When our youngest son was starting school with SEN I worried whether he would eat, go to the toilet and make friends. These were my main concerns, this is what I thought initially was important. Overall I was worried about what I could do to make sure my son was just like everyone else. I made sure that before our son started school he had a statement of special educational needs (which changed to an EHCP). This was to make sure he would get the most amount of help to be like his peers and be liked by his peers. But here’s the thing, after one term of home education I have realised that is not what I want anymore.
I feel I was so fixated with the short term that I never stopped to consider the future. What do I really want for my child with additional needs in the long term? Initially I worried that he didn’t quite get things like other children; for instance what happened if he stripped off his clothes and tried to walk around school half naked?! Or what if someone laughed at him for having a toileting accident? What if they laughed at him and called him names? No what I considered was important is that there was help to make sure he didn’t do these things, that he blended in with everyone else. But now I see things much more clearly. Now I want him to be confident and happy with who he is. To learn to ignore those who are mean to him for not being a carbon copy of themselves, and to seek out those who are tolerant and have acceptance. Those who want to learn about his difficulties and support him, but not want to change him. That they will see beyond his additional needs and see the kindness in his heart. To find friends, real friends, who don’t just want to know him when there’s no-one else around.
Home Education has been such a blessing for The Sensory Seeker – with five birthday party invites in his first term! As for food, previously I was worrying about whether he would eat, but now I want him to be able to think about being able to source what he wants: For example, I love how he is gaining in confidence learning to peel vegetables, which will be a great skill for the rest of his life. I have already written about how being home educated really taps into his sensory needs – doing what he wants when he needs it. But never before had I truly stopped and thought about what he really needs. Honestly it isn’t to be able to catch up with his peers – who cares if he can pass his SATs or not? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he can learn to live a happy life! Take care of himself and not let others drag him down. Being home educated is doing his confidence so much good. No longer being compared to others and judged – just trying his best; finding out what he is good at. Then practising both what he is and isn’t good at to improve, but knowing that his effort is what is enough, what is important.
Have you pulled a child with Special Educational Needs out of the education system? Has it made you change the way you feel about everything?