Every day as soon as the taxi drops him home, I eagerly unzip his bag to read his diary. I wish I could ask him about his day but that isn’t possible. Well, it is possible, but he can’t answer. At 14 he still can’t speak and that home school diary is my only lifeline of knowledge of what his day has been like.
That diary is everything.
It lets me know if he’s drank anything all day and what he’s eaten.
It informs me of any care needs he had and how these were met.
It helps me know if he’s had any seizures and if so when and for how long.
It notifies me on what events are happening as he can’t tell me.
It fills in the pieces of his day and gives me a connection to the staff working with him.
It gives me knowledge of how he’s progressing and how his mood has been.
Every word in that diary matters but there’s something that matters even more:
Photos from school.
A click on an iPad or a button pressed on a camera and a small paper printout sent home means the world to me. It gives me more insight into my son’s world than anything the staff could write. It lets me see that my son is genuinely happy and relaxed.
It gives me something to show my son to talk to him about his day. It highlights my son’s achievements and makes me feel he’s cared for.
More than all of that though those little photos give me so much peace of mind that my vulnerable son is ok when he’s out of my care all day at school.
It’s hard to trust people when you have a child who can’t communicate and who has very high needs. Now he’s at high school, knowing all the different staff is much more difficult and complicated too.
He can’t even tell me if he has friends or share stories of his classmates. There were times during Covid when I didn’t even know how many were in his class or any of their names.
Now I treasure every single photo from school so much.
I check the schools Twitter account to see if there’s any new ones of my child at least twice a day and treat that home school diary like my life depends on it.
It might just take one moment of an adult’s time to snap a quick photo but for me that photo means everything.
He can’t tell me anything about his day but a photo can.
A small piece of paper but priceless to parents like me.