Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Teacher made me feel like a complete idiot

(77 Posts)
Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 10:08:42

I took DD2 to have a blood test before school.

On the way to school afterwards she was begging me not to send her to school, saying her tummy hurt and she felt sick. I said to her that I had to take her to school, but if she was feeling really poorly we would talk to her teacher.

We got there and she refused to go into the cloakroom. Very quietly (she is quite passive when stressed in public) but stoically refused to set foot in the cloakroom.

I called the teacher over, and explained that DD2 had told me that she doesn't want to go to school because she has a sore tummy and feels sick, but that I had told her that Mrs x would probably want her to go to school and for school to let me know if she was too poorly. DD2 is stood quietly and purposefully ignoring the conversation at this point.

Mrs X said 'Oh DD2, you have lots of fun things to do today, you have to do your angel.' DD2 then suddenly laughed and jiggled her soft toy bear around in the air, making a silly noise, and walked into the classroom.

Her teacher said 'oh they like to pull on the heart strings'. I explained, once again, that she is genuinely distressed at home, that she refuses to get dressed, hides under the bed, etc., that the tears in the car were real and with genuine panic.

The whole time, her teacher was looking at me as if I was absolutely stupid. A mixture of pity and derision.

I ended up saying to her 'look, I'm getting the impression that as a school you think I'm neurotic and exaggerating. All I can tell you is that whatever DD2 is like at school, at home we have a very unhappy girl who is waking at night, begging not to go to school.' The teacher said 'oh well we need to work out why...'

Well yes, quite, that's why we have a paed referral!

TheLightPassenger Sat 15-Dec-12 10:13:19

justa grin, yes, I know that one well, that I have never had an NT child either. so am not the ideal person to comment on normal toddler behaviour!

lougle - I really hear you re:sublety. The school system does seem to underreact (for obvious reasons) to a child who is well behaved and doing well academically. And teachers aren't always that interested in your fimbling feeling that your child is somehow different socially.

lougle Fri 14-Dec-12 22:52:43

Oh Justa, you make me smile. You're right though, you have no 'neurotypical' children -they are all superstars grin

I am finding it incredibly hard to describe DD2 and her behaviour, because it is all so subtle and passive. I mean, she doesn't barge through aggressively. She doesn't say 'Oi, you, irrelevant minions, out of my way.' She doesn't get irritated, or cross, or show any sign that she thinks they are in the way. It is as if they just aren't there.

justaboutchilledout Fri 14-Dec-12 22:36:27

Yes. It does sound unusual. (not that I would know, with no "neurotypical" children).

lougle Fri 14-Dec-12 20:43:53

I don't know. She doesn't seem to, in the sense that she performed confidently and happily (albeit mechanically) at the Christmas play today, where there were 160 children crammed into a tiny area.

She tends to be at the back of the queue, always, but I think that's because she's the least organised. She's the scruffy one who has her coat flopping over her arm, her water bottle threatening to fall on the floor and her book bag being hoiked up her leg grin

She doesn't communicate naturally though, I think.

When she leaves the classroom, if any children are standing in the doorway, she just pushes past - if they get pushed out the classroom with her, so be it.

If she forgets something and needs to go back into the classroom, and children are stood in the door way, she just barges through. She doesn't even look at them.

A year R girl had a chocolate as she was walking home, and the chocolate broke. She asked her Mum if she could give one piece to DD2. The Mum said yes. She came up to DD2 and said 'DD2, would you like some chocolate?' DD2 just took it. Didn't even look at the girl. Just ate it and carried on walking. I called the girl back and encouraged DD2 to say thank you. DD2 just didn't even seem to register it all. She didn't seem 'pleased' or 'grateful' or even recognise that this young girl had been kind. She just seemed to think 'chocolate, nice.'

TheLightPassenger Fri 14-Dec-12 20:36:09

does she have trouble with crowds? just thinking she might find the home time scrum a bit daunting.

lougle Fri 14-Dec-12 20:32:39

The school exit, that is, not the classroom exit.

lougle Fri 14-Dec-12 20:32:17

She is eager to go home at home time, but I don't get any eye contact, etc. If she sees me from the classroom, before home-time, she makes funny noises and grins, jumping up and down. However, if I arrive at home time, she just walks out of the classroom (pushing past any child who may be stood in her way) and walks towards the exit. No hello, no eye contact...she just walks.

TheLightPassenger Fri 14-Dec-12 20:26:09

yy agree with zz and Moondog. repeating song words is different to purposeful speech. as it's like retrieving a sequence of sounds, that remain the same each time, without outside interruption etc. Much much easier than reciprocal conversation.

to me, what you describe regrinrganisation doesn't sound too worrying for her age group. the thing that concerns me more (other than her anxiety) is your instinct that there is something too precise, that is different from her peers about your DD's use of language.

