Exactly a year ago today I challenged the status quo. I spoke up and refused to accept mediocrity and the easy way out – the inclusive education system. That inclusivity that everyone looks at as a given when you have a child with special needs. Yet the accommodations required to support inclusivity for most remain a pie in the sky.
You see a year ago today I sat down with the school to discuss assessment results and the list of accommodations and ways to best support my child within the school environment. A list that at first glance seemed extremely daunting. Especially when considering that there’s never been any concerns expressed by the school.
A year ago today I challenged the statement of “perhaps it is time to consider an alternative school”.
A few months later another meeting to prepare for the current school year. Accommodations were discussed and someone stepped forward to be my go-to person. The crucial link, our safe space – our resource, within the education system. A system that can seem monstrous at times and unapproachable.
Today, I celebrate how far we’ve come. The changes that we’ve implemented both at home and at school. It’s always a work in progress. It is a team effort that requires trust and a willingness to be open to a different way of doing things.
Here’s some of the big changes implemented since the beginning of the 2017 school year:
- Separated school/study and home. Our storeroom was converted to a study room.
- A tutor to assist two afternoons a week.
- Strict weekday schedule, and any changes is communicated well in advance.
- I fetch my son after school, predictability is key – again any changes are discussed and prepared for well in advance.
- Direct communication access to our go-to person – this makes all the difference.
- Quarterly review of all tests and books to see where support is needed – write up a short report of objectives for the next term.
- Implemented an IEP (individual education plan), which is regularly reviewed.
- Requested concessions for exams and tests.
These changes may look small at first glance, but once you consider all the detail and effort that goes into this then you realise that this is no easy feat.
Today I celebrate, and express gratitude to our go-to person at school and our tutor. Both of whom has contributed to this being my son’s best school year yet! Someone I can message when our mornings are off to a rocky start and some subtle intervention may be needed at school. Someone I can depend on for two hours of respite a week – a break from study time and the resistance that sometimes goes with it.
Inclusive education is a two-way street. It requires an effective partnership between parent/s, school, child and professionals – a partnership that centres on what is in the best interest of the child. A partnership where each team member has a pivotal role to play in the holistic development of the child.