It’s hard sometimes to put in to words just how grateful I am to you all for the care and support you show Eliza. When she started with you, she was a bit ‘broken’. She’d been the victim of a bully who emotionally and physically hurt her. She was angry because the bully always got away with it. I was angry that nobody seemed to care about our concerns. She was wary of other children because she was unsure if they’d lash out at her based on her awful experiences. Anxiety was starting to creep back in her life. Eliza was also very misunderstood be some people in her past who saw her as a diagnosis and nothing more. They didn’t know how to support her because they didn’t understand her or her needs. Instead of progressing, she was losing valuable skills and not being challenged academically. Worst of all, they sometimes didn’t even let her try new things. They had decided that because she was autistic, she was unable to learn, and her diagnosis was used as an excuse sometimes. They were wrong. So very wrong.
I cried the day the letter arrived offering her a place at your school. I’d had quite a fight on my hands with the local authority to get it. From the day we looked around, I knew you would be the school that would see her for the bright, loving and amazing person she is. I knew your school was where she needed to be. I think we can all agree it was the right choice! Eliza loves going to school now, she always comes home with a smile on her face and she’s made some lovely friends. So quickly, you noticed how academically able she is and how she needs to be challenged with her work, it’s how she progresses so well. She is thriving with you, she really is. You’ve given her a huge boost in her confidence and helped her recognize her own potential and you’ve made her feel welcome and cared for. You’ve made her feel safe. She’s trying so many new things because of your amazing support – playing musical instruments, performing in concerts and assemblies, taking part in sports day and so much more. Most of all, you’ve allowed her to be Eliza. Not just a diagnosis. You fully accept and understand Eliza for who she is. You acknowledge her difficulties and help her with them in any ways you can. In return, she’s becoming more comfortable and confident in helping her classmates when they are struggling. The support you give her (and us) is priceless.
Thank You just doesn’t seem enough for such a wonderful school.
**This was a blog I wrote for and was published on the Firefly Blog