Out of interest, is she eager to come home from school - just wondering if it's transitions she is bothered about? Possibly as well as the Moondog calendar, the Lingle clock might help reduce her anxiety?

lougle Fri 14-Dec-12 20:06:40

supermum98, her teacher seems nothing other than lovely, and DD2 adores her.

She does have a very strong sense of 'must do as teacher tells me' which is possibly my fault, because I had to do a very clear 'teacher is boss' program with DD2 last year, after it was mentioned that DD2 was crossing the line at times (verbally) and on one occasion was dropping marbles through a hole in the loft, accidently hitting the Yr R teacher on the head blush

The more I'm observing, the more I'm realising that DD2 is learning explicitly, but not intuitively, if that's the right way to describe it. I was watching her school play today, and she was perfect. Every move exactly right. However, her movements were almost mechanical - each one a movement all of its own, a complete episode. It would also explain why she can learn all the lines to songs, but can't seem to hold a conversation appropriately.

She has learned to bring all her stuff out after class, for example, but to get there, I had to give step by step instructions. 'DD2 - coat. You must have your coat when you come out of the classroom.' Then, 'DD2 - coat and bookbag. You must bring your bookbag when you come out of the classroom.' Then, 'DD2 - coat, bookbag and water bottle. You must bring your water bottle when you come out of the classroom.' Then, finally, 'DD2 - cardigan. You must bring your cardigan when you come out of the classroom.' It took about 3-4 weeks to get to the point that she had all of her things when she came out.

supermum98 Fri 14-Dec-12 19:50:52

Are u really sure everything is ok in the class-room though and your daughter isn't braving it out for the teacher ie. worried about getting into trouble etc.
I have an NT daughter who felt sick every morning before school, with anxiety, teacher shouted a lot and she couldn't cope with it ?

moondog Thu 13-Dec-12 16:00:18

As Zzzzz says, two different things.
I know many kids like this.

imogengladhart Thu 13-Dec-12 10:17:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lougle Thu 13-Dec-12 09:33:08

Yes, I'm having to learn fast about being the parent with concerns rather than having the concerns brought to me.

With DD1, they came to me, and they were having difficulty with her. Now, with DD2, I can see that they will have difficulty if they don't recognise things while they are relatively minor, but they can't yet see it. I mean, from their point of view, it must be unfeasible. An August born child who is decoding well, remembering every line of complicated Christmas songs, precise language when answering questions, yet her mother is saying there's a problem with language? I'm realising more and more, though, that DD2 is self-selecting her interactions, so the teacher only sees stuff she is comfortable with. As school gets more academic towards year 2, 3, etc., she won't be able to do that.

justaboutchilledout Thu 13-Dec-12 09:06:08

It sounds like the teacher has listened and is trying to help. But is taking time to think through what you are saying.

I often find that what happens when I raise a concern with a teacher is that the teacher says "Oh but they are fine here" / (insert other irrelevant defensive=sounding remark as appropriate.) I go away and stew that they are not understanding me/DS, whilst they go away and think about what I have said. Then I find they have done something about it. I try not to listen too much to the first response as a consequence.

zzzzz Thu 13-Dec-12 09:01:20

Copying and creating language are 2 totally different things. Ds could recite years before he could ask you to cut his food.

Prelearning helped hugel for us when his language was very poor ( ie vocab and content of each lesson covered at home before it was given at school).

I'm so glad to hear a glimmer of improvement of your dd. Small changes can make a huge difference, I wouldn't have believed how much if I hadn't just seen dd experience it. Our mutism was medically induced and very overtly "real", adaption was removing all pressure to speak (so teacher saying "good morning" but not waiting for an answer). That was IT basically, and a year and a half of quite serious parental and professional concern is melting away!

lougle Thu 13-Dec-12 07:04:28

The bizarre thing with the language, is that she can learn and retain all the words to the Christmas songs they're performing, despite only having been there for 14 out of 32 school days.

She is word perfect with " You know Dasher and Dancer And Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid And Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall The most famous reindeer of all?"

It only seems to be her own language that is odd, if that makes sense.

PolterGoose Wed 12-Dec-12 20:17:22

We've only ever had 1 teacher agree to do it, but in Y3 ds got a copy of each weeks timetable, which included a summary of each lesson plan, it really helped, in fact, Y3 was his real turning point year In terms of school, now in Y5, he remembers the timetable and his teacher tells him in advance if there are any changes.

