Monday, August 30, 2021

Divisive issue or personal choice!

Sadly the choice of mainstream or special school is a tinder box in the Down Syndrome community, with as many opinions as there are schools.  I had volunteered in special schools and looked round our local special schools, and would quite happily have sent Heidi to them.  

However, the school the boys attended were so keen for her to join them, that we thought we would give it a go! 

We decided we would take a term at a time and reassess if necessary.  The school, especially her teaching assistant Debbie followed our lead and didn’t let Heidi off or excuse her behaviour. She repeated Reception and year 2 and so at age 13 she bade a tearful goodbye to Debbie and moved onto a mainstream secondary school. 

Of course, Heidi never made up the gap between her and her peers but school was very good at adapting the work and including her in all activities.  

From the age of 5 Heidi had wanted to be a hairdresser – the mere mention of it, had all but bald men, running a mile! 

Thankfully the school were keen for her to do a day release BTEC course in hair and beauty.  She loved this experience and the school provided a 1:1 assistant to go with her to the college for years 10 and 11.

At age 18 she left school and college with a few qualifications but more importantly had shown school communities that having Down syndrome is not something to be scared of and that different is ok! 

I still receive comments from parents saying how much their children benefitted from Heidi being in their class.

Sadly though, Joe Bloggs from class 10X has lost his chance to fulfil their shared dream of marriage!

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