Noah started his educational journey in mainstream nursery school and, like many other autistic children, had a hard time adjusting. Sadly, his experience is not uncommon, with many educational settings and professionals struggling to understand and meet autistic children’s needs due to a lack of knowledge, teacher training and resources.
Noah’s mother reflects: “On one occasion I remember picking up Noah and he was cold and frozen and shivering, and I asked the teacher what happened. She told me they had to keep him for one hour outside, so he didn’t disturb the other children. That was the last time we took him to that school.
“The second school we tried was a base attached to a nursery. Here the ratio of staff to children was better, however Noah could never settle properly. The maximum they were able to keep him in there was for 10 minutes. They would call me, and I would go and pick him up, or I’d just wait outside.
“Following the experiences of the two schools Noah in many ways regressed. He refused to walk. Going to school he became more rigid; he would escape and he would hide under parked cars. He would try anything and everything not to reach the school… at home he started wetting the bed, smearing, to name just a few of the issues we saw”.
After enrolling Noah at Park House School, the change was rapid and significant. “For the first couple of weeks, I remember I would sit outside the school in the park waiting for a phone call, for someone to call and say come and pick Noah up, but that phone call never came. The atmosphere was different. Noah goes in smiling; he comes out smiling… they speak his language and that’s all Noah needed”.