On Monday, Ella's next adventure begins...
The Education Health and Care Plan has been finalised, the school uniform bought and my head is fit to explode with equal measures of pride, worry and love.
My big girl is going to school. And I reckon she is going to be amazing.
I have seen such a change in her over the last few weeks. She is getting more independent at dressing herself, can do forward rolls, will wear her glasses without fuss for most of the day and has started storytelling/talking about things we have done. Her speech in general has become much clearer and she's using lots of new words and phrases.
She is taller, more confident, more chatty and I can see she is very ready to start school.
And she will be going to our local mainstream primary school. Something that seemed so uncertain and so far away almost 5 years ago when we were told Ella's diagnosis.
And the children starting this September will have such a different and enriched education. Along with Ella, there are also 6 other children with varying additional needs starting at the school in reception this year. The school has embraced this unprecedented challenge and have been very supportive and understanding of Ella's needs and our worries/concerns as her parents as I am sure they have with the other families too. They know our children have as much to teach as they do to learn. I still have lots of worries about how they will meet each individual child's needs and how the support for each child will work in practice. It's just all new and unknown for us and seems so much more of jump than her previous move from nursery to pre-school.
Ella's teacher at pre-school was brilliant. She knew, loved and nurtured every single child she taught no matter their abilities. She ensured that everything possible was done to allow each child to flourish and to start them on the path to reaching their potential. When she came to me one afternoon before the end of Ella's last term at Charnwood to tell me she had a new job, I was shocked and sad to hear that she would be leaving. That all changed when she explained that she had got a job as the Special Educational Needs teacher at the primary school Ella and several of the other children were moving to. I can't tell you how much it means that she will be there with them all. She knows them, knows their personalities, their temperaments and how they learn best. She is a perfect advocate for them and Ella absolutely loves her. Without Bianca there, I know that this experience would be a lot more daunting.
In so many ways I just want Ella to stay little. So I can keep her safe and protected and loved - always. I'm also very excited for her and full of anticipation and expectations.
Reading, writing, maths may not be easy for her and may never come. But I know she will try her hardest with all the new challenges school will bring, like she has always done.
The main goal is that she is happy in her new school - then anything is possible.
Good luck Ella Bean xxx