His needs are best met through full-time Correspondence school, learning from home, an approach which is proving successful. But to get to this point has been a traumatic journey, for child and family. We continually work hard to try to identify and meet our child's health and wellbeing needs, as we should, but reflecting on these experiences I have begun to wonder about what might need to be considered with regards to the health and wellbeing of the families involved in advocacy, and what schools might need to know about the unseen impact of their chosen approaches.
The poor fit between the schooling environment and approaches, and my son's needs resulted in maladaptive behaviours. These were an expression of his needs being unmet and the necessity for compassion coupled with altered approaches.
It was stressful as a parent wondering if any given day would be a "good day", if my child was going to cope at school, if I was going to get yet another call to calm and collect my child, and then have to face the principal's office...yet again. The longer this all went on, the harder it seemed to get.
The Compounding Nature of Ongoing Difficulties
It was difficult trying to convey at enrolment that this child needed an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and RTLB (Resource Teachers for Learning and Behaviour) support to put a transition plan and support in place to respond to his diabilitating anxiety, only to be rebuffed with a statement that this new environment was all he needed.
It was difficult to try and help reframe the view's of others in meeting after meeting, in an attempt to shift beliefs from "naughty and deserving punishment" to "not coping and needing help".
It was difficult to try and show that, actually my child is lovely, gentle and responsive - so very different at home and in other contexts than what was being seen at school.
It was difficult trying to be heard, as I expressed the need to engage my son in learning in his areas of strength and interest, working at his level and pace - something which was shown at home to be very different from the what he was getting opportunities for at school. Attempting to explain that this would actually help this "difficult" child to feel understood and begin to develop a sense of belonging and safety, increasing the chance of him settling in.