So, your child is coming to the end of their time at day care and you wonder what school will work for them.
You may have already experienced some problems with your child and day care and some of us may have even been asked to leave their day care centre because they are unable to manage your child’s behaviour.
Many years ago, despite the constant communication we had with our day care, we were still asked to leave. It just didn’t work for him.
If this has happened to you, try not to blame them, your child simply doesn’t fit their centre or the teacher he/she had. We all know ourselves that there are people we just don’t gel with, so why would that be different for our children.
The important thing to remember about school is that all children are entitled to an education despite their challenges but it is up to you to find the school that works for you and your child the best.
Private, catholic and public schools are not necessarily better than one another as your child is individual and they will al fit into different areas.
If your only choice is the local public school which is in your catchment, then you must work with what you have, communication is the key.
Here are some tips on finding a school and ensuring that they will cater for your child:
- Be honest. You will hear me say this so many times when you speak to me. Holding back a diagnosis from a school is not going to help your child in any way at all. If they say that they cannot cater for your child then you don’t want your child at that school anyway so don’t be offended, , thank them for their honesty.
- Ask others. Get yourself in an online or physical support group and ask others with children living with ADHD what schools they are at or have gone to and what support they have or haven’t received. If you are not a member already I have a Facebook support group with people across the country, maybe you might find a local. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ADHD.ASD/
- Make sure you do your homework. Find out as much as you can about the school. Go prepared with questions – interview them. They are taking your child and you must ensure that they can help your child flourish in the best way possible. Ask a lot of questions about what they are going to offer your child.
- Ensure they understand your child fully. If you can get them to review your child in day care it is a huge bonus as they will see your child and how he/she responds in a classroom like an environment. Come armed with as much information as possible, get letters from doctors, psychologists, paediatricians, day care educators, anyone that knows your child and can comment on how he/she works. Do this regardless of whether you can or can’t get them to assess your child in day care.
- Be supportive. Go into the interview with the school with an attitude of support. If they know that you are going to be there to support both your child and them as much as possible then they will be happy to help you. There would be nothing more frustrating for a school to try and help a child but then the parents expecting the school to do everything and the parent does nothing. The school must know that you will be there to support them but you will still advocate for your child when you need to.
The key to finding the right school is knowing your child and understanding how the school needs to support them.
If you don’t get it right the first time then that is OK, you can always leave a school and find another more suited. Obviously, it isn’t an easy decision to move schools and this would take some transition time between your child and the school but if you believe that the move is the best thing for your child then you must do it.
Finding a school can be a scary experience, this is the unknown – are you doing the right thing for your child by choosing this school, are they going to do well in this school and how are they going to succeed. Just like parenting in general, it is trial and error and we go with what we think is right at the time and then if something isn’t working down the track we correct it.
Good luck with your journey to school and remember, go with what you feel is right and be honest!
Until next time…
Take care and stay strong you are doing a great job.