Isla is in the second to last year at her school. She attends a satellite class within a local primary school.
We started off with mainstream schooling while we fought for funding to get her into the environment that suited her best. Once there she has flourished and although I would have liked to see some more inclusion at times, her years at school so far have been happy. Knowing she is in a class that meets all her needs really takes the pressure off as a parent.
We are now looking at options and need to make decisions about how the next 5 years of her schooling will look at Secondary School. I always thought once we were at this stage, she would be ready for more and it would be a good idea to push her to new limits to prepare her for the real world and be part of the Community.
However, the closer we get to this time of transition the more the I realise the real world does not apply for her and probably never will. I don't see the point in exposing her to a life of anxiety and overwhelm.
The romantic idea of her fellow students embracing her for who she is and her fitting in in her own way has worn off over the years. Teenagers are not as accepting and nurturing as 5-year olds and there is also the fear of being bullied, ridiculed and not understood.
It is not realistic and is not actually what Isla wants anyway.
Her Community are her friends in her class that she has had since she started school. Along with family, this is all that matters to her.
Fortunately for us there is a new Satellite Class being built at a Secondary School next door to us. She can easily walk to school via our back gate.
There has been a real shortage of options for teens and this project has taken years to get off the ground. With everything going to plan this will be ready for Isla when she is ready to make her move.
Hopefully Isla will get the best of both worlds here. I am really hoping she will gain opportunities to integrate a little into a mainstream setting and gain social awareness. In return I hope students and families in the broader school community will benefit by becoming aware of and accepting towards difference and diversity in their society.