Worrying About the Future.
Ryan said to me recently. "Childhood gave me Autism. My teens gave me cancer. What will adulthood bring?" Big worries for someone so young. So much pressure and conditioning are placed upon us about the importance of education and the set path that the majority of us will take through the system to university and/or the job market. What happens if you do not follow that path or miss so much education that the path is no longer open to you. How do you plan for the future? What options are there available to you? Ryan was excluded from his primary school in year 2 and I home schooled him for a year while we worked with the Educational Psychologist to find a placement that would suit his complex needs at the time. Due to his speech, language and communication difficulties the decision was made to withdraw him from Welsh-medium education and focus on English only which meant our choices were limited in the area of Wales that we call home. We finally found Ryan a place a wonderful English medium school 10 miles from home where he attended part-time, to begin with as he and I got used to the new routine and having two young boys in separate primary schools, that was difficult but we didn’t want to upset Owen who was settled and thriving. Eventually, Ryan settled well into his new primary school, made a couple of friends and by all accounts began to thrive. There were ups and downs but overall the school were excellent in their support. The move up to Secondary school was well planned with lots of transition days and preparing Ryan with social stories. Ryan settled so well that he was looking forward to choosing his GCSE options in year 9 and concentrating on the subjects he enjoyed. This choice was cruelly snatched away from him during the Summer holiday break before he was due to begin year 10 and his crucial GCSE years of education. On 26 August we received the gut-wrenching cancer diagnosis and we were promptly informed that Ryan would not be returning to school that September due to the gruelling treatment regime that lay ahead. Ryan ultimately missed years 9, 10 and 11. He did not get to sit his GCSE exams with his peer group. The school were supportive of our situation and allowed Ryan to return to the Year 13 College but attend English and Maths GCSE lessons on a part-time basis for a year. He then sat those exams and thankfully passed both with a C in English and B in Maths.