West Kirby School has been a massive part of my life since I was 8 years old.
It's a little bit surreal being 22 and still getting the amount of overwhelming support from the place that made me the person that I am today. It's probably a bit of a cliche to say my time at the school was a life changing experience but, it really was. Not only the friends I made, some of which I'm still friends with to this day. But, the care and support from the staff, both past and present has honestly been incredibly humbling. There's always a stigma about saying that you went to a school for children with learning difficulties, but I've always held my head up high and been extremely proud of where I've come from and what I've achieved because of that. Those who know me personally know about my Aspergers, but most who I work with professionally don't have a clue until I tell them, which goes to show really, just because I have a disability I still get treated with the upmost respect. So don't ever be ashamed of who you are and where you've come from. To be honest, I don't really see my Aspergers as a disability much these days, one of the brilliant things about Aspergers is, it makes me more focused, and more driven to get to where I want to be. And yeah, I struggle sometimes, I'm not perfect, I don't have a "perfect" life but I don't let it tear me down, the amount of good days definitely outweigh the bad. Music isn't something that I've been doing my whole life, so I can't feed you the whole "I've always wanted to be a professional musician" thing, because to be fair I didn't have a clue and that's okay. I was 15 when I picked up a guitar and began to sing & write songs, and I honestly haven't looked back since. What I'm trying to say is, don't be scared about who you are and what your strengths are, don't be scared if you don't know where the future is going to take you, it will all work out in the end as long as you're true to yourself, your passions and you're focused on them. It's not easy for anyone at all, those with or without disabilities to find their way in life or to find the path that they're supposed to be on and it's not something that happens overnight. I wish it would of happened overnight for me, it would of saved a lot of blood sweat and tears trust me! I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for the staff at WKS, they all believed in me probably even before I did and pushed me out of my comfort zone, and without that I genuinely couldn't see myself at the point I am now. So yeah, I'm Cal, I'm 22, I have Aspergers Syndrome, I'm proud I went to West Kirby School and I wouldn't change a thing.
As a parent of a child with a disability, things can seem a little daunting, especially when it comes to education. The support that not only I have received as a parent, but my son Cal has received has been nothing short of outstanding. Cal had been attending West Kirby School at the age of 8 after suffering a mental breakdown due to his inability to cope in the educational environment that a mainstream school offers. It was a battle and a half to get Cal his place in WKS as it costs a lot of money to fund. Without West Kirby School many young people, Cal included, can suffer without need to due to disabilities and mental illnesses. Schools such as WKS, Wirral Hospital School and services such as the Child Adolescent Mental Health Services, play such a vital role in ensuring that children are not only safe and secure in environments that allow them to truly better themselves and to grow to their full potential, but to provide a home-school link with families that proves reassuring. Cal is now 22, an established musician, and still to this day is receiving overwhelming help and support from not only family, friends and that of his supporters, but CAMHS & West Kirby School also. Cal's music is something very dear to our hearts and something that wouldn't of been possible without any of these schools/services and their unbelievable kindness. It has touched our hearts recently, to be told that West Kirby School will be donating £500 to Cal's USA Campaign & also, hosting an event at the school in order to raise more funds for the trip which will showcase all of the other budding talent that the school has to offer. It makes us very proud to see that Cal's music has been featured on the homepage's of these schools/services to act as a motivational tool to inspire young people with disabilities that regardless of whatever obstacles life throws at you, you can really do anything you put your mind to and be successful. We hope that Wirral Council and other boroughs take note of how many children not only those without disabilities have such huge talent and potential and by giving a child a place in these schools, you really are giving them the foundation for successful future.