Private Vs State for discipline with a boundary pushing DS

(104 Posts)
jalapeno Fri 08-Feb-13 18:26:03

DS is a bright boy but showing some challenging behaviour. He has been assessed for ASD, ADHD etc but nothing can be diagnosed as he is not displaying "symptoms" of any one particular disorder, he isn't like this with us at home (it is the opposite of the good state of affairs which is challenging at home, angel at school!) and despite us being extremely poor at the moment and mildly opposed to private education I am tempted to look into a private prep school.

For example DS has been spitting on the floor. He spat once on the floor at home about 8 months ago and I dealt with it and nothing at home since. At school, I am mortified to discover that he does it several times a week, they have written him a "social story" to show him why he shouldn't do it. Personally I think they should read him the riot act and he wouldn't do it again. There are other examples of this flowery approach and I think he has sussed it. He is a boundary pusher but responds well to a strict set of rules.

Am I being daft? Are prep schools more disciplined? Or should I just tell school to man up a bit? Would he flounder in a prep school because they would expect perfect behaviour?

jalapeno Sun 10-Feb-13 08:18:23

JoanByers we can't afford school fees, upthread I said that really it was exasperation that made me assume that prep school would be more disciplined and most posters said it was not always the case.

£700 is possible but it is £700 less being paid off the credit card then (long story involving recession and redundancy!). In fact I might have to find one that accepts credit card blush. MIL may help as BIL suffered with dyslexia undiagnosed for a lwhile until secondary school... but she's not hugely flush either.

Thanks happygardening I have spoken to DH about this and we would rather spend the money and waste it (and eat lentils for a few months grin) if they say nothing is wrong than wonder about it and potentially let him struggle.

BIL has dyslexia, my cousin has severe dyslexia, sister has ASD and dyspraxia. I am a scientist because I hate creative writing too grin

A friend recently had her DD assessed by an EP I will ask her for recommendation. Will update when I can!

Thanks everyone thanks

happygardening Sun 10-Feb-13 12:06:28

Ed psychs are cheaper out of London one of the countries leading experts on dyslexia is not in London and I think charges about 500-600 just depends if you want to drive. Depending where you are in London no further than 90 ish miles I suppose. PM if you want his location number etc.

Branleuse Sun 10-Feb-13 12:14:03

how about speaking to the school and his teacher for a report back each day and then you can punish him after school in your own way if you see fit, so he knows you and the school are on side

jalapeno Tue 12-Feb-13 09:34:16

happygardening I have got him on the waiting list for a reasonably priced (but still shock) Ed Psych smile

Branleuse I actually have done this, she didn't use it yesterday though!

It has occurred to me that his favourite subject is French, they have a visiting teacher for this once a fortnight. I asked him this morning whether he ever needed any of his special things (own table, special chair, fiddle implements etc) or has he ever spat or misbehaved in French lessons so that he has been told off by this French teacher.

He said no, he is never distracted because the other children aren't talking and he likes the lessons.

So...I am going to call her today (she does a lunch club for £££) and book him in because he really wants to go and it is a positive thing to encourage if he likes it smile and also ask about his behaviour for her. I may not want to hear the answer but am very excited about the possibility that with a subject matter he enjoys and/or a teacher that is strict he can behave. If he can do it for one then in theory he can do it for all, right?

Noone tells you about all the hidden costs of having children!! Or the stress involved!!

