There are few things in my life that I have an extreme passion for and one of them is the support and aid of special needs children, not only because I have 2 of my own but because I feel that there is just not enough awareness and support raised around and in aid of these kids.
You all know my story or at least you should know it if you have followed my blog for some time but this year we chose to remove Loghan from mainstream and enrol him in a tutor centre that has a majority enrolment of special needs kids.
We removed Loghan after seeking out our options… of which there were few.
We could have enrolled him in one of TWO government special needs schools only one of which is in our area, however we were looking at a waiting list of 2 years, not only that but I know several people whose kids attended or are in attendance there and there is not only a very large bullying issue in the school but the numbers are growing which really does defeat the object of the need to more one on one attention for your child. I also know two people who taught there and now run a cottage school because of what they saw and experienced at said school.
The second option was a private school of which there are MANY, however I have 3 kids and the fees alone never mind the enrolment and admin fees amount to nearly 2/3 of my salary, so how would we be able to put food on the table never mind send our other 2 kiddos to school, so that unfortunately was out of the question.
The last option was home-school/ tutor schooling- now I lack both the patience and the ability to home-school my kids, the ability because I need to work and bring in and income and because I do not have the knowhow, I also personally feel that a home-schooled child needs to be socialised as often as possible especially for us in Loghan’s case because his social skills are severely lacking, if I do not have the money to put food on the table because I cannot work how can I afford classes and private sports never mind once again the issue of schooling my other kids…
So we searched and found the tutor centre he currently attends, the curriculum is CAPS based, the classes amount to 6 kids and the kids are still able to socialise with not only the kids in their class but the other kids in attendance as well, I also like that my child has the chance to socialise and interact with kids all the way across the spectrum, in creating awareness and understanding I feel this is a wonderful.
We removed Loghan from the public school system because he couldn’t cope with the numbers and the teachers/ schools were not equipped and did not have the resources to handle a special needs child, there are still a few special needs kids at the school however Loghan was unable to cope and everyday was an uphill battle, one which all but ruined his social ability, one that meant he came home angry and frustrated and not only took this out on his siblings but us as parents, he had no friends and was for lack of a better word MISERABLE.
Since changing over the change in him is amazing and our home is happy and calm once again, everything was peaches and cream and we had finally settled down ready to tackle the school year with full force.
So you can probably imagine my dismay when the school started receiving complaints, first it was about parking, then about the kids making to much noise at 2pm in the afternoon, now I would like to point out that there are several businesses surrounding the school as well as two crèches in the same road, a government school a block or so away and a shopping centrum a block in the other direction, but oh no the complaints are all about the school.
The people who made the complaints then chose to involve our ward councillor and that’s how things have led up to this post because according to said councillor these kids should be put into proper schools with proper teachers ie the local government schools and or the local special needs school which might I remind you has a waiting list, and many of the kids would not fit the criteria of the school in any case.
The same councillor remarked that the centre is made up of delinquents and uneducable kids!!!! I mean can you even, besides the fact that the centre had the highest math mark in the western cape last year, these kids are not stupid or useless, personally we have Loghan’s IQ tested and he is way above average, that aside these kids are amazing EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM and so is every single staff member at the centre who takes the time to help these kids get the education they need, I would also like to add that the centre is a registered NPO and that the fees generated are barely able to sustain it and many of the parents are sponsored, where does this person expect these kids to go, she has also remarked that the owner is taking desperate parents for a ride and making a fortune off of them, now I am not going to get into what I pay but I can tell you it is on par with what I was paying at the local government school and includes aftercare, holiday care, food, stationary… I mean common now she really must be raking in the funds right.
I am completely shocked and disgusted at how someone who is supposed to represent the needs of our local community has such an ignorant and imbecilic outlook and view, clearly she has no idea what it is like for either the parents or the kids and clearly she is not interested, and this above all is the most frustrating issue of them all!!!
I am angry… no I am IRATE and I have emailed our mayor, I have tweeted our local government party but to no avail, now honestly I didn’t think they would get involved (even though they should) but at least an acknowledgment of what is a very serious issue in the country would be nice… it’s not just about the centre it is about a very real issue in our country and about the thousands of kids who do not have access to any kind of education because they are deemed by the system to be a lost cause!!!!!
I will not stand aside and be quiet as a parent I have the right to see my child educated in the manor I feel is in his best interest at an institution or even in my home and gosh dam if I need to toit toit outside the education department I will do it so help me I WILL because these kids need and deserve a voice, our councillor wants to pass it over as zoning and other bs along that line when it is purely ignorance that has fuelled this issue!
UPDATE: When I wrote this post yesterday the owner of the learning centre was in the process of seeing the education department and I am extremely elated to report that the centre has the complete support and backing of the department! We unfortunately do have a zoning issue and will need to find a correctly zoned house or building to run from however despite the selfishness of the people above this was a great step forward for the special needs community and our area and I could not be happier!!!