Story/Interview August 20, 2019
Lyn Stewart | Ronan's mum
Lyn’s son Ronan joined King's InterHigh in Year 8. Ronan has Asperger’s and found mainstream school quite challenging. Lyn says King's InterHigh has helped Ronan go from strength to strength. Read her King's InterHigh story below.
“For us King's InterHigh has been an absolute life changer for our son. Peer pressure was enormous and King's InterHigh just takes all of that away for children, puts them back in control of their learning. It’s more comfortable, less intimidating and Ronan has just gone from strength to strength and we can’t thank King's InterHigh enough for that.”
A life changing experience
For us King’s InterHigh has been an absolute life changer for our son. He’s got a diagnosis of Asperger’s and found mainstream school very, very challenging. Peer pressure was enormous and King’s InterHigh just takes all of that away for children and puts them back in control of their learning. It’s more comfortable, less intimidating and Ronan has just gone from strength to strength and we can’t thank King’s InterHigh enough for that.
‘Amazing’ for SEN children
We feel that for children with SEN, King’s InterHigh is amazing because it enables the child to do the lesson but also then to watch the recording back. So, for children whose processing maybe takes that little bit longer, like our son, it gives him that ability to go through it again without feeling foolish or having to ask a lot of questions. Also, he’s in control of his own day and his own timetable so he doesn’t feel as pressured or rushed, he has gaps in between his lessons too which make it more comfortable for Ronan to learn.
Fantastic pastoral support
Pastoral support has just been fantastic, we can’t thank King’s InterHigh enough. For instance, going to the Colin Jackson sporting masterclass day was something we couldn’t have imagined Ronan doing a year ago. Before going along to the event, I flagged up that I think he might need a bit of a buddy, a bit of support, and Matt from King’s InterHigh was here all day keeping an eye on Ronan, checking that he wasn’t struggling too much because he finds the social interaction very difficult. It’s been just fantastic.
The Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and so on has been something that as a family we’ve enjoyed for years. So, Colin Jackson has been projected into our home via the television set ever since Ronan was a baby and he’s watched it all and absolutely loves it. So, the opportunity to come here today and meet someone that’s been there all his life and someone inspirational has been fantastic. To be here and the inclusivity of the day, for Ronan to be able to dip in and out when he was finding it too tough, he could step back, and when he needed a bit of encouragement he was encouraged to join in – and those moments are priceless. It’s just fantastic. It’s what he never got in mainstream and he gets it through King’s InterHigh.
Forging firm friendships and positive social interaction
Socialisation is always a concern isn’t it? You want your child to have friends and to make friendships. It isn’t always easy and for Asperger’s children in particular that aspect of life isn’t easy at all. What we have found is that through King’s InterHigh we’ve been put in touch with other children of a similar age in a similar year group and we’ve been able to have meet ups. So once or twice a week, he meets up and it’s good interaction; it’s positive interaction. Whereas the interaction or socialisation that everyone thinks your child has to have every day isn’t always positive. For our son it certainly wasn’t positive, but now he’s got that social interaction and it’s more manageable, he’s more in control of it with like-minded individuals and it works.
Fears allayed with ‘no negatives’
I think the reservations are: How is my child going to learn? Is their work going to be marked? Is the teaching going to be of a similar standard to mainstream school? Are all those educational needs going to be met? And with a special needs’ child even more so, because they are starting from a disadvantaged position to begin with. But we have found that actually he engages so much better with the lessons because he’s less intimidated, he’s in his own environment so he’s more comfortable. He learns better because he isn’t worrying constantly about what other people are thinking, or ‘I didn’t get that and now I look like an idiot, because I need to ask questions.’ So, he can relax into his learning more, and he gets so much more out of it. Whenever he’s had an issue or a problem, or hasn’t understood homework, we send an email and the teacher responds and it’s just all good. It’s difficult to put it into words really, but there are no negatives, we’ve got no negatives.