Tuesday, August 14, 2012

School Blues

Little A is now officially medium-sized. In the last week he seems to have grown at least an inch, slimming out again. I never wanted to slow his childhood down before, but now, I'm beginning to wish I could. The main reason for this is that it's the time when parents of children aged 5 start the application process for "big school."

Given his special needs, there is no way Little A will be going to the school Big A and I attended, not that I wanted him to go there in the first place. At that very traditional school, a child aged six goes to school dragging a bag at least as heavy as he is, containing anywhere from 4-8 books and an equal number of notebooks. Every day, that bag goes to school and home, as they haven't heard about the concept of lockers, and the amount of homework assigned to the students makes one wonder what they actually learn in the 7 hours they spend in the classroom.

Besides that, they have absolutely no capacity, nor intention, to include special needs kids in their program.

So it will be a progressive school for us, one that offers inclusion and mainstreaming and, hopefully, some special needs support staff. The biggest problem is finding this place. The Autism Society of the Philippines does not have, or offer, a directory of schools offering special support. I've asked them, and every therapist and centre we've ever attended and others we haven't, and come up empty.

Word of mouth seems to be the only way to go. I've spoken to parents in waiting rooms, who have been infinitely more helpful than our developmental pediatrician. The problem is, all the good schools seem to be two cities away from us.

Still, I'm slowly amassing a list, and will begin scheduling visits, or just walking in, this month. I've no choice, really - all the other parents are already in the game, and I've got to catch up or Little A gets left behind. Wish me luck, or, better yet, throw me the name of a school or two.

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