Could teachers have just got this wrong?

(59 Posts)
jalapeno Wed 30-Jan-13 21:02:26

I was on here about 1.5 years ago regarding my DS who was ok academically but very fidgetty, distracted, stubborn, good at maths but hated writing.

Teacher seemed terribly concerned by his behaviour (v well behaved class, pushy MC intake) but not concerned by his achievement so no EP appointment.

Anyway, I let them get on with their IEPs and we took him to a paed, OT, eye tests, other things and all going well and ok. His behaviour is the same and in a way getting worse as he gets older. Paed thought there may prove to be a few autistic traits but nothing worrying at all, teacher wrote a letter to say that wasn't how they saw it.

I actually think he is playing them. I think he likes being singled out and being given extra consideration at school. He is challenging at home but responds to usual disciplines at home, I never have to smack, just raise my voice, give the stare etc. I don't have to give him all these things they do at school for homework, I just make him do it. That might sound arrogant(sorry if it does) but he just has a natural reluctance to do any work, not to my mind a SEN. (disclaimer: I admit I have no professional opinion to base this on!!)

He got really good marks in his yr 2 sats last year. I was genuinely expecting him to do a lot less well given all they had said. Could he just be bright and bored? I haven't said this at any time to his teachers but they seem to have him in all sorts of boxes just not the correct one for him sad and I'm concerned that by not wanting to sound pushy I've let him down.

He's just told DH he sits at the back a lot by himself so he "doesn't get distracted" so the only time anyone sits with him is when they are sent to DS's table when they have been naughty. He says he hasn't sat with his friends for ages sad I know he has his own table, I've seen it, teacher has explained it but I thought it was only for when things got too much for him.

Sorry for the ramble I'm really feeling for my boy. Can I just ask them to be more firm with him and include him/stimulate him more? And tell them he's probably not distracted just bored...and a bit up himself so won't do what he doesn't want to?

I asked his teacher for an update (no conversation since sept) and now she has said SENCO wants to meet. I need to be clear what I want to say. Thanks if you've got this far!

jalapeno Sat 02-Feb-13 15:55:11

Teacher strategy is own table when he feels distracted and breaking things into chunks. The breaking things into chunks I think is brilliant. The distracted thing now I suspect him to be using as an excuse to not do what he is supposed to do.

Coconutty Sat 02-Feb-13 16:05:07

I think you need to talk to your SENco on Wednesday and see what they are thinking. Unless they have actually given you a diagnosis, which would be very unprofessional of them imo then go along with an open mind and bear in mind that all this is in place to help your DS.

BTW, Most 7 year old boys in our school aren't low level naughty and annoying most of the time.

Update us on Wednesday when you've had the meeting and let us know what direction they are taking for you.

BiscuitMillionaire Sat 02-Feb-13 16:07:17

He sounds a lot like my DS, although mine is academically very bright, which makes the not getting the work done especially infuriating. Mine also has some AS traits but no diagnosis. Sorry I don't really have any helpful advice. We're in kind of a similar situation where we know he does have some 'issues' but it's also that he's not really trying. He just doesn't see why he should have to do work that he doesn't enjoy. It gets very disheartening going to parent-teacher meetings over the years and knowing exactly what they're going to say.

Does he also have difficulties with self-organisation, always losing things, forgetting what he's gone to his bedroom to get, etc?

lljkk Sat 02-Feb-13 16:43:40

DS is far more difficult in and out of school, with an impressive bad behaviour record, and I know he hasn't been typecast (by how much surprise expressed by school that he resurfaced recently as a problem child). Whether your DS enjoys his role as naughty child and would like to keep that habit is different, though.

I suspect you have an uphill battle to get blood out of your stone. You've done well if they are referring him to SENCO. I feel like i had to demand it, and they are complaining about no money or resources to do anything, anyway. They also said they simply don't do IEPs any more except in most extreme cases. But at least they are willing to create some paperwork to keep track of ideas of things to try with DS.

Anyone want to discuss referrals to EdPsych thru their GP? Was told our LEA doesn't provide EdPsych assessment except in extreme cases.

jalapeno Sat 02-Feb-13 17:20:12

Thanks coconutty perhaps it is just me, I find all 7 year olds a bit annoying! grin I will update on Weds. Would he be considered more normal if he was sitting quietly all the time in class but playing more mature and aggressive fighting games at play? Other boys his age seem to be more agressive and cheeky at parties and in the playground but not considered naughty because it is not constant?

