Last year I wrote about an experience we had when an educational psychologist and an autism advisory teacher came to our home to do a joint assessment.
The post was aptly titled I want to bring my pet to school and here is a quick link to the full details.
To sum up the post briefly, it was at a moment in time when my daughter had no education and was pretty much refusing life altogether. She found safety in watching YouTube and had managed to shut the world out and any hint of a demand led to destruction. We were once again at the height of violent and challenging behaviour on the surface, but underlying that was a rage of emotional distress and self-loathing.
The two professionals who came into our home were fantastic at engaging with my daughter – I had worked with both of them for some time and whose opinions I respected very greatly.
The educational psychologist managed to capture my daughter’s feelings about what she needed from a placement – enabling her voice to be heard. I feel quite indebted to her for that and I’m sure that has been instrumental in fighting for an independent, therapeutic school. At the end of the session my daughter drew a picture of all of the things she needed from a school and the overriding factor was that she needed to take her pet with her.
Fast forward nine months and we have done just that.
Yesterday was a real milestone for my nine year old PDA daughter because at long last her dream became a reality. Her dog Max got to meet her teachers and all of the children in her classroom. I could see her face beaming as she was giving dog treats to her friends and giving them a turn to hold his lead and then stroke him. I don’t think she was concerned about my forty-five minute journey home in the car with Max after being fed all of those treats!!
This school is starting to turn out lives around and I see glimpses of my daughter starting to return to the child she was before we ever entered the education system. I can’t thank them enough for the work and support they are giving to her to make her feel valued again.
For those of you who follow us on Facebook I have been tending to write mini posts on there with updates as to her continuing progress and about our family life in general. The last few months have been difficult to juggle and I’ve not been finding the time to write on this blog. The feedback and support from parents and professionals on there has been fantastic, so if you haven’t already, then please do join our community on there as the online support is growing and helping others.
One of those posts was about my daughter being elected the ‘Pupil Voice’ by her peers and how she is thriving in her new provision – here is a quick link to the original post on that.
So it’s the end of our first academic year at the school and she has just gone from strength to strength. There will always be issues that arise, but with their support, I now have hope for my daughter’s future and the opportunities that she will have in life. She’s happy there, content and full of laughter – so maybe after all this time she really has found her dream school.