“If you loved him, you’d just home school him.”
I’m sorry what?
“I’m just saying, if you really want what’s best for him, and clearly you aren’t going to find that in mainstream school, you might want to rethink your priorities”.
“Wouldn’t it better for you to give up work and home school him? You just said yourself he’ll get lost in the mainstream system”.
I had said that. And I knew it to be true.
We were talking about my son, Sam. Sam is 12-years-old and in a perfect world, would start year 7 at the same mainstream state high school as his 14-year-old sister next year. But it’s not a perfect world and Sam isn’t a “mainstream” kid.
I need to back up a little I guess. To tell you why this would have even been a conversation two women who had always seemingly been on the same page. You need to know also that I’m not a heated confrontation kinda gal. No, I’m more a ‘grab a box of popcorn and watch others go at it from the sidelines’ type of person.
But this confrontation, this debate, was unavoidable because I was being called a bad mother for refusing to give up my career to home school a child who, as far as I’m concerned, would not benefit from it.
Sam is a high a functioning Autistic child. This was, up until recently, labelled Asperger’s and is now diagnosed as ‘On the Autism Spectrum’. Academically, he struggles with the fundamentals and to comprehend in the most conventional of ways. Trying to do so comes with large amounts of fruitless hard work, difficulty and tears. Handwriting is painfully laboured and he is a good two years behind his peers in most acceptable areas, his reading level, at best, Year 4. And I’m being generous.
Yet Sam is incredibly intelligent when it comes to other subjects, especially when those subjects include a topic that captivates him like Science or History. He is able to readily recall and discuss facts and topics that would baffle most adults.
Socially though he can often be acutely unaware of how to make friends and read social cues. Other times, too many people, too much chaos overwhelms him. Yet really, all he really requires is a little bit of help. An aide to guide him when things don’t naturally make sense.
The last time I wrote about Sam, we were experiencing difficulty at his mainstream state primary school. They, in not so many words, told us that his current school was not the “school for him”.