New Challenges for Gilbert


For Gilbert, 2015 has started off with a bang so far.

One week into the school year and we’ve already been advised of two camps that he’ll be able to attend this year – as long as I can convince him to give them a try…  He’s not keen on staying overnight with “other kids” but I’m hoping to get him to at least give one camp a try. Surely he can’t pass up a week away from the classroom???

We’ve also recommenced speech and occupational therapy, launching into strategies to assist in maintaining self-control, appropriately responding to others and regulating sensory input. Very important for a soon-to-be 11 year old who faces the onset of puberty plus the added challenge of an overseas adventure to Disney World in April.

We’ve also already met with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to confirm Gilbert’s care plan for the year. This year’s plan is again working towards increased independence via the aforementioned speech and occupational  therapy sessions, together with quarterly psychological sessions and provisions for orientation and mobility assistance for his vision.

I’ve contacted Guide Dogs Australia to seek some assistance to help Gilbert start catching the bus home from school. Less than two years out from high school, we are determined he will be able to confidently use public transport by the time he transitions from primary school. He’s received his bus pass and while less than thrilled with the prospect of travelling home by bus he is at least not railing against any mention of the plan like he was last year.

Gilbert’s Itinerant Support Teacher Vision (ISTV) has also been in contact with his thoughts for the year ahead. We have a lot of work to do in the next two years to get him ready for the transition from single classroom schooling to the high school environment. Currently, he has a big screen on his desk in the classroom which projects his work and whatever is being shown on the smart board. He loves it but it’s not going to be a practical solution for when he has to move from classroom to classroom.

We need to take advantage of this year to trial more portable solutions with a view to getting him used to the new technology during next year. That way, he can solely concentrate on the transition to high school rather than also having to transition at the same time to a new way of learning. That’s the plan, anyway.

To say that I am overwhelmed at the prospect of all this change and all these new challenges is a vast understatement. I am scared witless that we will not be able to transition him effectively. That we will not have enough time to find a more portable solution that suits his learning style. That we will make him more anxious by throwing all these changes at him in the space of less than two years.

The responsibility of being a special needs parent and trying to keep all the balls in the air weighs heavily on me. I’m afraid we will forget something simple and vital. I’m scared he won’t be ready. I’m terrified we’ll stuff up and blow our chance to give him a positive and smooth transition to high school.

And this is just how I feel – imagine what Gilbert will be going through once all of these plans start being put into motion…

We’re lucky we have fabulous support from his school, his therapists and from wonderful organisations. I am forever grateful for their expertise, experience and advice. I just hope this will all be enough to get him (and us) through the next inevitable upheaval of life.

Any new challenges coming your way this year?

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19 Responses

  1. Rae Hilhorst says:

    Your challenges seem enormous, but I know you will tackle them head on. I can hear the frustration and see the tears. Fear won’t win, you and your family are the winners xxx
    Rae Hilhorst recently posted..We Welcome Fear Here in Rae’s Pleasantville

  2. Lisa says:

    Wow Kirsty, I would be overwhelmed too. I am sure you guys will get there in the end, it always looks hard at the start. baby steps… big hugs & support you, Nathan & family xx
    Lisa recently posted..Monday Night Book Club

  3. Ness says:

    It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to help Gilbert but I know it’s still worrying. They use Ipads at my Mr 13’s high school. It’s definitely a big change! I still can’t cope with change. Hope it all goes well. Disney World sounds exciting and something to look forward too. xo
    Ness recently posted..This Is My New Year’s Resolution…

  4. All the best Hun. It’s hard enough transitioning a child without special needs. (My eldest of the boys started high school this week with his older Sister – nerves all ’round.) Hopefully he will adapt and it will all go smoothly. I am sure all those experts will keep him safe and happy.
    Jody at Six Little Hearts recently posted..ASG’s Little Learner Pack Review…

  5. sarah@tomfo says:

    What a mum, he’s a lucky boy to have such a great family, having worked with places like Sunnyfield I have a small idea of your challenges. I think you are wonderful x Gilbert will love disney, what a fab thing to look forward too.
    sarah@tomfo recently posted..Free Valentine’s day “I love you” seed envelope printable

