While most five-year-olds are counting down the days until they put on their over-sized school uniforms and kiss their wailing mothers goodbye, Sebastian Baltins is left confused and overwhelmed by the concept of beginning school.
Sebastian Baltins, 5, has Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sebastian, five, lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and also suffers from Attention Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD) as well as Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
Sebastian is sweet and mischievous, just like any little boy, but he requires a lot of care. Each week he needs occupational therapy, speech therapy and has also been receiving social skill therapy in the lead up to starting school.
It’s this kind of ongoing support that Sebastian requires once he begins school — but his mother, Alex Baltins, 27, is concerned the local school isn’t equipped to handle her disabled son’s learning condition.
Sadly, that means her son can only attend classes in short bursts, lest he becomes overwhelmed.
“When my little boy has his first day at school, it won’t be the typical tears and waving him off at the gate. Instead my son will only be able to attend for one hour a day for the first two weeks,” she told Mamamia. “This time will increase in 30-60 minute increments fortnitely, should he cope well enough.”
“My son, like many others in my local area, won’t know the joy of recess for approximately two to three months. Even then he will be shuffled home straight after recess before the bell even goes,” she said.
Alex Baltins is petitioning the Australian government for more support for her son Sebastian, 5, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder
There’s another issue Sebastian and Alex have to contend with: the fact that there are a very limited number of places for kids with disabilities in specific government funded public schools, meaning families with special-needs kids are forced to compete in “a lottery of sorts” just to find their child a place.
“There are only three government support units in my area and only four to six children get accepted into each. To get a place in these supported classes you have to apply to the Department of Education and Communities and it becomes a lottery of sorts,” Ms Baltins told Mamamia.”It then becomes the luckiest day of your life if your child is accepted.”
Ms Baltins is so concerned, she’s petitioning the Australian Federal Government, the NSW Government and the Department of Education for extra support for her autistic son and other children with similar conditions.
“I am a blessed person to know many wonderful children who are on the spectrum, one of those wonderful children is my son,” Ms Baltin writes in the petition. “Every single one of these children have the potential to lead successful and fulfilling lives. But, the education system is failing many of these children by not providing adequate support for them in schools.”