Mum wants school to be thanked

BALLINA mum Donna Robertson has been so touched by the care given to her son at Ballina Public School that she has written to the NSW Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth, asking for the principal and staff of the school to be given some formal recognition.

Donna's nine-year-old son Nicholas was recently diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, as well as depression and anxiety, and has had to undergo emergency medical treatment.

Nicholas's condition has led to behavioural problems, and he finds it hard to interact with other children, especially during lunch breaks and in the morning before class starts.

Ms Robertson said the staff of Ballina Public School helped out daily, ensuring Nick had been cared for, offered support and made to feel safe.

“They have managed to help settle an extremely difficult situation and have provided my son and the rest of my family with avenues for support, as well as immediate support within the school,” she said.

“Public schools often get bad press, but this is an opportunity to shed some light on the positive things they do.

“I fear that, without their care and professionalism, my family would not have survived this trauma in one piece.”

Teacher Mary Stevens said it was all just 'part of the job'.

“I'd do anything to make sure the kids feel happy and safe, along with the academic side of things”, she said.

School principal Cate Moore said it was unusual to be thanked.

“It is a teacher's role and responsibility to ensure all students have every opportunity to learn,” Mrs Moore said.

“However it is very unusual to be thanked for it. It's nice.”

Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that affects how the brain processes information.

Some of the symptoms include difficulty in forming friendships; having rules and rituals that they insist all family members follow; anger and aggression when things do not happen as they want; an inability to understand that communication involves listening as well as talking.

Ms Robertson has asked Verity Firth 'to formally recognise the principal, Cate Moore, Nick's teacher Mary Stevens, the school aide Vanessa Wilson, and the general assistant Shaun Cameron, and the whole staff for their handling of what has been a very difficult and traumatic time'.

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