Today is the International Day for People with Disabilities. The theme this year is “Break Barriers, Open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all”
Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability and as of this year, I am one of them.
Another is Son1, also known as Luca. The other big event is his 16th birthday today and he is, in fact an excellent example of how getting the right help can enable young people with disabilities to live in an inclusive society.
Since he was nine, he has attended his fabulous specialist school and now, with GCSE's fast approaching, we all expected him to stay on in the small, well cared for Sixth Form.
But he had different ideas. With a talent and a love of music, he has chosen to attend sixth form college where he will be one of 2000 young men and women. I was against this to start with but at the Open Evening, when the college music department revealed its array of equipment and 'if you're a music student, this department is your second home' ethos, I knew I was beaten.
Because of the help he has received at school, he feels able to take that first step out into a wider world by himself. The college has an excellent Learning Support department and we have already met with them and agreed how he will be looked after. He has his offer of a place in writing so all that is left is for him to work hard and ace his GCSEs.
For us, sixth form college will be a 'halfway house' between home and university, wherever that may be. I'm actually a little excited and I am completely thrilled that he feels able to take that step - a huge step - because he has been instilled with the security of home and the social and academic education from this fabulous school.
Back to the other big day - the IDPWD. You can show your support on social media via Thunderclap