Hi OP, have read the whole thread and hope you find some answers for your son. Have you considered home educating him? If you can't find the right school for him then it's worth considering as an option. Have a look on the home ed MN boards.

happygardening Tue 12-Feb-13 09:56:01

Yes the theory is correct if he can do it for one then he can do it for all. This would obviously depend on one how much he enjoys the lesson and how engaged he is and two "the air of authority" that each individual teacher has. My DS's friend (who I mentioned above) can be a complete nightmare but I've never had any problems with him. On the other hand many many years ago when my DS was at a primary school he brought a friend home from school who was completely out of control neither myself my DH or exceedingly able au pair could do anything with him when we tried to talk to him and calm him down there was just nothing there he wouldn't engage with us in any way. We eventually shut him and DS 2 in a room where he could do the least damage and sat outside the door waiting for the parents to come and get him!!! Later he was expelled from the school he kept running off and hitting teachers and other staff and children,

jalapeno Tue 12-Feb-13 10:05:20

Hi NewYearNewMia, there is no way I could home ed him!! I work plus... I just don't think I could. I wouldn't have the skills or the patience. And I think it is important he goes to school, he really enjoys it and loves the other kids.

happygardening yes I have called and left a message so hopefully will speak to her soon. I want him to learn how to overcome boredom in class and behave for all teachers but if we can find one positive from all of this to work on I will feel better about things and we can get there gradually. It really was beginning to feel like there was no hope for him to behave at school as he does for me at home!

jalapeno Tue 12-Feb-13 10:06:42

Sorry newyear, that sounded less grateful than I am, thanks for the suggestion it just isn't for me thanks

happygardening Tue 12-Feb-13 10:11:55

"It really was beginning to feel like there was no hope for him to behave at school as he does for me at home!"
Dont give up hope he's only 6! If he's good at home then thats very positive. Both the children I mentioned were difficult out of school as well as in school and spitting was the least of their problems!! I personally think its a problem at school either he's not engaging in the lessons for some reason or the teacher is for the want of a better word completely wet. Has he always been naughty at school or is this just a recent thing?
Do let us know how you get on.

jalapeno Tue 12-Feb-13 10:15:42

I know I shouldn't give up hope and every morning I feel really positive but by the evening I feel like I've failed him in some way.

Must stay positive, must stay positive!

Thanks to you too happy thanks

happygardening Tue 12-Feb-13 10:26:56

OP as parents we frequently feel we've failed our children that just goes with the territory. Do you have a good friend with children who you admire as a parent can discuss how you bring up your children and how she does it? There are so many different approaches to parenting some parents are very slack (guilty) others are complete control fanatics (not guilty). Watch and talk to other parents ask them how they would manage this problem some ideas might be crap but you might get some useful tips. When you see the ed.psych talk to them ask for help. Children go through phases its normal in a few years hopefully you will have forgotten all about this phase.

jalapeno Tue 12-Feb-13 14:44:33

Thank you happygardening! That post is lovely, he was never one of those kids that would bite or hit others at softplay or toddler groups and he rarely threw a tantrum so perhaps this is just my turn grin

It's fine jalapeno, you didn't sound ungrateful - you sounded exactly like most parents do when they contemplate HEing their children! grin

It's certainly not for everyone, or even the majority of children, but I do think that some children don't 'fit' at school or don't thrive there/need different learning opportunites or environments. If your DS is happy and has friends at school then those are really important factors. Hope you find a solution that works for him. smile

jalapeno Tue 12-Feb-13 20:30:52

Yes if he genuinely hated going maybe I would consider it (for at least 5 minutes grin) but he loves school, always has done.

jalapeno Sat 16-Feb-13 08:31:49

Another update!

We had parents evening last week...

Senco says we can see the LA Ed Psych in summer so that is good and has saved some £££ which is fabulous as we are on a tight budget.

Teacher says he has made no progress at all in reading and writing since the end of yr 2 sad He was 3b in both in July last year and is still 3b. He has gone from 3c to 3b in maths so that is ok but I am bewildered about the lack of progress in reading and writing.

Why would he make such good progress in yr2 despite yr2 teacher raising the fidgetting etc issues and then...nothing in yr 3?

