The Principal was surprised to be able to tell me that our application to be considered eligible to apply for individual funding had been approved.
To be honest- I was surprised too. The form we filled in was not really set up to be easy to fill in with Autism in mind. It was much more geared toward physical disability, intellectual impairment or severe behaviour problem. The fact that we had to include the information that MissG is a flight risk when she experiences sensory overload may have helped our cause, I think.
Whatever it was- they ticked the box that said we should go ahead and fill in the full application.
So we did that one morning last week. The Principal, The School Counsellor, Wonderful Hubby and I sat down for almost 2 hours and tried to put into bureaucrat-speak everything important about looking after MissG's sensory, social and safety needs with the view to fitting some learning in there at the same time.
The School Counsellor was a great help as he had completed some testing on MissG the week before and made some great observations about her reaction to stress, tiredness and being confronted with new situations and information (mainly that she tends to shut down and become unco-operative). We copied and pasted, and spat their own technical terms back at them. We were honest about how difficult she can be. That was hard.
Hubby and I were debriefing afterward, and we both felt sad that we had to say such harsh things about our gorgeous girl to get them to pay attention to us. But we had to acknowledge that caring for her and keeping her safe is a tricky job, and to those who are not familiar with her it could be quite overwhelming, especially while she is adjusting to a new school with all it's different routines, structures, people and other variables. So, honest we were, as painful as it felt, because we want the school to be well resourced.
In some ways it was a bit validating to have to explain to someone all the things we know and just automatically do. I know that sounds a bit strange, but in a way it is good to verbalise what our normal is and acknowledge that it is intense and busy and difficult. It is good to be able to realise that all things considered, we are doing an OK job, too!
Anyway, we filled in as much as we could. There were a couple of things I had to give copies of to the school (like MissG's letter of diagnosis from the Paediatrician) so they could keep the box tickers happy. And now we wait again. We wait to see if the powers that be who don't know our child at all want to assign a dollar amount to how difficult she will be to have in school. If they do- how much will it be? It is an uncomfortable wait. But wait we must.