You just couldn’t pay for some things with all the money in the world.
If you had asked me five years ago what my greatest achievements were, I could have spoken about career, settling in another country, juggling marriage, work and motherhood. But I wouldn’t have thought that fighting for my daughter’s education would come at the top of the list.
My gorgeous girl has been at school for just over two months, and it is only our faith, tears and determination that have carried us so far. But for a quirk of the law, it’s been a year since her original Statement of Special Educational Needs was issued. The one I carry in my folder to meetings, the fruit of my labours, the one issued by a tribunal, is dated July. The difficult months between one and the other were spent chasing reports, discussing law with experts and helpline advisers, commissioning independent experts assessments, and hanging on to hope. Because it was important for me to believe that whatever the outcome, it would meet our little girl’s needs now, and it would set her on course to whatever her best future can be like.
So this week, I approached the annual review with trepidation. In my head, after all this struggle, it felt like like another hurdle had been placed in our path.
But I was wrong… I wanted to tell you that I admire the love, knowledge, consideration, commitment, of every school professional that helps my daughter learn about the world and understand her place in it. They go at her pace. They respect her difference, more than that, they embrace her uniqueness. And so it means I can set off to work not with a heavy heart, but with joy because we are making her learning possible, we are a team working together.
I have seen so many things that I thought not possible. She is happily integrated for a large amount of time. And we’ve had wees in the potty at school and home. And she loves her life, so she is happy, which for a parent is the ultimate consideration.
To all those teachers who go the extra mile and beyond: you are the answer to all my prayers. I have always loved her, but thank you for giving me back hope.