Thursday, 3 March 2011

Our first A-T school year

After all of my negative writing recently, I finally have something positive to share with you all.

Today I had a meeting with the school about Amelia's year ahead.

With Amelia's "new" diagnosis I have been very worried about her attending school again.
In the final six months of last year she did want to attend and I was concerned with how "tired" she was constantly.
I now realise, through discussions with Amelia and a different understanding of her illness, that she could not keep up with the work in the classroom. It may have appeared that she was coping but inside her head it was a very different story.

Amelia has used the word "embarrassed" to me recently.
She was embarrassed that her writing was not like everyone elses.
She was embarrassed that she falls over all the time.
She was embarrassed because she did not feel like everyone else.

Over the holidays Amelia did not want to talk about school and she was definately not enthusiastic about going back.

Today I arrived at the meeting with Amelia's "thoughts". I had the ipad to show what may be another way of doing schoolwork. And I also arrived with my concerns for overextending her capabilities.

The three women in the room, (new teacher, old teacher and Intergration Aide supervisor), showed me very quickly their support in the overall well being of my child. It went beyond the "duty of care" obligation. It was a genuine concern to conserve Amelia's happiness. This is very unusual in any mainstream school. Special needs children are normally frowned upon and considered too difficult. But today I was reminded why I love this school so much. Majority of the teachers genuinely love the kids. They talk to them with respect. And they genuinely love the work that they do. ALL children, not just the ones with special needs.

What I was told at todays meeting.........
Amelia will not be going five days a week, but the days or half days to be kept home will be determined later.
The ipad will be used for school work.
An aide will visit at set times to assist Amelia with her school work.
The school will call me once she feels tired so that I can bring her home to rest.
P.E. will no longer be a subject she attends. We will go to physiotherapy at that time instead.
Amelia will never be alone. Everyone wants her to keep developing independence and having fun without adult eyes glaring at her, so they will hide!
Her wheelchair will be kept there Monday - Friday.
A "visiting teacher" will casually assess her academic progress weekly.
A psychologist will casually talk to her sometimes.
Mondays she will be taken out of class for cooking activities (normal for all funded children).
Tuesdays she will be taken out of class to attend a farm program on school grounds (normal for all funded children).

No more pressure.
No more struggling.

Everyone just wants her to be happy and have fun.
I saw that the school feels that way today and I came home very happy.

I told Amelia about the meeting and what was said.
Two hours later when I was saying goodnight to her I asked her if she was looking forward to going back to school on Friday.
"Yes" she answered excitedly with a big smile on her face.

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