Before Wilson turned two I was told by his portage worker that he would be entitled to 2 year funding at nursery as he is in receipt of disability living allowance and I was also told he would qualify for 1:1 care for the 15 hours so she highly recommended I have a look at nursery’s. Wilson’s big sister Ava was already attending a nursery which was only a 15 minute walk from the house and I always felt comfortable leaving her there so I had my heart set on sending him there. I had a look online at special needs nursery’s and they looked great from a physical point of view, they had physiotherapists on site and they would definitely work him hard on his sitting and standing etc. but I felt he would fall behind in other areas if I chose that path for him and mentally, he is at the same level as a child his age should be so I had made up my mind. He was going to mainstream. With Wilson’s big sister, I went to view the nursery, I filled out some forms and done a couple of settling in sessions and that was it. Easy peasy!
With Wilson it was a different and long process..
We had to have meetings before we started, these meetings involved the nursery manager, his key worker and 1:1 at nursery, his physiotherapist, his occupational therapist and of course me! There was so many things I hadn’t even thought about. Wilson needed a seating system there and if you have read my previous blogs you will know that was a bit of a nightmare to get sorted! Luckily it’s fine now and he has his leckey squiggles chair there which he loves. The staff had to be trained on how to take him in and out of his chair, how to hold and carry him properly (I didn’t even realise there was a ‘proper’ was to carry him before this!) they were told for nappy changes they weren’t allowed to lift him up but they had to be done on the floor on a mat, they weren’t allowed to take him upstairs so he had to stay downstairs at all times. They needed to ensure he got his medication and it was the right dose at the right times signed by 2 witnesses. They needed to order special cutlery in for him and a non stick mat. They had to be trained on how to take his splints on and off and I had to think of EVERY possible situation that may happen with Wilson and tell his key worker what to do and how to handle things in every aspect.
So if I wasn’t a bit nervous about taking him to nursery before, I certainly was now! I didn’t realise how much there was to think about! And the more you think about it, the more you worry of course.
You are having to completely trust a stranger that they will care for your child just as you do, I want nothing more than for Wilson to be as involved with activities as the other children. Will they make sure he is even though he can’t sit up and run around? He needs more time to eat and play/work out certain things as it takes him a bit longer to try work his hands to do these things, will they have as much patience as me with this?
It’s a nerve wracking time! Wilson is hysterical when I drop him off too so that doesn’t help. But we are persisting! If they told me he was very distressed the whole time he was there and if he got upset when we talked about it at home then I would probably say he wasn’t ready and we would wait another 6 months or so maybe but when we get home he loves talking about nursery. He definitely enjoys it when he’s there but just doesn’t enjoy leaving me (I should take it as a compliment really!) they tell me he does find it a bit overwhelming at times but I think he’ll get used to it. He went this morning and the staff were all very excited to see me to tell me how well he had done today and even ate his lunch for the first time since starting! It will be so good for him to make new friends, gain new skills and get used to being away from me. Even though it’s hard to admit as I would love to just be with him all the time, the break definitely does me good too.