We have now dived into the school holidays… well more like a side-way shuffle into bed on a Friday night at 7.30pm after watching eps of Peppa on the iPad! Mikey D has had a great term 2, and his report card was just perfect! And by perfect, I mean no crap about what he couldn’t do but all about what he could do, what he has achieved, what he is working on and how as an individual, he is making sense of his new school environment.
This is such a different experience for me. When we entered the Special Schooling system at the start of the year, I had no idea what to expect.
Instead, I have enjoyed the learning process of the new structure a special school brings. No homework. Why? Because all these kids, have extra-curricular activities. Some sport, some therapy based, but all to help them progress in their making sense of the world and their ability to learn what is important to them, in the way that suits them best.
To me, it’s a beautiful model of learning and one in which I try to remember when I deal with the mainstream setting for Mikey D’s twin, who is currently undergoing the verification process. It’s a long-winded process when there is no clear defining diagnosis. But that is the way it is, at the moment, and despite what the report card says, it doesn’t indicate that Jaz has any ongoing health issues (despite the reports that I continually have to produce!)
I feel for the teachers in mainstream schools with the enormous pressures they are under to reach the targets that are set for them to prove their ‘teachability’ (I’m not even sure if that’s the right thing to say, but you know what I mean, right?!) I have had meetings in this past term at mainstream with HOSE (head of special ed), teachers, teachers aide and guidance officers and have just been left feeling that it is a complicated process when you have a child, or children who require a lot of extra assistance.
There is simply not enough support for any teacher and/or teacher aide, to give the children what they truly need.
On the flip side, I feel that Mikey is getting that support incredibly as the numbers are so much lower in a Special School – 5 students to 2 teachers. Remembering also that a lot of the time the children may have reduced physical ability – Mikey has hemiplegia cerebral palsy so needs assistance requiring anything bilateral, as he has one functional arm/hand. Don’t even get met started on toileting and the assistance that is required along those lines of the necessities of self care, a basic human need!
It will be really interesting to see what develops in the second half of the year. I will be sure to come back and let you know!
The most important thing for me is that my kids are happy as they are being supported in their journey to adulthood. So to get the following comment from Mr D’s teacher, warmed my heart:-
His outgoing and happy nature endears him to others, and he has made many friends at school. His amusing antics have also brought a lot of laughter and joy to our class.
What a great start to his schooling days 🙂