The following story is about my move from primary school to my new school for my secondary school years. My name is Jessica and I have a disease called Neuronal Intestinal Dysplasia (NIDS).
I missed out on a lot of my primary school time owing to my health and numerous admissions for either surgery or complications. I have a colostomy with most of my large bowel having been removed.
I will start with my finishing Grade 6 and celebrating the end of primary school with my Graduation ceremony and my many friends who I had from Prep through to Grade 6. I was really looking forward to going to a new school but was unsure how it would affect me. I spent a full day at my new school before the end of the year. My Mum and Dad had put in a huge effort, Mum especially, to make the transition as easy as possible. She met with the Principal and the Intergration Co-ordinator to explain the way NIDS affects my health. In the weeks before I was due to start my new Integration Aide contacted my Mum and arrangements were made for her to visit me at home. She came on a number of occasions and listened and helped me with the care of my stoma (my stoma is called "Hilary").
My big day came to start school with Dad taking the morning off work and driving us all to school. He carried my books as there were so many! Everything was very different for me but all the kids and teachers were really great and of course my Aide was there for me.
Secondary school is very different in a number of ways and I would like to explain what I mean. Firstly, even though I am in secondary, my new school starts at Prep and goes through to V.C.E. level and we are all on the same ground. The teachers and staff are all very caring and the students are all treated as individuals. We don't wear uniforms but have a strict dress code. We had our first camp in the first few weeks. I had only been on camp in Primary school when Mum came with me. I was very apprehensive about going but Mum and Dad said my Aide would be going with me (my Aide is a nurse and a mum so that made me feel a little better). Camp time came and Mum and Dad came and saw me off. I had a good time most of the time but missed Mum and Dad terribly. At times it was a little hard caring for "Hilary" but I managed. Unlike primary school, where everyone knew I had a stoma, the kids at my new school don't. My Aide is the best ever person and understanding of my feelings. The last day of camp I had had enough. I was very tired and feeling unwell so she put me in her car and drove me back to school instead of going on the bus. I really enjoy school and all my new friends, teachers and staff. We had a second camp and once again I was unsure about going but my Aide went again and I enjoyed myself so much. My first year has finished and I am looking forward to year 8 and the challenge ahead.
By the way, 2002 was the first year in my 14 years that I have not had a hospital stay and I am looking forward to repeating that in 2003!!
Reprinted from "Just for YOU" (Volume 13 - March 2003)