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J & J's Gibberish J & J's Gibberish: School?  How about the School of Life!

J & J's Gibberish: School?  How about the School of Life!

J & J's Gibberish: School?  How about the School of Life!

To any parent who thinks that sending your special needs kid to a private school is the answer to your problems, you may be in for an expensive and sad shock.  I have had two experiences with private schools in Ottawa with J, hoping they could cope with his idiosyncratic, beautifully challenging behaviour and his brilliant mind. 

Unfortunately, both times have ended in utter failure, including the latest journey last week. 

He was “dismissed” from his school for among other reasons, embarrassing his fellow students on a field trip and for tantrums, which are not unusual for autistic kids.  If you bill yourself as a school for special needs kids, you better step up to the plate and provide the caring and understanding environment required to deal with those behaviours.  Parents, when you sign up for private school, read the fine print before handing over any cash because you have absolutely no one to defend you when things go south.

So here we are.  Jacob is out of school. Again.  For the third time actually.

Still he had a good week. He visited his fav place, the Canadian War Museum (history curriculum), went swimming at the Y (gym), learned some Hebrew on DuoLingo (cultural and language training) and visited the newly opened Holocaust Monument (culture, history, social studies all in one.  Go see it.  It is stunning and moving). 

His brilliant reaction to it was something you can’t learn from any book. “Mama Djinn,” he said, “If they can move forward and look ahead, then so can I.” He got on his knees at the Jewish Prayer Room wall and wept. “They are talking to me and enveloping me, telling me I am not alone.” 

While last week’s events were another hard pill to swallow, frankly, given some of what he did this week leads me to wonder, how about alternative ways to school your kid?  Can the system incorporate outside-the-box methods that speak more directly to kids than sitting in a classroom?  I hope so.  Still, at the end of the day, I am not a teacher and so I will turn to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) for help.  Education is a fundamental right after all and so here we go.

As I move forward to try and get him into an autism program in the OCDSB, much red tape needs to be cut. There is a wait list, which is not surprising, but in meeting with the Board, they say I have to put J in a regular high school before he can be put forward as a candidate for the autism program.  Are you kidding me?  I can’t put J through that.  Remember, he thinks an alligator is his brother, that he was born in the Ozone Layer and believes he is a Suchus Djinn (look it up).  He would be teased and bullied so badly so fast it would make your head spin. I see a battle with the Board ensuing, but that’s ok, it is a ride I have taken before.

Things will work out with perseverance, determination and I believe common sense and the child’s best interests will prevail.   

Comments (1)

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Rob Gilbert September 30, 2017 6:58 am

Jacob never fails to inspire me. So-called professional educators - not so much...