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!

mistlethrush Wed 06-Feb-13 12:30:25

Learnandsay - I'm going to raise it with his class teacher at parents evening (coming up) as the teacher is not his normal class teacher and just takes them for a few classes a week. Pity really as he likes the subjects, just doesn't like the teacher. Whilst I know that he can be incredibly irritating when he is messing around, fiddling, stretching (etc, etc, etc) his class teacher seems to be able to manage him without shouting or telling him off for trying to do something to modify his behaviour...

learnandsay Wed 06-Feb-13 12:10:23

mistlethrush, can you not have a quiet word with the teacher? What's wrong with sitting on your hands?

jalapeno Wed 06-Feb-13 12:06:31

mistlethrush good to hear your DS has become more confident! I'm glad he is enjoying writing more and gives me hope for my DS! I would be cross with that teacher too, seems to have told him off for the wrong reasons there. I will try my best with writing tasks that don't seem too onerous however I'm not massively creative so will have to find a book or a website with some ideas I reckon.

dewdr0p I have read raising boys before but not the achievement one, I will look for it. Actually, I will read raising boys again too, good idea thanks grin I like the idea of a writing book too that teacher can look at, I will raise this at parents evening in a few weeks.

DewDr0p Wed 06-Feb-13 11:00:13

OP I wonder if Gary Wilson's book "Raising Boys' Achievement" might be useful to you? It's excellent and packed full of ideas and strategies to try to get boys interested in school in general but writing in particular.

Ds3 is struggling with writing and his teacher has just given him a special writing book for him to write in at home. Any writing is fine, even just practising spellings or writing a sentence or two about the weekend. We're going to take it in periodically so his teacher can lavish him with praise for his efforts grin

There is a boy in ds1's class who struggles with sitting still and he has a wobble board to sit on, sometimes a lump of blu tack to fiddle with. They both seem to help.

Glad school are reconsidering the "naughty table" arrangement - that's not good.

mistlethrush Wed 06-Feb-13 10:43:44

This sounds very similar to my 7 yo. He was struggling with literacy - mainly because he could not write fluently enough to be able to get the wonderful ideas in his head out, down on paper, so he knew he wasn't good at it, so he procrastinated and daydreamed and didn't even manage to practice getting better than where he was.... and he was getting behind. I'm pleased to say that a switch has been flicked... he is much more confident with writing, so now will get more of his thoughts down on paper, so is getting rewarded for that good work - and enjoying it a lot more in consequence.

We've done writing at home - mainly 'useful' things like lists - 'DS, could you write a shopping list for us today whilst I clear up...' - and I'm sure that's helped.

Its interesting about tables - DS has specifically asked to move his desk away from the other children (they're in groups of 4) so that he can concentrate more easily.

We will be asking about one of his teachers at the next parents' evening though - he came back upset one day because he'd been 'shouted' at for sitting on his hands - which he was apparently doing because that teacher doesn't like them 'fiddling' with their pencils... Whilst I can understand the not wanting fiddling, to shout at a child that's trying not to fiddle, even if its a peculiar thing that they're doing to stop the fiddling, seems to be a bit excessive...

jalapeno Wed 06-Feb-13 10:33:09

Thanks mrshoarder isn't it sad that they can't get what they need in school. Actually I didn't even ask about 1 to 1 at school blush

His maths is fine, no worries there. He is also interested in it, which seems to make a world of difference. He is just "distracted" when he isn't interested which is whenever he is required to sit still and write. I think now this has rumbled on he has lost his confidence in literacy.

MrsHoarder Wed 06-Feb-13 10:17:11

For the tutor thing, if is a matter of not letting him get behind when he will hopefully bit have classroom problems indefinitely, why not have one for a year our two?

DB had a tutor for yrs 2-4 because the school couldn't provide him with a statement but he clearly needed more 1 to 1 help than they could give with a statement. Probably not worth it for anything except maths/literacy but the foundations of these in primary school are so very important

jalapeno Wed 06-Feb-13 10:01:14

Oh, and the spitting thing has happened a lot more. They think it is a coping mechanism and are trying to persuade him not to do it. I think it is unacceptable behaviour and since they are not disciplining him for it at school would like to ask the school to let me know every time he does it and I will remove toys or pocket money at home.

Is this heavy handed and/or would the school agree? I only thought of it when I got home I was a bit shocked in the meeting that it was a regular thing. I cannot have him doing this at home or school, I am mortified!

jalapeno Wed 06-Feb-13 09:58:06

Thanks lljkk

I do make him do this for his homework but have never given him extra to do (or at least not for a while, when in year 1 he was struggling to even start writing so I helped him) but I am not the most natural teacher to this age group i.e. I am impatient blush

I am now thinking that he needs to practice more as you say. I am also sad that he has been getting behind in school. He had a 3 in literacy at the end of year 2 so I thought he was ok but he is obviously a boy of contradiction and needs help with his learning even if his achievement is good.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 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 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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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...

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.

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

Why are you taking him to Tinsley House?

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?

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