To write a letter to DD's new teacher?

(40 Posts)
Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:05:41

DD(7) goes back to school next week and her teacher is new to the school. He didn't come in at the end of last term so DD and I haven't met him yet.

This summer, DD has been having terrible anxiety. It's usually to do with being locked in somewhere or being lost. It's getting so bad that she won't go to the toilet during the day because she's scared of shutting the door. As a result, she has wet the bed a few times over the holiday. She also has been generally quite down and moody. I have been trying various different ways of supporting her and am still trying to get an appointment with the GP.

Yesterday she realised that going into Year 3 next week means she'll have to use the shared junior's bathroom. This means either a) leaving the door open and having the other children see her wee, b) shutting the door and sending herself into a panic or c) not going to the bathroom at all, potentially risking having an accident at school. I know it sounds trivial but it really has DD worked up. She was in tears both yesterday and today just thinking about it.

She goes to breakfast club in the mornings as I won't be able to drop her to class, which means I won't get to have a word with the new teacher. Should I put this all down in a letter in an envelope for DD to hand to him on the first day, or wait until after school when I could phone him or ask for him to phone me? Although this means that she'll probably go the whole day without using the bathroom and worrying about it.

If I should write the letter, how much detail should I include/what sort of wording or tone should I use? I want it to be taken seriously as I am very concerned about DD at the moment and would like the school's support, but I don't want to come across as a pushy PFB parent to the new teacher before I've even met him. It could make him treat DD differently to the way he would have done otherwise.

ladyjadey Thu 01-Sep-16 23:09:56

I think a letter is a good idea. I would be worried about her worrying and want someone to know. And to have her able to go to the loo

RunningLulu Thu 01-Sep-16 23:11:51

There's a shared bathroom for girls and boys? Really? I know it's probably old fashioned of me to say it but I will - I bet that's why she's so worked up.

Euphemia Thu 01-Sep-16 23:12:34

I'd contact the headteacher rather than the class teacher - all of the staff need to be made aware.

mummymummums Thu 01-Sep-16 23:12:56

Letter a good idea, but I'd be pushing for that GP appointment too.

Haggisfish Thu 01-Sep-16 23:13:16

I would write a letter and ask for an appointment to speak to him as well.

CountingToThree Thu 01-Sep-16 23:14:21

Your dd's teacher is likely to be in school for training this week - I'd try calling the school office tomorrow and speaking to the teacher directly so they are aware before school starts

rollonthesummer Thu 01-Sep-16 23:17:26

Ring the school and ask the SENCo to ring you back.

Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:19:43

Sorry runningLulu I meant shared for all of the junior classes - still split by gender. In the infants each class had their own loo (one form entry) but in the juniors years 3-6 share.

Thank you all for your advice, I will try to contact the teacher before DD actually starts back.

Still pushing for that appointment. It's my own fault really as I didn't realise how serious it was until about two weeks ago - I had just been trying to talk and hug her through it until then. Getting an appointment at any time is a nightmare let alone just before the schools go back. I've been phoning every morning at 6am with no luck.

Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:20:22

rollon that's a good idea. I think they have a new SENco this year too but I will ask when I call.

DullUserName Thu 01-Sep-16 23:21:19

Email the school and ask for it to be forwarded to the teacher so that they see it before Monday.

If there's a class TA, maybe they could discreetly let your DD use the toilet while she stands guard at the door?

RosePseudonym Thu 01-Sep-16 23:21:38

Yes, we're all back in for inset and we have this kind of stuff coming in often, especially this time of year. I would rather hear from you Asap. It would definitely be best to talk to the teacher before she starts so she knows what the plan is in advance - it might help her anxiety.

Wolfiefan Thu 01-Sep-16 23:25:26

Yes email the school or call and ask to talk to someone urgently. Much easier to actually have a conversation with a member of staff.

QueenLizIII Thu 01-Sep-16 23:30:06

How long does it take to get a GP appointment? Still trying. It didnt take all summer surely?

Poor little girl. Thats awful if you cant get one.

JellyBelli Thu 01-Sep-16 23:32:00

I used to have the same phobia after an accident in a lift, this was years ago but luckily my teacher was brilliant.
She got me to practice locking and unlocking the door with it open. That way I could see it unlocked easily with not risk.
She also got the janitor to come in and oil the locks so they slid easily. After that the phobia of public toilets passed (although I still sweat when I get in a lift.)
At home maybe you could make a vacant/engaged sign to hang on the doorknob.

Moonrocks6 Thu 01-Sep-16 23:33:39

You could ask the senco for a referral to the school nurse. They are a good way to access lots of different services.

