As I put yet another load of Oscar's school uniform in the wash I still can't believe that he is now at school, or a 'schooley' as we affectionally like to call him.
The path to choosing a school for Oscar was not an easy one.
When we first got Oscar's diagnosis we were adamant that Oscar would go to mainstream school and not a specialist school.
We would do everything it took to get whatever he needed so he could attend mainstream. Oscar would need a statement of special educational needs as he has severe physical disabilities as well as learning difficulties and would require one-on-one supervision. The statement ensures that everything that Oscar needs is in place before he goes to school and if he went to mainstream they would have to provide these provisions for Oscar.
As time went on though it was glaringly obvious that Oscar was well behind his peers and in my heart of hearts I knew that mainstream was probably not going to be the right choice. Also, it wasn't really about what me and Neal desperately wanted, it was what was going to be 'best' for Oscar.
We went to look at both local mainstream school and the specialist schools.
We went to the primary school that I attended (which was surreal in itself) and it was lovely. It had just been renovated, had disabled access and was light, bright and clean. There was just one big problem. They did not have any other disabled children at all. So in effect Oscar would have been the 'guinea pig' as what experience did they have for managing a child with such complex needs?
We looked at another mainstream school which we knew did have a disabled child, but after looking round we did not get the same feel as we did with the first school and knew it was not for Oscar.
Then, we went and had a look at the specialist schools in our area.
The first specialist school catered more for children with autism. The school was nice enough in itself and the children were kind and happy and asked us questions about Oscar, but there were no children there with the physical disabilities that Oscar has.
Then we went to visit another specialist school and from setting foot through the door, we knew that this was the school for Oscar.
The staff were friendly and had the specialist training and experience of dealing with children with complex needs. They included Oscar in the lessons although we were only visiting. The school had sensory rooms, ball pools, ICT, physiotherapy, rebound therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and even had a hydrotherapy pool. It was everything we could have hoped for and more.
The most important thing we noticed though was that all the children were well looked after and were happy.
Thankfully, we managed to get Oscar into this school and we have not looked back.
As Oscar is fast approaching the end of his first term, he has already stunned us and school staff by saying 'hello' three times and has also said 'one' whilst doing numeracy.
Although, we have had the odd word out of Oscar in the past this is a massive achievement and we are so proud of him.
If the school can achieve that in a term, I cannot wait to see what happens in the years to come.
Does your child have an autism diagnosis?