone for the school or not which we are not. I was hoping that the fact that she still came to assess Beth meant that that would be ok but as it was still brought up in our meeting clearly that wasn’t the case. Secondly she had to observe Beth with her peers and in the classroom which we explained would be difficult as Beth has withdrawn herself from the classroom as much as possible. This concerned Clare somewhat as if Beth’s behaviours seemed to be too autistic then she may not qualify for Emerson. She explained that the children there had good social interactions and that to ‘fit’ in to their school Beth would have to be fairly social. I explained that Beth normally was but due to anxieties and the possibility of depression she wouldn’t be seen in her true character. I don’t know whether that helped or whether it looked like I was clutching at straws hoping Clare would overlook Beth’s non socialising.

We went into the classroom where all the kids were doing speeches. Beth got up to do her speech but when not speaking had her fingers in her ears. Even when doing the speech she didn’t do it with her usual flamboyant flare but just read fairly quietly. Clare commented that it was hard to assess Beth in that situation as there was no interaction necessary so she couldn’t see if Beth was interacting with the rest of the class or not. Panicking by now I asked if the assessment also included seeing Beth in the Emerson setting. Clare then suggested that next Tuesday I take Beth there for the day to see if she could cope socially and emotionally. Things are always different in a different setting and Beth doesn’t have issues with new surroundings. Then at least they can see Beth on their terms. It was so hard, the type of situation where you don’t know what to say just in case it’s the wrong thing. It certainly didn’t go as positively as I had hoped but then, I wasn’t expecting an answer today. Clare did agree with me that Beth wouldn’t cope with mainstream high school so I guess Heatherwood may be our only choice, although Heatherwood also said that if Beth was too autistic she would be better off in an autism specific school. The closest one is over an hour away though. I don’t know what the hell we’ll do, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see and pray like crazy.

About Sarah

Mother of an autistic child wanting to write about my personal experiences
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