Thingvellir Thu 01-Sep-16 23:41:22

I think writing a letter to the teacher is a good idea. I'd also email it in advance to the head if that is possible. I have a DD (just going into Y4) who also suffers from anxiety, I have found our school to be incredibly supportive and understanding when I've discussed with them I wouldnt worry at all about being seen as pushy or PFB. Our school have put specific coping strategies in place for DD when she is feeling anxious and she has in the last 2 years with all this support improved enormously.

I think a good school/good teacher appreciates you communicating with them, just be clear that you are working at home to assist as well, not that you see this as their problem to solve when she's in school. I would exopect a teacher to make time to see me to discuss concerns such as this as well, but sending a letter in advance given you cant be there on the 1st drop off is completely reasonable. YY also to PP who suggested getting the Senco involved.

Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:43:11

I think you're right moonrock, a talk with the SENCo as well as the teacher is probably the best way to go.

I hope DD's school is as supportive Jelly. I like the idea of the vacant/engaged signs for home. She'd probably enjoy making them too. Thank you!

No QueenLiz it didn't take all summer. Like I said, I hadn't realised how severe it was until towards the end of the holiday and it does usually take around 3 weeks to successfully get an appointment.

Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:45:17

Thank you thing. What sort of copies by strategies does your DD use? I've tried getting mine to do things like hum her favourite song while she's in the bathroom as a distraction, bit of course I'm not trained nor experienced in this sort of thing so that's just me trying to guess what would be best!

Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:46:08

Sorry that should say coping strategies not "copies by strategies"! I'm trying to type too fast on my phone.

leccybill Thu 01-Sep-16 23:50:15

Do you go into the cubicle with her when you're in a public toilet?
My DD is nearly 7 and I almost always go in with her or if it's tiny, I stand outside with my hand around the door. I'm wondering if I should be letting her try it alone.
She was only just dry recently so I guess it's just habit of checking to see if she is wet.

I hope the school are supportive of your DD. Our school have been great with DD who was reluctant to go to the toilet out of shyness, hence the wetting.

kiwimumof2boys Thu 01-Sep-16 23:51:56

Re using the toilet, would it be possible to ask them to let your DD use a wheelchair or teacher's toilet? They're usually located further away from the corridors and classrooms so might be a bit nicer for her to be somewhere a bit quieter?
My DS has sensory issues and had trouble with the dryers in the toilets, so teachers let him use the disabled toilet which had no dryers and was a bit bigger.
Good luck !

Pollypickpocket Thu 01-Sep-16 23:54:47

I used to go in with her but she prefers to go alone now, with me standing outside and the door slightly ajar. More recently though, she has just been trying to hold it for as long as possible when we're out and gets stressed if I try to push her into going. I never really know if I should persever and make her go or leave it and have her holding it until she wets herself. Both are equally stressful.

Pandsala Thu 01-Sep-16 23:57:41

Write a letter or call the office, they may even be in the day before she goes back. I'm a TA and volunteer with kids a similar age to your DD, issues like this are much, much easier to handle if you know before its an urgent issue (I.e. in this case before she's desperate for a wee.) Because then there is time to try and think of a solution.

Thingvellir Thu 01-Sep-16 23:59:30

Well DD's anxieties are not the same in that it's not the closed in situation (although interestlingly she tend not to use the school loos and makes a made dash for the toilet as soon as she gets home, so now I'm wondering..). Her anxiety tends to be triggered by a fear she will fail when she's asked to do something, or when she's struggling with her work. Her teacher arranged for her to be able to go to the reading area in the corner of the classroom when she starts to feel anxious and read a book for a little while until she's calmed down, then she returns to the table to complete her task. She is allowed to keep a squishy stress-ball in her desk and take it out to do a deep breathing relaxation exercise we've taught her that helps when the anxiety is building up. Also she finds tests very stressful, so it has been arranged that she and another child with similar anxiety go to side-room to do their weekly tests together, which they see as a safe envornment, and they dont have to see everyone finishing before them etc.

DD's anxiety was completely crippling 2 years ago and affecting her learning, as well as the class teacherm I also spoke to the Senco and we had three sessions with a CAMHS councillor which made an amazing difference. After we reached out to the school and asked for help, we were given access to fantastic resources.

I guess the message I have is speak up and tell the school what is going on, they really can help and in our experience they have been very keen to, as long as you show that you are doing your best as well. I was also worried, like you originally that they would think I was being precious or entitled, it wasnt the case at all. Good luck to you and your DD flowers

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