On a positive note my log has come back every day and he hasn't spat at all and has behaved well, only having his rubber and pencil taken away one day because he was playing with them too much blush

happygardening Sat 16-Feb-13 10:53:26

It's great news that 1. he's behaving better and 2. The school are paying for and ed. psych it's a shame youve got to wait till the summer term.But obviously worrying about his lack of progress. It's worth posting on the special needs board not special needs ed. there are very knowledgable people on it some who I suspect are ed psychs etc judging by their replies and also some familiar with individual LA's. Keep talking to your school find out they're doing and what you can do to help at home, also whilst youre waiting maybe a tutor might help to give him some gentle but constructive help (if you can afford it) many are better on a 1-1.

gabsid Sat 16-Feb-13 15:10:16

I haven't read the whole threat, but I would go and speak to DS's teacher. I don't think it will work if the school tells you and you give the consequence. As I see it this would be something every school would seek to resolve, and I think the best way to go about it is to work with the school, tell them what works with your DS and what doesn't, taking into account that he might behave differently at school.

jalapeno Sat 16-Feb-13 17:19:31

Thanks happygardening I hope things will look up now we know we need to keep our eye on this.

gabsid I totally agree with you, I shouldn't have to discipline him for his behaviour at school but they are not even accepting that he is being naughty, they think he is spitting and being defiant as some sort of coping mechanism. I know he is capable of behaving and not spitting etc. so can't see any other alternative to doing this. It is upsetting me as he doesn't behave like this with me, I did all this "training" when he was a toddler!!

The school are not keen to resolve this, they hadn't even told me about any of this since September and I thought everything was fine sad Since I have been questioning them they have seemed very defensive rather than trying to work with us.

I would love to leave all of this to school but they seem to have a policy of letting children choose what they want to do and if they choose the wrong thing putting them on an IEP. For example, DS the other day was asked to join a group standing around a table to work on a poem in a drama type lesson and he said he wouldn't as his chair was too comfortable. At home of course I would tell him to get on with it and remove the chair if I needed to but at school he was able to continue to sit and didn't join in. I got this from DS and it was confirmed by teacher.

maisiejoe123 Sat 16-Feb-13 17:57:38

Its difficult isnt it. You have a career, you have some children and then life throws you a curve ball and you have a child that you struggle with.

I always find when I have an issue - I write it out in plain English. Then list out a couple of solutions. What I would say from reading this thread is that fees are LIKELY to be a real issue for you. The worst that could happen is you struggle to pay the fees, he loves the school and then you have to pull him out. School fees are blooming expensive and get worse as the years go by.

There was an article in the paper today about some schools being full of pupils from abroad which was changing the culture completely. Fees are becoming so expensive and English is not the first language (although I think for the top private schools they do limit pupils from abroad to 10% or so).

My DS's school had a Parents Evening a short while ago. We were all meant to have 5 mins each with a teacher. The parents in front of me didnt speak English. Our sons werent there so they had a translator and it took ages and then I found myself behind them later on as well so there are sometimes hidden issues with private schools that arent necessarily obvious! Unusual situation but maybe not so unusual in some fee paying schools who perhaps struggle to get their numbers.

So fees are tough and I think you really need comfortable paying them or have a Plan B and Plan C should they become unaffordable.

However, I think - you should be prepared to fight and push and demand as much help as you can from the state system. There is help out there and I agree with another poster, put on the Special Needs Board. Even if you get just a few website links you are off.... Be firm and determined.

Also, having both DS's at private school myself (one in a well known boarding school and another in prep). Some behaviour wont be tolerated, if it starts to affect the other pupils there is likely to be trouble. But what I would say, is that when you are surrounded by boundaries and reasonable disipline it is amazing how you recognise how to behaviour yourself. The norm is to sit down, put your hand up when you want to talk etc. If you see others doing it you end up thinking that is how you should behave too!

Dont believe everything you hear on here from some parents who have never set foot inside of a private school preaching to us all what the schools are like.

Wondering if it would help if you went to an Open Day of a potential school? Schools have them all the time! There is no committment or fees to pay, just have a look around. Perhaps in advance see if they have a Special Needs Dept and speak to the Head of the Unit.

Once you have all the info you can then decide the next step.

