I’m still coming to terms with the fact that my son, who has struggled with autism, dyslexia, ADHD, ODD and Pathological Demand Avoidance all of his life managed to finish secondary school.
It really is a massive achievement, and while so many parents I know have been boasting about their child finishing year 12 and getting a certain ATAR score to get into University, the fact that my son actually finished and passed is an amazing effort.
The last two years have been difficult for all of us. However, for school children, particularly those starting or finishing school, I’m sure the interruptions of lockdowns and online learning have proven to be harder still.
My son wanted to give up so many times over the last two years. He has a fear of failure, so giving up was the easier option. For him it’s better than failing. Despite this, I kept pushing him to not give up, to keep going and together we will get through this.
With the help of some wonderful teaching staff, his teachers aids and support staff we got him over the line. He was fortunate to be able to return to school in person for the last few weeks of school and get the help he needed to complete his work and pass.
It helped that he had chosen to do VCAL and not VCE, meaning his workload was easier to manage and he was able to gain a Certificate 3 in Retail as part of his course. It also helped that VCAL doesn’t require exams, all work is handed in and assessed, meaning less pressure and no fear of failing exams.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how he got there, it’s the fact he managed to get there is what I’m so proud of. He doesn’t realise just how great an achievement it is yet, but to me it is something to celebrate.
In December we had his valedictory dinner, and he dressed in his suit and tie and looked fantastic. Even with all the fuss of this important celebration, he didn’t really seem to fazed that we were all there to celebrate that these kids had just made it through 13 years of schooling and have graduated year 12. In his true style he just said he only came for the food!
It was also an achievement for me for the effort I’ve put in over the years to get him to where he is today. Autism parents have it harder than most. Just getting our kids to go to school is a huge daily challenge. Getting them to stay in school is not easy. The number of meetings I’ve had over the last 13 years with teachers, teaching aids, Principal’s, Vice Principals, and other staff has been countless. It has been a tough slog. So, when I say I’m proud that he finished, I really could not be prouder.
Congratulations son, you did it. Let’s see what tomorrow brings, the world is yours.
SASI Proud Parent blogger