He's bright, clever, funny, reads a lot and has a great creative imagination - writes amazing stories and poems, reads loads. He gets anxious - his active imagination is his worst enemy - he lies awake worrying about bad things happening to dh and I, or stranger danger etc. He has big trouble sleeping. He's also chaotic and disorganised, gets distracted incredibly easily, always late, has trouble finishing his schoolwork (which is messy), always losing things.
Anyone recognise this child, and if so, any hints about the best way to help equip him to function in the real world without completely stifling his creativity? We've just started a points system as an incentive: responsible, organised behaviour gets points, and when he's got enough he can cash them in for pocket money or presents. But not sure yet how that will work.
any advice welcome - books for me to read so i can help better, techniques to try etc
Sorry if this is a bit personal for you I couldn't resist when I saw this post..
Sounds just like me when I was his age, incredibly so. I used to do exactly the same thing eg: come downstairs in tears worrying about whether my mum would die or whether the world would end (etc). I was highly imaginative and even now I think about a million things at once. It was definately just a phase in my case, maybe DS will be the same? If he is a smart boy it could be a way of organising his thought processes. My Mum used to help me see the funny side of my worrying and purely induce logic into my trajectory of thought. I'm 24 now and I'd like to think I'm a well rounded individual with a First Class honours degree in English literature.
Structure and plans help for a short attention span and chaotic thoughts. (sorry if this isnt helpful at all) I recall at primary school; I would write so fast to get my ideas onto paper I'd miss words or miss spell (even though I would know how to spell the word) , my Teacher would tell me just simply to slow down and take the time to plan what I intended to scribe. Have you thought maybe of getting DS a journal? or maybe a word docs folder on PC laptop? To experess anxieties? So I can't offer any advice other than keep doing what you're doing and help him when he worries to see a funny side or just generally reassure his worries by putting his worries into contextual persepective? I'm sure he'll be just fine...
Anyway I hope my ramble helps or at least reassures you sorry I cant be more help.
Thanks Moomoo2013, that was really helpful, and thanks for taking the time to write down your experiences - it helps to read how things might look from his angle. I'll try and use humour more. Also just bought a Dawn Huebner book on Amazon to try to tackle the sleeping - we've already used the one on worries which helped him a lot. Now it's just about trying to channel all this mental energy into something positive!
My ds (12) is similar in many ways. Not so anxious maybe and manages to get himself to sleep by singing (at the top of his voice weirdly), but every other aspect echoes your ds. Last year when he started secondary school he was diagnosed with Dyspraxia. This was missed earlier on because he met all his physical milestones as a baby and later was just accepted as the non-sporty, absent-minded professor type. Everyone said it's a boy thing etc but I always felt there was more to it than that. He has no sense of time or organisation and the big leap to secondary school highlighted these problems.
I think many adults have struggled with this and found coping strategies on their own as it is only fairly recently recognised, much like Dyslexia used to be.
We used to use a points incentive system on a wall chart and thought it was working. In hind sight the reason it worked was it served as a reminder list for him of what he had to do next!
We now have a few systems for remembering things (like going to a piano lesson) in place, so when one fails there is usually a back up. He is now allowed to use an alphasmart (small word processor) in class to help him keep up in class. His writing is slow and messy especially when he tries to speed up. He finds it hard to follow a list of instructions unless given out one at a time, he usually just remembers the last thing on the list. He uses one large backpack which holds his PE kit too, he would lose it otherwise. I write key messages on his hand so he sees them every time he uses it. I've taught him to make and use mind maps although this can be hit and miss because he forgets to do them unless prompted and then sometimes even forgets to follow what he has planned!
Routine is key. If something can be part of a routine it has the best chance of success. Eg: All notes, reply/permission slips, cheques to school etc. get slipped inside the clear front cover of his organizer so that all he has to remember is to look there every morning in form time rather than remember the odd day when something is needed.
I'd suggest you have a little look at Dyspraxia, if for no other reason than to have look at some of the different suggestions for helping a bright but disorganised child manage themselves. Celebrate his creativity, humour and eccentricities and remind him that we can't be brilliant at everything.
Sorry for the super long post, much may be irrelevant as your ds is still at primary school but I hope it helps a little.
Well, that certainly hadn't occurred to me, but i'll definitely look it up! Thanks very much for that - very helpful and sounds a lot like ds.
Having now received the dawn huebner book ('What to do when you dread your bed - a kid's guide to sleep problems'), I'm also wondering how many of his problems are down to lack of sleep - so we'll work on dealing with that and see what we're left with.