Advocacy, Cerebral Palsy, Love, Notable Links, Our Son, Parenthood, Sebastian's Achievements

World Cerebral Palsy Day

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Seems everyone in North America is sending their kids off to school today. Pictures of smiling kids dressed in new school clothes, sporting back packs, posted across Facebook. Cute and happy, shared by proud parents.

There’s another photo making the rounds on FB too.
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Sebastian’s first day of school is next Monday. He will be returning to his awesome preschool. The other kids from his class last year are headed to their neighborhood schools or even ‘special’ schools. I decided to keep Sebastian in preschool an extra year. In Canada kids start school in junior kindergarten (JK) at age 4. I wanted Seb to have the year to bond with his sister. It’s possible I wasn’t ready to send him off to a new school for a full day, but it was most important for me to have him spend his afternoons with his sister as well as keep his current therapy regime. And, of course, I love his preschool and wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet!

I’m currently reading two books. The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears (for Tallula) and Exceptional Children – Ordinary Schools (for Sebastian). Sebastian doesn’t get to just roll up in his Red Racer with a new back pack hanging off of it to the neighborhood school when he is ready for kindergarten. Our neighborhood school isn’t accessible and I’ve heard the principal isn’t too welcoming with kids with disabilities. Hopefully next year we will get into the school connected to his preschool which has integrated therapy programs. But they have fifty applicants for ten spaces. Otherwise we will attend meetings with people that don’t know our son and they will tell us where to take him. I want him to be integrated into a regular school setting. But finding that school is the real challenge.

Right now a a little boy and his mom are fighting the Toronto District School Board for his right to attend a local public school. He currently attends a school for kids with physical disabilities. He attended a local school one day a week last year and it went so well, his mom wanted him integrated full time. When the TDSB found out, they said no. They also recommended he attend another public school where the special education classroom was in the basement. Really? The TDSB charter states that all children deserve free and equal access to a public education. Does that not apply to kids with physical disabilities?

Sebastian is excited to go back to school next week. This week we will go shopping for a back pack. I’ll modify it to attach to his wheelchair, which was adjusted today to fit him better after his big growth spurt this summer. I want him to be excited about going to school next year too. I have a lot of work to do in the meantime to make sure we find the best school for him. But today I’m thinking about World CP Day and all of the kids that have to fight to be included and receive the education they deserve alongside their peers. Their peers. Your adorable kids, headed to their first day of school too.

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4 thoughts on “World Cerebral Palsy Day”

  1. What a great post Kara. We did an extra year of preschool for S and it was totally the best thing for him and for me too. There’s no hurry to start school! But I am so sorry to hear of the battles you might be facing to get him not the school of your choice. There should be complete freedom for you to choose the very best school setting for him and I hope that is eventually able to happen. It sucks that you might have to fight for what he deserves, but I have faith you will find the very best environment that works for you all. Happy to chat if you ever need about any school related issues. I think that year before starting school was as full on as the first year of S’s life. Not S stressful or sad, just incredibly busy getting everything right and making the most of that year. I am sure it I’ll be a great one for your whole family. Lots of love, Di x

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  2. I wondered if he had a growth spurt. He definitely looks taller! The school hoops are so wholly unfair. Instead of getting to know each individual child they group them all. We do this far too much as a society in general; we assume, we group, we can’t be bothered. Is there a lobby or campaign that I can support?

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    1. Seb went up a show size and a half this summer! Exciting stuff. As for the boy not allowed to attend the public school, right now everyone is trying to get the word out and get media attention involved. I’ll let you know what happens. Thanks for your support. I feel like this could be our family fighting in a years time…

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