Emelyan joined the Woodland Star School three years ago when our family relocated to Nairobi from Hong Kong. Following his experience of being a high-functioning autistic kid integrated into a mainstream school environment and supervised by a personal tutor, we had vague hopes of finding similar opportunities here in Kenya. Luckily for us, by the time we arrived in Nairobi, the Woodland Star School was very open to kids with various special needs and supported the idea of integration. Being strongly against a special school for Emelyan and after being rejected by a few big international schools, we had no other options than to join WSS. And this was indeed the right decision!
Great environment, crafted personal attitude to each child regardless of his/her abilities and talents, small classes, caring teachers and students, and a warm and kind atmosphere made Emelyan change amazingly fast. The boy’s emotional and social development has always been our priority, and we were amazed at how fast his progress was. We have often been through hard times: bringing up an autistic child is always two steps forward followed by one step back. There were many discouraging moments but looking back, we understand that Emelyan has developed into a kind person, a caring adolescent who values his peers, adults, his relations, and friendship. What he talks about now is mostly the people whom he values – not the toys, machines, travels, or other inanimate things he used to be focused on. Amazingly, he now gets worried when he is left alone, while not so long ago, he tended to avoid people and spend time playing on his own.
By all means, we also value his academic achievements. This is the baggage he is building up for his future profession. A year ago, I had big doubts that Emelyan would be able to become an independent person, live on his own, and even get a profession. Now I am sure that all this will be possible for him. There is still a long way to go, but Emelyan’s current progress and devotion speak for themselves.
We are pleased that after we joined WSS, the school has created its own Learning Support department. It is such a pleasure to see normally functioning kids being so supportive and understanding. We are proud to be a part of this inspiring community but even more happy to see Emelyan being proud to be a part of it.
We are looking forward to another year at WSS, and we are sure it will bring us a lot of pleasant surprises.