They haven't diagnosed a condition at all, more diagnosing the problem. Sorry again I am getting my point across badly!

biscuit Sounds very similar. He doesn't lose things as in "mum, where is xyz?" he just plays with what is in front of him, be it a toy or a paperclip. With things he needs, yes quite often forgets his lunchbox when he comes out of school. I don't know about forgetting about what he's gone to his bedroom for...he probably often gets distracted by another item but doesn't complain of forgetting things.

lljkk We have an IEP for breaking up tasks and sitting on his own. Senco was his reception teacher and not once raised a concern. only year 2 teacher raised it, senco has advised via his class teacher, this is the first time we will see her. He can't see Ed Psych as he is doing well so at the bottom of the list. GP doesn't refer to EP I don't think, he referred us to Paed who just said to me there's nothing wrong with him but in a few years we might notice his peers getting impatient with him if he doesn't mature as would be expected and ASD might become more likely. At the moment there is nothing she can see.

jalapeno Sat 02-Feb-13 17:23:45

lljkk Aha reading your post again you have been given the same conundrum! There is a problem but they are not doing the problem-solving thing because the problem isn't bad enough!! Our DSs just slip through the problem-but-not-bad net meanwhile sad

Sorry for poor language in last post, am in a hurry and shouldn't be on here! blush

alanyoung Sat 02-Feb-13 19:06:50

Taking him for a run before school every day isn't such a crazy idea, albeit somewhat impractical for most household situations. Perhaps he could walk to school. Is that possible? That not only gets rid of some of their energy, it also refreshes the brain with new oxygen, making them more awake and able in class.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 07:32:05

Yes it's possible 2 days a week, we do try to do it (although haven't for a few weeks with the snow and some other commitments) and it is almost 1km away and very hilly so quite a workout. Unfortunately the other 2 days I work and have to drop DS2 at a nursery further away and then drive to work. I have always noticed on the walk to school how he starts off quite manic (and spaceshippy, noises and hands a-gogo) and by the time we are there he has chilled out.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 07:40:14

Oops, the other 3 days I work! No 4-day weeks here grin

BalloonSlayer Sun 03-Feb-13 08:02:00

Agree it doens't sound like there is much wrong. However, I really wouldn't use the "bright but bored" line. IME teachers give that the big hmm as it implies the teachers lessons are not interesting enough for the parent's little genius - and I know that is not what you are saying but you would be astonished at the number of parents who do.

(As an aside, I know a mum whose DD had chewed the sleeve of her cardigan, when she asked her why she said because she was bored; cue the mum holding forth at the school gates as to how shocking it was that the teacher's lessons were so dull her little darling was reduced to chewing her cardigan out of boredom. Whereas when my DD chewed hers I just informed her that she was not a dog and if she ruined another one she'd be paying for a new one out of her pocket money.)

Have you been in to the class and observed the differences between his behaviour at home and at school? Might that be a suggestion?

seeker Sun 03-Feb-13 08:07:47

Why are you taking him to Tinsley House?

I only have experience of my own children, so regarding SEN, that's only a sample of one. He has Asperger's, ADHD and is extremely able academically. In Y2 / Y3 he showed a lot of the characteristics your son does, but also many other differences that you haven't mentioned. He is very guileless, and pretty much incapable of 'playing' anyone. He just doesn't have the social ability to manipulate a situation like that.

In your son's case, I would speak to the SENCO / Inclusion Manager of your concerns.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 08:34:41

balloonslayer that's a good idea actually, I might suggest it.

Re: the bright but bored thing I would hate to hear that come from my own mouth, I've always rolled my eyes at the other parents that ask for 5 books rather than one because their kids are so bright, and he loves school he isn't bored by the lessons. I think (and again I am no expert) he is not good at sitting still and listening and could do with something to draw or doodle whilst talking is going on. I appreciate this would set a precedent with other DC in the class though.

seeker we are doing TH because his "symptoms" are those of mild ASD or ADHD, it is a case of worth a try really. We have a healthy dose of tongues in cheeks and the money we could do with saving but we have friends in the NF and visit them every 2 months which is a bonus, it isn't invasive and if it helps by even a small amount then great.

threebee This is a very good point actually. Compared to his younger brother I would say he isn't manipulative (not that DS2 is very manipulative, just that he would be for some sweets or whatever and would be crafty if he found some unattended for example whereas DS1 wouldn't) Why have I got this feeling then? Interesting...

seeker Sun 03-Feb-13 09:05:52

Can I ask why he thinks he's going, jalapeño?

lljkk Sun 03-Feb-13 09:53:04

Lots of school is boring for most children, the fact he's sitting by himself removes the best part of school which is the social life. So might be extra boring but mostly to do with him finding it hard to work in a group.

