Thursday, October 1, 2009

First time at school

Today was Sebastian's first day in St Bridget's School. I woke him up, fed him breakfast in the car (because that is where he usually eats it). When bus came I put him in the harness with help of the driver, stuck his knapsack beside him, and left the bus. When I waved to him from other side of the window he was closing his ears, and I saw the fear in his eyes. It was too late for me to change my mind and get in he bus with him, so I went home, finished my coffee and drove to his school. I saw him entering the building with the help of two assistants, and followed him in because driver of the bus let me know that they wanted to talk to me.

To my big relief Melanie who knows everything about Sebastian and has been supervising his therapy for over two years now at the Behavoural Institute Children's College was there too. She showed the teachers and assistants his routines, and I cannot imagine how it could have been done safely without her there. Sebastian is a very lucky kid to have Melanie and all the rest of the Children's College staff led by Dr Nicole Walton-Allen in his life.

I could not have a warmer welcome from the principle and the teachers. The principle happened to have grown up in the house on the corner just across the street from our home. She remembers my neighbors, who still live there. I had a tour of the school, and the Principle took me to the store to buy uniforms for Sebastian which she payed for! And she bought me a fleece jacket with the school logo on it too. She also gave me a couple of grocery store gift cards. It was a lot, but I accepted it all with gratitude. Life is not about my pride anymore, so I took whatever was offered. One day I will give it back somehow.

The Principle of St Bridget's school also has two nephews with autism, and that is not a small thing, because it is really difficult to understand the challenges of living with autism unless directly touched by the experience. Sebastian has two teaching assistants, and that is a good thing. Now I am thinking that if those good, willing, great people had the support of psychologists who would provide them with practical knowledge and programing, we would have fighting chance. Ground workers are doing all the hard work and they have to work around the inflexibility of the SYSTEM. Higher up administrators are quick to call commissions, and and make themselves look good on paper. But it is the teachers and assistants, and principles, and janitors, and secretaries, and custodians that do the real work.

1 comment:

  1. How good to know that the principal is so kind and understanding. I hope that Sebastian learns to love school, and that his assistants learn how to teach him.

    Take care.