Yesterday went better than expected. I'm so grateful that Ben has been given this opportunity. Three years ago I was told that Ben couldn't attend this program and I accepted that. I did what others said was best for him.
I know there will be many challenges but I believe being in a regular school that is focused on learning -- not life skills -- will support his development and give him a range of experiences he wouldn't have otherwise. The advantage of this particular school is that it has a unit for students who are deaf/hard-of-hearing and use sign language. Over time the students are mainstreamed into regular classes with interpreters. At this point Ben has eight courses and two are mainstream. We may adjust his courseload if it's too onerous for him.
One thing that has been positively received is a package I put together about Ben -- including our goals for inclusion, the issues we had with segregation, his strengths and dreams as identified in his life plan, a report from overnight camp this summer, and a list of strengths written by D'Arcy. I also included correspondence I've had with an inclusion expert who answered my practical questions.
Our goals were things like: To feel accepted by the general community; to have interaction with peers; to improve his reading, writing, keyboarding and numeracy; to be exposed to some of the general curriculum; to have the opportunity to make friends and learn social norms; to be able to join a club at school; and to benefit from peer mentorship.
The package about Ben is being handed out to all teachers at a meeting about him today.
Considering the resistance to this option three years ago -- because Ben didn't meet the student 'profile' for the program due to his intellectual disability -- I'm amazed at the positive attitudes and willingness to make things work in the school itself. I will keep my fingers crossed. Louise