  6. Kathy says:

    It does sounds daunting Kirsty, but you also sound like you are super organised with a team of people around you to help. Hoping you and Gilbert can take it one day, one step at a time and the transition will evolve smoothly. Hope he loves your Disney trip.
    Kathy recently posted..Daydream believer

  7. You do an amazing job Kirsty and it is ok if you forget something. I have a daughter with epilepsy and because of that she has a few learning issues and I struggle keeping up with what I need EXTRA for her. With a mum like you, Gilbert is in the best hands.
    Natalie @ OurParallelConnection recently posted..Tips for dads on raising a daughter

  8. Caroline Raj says:

    Oh honey I feel overwhelmed with what you have to do by just reading your post! You are a legend! this year I have a newborn and a toddler to deal with. My mantra…we can only do our best as parents. Do whatever works!

  9. Trish says:

    Wow, your strength and tenacity is amazing as it Gilbert.
    He is so fortunate that you are his advocate , helping him become as independent as possible. The temptation to wrap them in cotton wool must linger.
    Wow On Disney world – very exciting.
    Trish recently posted..Kids in the Kitchen – Coconut , Oat & Fruit Bars !

  10. I see a lot of students with special needs transitioning up to the high school (which is part of our college) and I can only imagine how daunting the prospect is for the kids and parents. At least Gilbert has excellent, attentive parents (who are promoting his independence) behind him, Kirsty. Disney World is a bit of a carrot to dangle 🙂 I’m jealous. I hope everything goes smoothly for him x
    Pinky Poinker recently posted..Don’t Do Drugs!

  11. Oh wow I would be feeling quite overwhelmed too. I think transitioning into high school for any student would be hard enough, let alone the additional plans you need to make. Your son is so lucky to have you supporting him through this time. Sounds like you are extremely organised though!
    Erika @ Ever-changing Life of a Mum recently posted..Review: Little learner, big possibilities

  12. Emily says:

    No wonder you feel overwhelmed! Good on you. I like that the focus is giving him space to focus on the high school transition next year. I’m glad you have such support around you. And knowing what else you’ve been going through, I’m sending big HUUUGS your way x
    Emily recently posted..Two little Hawkers (and co-hosting the Weekend Rewind!)

  13. Tegan says:

    Wow, no wonder you are feeling overwhelmed. I wish you all the luck with the new transitions and I hope that Gilbert handles everything ok. It must be so hard dealing with so much unknown.
    Tegan recently posted..If I ruled the world

  14. Maxabella says:

    Change is challenging at the best of times and so hard when it comes all at once. I find change very overwhelming so I admire your spirit and tenacity. Best of luck to Gilbert as he rises to each and every new challenge. Max is roughly the same age as Gilbert, so we will befell get our way into puberty alongside you. I’m also trying to ease Max into feeling more secure about being away from home. They are definitely getting to an age where it is more and more expected… x
    Maxabella recently posted..Weekend Rewind | Screen freedom

  15. Jess says:

    I hope 2015 is a great year for your family, filled with growth and that the challenges are smashed through with success!
    Jess recently posted..The Friday Wrap 6.2.15

  16. Grace says:

    I can’t begin to imagine how overwhelming it must all be for you, Kirsty… Let lone Gilbert. It does sound like you have great support behind you and working with you. It’s all about taking that leap into the unknown. only hoping good things for agilbert and your family x
    Grace recently posted..Popping the Camping Cherry

  17. You certainly have some challenges ahead of you but you seem prepared to face them. Stay strong and positive and take it one day at a time.
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted..Finding Myself

  18. Alicia says:

    You are doing all you can for him, look at how far he has gotten. High school is a big enough transition for any kid. So glad that you have so much support to help you with this.
    Alicia recently posted..Grilled peaches with rosemary

  19. Wow! You have so much going on with Gilbert. I can imagine your stress and concern. I am also jealous that you can already access the NDIA. I cannot wait till that is available for us. It is so wonderful that our children can access these sort of facilities. You are doing such a great job!!

    Thank you for linking up to #thankfulthursday! I love seeing you here. xS
    Sarah from Creating Contentment recently posted..healing the heart chakra

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