Thursday, April 12, 2007

School Dramas

So, 2 weeks before the end of School last year, the special education unit asks me to come in to discuss what will work best with the funding and teachers they have for Jonathan for Grade 1.

They explain that the government supplies 1 teacher aide for 5 hours per week for each child with special needs. If they apply for more hours they can get an extra 2... or something like that. So out of 5 school days Jono was able to receive 1 day of support.

Then we discussed Jono arriving at school a little later, and they said that he would be able to stay up until first lunch... so around 2 hours a day.

Frustration is a good word for how I felt about this.
I then went to the Special School across the road and talked to them, they said that their would definitely be a spot for Jono if he was eligible, but to be eligible he needed to be Intellectually Impaired. 'Great - another label' was my thoughts.

Back to the school guidance officer, and they said the process to get a child who is untestable qualified for special school takes about 2 months. and as school is ending in 2 weeks, its unlikely they will be able to sort this before next year.

Next stop, our paediatrician, and an assessment from them with a letter recommending them to go to the special school.

After that, back to the guidance officer who calls in their supervisor and talks to the principal of the special school.

Then we arrange an appointment with all parties to see Jono in his class environment and how he interacts with other children and his capacity for mainstream school.

Say it with me.... Tearing my hair out!!!!
So, in this narrow timeframe, there was a heck of a lot to organise, and I just wanted to know where he could go and where was best for him, and I didn't want to label him as I didn't know what adverse effects that label may have for his future endeavors, as well as the stigma it may carry. There where a lot of tears and trials in getting this organised.

Then, on the second last day of school we met with the area supervisor. When she came her first question was... where do the parents want him to go? The absolute relief of dealing with someone who was willing to work with us on what's best for our child was just... so hard to put into words.

There were many tears along the way, feelings of inadequacy, and just the short time span. But we got it organized, he is in Special School now, and thriving. The teachers are great, if he's 30 min late because he didn't want to wear his shirt this morning and took some extra time to resolve it... they don't mind. If its swimming day and putting shoes on when you wear swimmers doesn't make sense... that's ok.

It's just freedom, and a chance for him to grow and learn at the pace he is able.

So, on our holiday

Which was a while ago now >.< Life gets busy :)

We drove the 1700km's to Cairns with all three kids in the car, and it was fun, we took 3 days up and 2 days back and stayed in hotels. It really was an adventure, we are just lucky that our kids enjoy traveling I think.

We stayed with Grandpa for about 8 days, all the kids piled in with us, and we drove each other nuts. Jonathan's lack of concern for special things was a minor stress to Grandpa, and the lack of things for the kids to do at his house was a minor stress to us. We did go out a lot, but Sarah still needed a daytime nap, so it took a bit of organization. I'm glad we drove up because then we had a car to drive around as we wanted.

We took all the kids to Kuranda, and decided to drive up as we thought they would cope better. On the way back Sarah and I rode the Skyrail, while Daddy took the boys on an army duck. Jono spent the entire trip with his hands over his ears for the noise, but seemed to enjoy himself.

We visited the Butterfly farm, and all the kids really enjoyed it, Jono was just prancing up and down the paths, while Daniel had a butterfly attach it self to his shirt for the entire tour. Then we also visited the Bird Sanctuary with these amazing Macaws that you could hand feed near the froont... these really grabbed Jono's attention, and he constantly wanted to feed them, even when they lost interest. It really was a wonderful time.

We visited quite a few play spaces while we were there, and the local Golden Arches saw us a bit. Once we moved into caravan parks we spent a lot of time in their playground and pool, as well as just chilling in front of the TV with the lego's. It really was just a great time away from home. We were also very glad to get back home at the end of it and have a little more space and 'routine'.