Education: Parenting a Child with a Disability


(laughs) Kia ora tatou, my name is Marg Slater
and I have a son Jack who is 18. I’m Mandy and I’m mother to six-year-old Maia. I’m Kat and I’m mum to four year old Ella. Hey I’m Sonia and I am mum to eight year
old twin girls Thandie and Inez. Education… Honestly I don’t want to send her, I want
to keep her home and be a pre-schooler forever. Jack has lived a mainstream life
there was no need to consider any other schools whatsoever. He talked, he heard,
he ate, he went to school, there was no need to consider anything else. It’s just a shame really that
mainstream school is not supported to deal with a lot of kids with extra needs. That’s where the system
kind of falls down. As a parent when you got a new
person starting school, which is scary and tearful
in the best of times, being told by the school that your child
is never going to pick up a pencil, they’re never going to write he’s, got
really serious learning issues here, you apply to get this ORS funding
from the Ministry of Education, you’re writing down things you would never think
you would say about your child and they turn it down
because they’re not bad enough. You imagine what that feels like. Nezzie started not wanting
to go to school, and then she started not – I would get her to school
and she would run after me, and then they started
having to lock the gates because she would run
screaming out of the gate. No one seemed to know
what to do, she wasn’t coping. As the turning five draws near and we’re
talking with services about what school will look like and
we’ve got school visits, honestly I don’t want to send her, I want to keep her home and her be a
preschooler forever because it’s a huge new space
where I worry most about her self-esteem and how she’s going to play and engage with others with
whatever that is that she can do because you can’t change the culture of the
school and I don’t know how to prepare Ella to be in that culture. When it came to deciding which school to
go to, it just had a really nice, welcoming attitude to children like Maia. My initial meeting with the principal
she was very proactive with the children and she just made me feel like Maia was
really welcome there. School took a long time
and it took us to get to crisis point, as it often has to sadly, for real action to be taken, but it has them
so much work on both of our parts to create an environment for Nezzie that
is quite different from what the other kids in her class have and just a
willingness from the school to allow her to be different. I haven’t been looking
I’ve been feeling, so it’s going into a school and getting the feeling that there’s
warmth coming from the people that are there and they’re not afraid of the fact
that she has a disability or I’m a parent coming and asking what they can
offer a child with special needs and that they don’t fear that or doubt that
and that their eyes light up at the possibility of having her. If other parents are going in and
wanting to know what to ask and what to look for trusting that vibe and building
a space because they’re actually a part of that as well
so it’s it’s not just what the school offers but it’s about the relationship
that you can build with them and it actually just goes back to what I learnt in NICU. When we were in NICU, the nurses
and doctors and specialists all kind of ran circles around us
and it was chaos really with all these people offering to
help or doing things and it was like well what’s my job as her parent?
What can I do? What can you do to build a relationship with a school where school
is like home for her so she feels safe there, that she feels that she can
explore and be curious and make mistakes. We didn’t unfortunately get referred to
child development services prior to school and if there’s any other
information I could share with any parents is you’ve got to get on to
those services and it’s my understanding you can actually contact the
Ministry of Education directly you don’t need to be referred. It was just, it was just
so, so hard and I did think this isn’t the place for her but, but…
when you make those changes it can be, you know? And I’m so proud of our school
for getting there. When you’re looking at
when your child is starting school and you’re aware that there is some difficulties, fight. You have to be your
child’s advocate, be that person, I am that woman, you know,
and at times I’m proud of it and at times I just wish it wasn’t like that. It doesn’t need to be this hard. When we were looking for the school for Maia, I did a lot for asking around, you can’t go wrong if you’ve got parents of children
at that school saying it’s great and inclusive and supportive, then that’s the
best recommendation you can have.

6 thoughts on “Education: Parenting a Child with a Disability”

  1. I had great parents who fought for me every day. My mom helped me struggle to get through the school work till all the way through elementary school. The school kept saying that I wasn't multi handicap enough to be placed into a class that could help me. Thankfully my sixth grade teacher realized that I had bad vision, dyslexia, and learning disabilities. He fought with my parents to get me placed into the visually impaired program which really helped me. Other than the two years of Jr high I was mainstreamed.

  2. Our son was one of the children who fell into the crack between gifted and learning disabled which in our educational district here in our area are lumped into the same area of the building. He began school color blind which I didn't know as I had taught him his colors, but he was reading the words on the side of the crayons and he had a bit of a speech impediment because of ear infections from 8 mos up along with febrile seizures until he was 5 yrs. old and he attended 3 different public schools in 6 years of schooling. The last school finally recognized the speech impediment and gave him therapy for that and asked to have him tested for ADHD, which we did, however, having gone to the recommended school district professionals myself, we sought outside help instead. So for that, he was put on stand-by. After 4th grade, I was tired of the constant battles with our son and his teachers, so we brought him home to school. We got involved with a homeschool group in our area right away and found there were several parents who also had special needs children. Near the end of his high school years, I contributed to a book by Christine Field called "Homeschooling the Challenging Child." Here's a interview video of Christine about her book = https://youtu.be/XcyFPXDaFM0

  3. My son is in a special school at the moment with easy access to his therapies. His father wants him in a village school and lose access to the support he will need with no regards to his emotional well being

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