You could go in and talk to teacher about strategies to help him to work well in a group setting again.

lljkk Sun 03-Feb-13 09:54:22

I think DS is borderline for ADHD, what does Tinsley House do for him & you, Jalapeño?

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 11:10:58

seeker he has never asked and we have never told him. He just likes to go, he has only ever had to do exercises such as picking up coins and some computer stuff and he loves all that. I sense that you think that we are also making him act up through the power of suggestion and you could be right. However I have never told him he has any condition (because we don't know) or made any allowances for him, I just tell him he has misbehaved or isn't listening as I would my DS2.

lljkk I'm not suggesting TH is right for you at all but google it and read his book the brain food diet or similar to see what you think. The book has some of the basic exercises within which may help your DS without having to go. We decided to go because they worked so well at home and since I believe the principles of it. I am a card carrying scientist too grin.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 11:13:01

lljkk DS1 displays the H bit of ADHD and appears to be attention deficient but he is actually listening and taking everything in when he looks like he is ignoring everyone so paed says it can't be ADHD.

lljkk Sun 03-Feb-13 11:36:39

Ah, I didn't realise TH was just a diet thing.

if TH is just about diet advice, then why do you need to go there in person so regularly?

I guess as a scientist you have tried him with and without following the TH dietary guidelines, what differences did you see?

I asked about diet sensitivities on a much more woo site in past, and they said basically I would have to HE all DC for a year and stop their social lives (to completely control their food intake), dramatically restrict all of our diets to a narrow list of foods, then slowly introduce single suspect foods only once a month to be sure of effects. This would go on for years to know anything for certain. I couldn't live like that.

Have never been able to observe any relationship between DS behaviour & diet otherwise, although he finds it hard to sleep if he eats food too close to bedtime. I'm like that too, though, I think it must be very normal.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 16:41:34

No it is more than just diet, have a read of the book there are exercises too. I haven't tried him with and without as such, just with, noticed a difference and if we lapse, we notice a difference. With the exercises it is more slow burn and so harder to say.

No scientific trial would be ok with only one subject!!

It is more to do with increased protein, lower carbs and no additives. No woo stuff about social situations!

lljkk Sun 03-Feb-13 18:18:41

Ah, just realised there are quite a few TH threads on MN, including this one.

MareeyaDolores Sun 03-Feb-13 20:33:42

If exercise makes a big difference, could his IEP have some 'movement breaks'?

It could make a big difference, and is low-intensity for school, eg 10-15 min of TA time twice a day. Suitable times chosen so that skipping (or whatever) replaces his chief annoying-behaviour scenarios.

Would it be worth thinking about how he copes with classroom noise? I know APD can mimic other problems.

jalapeno Sun 03-Feb-13 22:25:53

An interesting solution Mareeya perhaps that would help.

I will read the APD info thoroughly tomorrow, I've had a quick skim and it doesn't quite fit, he doesn't have any language issues that I have ever noticed, reading, writing and vocab all very good.

jalapeno Wed 06-Feb-13 09:08:44

UPDATE!

I have seen the SENco and teacher, they are not of the opinion that he is stubborn or naughty, just that he is finding it tough to conform to "junior" education styles which are more formal than they were in infants.

They say literacy is the problem, if he is interested in something he is able to concentrate (e.g. maths, science) and even small bits of literacy can be ok but larger stories or pieces of written work can be an issue. This is even worse at the start of a new topic until he gets interested or used to it. From now on they will let me know future topics so I can get him used to it with books, perhaps a trip to a museum or something.

They will try a tougher approach, if he won't finish his written work in class he has to finish at dinner time then send home to finish if still not done. They feel that his dithering is snowballing the effect of getting behind each lesson and he is getting behind in what they are trying to do in literacy.

I suggested the exercise breaks and they are going to think about that.

The table came up, I said I was worried about the naughty association and they are going to look into modifying that.

So basically nothing has been resolved but we have some new strategies to try. If nothing improves he will be in line to see the Ed Psych later in the year. I'm still not convinced they see the same behaviour or child as I do but of course he may behave differently with them and I am not an experienced teacher, just a mum and mildly irritable/intolerant person.

Thanks all for your suggestions smile

Another question- do you think a literacy tutor may help? I don't really want to start tutoring in year 3 if I can help it (if only due to cost!) but would if it would help. Are there websites or resources I could use to improve his literacy myself? Writing large amounts specifically! He is good at spelling and reading and his writing is neat enough.

lljkk Wed 06-Feb-13 09:39:55

Practice, practice, practice.

Last summer I made DS write a certain amount of text before he was allowed screen time. Maybe half of an A4 page each day. I allowed him a mix of original writing with just copying text down.

His literacy seems to have come on this year (a bit more than I expected).

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