Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Educational Nirvana?

Oh my GORD!

Everywhere I look it’s horror-storys about school – and not just our emotionally charged autsies, aspies, and spectrummy kids, but even with the mainstreamers there seems to be one issue after another.

I mean, the Casey issue – and his school is right up there as the one my daughter might be at in three short years – highlights that “anyone can have a bad experience at school“.

The alternative seems to be, the school my kids are at right now. Let me say straight up: I’m sure that some kids there reckon they’re on the short end of the stick, and maybe they miss out on some things. I’m yet to see what.

Our second term there started with a very short week, just two days. My son had a bit of a rough start – in a two-day week he knew it was Friday, which means there’s an outing, right? Wrong, kiddo – not this week! So he didn’t need his car-seat, so there were “some issues” walking into the place. But his teacher advised us that there was a combined party for the Support Classes, due to a staff member birthday.

The staff. Willingly. Put on a party. For all 23 or so Support Class kids.

I don’t care what staffing ratio that is: for them to put 23 support class kids in a room, without asking for individual catering, but knowing they would meet all the dietary issues and behavioural issues, shows either extreme lack of judgement, or… surprisingly, it seems they knew what they were doing!

Mind you. This is the school that sees my son on a planned outing, then buys a trampoline based on what they have seen. Sorta the thing you expect, when they have people like Sue Larkey in each year as a consultant to advise them that my son “needs a learning environment with a lot of physical stimulation.” While our thought on hearing this assessment was “no shit Sherlock” – at least it was right and it didn’t take a three week assessment period.

This is a school that, having been given an educational kitchen by the “Education Revolution” process, wrangles the parents into constructing a vegetable patch during the holidays. And has staff who have gone out on their own, to provide chickens (to be cared for by the support class kids).

With a teacher, who having seen the benefit of the (tiny) fishtank in the classroom, is now on her own bat, buying an appropriate pet and putting it through the puppy school to be trained as a disability support companion animal. “Some of the kids need some extra help learning empathy” is about as much as she says about it.

With more teachers like her, there will be less situations for kids like Casey to feel they have to lash out… or am I only dreaming?


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