Tuesday, March 12, 2013


What goes around, comes around. Pay it forward. We hear and read things like this everywhere. Every religion talks about getting what you deserve, in this life or the next.

This week, I realized all the sayings are very, very true.

When Little A was sixteen months old, I enrolled him in a playschool across the road. The owner of the school was a neighbor with a son a few months older than Little A.

While the school didn't last too long, she did make use of her space to open a Tomatis Centre, and held two seminars, both of which I attended. The first introduced the therapy and its benefits. It was at this event that I met the doctor who would become Little A's developmental pediatrician.When Little A still wasn't speaking at age 2, we made an appointment to have him assessed, and a few months later, he was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.

The second seminar was about Special Education in Regular Schools - inclusion programmes, in other words. When this event took place, Little A had started at his preschool, but I was already feeling that he might need a shadow teacher. I met one there, who turned out to be working at the preschool I had wanted Little A to attend had it not been so far away, owned by the same people running Keys Grade School, where we are now applying him for next school year.

The second speaker was from Brent International School, the school Big A dreamed his son would attend (because in our time the girls from there sported the shortest uniform skirts imaginable). Hearing about Brent's inclusion programme put that school at the top of my list for his future applications, which are no longer in the future but very much in the present!

Upon submitting Little A's application last October, I was told by the Admissions Office that for several years now, they have stopped accepting children on the autism spectrum. Disappointed, I went on with the school search.

Then, two weeks ago, Little A's PROMPT therapist, newly back from maternity leave, mentioned that two of her colleagues were setting up a new inclusion school to open this coming academic year.

This therapist also happens to be the in-house speech pathologist at Brent; her students who do not attend the school are seen at home, or, in Little A's case, his grandmother's house, which is as far north as the teacher is willing to travel. She sent me the link to One World School, and I contacted the person-in-charge, who set a meeting the following weekend.

When I arrived at the meeting, who did I meet but the very speaker from the inclusion seminar in 2010, whose name I hadn't gotten back then and couldn't find later through the neighbor who hosted the seminar! Truly, it was serendipity. He and his colleague told me about the school, and I in turn told them about Little A and handed over the obligatory set of therapist reports, psychoeducational assessment, health certificates and the like, all of which I have in multiple copies for any school applications that may suddenly turn up.

Since the school is still under construction and no marketing has yet begun, I was one of the first to apply, therefore securing my son a place. Hooray!! Their programme is good, but it will mean Little A will have to "repeat" his last year of preschool, as for the first year they will only be offering preschool classes and adding grade levels as the students progress.

The good thing is, the team heading the school is experienced and able. The campus is conveniently located, and the facilities will be at least as nice as what is currently available at Little A's current preschool. The tuition is more than twice what the other schools are asking, but we will no longer need to provide our own shadow teacher, which will save us more in the long run rather than paying school fees and the shadow's hourly rates for possibly Little A's entire academic life.

This school will take him through to age 18 and beyond, as they will offer transition programmes and life coaching for adults with special needs as well. So truly, this is a fervent prayer answered, for as long as we can afford to keep Little A there, that is. It's a huge load off my mind.

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