It has been a week of fighting this week. The children have been fighting off colds and coughs, and as well as fighting off the same germs as them I have been fighting with the local authority and my own emotions.
We heard from the local council this week regarding which school they believe to be best placed to suits my sons needs. We already knew from dealings with them last week that we would not be receiving the school we wanted yet I still found the tears rolling down my cheeks when we opened the letter. The placement was for a school we had never expected and in fact one which had even been discussed for his twin sister as a possibility for next year! After the initial shock and anger we called the school to visit and called the council to discuss why this option had been chosen.
It would have been nice to have had more time to get over the shock but deadlines on the letter stated that we had just 14 days to decide if we were accepting or declining this placement and the letter arrived just 2 days before the schools closed for over a fortnight for Easter holidays! I always try to see the positive side to things but even I had to agree that the timing of this letter was deliberate.
Anyway, we have now duly visited the councils placement choice for MY baby and as we expected it is highly unsuitable. The classroom is upstairs and Isaac can not yet climb or descend stairs safely without one to one support. He would not be receiving one to one support in the classroom either and would also be expected to have lunch in the dining room with almost 300 mainstream children. The school do not have an on site nurse able to check him over in the event of a fall or injury and he would be expected to access the playground with all the other mainstream children. None of these are things that Isaac would be able to cope with and so we have appealed the decision and have requested the school of our choice.
I have had to force myself to fight. I hate fighting but when you don’t have a peace about something you just have to fight for what you believe to be the right thing.
And if there is one thing I can find the strength to fight for it is my babies. If you plant seeds in the wrong environment they will not grow or flourish. And if animals are reared in the wrong location they do not learn the skills needed to survive. How much more with children? In order to learn my children need to feel safe, loved, secure and happy. And as a parent it is my responsibility to ensure they have the right learning environment to grow and thrive.
I have even thought of home schooling. But I know as much as I love my son with all my heart and strength I do not possess the necessary skills to break through his autism and severe learning difficulties. I have been trying for the last 4 and a half years. It has taken years just to get fleeting eye contact. I spent years trying to get him to learn colours and shapes and numbers and enjoy the challenge of a simple shape sorter. He still thinks brute force will help get the circle into the square hole! And he still chews everything in sight. And we still have no language. He is still in nappies. And dressing him is still a huge fight.
In fact so many things have become a fight. The fight to get him to eat healthy and not just live off chocolate. A fight to change every nappy. A fight to get him to sleep at night. A fight to keep him asleep. And sadly a fight to get his needs met by professionals.
I’m weary of fighting this week. Weary of the battles daily.
But he is my baby. My longed for child. My reason for carrying on. I look in his face and know the fight is worthwhile. Because he is worthwhile.
And so I’m fighting on.