Something else we tried and was effective, but yet again teachers didn't stick to it angry was ds having a pack of post-it's which could be written on through the day as he did things he enjoyed, because all he ever remembered about his day were all the 'bad things' so it was a way of remembering the good stuff. When his negativity got really bad I ended up developing a system where at the end of every school day he had to mark his day out of 10, he would then get that number of Maltesers grin

lougle Wed 12-Dec-12 16:58:11

Yes, she can read averagely for her age and can decode words she struggles with quite well.

I've read the posts about calendars in the past, but will read them again.

Thank you smile

moondog Wed 12-Dec-12 16:51:49

Can she read?
If so, a simple printed timetable for het to carry.
If not, a picture one.
Or a picture and text one.

You say to the teacher you think it might be to do (I'm just hazarding a guess here, based on what I know about kids with what seem like similar issues) with not knowing exactly what she is doing each day. Ask her to run through her week with you and jot it down. Then make up the calendar and ^crucially' show your dd how to cross stuff off once it happens.
It would be useful to do one for thnigs you do as a family as well, even if she is fine with them.
I have posted a lot about calendars in the past. Not sure if you know about those posts.

Lougle Wed 12-Dec-12 16:45:37

I agree. The trouble is, that I'm already telling them there are issues without any evidence of it at school (they say). I worry that unless I have someone on board saying 'there's something that needs looking at here', I'll look like I'm trying to create a 'problem' where there isn't one, because DD2 can't express why she's anxious.

She knows the days of the week. She knows that on Friday she does French and on Wednesday she does PE. Apart from that, it gets a bit squiffy.

moondog Wed 12-Dec-12 16:32:51

'trouble is, that I have no idea what happens in the day, we aren't given any clue, so I couldn't do it without her teacher telling me'

And that may be the crux of the issue.
Hpw would you like to go somehewere every day and not know what will happen throughout that day? Add to that difficulties with communication which mean that you may not be able to communicate your need to know what will unfold in a calm and coherent manner.

For us, this is the first thing we address-let kids and parents know exactly what will happen and when. It's a basic human right to have this knowledge.
I remember a fair few years ago asking my child's teacher this and being met with an astonished look.
'Noone has ever asked us what we do all day before!'

Once I starting receiving the hastily scrawled list that she sometmies remembered to do, I started to understand quite how poor the provision was. It was a 'specialist s & l unit'. hmm

Complete nad utter bloody waste of time and I made sure my child then left it very swiftly.
I still feel huge rage when I think of it and how pathetic it was.

delllie Wed 12-Dec-12 13:27:36

I can understand Lougle, my DD is a nightmare at home but is 'good as gold' at school, I often feel paranoid that the teachers think I am making it up and start to question myself. But we have just recently got a diagnoses of Autism for her, (which incidentaly I have pushed for), and my DD clearly displayed the behaviours I am concerned with at most of the assessments (she was kicking, hitting, biting and trying to head butt me) so I do feel a bit vindicated smile

HotheadPaisan Wed 12-Dec-12 13:20:38

A lot of it with DS1 is/ was separation anxiety and transitions in general. Like I said we have just got to the point where he will kiss me goodbye and take his bags in without being reluctant, delaying or saying he doesn't like school, this is after 2+ years at this school.

I am a practical, pragmatic person and I was kind but firm with him but as with all things he got their in his own time when he was ready.

He does have a lot of problems in school though and they see these too, I'm really hoping age and the loads of strategies in place pay off in time.

I had a major wobble about it all recently because he was so incredibly distressed for a few weeks, much more so than usual, but I think it will just go in this pattern and we have to stay steady and help him get through it.

Not sure that helps but we are starting to see the light after a few years of dreadful difficulties and having patches of wondering what on earth we were putting him through every day.

Lougle Wed 12-Dec-12 11:54:12

I think her anxiety could be about that, maybe a diary would help - trouble is, that I have no idea what happens in the day, we aren't given any clue, so I couldn't do it without her teacher telling me, and I don't want to seem over dramatic.

Star, I don't think I'm projecting. I think that what I've realised is that the more I've said 'this is what's happening at home', the teacher has tried to reassure me, by saying 'it's not happening at school'. I think I've interpreted that as 'DD's making it up/you are making it up'. Having said that, the teacher obviously had thought about it all, because she spent some time with DD2 yesterday and DD2 went in to school happily today for the first time in 7 weeks.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Wed 12-Dec-12 11:04:18

Lougle It sounds like that teacher is trying to help or at least figure out what is going on. That's a really good sign. I think that a poor teacher (or sometimes a good teacher without decent support) is sooo damaging for our children that it can be safer to assume they need things pointing out.

Could you also be interpreting or projecting a little bit her reactions to you in light of your concerns that the paed might not take you seriously. I mean are you spending more time and thought than usual on trying to assess her reaction to your concerns as a practice/trial run?

I don't think from what you have written here that your concerns are being dismissed by the teacher at the moment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now