Thursday, March 21, 2013
Chapter 18: School-again
While visiting Laura we talked a lot about Kayda’s school situation. I came away convinced that the school she was attending just wasn’t appropriate for her. We had a meeting shortly after I got back (while Kayda was still in the hospital). I brought up those feelings as did other people. The school staff just didn’t get it, that having Kayda in the building but by herself just wasn’t inclusion. Her guardian at that time was a very large man. When the school staff were saying that they didn’t think they could manage to have Kayda attend school full time the next year, he banged his hand on the table and said “that’s not acceptable!” The one good thing that had come out of the year is that they’d applied to a program run by the province, which provided support and suggestions to schools about including children like Kayda. The down side is that it would be sometime the next year before they could come. What I had decided I wanted for Kayda the next year was to go to a school where some children from a group home attended. She couldn’t be enrolled in their school as it was run by a different ministry but I thought that if she attended the school that housed the resource school she could participate in some of their activities. At that point I was convinced that Inclusion didn’t work for a child with Kayda’s needs. To me it was more important that she be with other children no matter what needs they had than for her to be included with typical kids. I knew I couldn’t continue to fight with the school. We just weren’t going to agree on what was important. Because of these problems, Dave & I started talking about buying a house in a different school catchment area. We’d thought of eventually buying a house for a long time but it just hadn’t been feasible. My Maternal Grandmother had died earlier in the year and had left me some money. We’d been planning a holiday but decided to put it towards a down payment for a house. There were houses available in the same neighbourhood as the school but we purposefully stayed away from them. We ended up buying a house way at the other end of town. It was only a few minutes from where my husband worked and was also close to someone that I had worked with when I worked at the same facility. This lady had teenage daughters too; prospective respite caregivers. The school in our catchment area was very old and on several levels and wasn’t fully accessible. There was no area for changing Kayda either. The next closest school had recently been renovated and was fully accessible. The principal had been at a school the year before where another noisy multiply challenged child attended. There would be 2 other children with mobility problems attending this school as well. Our decision was made. That was the best possible decision we could have made for Kayda’s school experience. Plans were made to move in to the new house in the middle of August.