Dear Students, Parents and Carers
I rarely mention individual students in my newsletter introduction but I am making an exception for one young man, Jaspar Tomlinson. Jaspar joined Alexandra Park School in September 2014. Jaspar has dystonic quadriplegia with athetosis affecting his whole body. This means that he can’t control his muscles in the same way many of us can and often needs to do day to day tasks in a slightly different way. For example, communication, physical activities and personal care. It is fair to say we were very nervous about him joining the school and wondered how both he and we would cope. We were concerned about all the basics such as movement around the building, meal times and comfort breaks. On a professional level, we were also worried about how we would teach Jaspar and the progress he would make in his learning.
Four years on and all these initial nerves have vanished. What were we ever worried about?
Jaspar is no different from any other teenager, apart from one thing; I have never seen him in a bad mood. He is the happiest student I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. He is genuinely 100% positive in everything he does. He has many ways to communicate - from a state of the art computer screen to the look he can give you with his eyes or his infectious laugh!
Jaspar has been a joy to have at APS. He has been involved in everything from lessons to assemblies, sport to staff training. He even completed a 5 mile hike alongside his friends to raise money for the charity set up by his parents, which fully funds a school for disabled children in Uganda.
I would like to dedicate this newsletter to Jaspar. He is leaving us in the New Year for Wigmore High School. This is due to his family, including his sister Ava in Year 8, relocating to Shropshire. He will be missed by everyone at school and the place will be a little sadder without him.
Far from us teaching Jaspar, he has taught us so very much about the power of the human spirit and shown us that with a little thought and a little care anything is possible. Good luck Jaspar, we will miss you.