Right Now I’m Worrying About High School
So what’s new there? I’m always worrying about something.
I’m a constant worrier. I worry about money. The kids. The pugs. My knee. The state of the world. The state of my house.
Yep, there really isn’t much that I DON’T worry about.
My main worry at the moment centres on the future of my son, Gilbert. He heads into Year 6 next year and we need to work out which high school we want to send him to so we can start the transition process.
With his vision impairment and high functioning autism we will need to work closely with both his current primary school and the prospective high school in order to establish the supports he will need to manage in a new and challenging environment.
And in order to have everything in place we need to start right now.
- We need to know what mobile technology will be best for him to allow him to move around from class to class and no longer rely on an enlarged screen fixed to his desk. A funding application needs to be submitted ASAP so we can access the technology next year so he can get used to it before he moves across to high school.
- We need to apply for funding to ensure the receiving high school has adjustments in place to cater for his vision impairment. These adjustments include high-visibility paintwork to poles, edges, stairs and grates; enlarged print on signs and room signage and provision for assistive technology.
- We need to apply for support funding to assist with his transition as he is not currently eligible for funding for his autism. The application would be for a dedicated aide to help support him through transition.
All these are time sensitive needs and dependent on our choice of high school. The only problem is, we haven’t yet decided on a high school and we probably won’t know for sure which high school will accept any enrollment application for some time to come.
We’ve known all year that we need to select a high school. It was brought up at our Personal Learning Plan (PLP) review meeting at the start of the year. However so much has happened this year (my Dad’s cancer diagnosis, our USA adventure, my Dad passing away, my knee injury, my struggles to launch my new business, re-pivoting the blog, etc.) that time has got away from us.
We’ve made one decision at least – we have applied for Gilbert to sit the selective high school test next year. He is a smart kid and we want to give him the opportunity to test himself and see how far he can go. Who knows whether he’ll perform in the test environment? Who knows whether he’ll cope with it at all? We don’t have the answers but we owe it to him to give him the chance to at least try his hand.
You’d think this would represent a step in the right direction, wouldn’t you? However taking this step complicates matters as we’re not going to know whether he will be offered a place at our local selective high school until July. And obviously there are no guarantees. So, in the meantime, we need to continue to look at other options as well.
His local high school is around the corner from his current school and he is reasonably familiar with it due to the close ties between them. Many of his classmates will move over there too so there are many advantages to him enrolling there.
But there is one distinct disadvantage that is heavily weighing on our minds. The local high school is part of a collegiate system with two other high schools which means it only hosts students from Years 7 to 10, requiring a change of location to another campus for Years 11 to 12. This initial transition to Year 7 is going to be hard enough. I really don’t want to put Gilbert through it all again in 4 years time if we can avoid it.
So we are investigating some out of zone high schools which currently have cohorts from Year 7 through to Year 12. But there are no guarantees they will accept out of zone enrollments, particularly from a student who will require adjustments and additional supports.
And there is always the chance we will make a decision, start the funding process and work closely with a high school only to find ourselves having to re-do it all should he receive a placement at our local selective high school later in the year.
The pressure is on. I just want to make the right decision for Gilbert. I want to find the right school for him, a place where he will be supported and aided to be the best he can be. But above all I want him to be happy.
So I guess that explains why I’m worrying so much right now…
What are you thinking/doing/contemplating/planning/dreaming of right now?
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