Wednesday, 15 February 2012
I''ll have a P please Bob!
As I have previously blogged about, FD has moved to a school for pupils with a Severe Learning Disability. And, I have also previously blogged about how wonderful this school is. Well, the events of the weekend have definitely made my mind up that not only was the move to this school the best thing for FD but in a totally selfish way it was the best thing for OH and myself! The school has a parent/staff association that puts together a number of fund raising events to help the school buy the latest gadgets such as ipads and touch screen monitors for the pupils to use. The commitment from the parents and staff members to ensure that these events run smoothly is fantastic. The equipment that the school is able to purchase has been amazing and the pupils have definitely benefited.
At the weekend the parent / staff association had organised a pub quiz. When I heard about it I will admit to groaning a bit about having to go out on a Friday night after work when all I wanted to do was have my Doritos and Dip night with Afro Boy! When you have had the working week I have Friday nights come as a huge blessing and I drive home from work singing 'its the weekend oh yeah'! I also do a little dance when sat at the traffic lights and wave my arms about. I do get some strange looks from other motorists but I don't care! Anyway, this week at work had been the stuff nightmares are made of so you can understand why was reluctant to drag my ass out of the house again on a cold, wet and windy Friday night. And, I suppose I was particularly anxious because this was our first event with other parents other than school meetings or events organised for the kids.
The thing that people with 'normal' kids underestimate is how lonely having a special needs child can be. There is no opportunity to stand at the school gates and chat. There are no sleepovers and socialising as there would be in a mainstream school. Our children are collected by the school bus and returned on the school bus. Most special needs parents live in isolation and have a better relationship with their child's medical professionals than they do with other parents. To actually be able to have the opportunity to meet up with other parents for a bit of support and to just have a good time and forget that our lives are not the 'norm'. But I had expected to be honest that if I went to this pub quiz it would be all doom and gloom and woe is me with parents who would sit all night and talk about all the difficulties they had in their lives. Would they be a group of people who couldn't see the positives? I had actually left a support group I belonged to a few years ago because it just depressed me! For the first time in my life I am pleased to be wrong!
We spent the night with a group of totally mad people who laughed and danced all night and got a little drunk! (OK, I got a lot drunk and will be hanging my head in shame at the next school meeting). Teachers, classroom assistants and parents danced together and basically had a great old time. We socialised like old friends and there was not a gloom and doom story all night! We were made to feel like we'd always belonged and everyone was so friendly. It was refreshing. At the end of the night we got hugs and kisses from some of the parents and staff and we left knowing that we had made the right decision in sending FD to this school. Of course everyone at the pub quiz was totally bonkers which meant we got along fine. I'd much rather send my daughter to a school full of mad people who knew how to laugh and love and treat everyone with equal amounts of respect and love than a school were there was a definitive separation between parents and staff. As the schools facebook page (yes that's right they have a facebook page) says 'The biggest Family in......(insert town name here)! Never a truer word.
Posted by JB JOHNSTON at Wednesday, February 15, 2012