It's been a busy year, a year of fun, a year of growing and a year of some very difficult decision making.
The main decision was regarding Emily's future education. In all honesty, Emily has struggled on and off ever since she first started the journey that is education. Her periods of anxiety, often quite extreme, have been a problem since the beginning.
Since 2010 Emily has been dual schooled - her main placement being a local special school for children with severe learning difficulties but she also attended the same mainstream primary school as her brother two days per week, with full-time 1:1 support from the special school. In all honesty, the fact is we do not feel there is an appropriate provision for children like Emily in our area. Emily has always struggled with anxiety around other children, she is very sensitive in many ways and relies heavily on adult support in all areas of her development.
These periods of anxiety have never really greatly improved despite having involvement from other services and we have also had issues with what we felt was a low expectation on her abilities. I guess looking back we have never been completely happy or felt the provision was appropriate for her, perhaps we should have followed our gut instinct a few years ago.
So now it's been a whole year since Emily's last day at the special school that she had attended since 2010, her final day at the mainstream came a couple of months later. It was a very difficult decision to make, not to mention also a very scary one, but so far we feel it has definitely been the right move for Emily.
Her general day-to-day anxiety has reduced, she seems happier and calmer most of the time. We still have moments of complete madness when something sets her off but we can to some degree foresee these situations and manage them accordingly.
So, you are probably wondering what provision is working for her now ....... we chose to opt-out of the state schooling system [for now] - Emily is currently 'educated otherwise' which is the correct term here in the UK for being home educated.
I gave up my job to enable us to facilitate this option ..... not easy, money can be tight but it's worth it to see a girl that smiles every morning, isn't vomiting most days, isn't repetitively talking about the issues around school that scared her and isn't kicking, screaming and crying on the school run every day.