Friday, June 08, 2012

And it all blows over...

It is hard having a special needs child in a mainstream school.

There is no way that Miss 6 should be in a specialist Autistic school, she is far too high functioning for that ever to have been on the table, but there are schools with programs for gifted students with learning disabilities, and schools that are different to hers, ones that run at a much much slower pace.  You see I have my girls at a private selective primary school.  In fact its one of the top schools in the state.  And, I'd just like to boast here, Miss nearly 8 is one of the top students in her class.  Already onto Year 3 work in some subjects, despite being just half way through Year 2.

Yep.  In a school of little clever sticks, I have one of the very cleverest little sticks.

I do not push her, by the way.  She likes to learn, she likes to do her homework. I never, ever nag her to do it. If she doesn't want to, its up to her.

It wasn't until the end of last term that I actually realised how well she was doing.  I met the other Mums for coffee, they were all... "Isn't Miss Nearly 8 doing well..." and I was all "Yeah, whatevs..." and they were all... "No, she's doing REALLY well, how did you not know that??

So I asked the teacher, and she was all... "Didn't you know??"

Yes. A Tiger Mother I am not.

Ahem.  I digress.  Back to Miss 6.  So, as you can see, its a fast paced school with high academic goals. Miss 6 is very happy there. She is a much loved member of the school community, and everyone knows her.  All the staff, from the groundsmen to the Headmistress keep an extra special eye on her.  But lately I've been wondering if she should repeat, or change schools... I'm wondering if she's in an environment in which she can never succeed, and if its fair to keep her there.

To change her school would be hell, and so would be repeating her.  It would be tough on all of us no matter what we decided.

Following Monday's debacle I met with the headmistress to discuss Miss 6. I was not ready to have that meeting, it was foisted on Hubs and I, but ultimately it was a good thing.  Everyone is clear on where we stand AND I was able to bring up a few issues (such as a spot of bullying).

The part that pleased me the most was that the school is willing to keep Miss 6 with her class, but teach her at her own pace.  Through primary and, if needed, into High School.  Tailor a program to her.  It could be a good solution.

I still don't know.  I have a billion questions to ask of everyone that is involved with Miss 6, the school and us.  This is such a big deal, after all.  There are so many pros and cons, and I want to make sure I consider them all.

So, calmness at Chez Nicholas is kind-of restored.  We spent today at the athletic's carnival.  Miss Nearly 8 won a ribbon. I missed it because I was at Westfield buying a hip flask of scotch to keep me from freezing to death on the sidelines.

Yes. Mother of the Year, me.

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Greenie said...

Cait - you probably ARE Mother of the Year! Can I just say, as someone who went through the whole 12 years with a young boy in a wheelchair and NO hope of achieving in the mainstream sense, don't over-engineer Miss 6's schooling experience. That school sounds pretty special, and VERY committed to Miss 6, so I reckon - as long as you can sort the bullying out - stick with it and make the best you can of the experience for her together. Accept the help honey!

Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Thank you Greenie, and thank you for your comment the other day.  I love hearing your perspective and feel free to chip in any time.  It keeps my perspective in perspective, if that makes any sense at all!!
I was very surprised at the schools level of commitment to Miss 6, and I think that surprise was a symptom of the communication difficulties that rather abruptly emerged.  
It is a special school - and I've never lost sight of that.  I don't want to change things for Miss 6 either, and I think your comment about over-engineering is very very relevant.  Its given me a lot to think about. 
Cait :)

Jennie said...

Caitlyn, I did not know you were going through this.  I have been through this journey - my high-functioning PDD daughter is now 15 and is performing fabulously.  She's an A student because she learned to work hard as a tiny tot. We had a planning meeting yesterday and she participated actively, advocating for herself.  I was so proud.  You will get there too.  Many hugs from across the world.

Caitlyn Nicholas said...

Thanks Jennie :) I don't mention Miss 6 and her challenges very often on the blog,as the situation is so complicated that its really hard to describe the full scope of it - as you will no doubt understand.  
Thank you for your comment and the hugs, very much appreciated. Its so good to hear a story of a kid who has adapted to her differences, understands her unique characteristics and embraces them.  This is my goal for Miss 6 :)

Madmother said...

Hey you.
As the mother of a now 14 year old boy on the spectrum I understand exactly what you are saying.

BUT, she is smart, you know she is smart. This is the hard yards, the part where you need to help her gain the tools to be able to use those smarts. As someone who many times sat and thought "is this right, is the fight worth it, am I helping him or pushing crap uphill for no reason?"
He is now aide free in high school, averaging A+'s, thriving on the learning and challenges (with a dose of anxiety and social striggles thrown in - new school, friends at other school).

What I say to all is go with your gut. You know her better than any person breathing on this earth. Trust you. xx