Jacob started special school back in September and we’ve seen a huge change in so many way’s. I know as a mum to a special need’s child we have a major fight within ourselves to decided special school or mainstream? I won’t sit here and say it wasn’t the biggest decision I had to make, yes I already have a child and I thought choosing a school would be hard for her but the level of getting this decision right for Jacob was different level.
Why did we choose a special school?
I’m a total realist when it comes to my children, myself and just in life generally so as much as I thought I would like Jacob to start mainstream school the realness is Jacob’s communication level and understanding isn’t where I believe it should be for him to be less supervised in a mainstream school.
Im aware that in the UK and Essex where we live, the Local Authority are very hot on sending our Autistic children to mainstream school with an Autism centre. I believe there is many reason’s for this, money and staff are the major reasons.
We were told by Jacob’s specialist teacher that Jacob would be amazing in mainstream school’s as he is aware and is great with people. Although I appreciate this outlook I know my son and I know what was best for him. I believed we knew with the level of Jacobs needs a special school will offer the support which will better meet Jacobs needs. My husband and I fell in love with a special school in Essex we visited and I cried as I knew we found the right school for our son.
We believed Jacob would not be able to attend a mainstream school due to the number of areas he hasn’t developed in and the difficulties he faces day to day. Jacob is extremely behind in all of his developmental milestones. Jacob lacks awareness of danger in the world around him.
The thought of visiting a special school did scare me and I wasn’t sure why and felt guilty because I felt like that, but now looking back I know why I was fearful. It was a different path to what I thought I was going to be on before I had Jacob, and that’s ok to have these feeling’s. But once I saw the school, I knew Jacob was meant to be in this school. We felt that the school will acknowledge Jacobs needs and be able to provide Jacob with the resources to keep him stable and able to achieve and progress.
6 WAYS THAT MY AUTISTIC SON HAS CHANGED SINCE STARTING SPECIAL SCHOOL
- Independence – Jacob has always been very dependent on his bottle, I even wrote a post on it. Since starting school he doesn’t have his bottle through out the day and has it very little at home mostly for bed and car journeys. Jacob is also able to try doing thing’s without getting upset first, he just seems more grown up and more boy not toddler anymore.
- Eating – Weirdly at school Jacob doesn’t eat the most he did at first and it helped so much at home, he will now try everything at least once which is major! But in the last two weeks Ive sent in a pack lunch but still pay for his school dinners first to see if one day he wants to try more options. I do believe if Jacob wasn’t Gluten/Wheat/Dairy free he would eat more in school but they don’t have the most options. Another major thing is eating, Jacob now eats at the table with us, yes he moves around a lot haha but he sits there for 20 minutes maybe more eating rice and salmon and even uses his hands which with his sensory issues is MAJOR!
- Energy – Wow, ok so Jacob energy levels are as high as ever. I thought being in school would make Jacob so tired but totally opposite, the Duracell bunny has nothing on Jacob.
- Speech – Jacob is really interested in leaning new word’s at the moment which is amazing, he has also learn to say two word’s ‘black spider’ he even said ‘rice and then salmon’ wow! To be fair a lot of the word’s are repeated from us but he really listen’s and looks at the item we are labelling.
- Interacts with Children – Jacob for the first time a couple of weeks ago played with his cousin and I cried! He was chasing and laughing with his cousin and it melted my heart. The communication relationship lessons Jacob has at school seems to be really helping. This was a dream of mine. Jacob also loves playing with his older sister to see their relationship is so beautiful.
- Getting out – For the first time last week we visited our local shopping centre ‘Bluewater’ and although we worried a little ok a lot Jacob was a absolute dream. I know this sounds so simple but it’s never been with Jacob so we actually stopped doing it because it was to distressing for Jacob and draining and emotional for him and us. But he held my hand into the shopping centre, down the escalator, in the lift and even tried on his new jacket for school. There was one time he needed his stroller as he was a little overwhelmed with all the toys in one shop and whenever he needed us he would grab my hand for security. It felt so gooooood. We then had lunch and he was amazing with some support with his iPad of course.
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