I won’t lie, i am really worried about sending my son (ex prem) to school next year.
A quick recap about his life so far. He was born at 27+3 weeks gestation and spent 110 days at Monash Medical Centre. He has an 18 month speech delay although i feel that he has improved over the past year & he was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder at 2yrs old. He turned 5yrs old in March 2011 and he will be almost 6yrs old when he starts his first year of school. He has been attending early intervention weekly for the past 3 years.
We are about to start the task of arranging interview times with schools around the area. We have quite a few schools to choose from which is great but the big question is, which one can cater to HIS needs. I guess this is why we need to start the interview process. As far as i am aware, schools are given a certain amount of funding each year to help kids with special needs however would he be included in the list of recipients? Sadly Sensory Processing Disorder is not on the “list” to receive funding at this time so i do constantly wonder if it is recognised within a school environment? It is quite irritating that our kids with SPD are not recognised as this is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within the own body (visual, auditory, tactile, olfaction, gustatory, vestibular and proprioception).
I have been advised that he will most likely “not” receive an aide in school. This worries me immensly as he has an aide at Child Care and also at Preschool. It has been a long process to receive funding through Kindergarten Inclusion Support Packages (KISS) but i am happy to say that he received funding in term 1 and has just been approved for further funding until the end of the year. We are so lucky that he has such a dedicated and amazing teacher who has put so much work into his application.
His aide at Kindergarten assists with the following;
- Intervenes to help Ronan reset activity or model words that Ronan can use to help him get past his peers and join play appropriately.
- Helps redirect Ronan onto an activity and assist in helping him become involved. This may be directing him to a quieter activity to calm down, then moving onto an activity he enjoys or introducing him to a new activity and staying with him and the small group to assist him in his participation.
- Bringing Ronan’s awareness to peers emotions and asking peer what is wrong. Then talking about why they feel this way or what we can do to help them feel better.
- He needs that one on one support in order to help him to focus on a task and guide him
What will he do next year if he isn’t able to receive an aide? I can see already that all his school reports will read “had trouble focusing in class”, “disturbs other children in the class” etc.. I am worried about not knowing the correct questions to ask each school. It will be very interesting at the interview as i have been told that they actually try to interview “you” on behalf of your child. Good luck to them i say because i am so used to being an advocate for my son that i will be the one throwing questions their way.
I’d love to know if you were given a checklist of questions to ask at your parent interview if you have a child with special needs and how did/are they going in school? To make things worse, once he reaches school age he is not eligible to receive support from his current early intervention and with no funding available, as stated above, we will be totally on our own as his current service is somewhat subsidised.
Please tell me that we are not alone…
Photograph supplied by Foons Photographics