All I would say - and please dont take this the wrong way. If you cannot afford the fees at all, dont look at the private system. It will only makes things worse if you end up really liking what it can offer. Of course you might find you dont like it at all but I think you will be surprised just what is possible...

maisiejoe123 Sat 16-Feb-13 17:58:55

Sorry - that was a bit long....

teacherwith2kids Sat 16-Feb-13 18:08:08

Can I just throw another thought into the mix?

Behaviour at school and at home being different may not just be a function of different approaches to discipline. It may also be a function of the environment, and the requirements placed on him.

Some children find being in the classroom very stressful for reasons of noise, sensory stimulus [lights, colours, movement] or number of people. Others find it very hard to respond to all the demands put on them - even all the little things like having to change an activity because it is time to, having to line up, having to start playtime or finish playtime or sing now or be quiet now or eat now - and these constant demands are a source of distress to them. Some parts of school life can require much more efort than we as adults may guess - for DS, for example, it was working out the 'rules' by which interactions between peers work [he shows many ASD traits and had to learn these rules explicitly, as well as having to work out 'intellectually' rather than 'empathetically' how someone else is feeling] that occupied much of his effort over his firstfew months in school.

I suppose what I am saying is that a child can behave VERY differently in the classroom for reasons that cannot be addressed by a change of discipline policy.

maisiejoe123 Sat 16-Feb-13 18:16:52

This difference at school v home is very interesting.

Our DS is literally an angel at school, two teachers have said he is a joy to teach etc. He really seems to understand what the school requires of home.

However at home he was never off the naughty step at one point and when we first started getting his reports stating what a treat he was to teach and how he always tried his very best - well we thought the school had got him mixed up with someone else.....

jalapeno Sun 17-Feb-13 08:22:58

maisiejoe I loved your first sentence, It is so true! The worst thing is I don't even struggle with him! He's a pleasure to have around the house. We have discounted private for now for the reason of fees as you say.

teacherwith2 This is what the school are telling me and I've gone along with it for a year. I'm willing to go with it that he finds it difficult but I'm not willing to accept that he needs to do some of the things he has been doing. Even if he is struggling very badly I don't think they are handling it well.

I'm not happy about disciplining at home and I don't see it as a long term thing as I can't keep it up really but I want to see if with bribery discipline at home he can do it then he isn't struggling with it as much as they think if you see what I mean?

Callthemidlife Mon 18-Feb-13 14:54:11

I would advise you to ask the name of the LEA ed psych, and have a review of whether they are any good....

Also, whilst you are waiting, please throw a tenner on the book 'the out of synch child' from Amazon. It is all about sensory processing disorder and provides you with loads and loads of checklists to help you identify if your child has any strands of SPD (dyspraxia is just one of these). I was recommended this book for my dyslexic/dyspraxic child but actually found it far more useful as a pointer to narrow down some needs for another child who - rather like yours - wasn't fitting into any of the usual boxes with regard to dx. Some of the things you mention strike a chord that I recognise. I'm not an expert by any means but I smell SPD combined with either memory or speed processing issues as being behind your DS's behaviour. And if it is anything like that then some of the current strategies in place might become strained as your DS encounters ever more complex demands being placed on him.

Saying all of that, I would have thought your occ therapist might have already come up with some ideas so chances are I'm talking bollocks and simply overlaying my own experiences onto you. Regardless of that, make sure your ed psych knows what he is doing because a crap report is more harm than no report at all IMHO.

jalapeno Mon 18-Feb-13 18:34:04

Thanks callthemidlife! My sister has SPD and dyspraxia so we are happy to go with a diagnosis of that except he is really very well coordinated, doesn't flap etc and OT doesn't think there is anything there.

I realise that most of these disorders are contradictory so rarely fit the same picture but there is nothing "textbook" really, he is slightly ASD or SPD at first glance but actually has no real symptoms and is very good at the things that ASD/SPD children aren't usually so good at.

I will look up that book, thanks. The Raising Boys Achievements just arrived so will read that over half term grin.

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