As a mum to a toddler, I have many concerns over schooling for Scarlett and giving her the best possible education; I can understand where other parents may be coming from and, personally, I don’t feel that it is ever too early to want to find out the options for one’s child!
I personally felt I wanted Scarlett to enter the mainstream educational system as early as possible, it was my belief that the earlier she was introduced into a school setting the easier she would find it to grasp the concept of taking part in activities and certain routines. I also wanted to encourage early mixing with peers to help fully equip her for the big wide school world.
Scarlett attends a mainstream private nursery and has done since she was one years old. The local LEA has worked with myself and nursery staff to ensure Scarlett is fully supported. She is visited twice a week by Visual Impairment staff, once a fortnight by her mobility officer and the nursery has applied for a bursary to ensure that Scarlett has one on one support by her key worker one day a week.
Scarlett was due to start her nursery place within a primary school September 2013 but as her development, specifically her Speech and Language is considerably delayed we have decided to keep her in her existing nursery place and work on getting her prepared for school in 2014.
Many Visually Impaired children can enter a mainstream school setting and flourish academically and work effectively along side sighted children. There is additional support provided for the children, such as QTVI’S and Teaching Assistants, but in order to obtain this additional help outside of the school staff the child needs to qualify for a statement.
Dependent on your child’s needs and what your available schools can offer should determine where you choose to send your child. If a child has additional needs on top of a sight problem or is blind, you may find that academically your child will suffer as they are unable to be effectively supported.
I personally want to promote Scarlett’s inclusion into society as much as possible, rather than her feeling different to other children it is my intention Scarlett remains in mainstream, but as Scarlett has grown older and she’s yet to demonstrate the necessary skills to function in school I may have to re-think this option.
Here is a guide to the options on school, right through to University: