(The above screenshot was taken from: *UCT OHS Welcome Session 17th January 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffrhi5Ey7kI)
Starting a new school is scary and exciting for all children. All of these emotions and much more was what I experienced the first day at my new school.
I have no words to describe the anxiety I experienced when we logged into the Welcome session on the 17th. I have been wishing to go to a normal school for as long as I can remember. To actually have that dream come true is the best thing that ever happened to me since being able to communicate. I am so overjoyed by what this means to me and the non-speaking community in SA.
I have the support of my family, and this makes a huge difference. Without my mother’s support and efforts, the many hours she put in to help me teach my body to spell on the board, I would never have been able to escape my former life of boredom, frustration, loneliness (even though I was in a class with other children) and hopelessness. I have a long way to go still, but I have come a long way already.
I am always thinking of my non-speaking friends who are not as fortunate as I am. A mom who supports you and understands you, is worth more than all the therapy sessions I ever attended. Even all the money my parents spend on all the schools, tutors, therapies, treatments, and medication does not measure up to the time and effort they spend on me. Parents without money can also help their non-speaking child if they are willing to put in time and effort.
Back to my first day at UCT OHS (University of Cape Town online high school https://www.uctonlinehighschool.com ). I must commend UCT OHS staff for their well presented opening on my first day. I have listened to the principal’s speech and was so grateful to be a member of this huge school of pioneers in this type of schooling in SA. I have dreams of doing matric and hope to realize this in this great school. I think it will be difficult to do all the work that is required of me, but I am going to do my best to not let them regret allowing me this opportunity. I shall be a proud scholar of UCT OHS because of the values they stand for. It was explained to us by Ms Xhakaza. This was the first time in my life I was addressed as a “ leader” in the school set up. I must make an effort to live up to this challenge as I have to be the best me that I can be. As I am considered disabled, I have not been addressed in this way ever before. To be spoken to in such a manner is something normal people take for granted. Being disabled does not mean that I do not also have dreams and ideals. Being told that they expect me to also be a leader in the community, was music to my ears.
(The above screenshot was taken from:*UCT OHS Welcome Session 17th January 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffrhi5Ey7kI)
My day got even better when I had my first encounter with my support coach, Eva. What a lovely inspiring lady she is. Even though I struggled because my camera did not work, I had a great time getting to know her and being able to see who are going to join me in my homeroom class. I had to take a break for the rest of the day after all this excitement.
I have to pinch myself often to help me remember that this is now really my life.
I am still hoping that other non-speaking children will also get this kind of opportunity to proper education. Being able to see how far I can go, is a privilege I do not take lightly. I have been blessed with this opportunity and by the grace of God I shall not give up on my dream of also making communication and education available to other non-speakers who also want to study. I have a dream of being a non-speaking biologist and doing research on how to make my brain and my body work together better. I hope I will be able to do this with other non-speakers who understand what I am experiencing.
I shall give it my utmost best shot and hope we can get SACAI to agree to the accommodations I need to be able to show that I understand what I studied, and am worthy of passing even though I have no voice and an uncooperative body.
TO BE CONTINUED …