One year ago my son was an anxiety-riddled boy with suicidal threats related to school. All this changed after I managed to place him in a suitable school. I am a Chartered Psychologist but this won me no favours with school, the local authority or with Asperger’s itself. I was not heard and lived a life of dread and despair.
It’s been almost a year since my son started his new school and I cannot believe how well he is doing – he loves school, has made friends and is so much happier. Yes, he still has difficulties related to his Asperger’s but his needs are being met in a caring, supportive environment – he is developing life skills and his self esteem has increased:
- He is continuing to do well at school and is getting daily merits for good work;
- I no longer dread school meetings. I walk out of parent evenings with pride, overwhelmed by the fantastic things his teachers have to say about him;
- I was dreading his recent Annual Review, expecting it to focus on reducing his provision (as previous reviews did) – I was relieved when the meeting centred on his needs and improving his support;
- His knowledge of vacuum cleaners is empowering him instead of making him feel ashamed. Recently he wrote to Hoover advising them on how to improve their vacuums – they wrote back saying they will send his comments to their Research and Development Department and gave him a hand-held vacuum as a thank you. He was ecstatic!
As I see my son developing into a confident young man, the future does not look as bleak and scary as it did a year ago.
My struggles and expensive legal battle raises serious questions about special education in our schools. The main question for me is – “Why did I have to fight so hard for so long to get educators to meet my child’s needs?“.
As I celebrate our victory, I feel I have to advocate for those left behind.