Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 2

Yesterday went better than expected. I'm so grateful that Ben has been given this opportunity. Three years ago I was told that Ben couldn't attend this program and I accepted that. I did what others said was best for him.

I know there will be many challenges but I believe being in a regular school that is focused on learning -- not life skills -- will support his development and give him a range of experiences he wouldn't have otherwise. The advantage of this particular school is that it has a unit for students who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and use sign language. Over time the students are mainstreamed into regular classes with interpreters. At this point Ben has eight courses and two are mainstream. We may adjust his courseload if it's too onerous for him.

One thing that has been positively received is a package I put together about Ben -- including our goals for inclusion, the issues we had with segregation, his strengths and dreams as identified in his life plan, a report from overnight camp this summer, and a list of strengths written by D'Arcy. I also included correspondence I've had with an inclusion expert who answered my practical questions.

Our goals were things like: To feel accepted by the general community; to have interaction with peers; to improve his reading, writing, keyboarding and numeracy; to be exposed to some of the general curriculum; to have the opportunity to make friends and learn social norms; to be able to join a club at school; and to benefit from peer mentorship.

The package about Ben is being handed out to all teachers at a meeting about him today.

Considering the resistance to this option three years ago -- because Ben didn't meet the student 'profile' for the program due to his intellectual disability -- I'm amazed at the positive attitudes and willingness to make things work in the school itself. I will keep my fingers crossed. Louise


I think, "Ben's parents are just as amazing as he is!" For, it is one thing to gamble on yourself, but to take a risk, relinquishing your darkest and deepest fears, in an effort to better the quality of his life, and to prepare him for the day in which you are no longer there, is something entirely different. This, I say, to all of you, "Is more than an act of utter selflessness or bravery; it is absolutely beautiful and defines the definition of love."

Hence, we may all be a little scared for Ben, but our fingers are wholeheartedly crossed and alongside yours!!!


Thank you Matt for your kind words! I'm very grateful for your support! Louise

yes, fingers are crossed from over the big pond as well... one courageous step at a time we all keep going, right? go ben, go! xx tekeal

You're welcome, Louise. Never surrender --I love you!!!


Dearest Louise,

You are such a fine example and advocate for special needs children. Ben is so lucky to have you as his mum!

I bet he shines in these classes and moves forward in leaps and bounds. With a lot of help, determination and education it's amazing what can be achieved.

I'll look forward to hearing how Ben goes on his exciting!

Diana x

Louise, your post - and Matt's response - brought me to tears. As your know, our Mark made a successful transition to a new school last year. He/We had incredible support from the team at the school; we could not have asked for anything more. That being said, it was a difficult year. So often I questioned whether we were pushing him too hard. This year, Mark has moved from the junior to senior sections of the school with many more students (and they are b-i-g!!!), a whole new team of teachers, and he knows only a few in his class etc. I can tell he's anxious. The first day was magical, the second overwhelming and today is off to a good start. I'm confident he'll settle in eventually and all will be well, but I've had moments when I've questioned why we're doing this. Thanks to you and Matt for helping me remember.

I'll look forward to hearing more as Ben's year progresses.

Thanks everyone for your kind words!

Alison -- it is great to hear about Mark! I hope you will write us a blog about his experiences!

I think it's really helpful to have a list of goals so you always have at the front of your mind why you're doing this -- and it could be very different for every child and family. xo

Sometimes I have to go back to my own list so that I don't create unrealistic expectations that weren't even part of my goals to begin with.

Oh Louise, thanks for sharing all this I'm following in your footsteps and this post is very helpful to me. Thank- you for guiding me as it feels at times when we encourage our kids down this path, I left the trail a little bit so a guide is just what I need. I just dropped off Ashley's About me book yesterday which covered many topics you mentioned you included in your package plus loads of pictures and fun things about my girl. Her teachers will read it and share some of it with her peers and it's handy for subs to read if the teacher or EA is away.