I am so happy with Joe’s school now. It has been a long fight to get him in the right place. If I could go back slightly and say that his first unit, an Asperger's unit was when he was seven, when he was diagnosed. I was very lucky to get him in. It was because it had just opened. There could only be six children in it. So I was very lucky. I realised … they move here when they are nine. I realised very quickly that they hadn’t built one for middle school. So I had an interview, a review, a statement review and they said, you had better started looking for mainstream for him for when he is nine and this is the local authority and I said “Well he is in here because he can’t cope with mainstream”. And they said “Well there is nowhere else for him to go”. There was one other unit but it was on the south of the county and again there would be children feeding into that from another lower school unit, so there wouldn’t be a place. So I had to go out and try and get the money for the middle school unit, me and the group had to campaign for the money. And as I campaigned for it, I realise there is no upper school either. So we had to campaign for the money for both units at the same time. It took a long time. I refused to let Joe leave that unit until there was another unit to go to.
So him and two other boys who should have moved up when they were nine, couldn’t, there was no where to go. So they had to stay in lower school two more years. So the poor teachers in their unit had to try and learn the syllabus for two years for a middle school to try and help them but they supported me because they realised that he wouldn’t last five minutes in a mainstream.
I went to about three mainstreams. I said to them would you deal with a child who had this, this, this and behaviour? I was coming with this statement for this amount of money and they said, no, no, sorry try another school and I went back and I got the evidence and I said “No school will have him. He can’t move”. And so we stuck with the lower unit and got the money for the middle and upper unit and then we moved when he was 9 and now he is in the upper unit and the teacher in his upper unit is so brilliant. She is so good.
There are six children and there is her, whose specialism is Asperger's and she has got two trained learning supports in Asperger's. So the six children get a lot of support and they go to mainstream and integrate as much as they can. That is the point, that they just don’t stay in this little safe unit, you try and integrate, you try and learn your social skills and you try and do whatever you can so Joe is now at the point where he is more than likely going to be able to take A levels. He has just done mock GCSEs. He has had Bs in them now. When he was first diagnosed one of the things I read was that people with Asperger's have got a higher IQ usually which is true but Joe is by no means a genius. He works hard. He doesn’t like doing home work because home is home. Why would he work at home? School is where he does his work but within that he works hard. He loves his uniform. He will wear his uniform night and day if he could but it has really worked for him.