Mainstream education for special needs children – In the beginning

Ok so here goes!

My son’s journey started at 2 years old starting at our local pre school. This experience was one that I will never forget and will influence all the decisions I make about how my son is treated, looked after, understood and most importantly made to feel comfortable.

The lack of understanding, empathy and support meant that he would hide in the toilet playing with the water (I know now a classic sensory strategy to calm himself), he would lay on the playground floor and not want to come inside (to a noisy, small classroom where teachers had no empathy or understanding) He would scream on the way in, on the way out and be visibly shaken some days. We were asked not to attend the Christmas nativity, the Christmas party as it would be too much for him?!! So much for inclusion hey…..Suffice to say we removed him from this hell after what must have seemed an eternity to him but was just one term.

My lovely friend that ran a pre school (albeit 20 miles away) offered us a place. The relief, happiness and support she brought our way was overwhelming. He was welcomed with open arms, the anxious behaviours vanished and I will never forget how much this meant to us and how important this part of our journey was. Unfortunately the journey to get him there became too much of a struggle taking well over an hour some days and it just became too much. Julie, you were like a shining light for us and your acceptance and understanding of Charlie’s little quirks means so much.

Our next beacon of light came in the form of St Margarets pre school or ‘Wendy’s house’ as Charlie affectionately calls it. Wendy is a breath of fresh air and is probably the most warm, friendly, nurturing, thoughtful teacher I know. Her level of commitment in helping and supporting me to apply for our statement of special needs was outstanding, talking to me about every professionals appointment including Paedetricians, Speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, occupational therapists, genetics consultants the list goes on. Her empathy, big cuddles on a bad day (for me and Charlie), going above and beyond in so many ways – she really did and always will mean so much to us.

Throughout Charlie’s time at St Maragarets I was applying with Charlie’s statement of special needs to give him the help and support he needed when he started infant school. Who knew this process could be one of the most heart wrenching, frustrating and damn right ludicrous things I have ever done. This requires a whole blog post to itself so watch this space…!

Our journey continues and I can’t wait to share more with you…oh and by the way I will take the special any day xx

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