Why I sent C to boarding school.
C started his school life in the local SLD (severe learning disability) school. From day 1 they couldn’t cope. They would tie him down to restrain him. Or call me up and ask me to collect him early.
The local respite home also couldn’t cope with him and he started at the age of 4 going to a home for adults with challenging behaviour. Hardly ideal. There was nothing else in the county.
After much talking with Lorna Wing and doing a lot of research. I took the enormous decision to send C to a specialist school as he needed a 24 hour curriculum (he needed more than just 9am to 3pm). There I hoped they would be able to help him as he needed more help than I could give him. And as a mother, like any mother I wanted the best for my son, not just maintaining him, restraining him, and medicating him.
I looked far and wide. He was turned down at many places because of his behaviour ( He would knock himself out through headbanging) , so my search became wider. Eventually I found a school, a new school, based on Higashi in the UK that sounded as though it would fit his needs. It took 18 months of battle, but eventually I got him there. The down side was it was so far away.
It was not easy to send C there, to leave him in the hands of others. But I put his needs first over mine. I had this hope in my heart they would give him the tools he would need to help himself with his anxieties. And that hope kept me going, even though my heart was breaking.
Being in a specialist school has given C more opportunities to access things than he would have been able to locally. More specialist input from speech therapists, music therapy, physiologists etc which are few and far between. The terms are shorter and there are only 6 in his class. With 1 teacher and 5 helpers.
I don’t regret my decision I don’t feel guilty and i feel no shame. I didnt 'send him away' because i failed him or couldnt cope. The school has not always been ideal, (but no where would be perfect) they do their best, and parents like me keep them on their toes! I do keep a close eye on them.
C has to leave school at the end of this next school year. It has taken me 2 years to find an adult place for him, and one that will accept him. Thankfully it is a lot closer than he is now. But that is a post for another day.
There are two things you give your children. One is roots and the other is wings --Jonas Salk
And thank you to DJKirkby for my award!