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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!

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 10:13:41

Why do you feel like an idiot?

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 10:20:49

Because the teacher made it so clear that she thinks I am being neurotic and causing a problem where there isn't one, and because DD2 changes once she's in the school grounds. As soon as she's faced with the teacher, she pastes on a smile and skips in. Moments before, she is a quivering wreck refusing to go into the classroom.

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 10:27:01

But if the teachers experience is that dd responds well to "we're doing painting" type encouragement, of course she will see that? That's her reality.

Because you see something different, doesn't make you idiotic.

You are both operating with very different data.

helpyourself Tue 11-Dec-12 10:29:32

It reads as if the teacher was jollying your dd along effectively. You didn't look an idiot, but not great timing though- once dd had gone in I'd have said thanks, have a good day and left.
The time to discuss the background and how different your dd is at home is at a timetabled 1:1 meeting with the teacher, not in the middle of the school day when the teacher was teaching.
And that look of pity and derision is more likely to have been polite impatience as she tried to get back into the classroom.

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 10:31:37

I actually think the fact dd can cope with encouragement and the teacher seems to know the school version of dd well enough to find the right incentive for her, is very good news.

Of course you feel upset. You're not a robot and had probabley been patient beyond patient. Try not to feel criticised, instead think bout how his can be used to work in dd favour.

zumbaleena Tue 11-Dec-12 10:44:20

i think helpyourself is correct

helpyourself Tue 11-Dec-12 10:50:48

Thank you zumbagrin
I've been a primary teacher and a primary mother, in fact a mother for many more years than I was a teacher. It's horrid feeling you've been wrong footed, and I'm really sorry you felt stupid, but in this case the outcome was excellent, dd is happy in class.

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 12:58:33

"dd is happy in class"

hmm DD2 is not happy in class. The outcome is not excellent. If she were happy in class she wouldn't be hiding under my bed refusing to get dressed, waking in the night thinking she's going to be sick, begging me not to take her to school in the morning.

It wasn't in the middle of the school day, and I wouldn't have said anything if I could have got her through the door.

helpyourself Tue 11-Dec-12 13:06:21

She's there now though isn't she? The teacher wouldn't have encouraged her in if she was as she is at home in class.
I would imagine you feel awful that she's acting out her fears with you, but leave to one side your feelings and acknowledge that what she's telling you and what's actually happening in class are not the same thing.

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:14:07

I know this is off at a tangent lougle (and honk honk, because I am on your side and don't think you are inventing anything) but could the anxiety be the thought of school, not the reality of school IYKWIM? Transition between activities and environments is a huge subject and may be a bigger part of the picture than you have at first thought.

It's difficult because as you have said dd is passive in public (nb for some this is a sign of extreme anxiety, my selective mute dd is similar), but in some ways it can work massively in her favour. A child that can be coerced and cajoled into facing their fear, is not less scared, but they do have a huge advantage in being able to experience what is causing the anxiety. They are far more likely to overcome tha fear with good support and move forwards.

If dd can enjoy school once there, but cannot cope with the thought of school or the emotions afterwards, you have a much clearer focus on the issues, and this will ultimately drive the solution.

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 13:23:45

helpyourself I acknowledge and accept that how she is at school is different to how she is at home. That doesn't mean that she is necessarily happy, however. A passive child at school doesn't make a happy child automatically. Add to this, that DD2 is painfully honest. If she was happy, she would tell me, and she does tell me some bits of the day that are good (coming home hmm spelling, etc.) If her teacher could leave aside her feelings and consider for one moment that maybe, just maybe, as an adult I am telling the truth about what happens at home, she might be able to help DD2 to have a more positive association with school.

zzzzz - I think you have a point there, to the extent that DD2 seems to cope with school once she is there. I mean, there are aspects of school which she reports she enjoyed at the end of school, yet at the beginning of the day there is nothing she enjoys, IYSWIM.

Overall, I think it would be much better if the school could accept that there is something real affecting DD2. People outside of 'home' are starting to see it, for example at church, or in shops, etc. It isn't just me. Her Grandparents are also concerned, and to give context, they were absolutely horrified when we suggested that DD1 (who is now in special school) may have some additional needs. They couldn't face it until she had a diagnosis, they felt like they were somehow betraying her. Yet, with DD2, they are saying to me that there is something not quite right.

ouryve Tue 11-Dec-12 13:26:22

That's the nature pf ASD related anxiety, isn't it? DS1 becomes incredibly wound up about any change in routine, including going into school late after an appointment. Even if something he loves is coming up, he's really punchy and aggressive (his anxiety reaction) in the run up and quite often wants nothing at all to do with it until it's actually happening.

Your DD's anxiety about school may be because it's not THIS and her brain cannot build a comfortable picture of what THAT thing that she's expecting is. Even though it's a familiar place for her, anticipation of going to school makes such huge calls on her imagination that it's really stressful for her.

That would explain why you're seeing something completely different from her teacher. The moment she's physically in the building and she hears the familiar voice of her teacher, her THIS is now school and she doesn't have to stress about it any more.

ouryve Tue 11-Dec-12 13:31:01

Actually, I wonder if a photo album of her classroom to keep at home would help your DD? DS1 found this sort of thing really useful when he was small and hadn't decided that visual supports were beneath him. They still do help DS2 with learning new routines, though he is a lot more adaptable than DS1, so long as you don't break the rules (say by walking home when he went in the buggy or getting ready for school, then taking it all off again to have a nappy changed, then putting it all back on, then turning back after 10 minutes because it's too icy...grin)

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 13:34:00

ouryve, I've never heard it put like that before, and it makes perfect sense. Of course, we don't have a diagnosis for her yet, and it's possible that she has S&L issues rather than ASD issues, but whatever the issues, the anxiety is the same.

I had said to her that we might go to the cafe after her blood test for breakfast (one of the tests was fasting glucose), but then we ran out of time because of bad traffic. Instead we just popped in to buy something and left.

She was marching along beside me, saying 'why did you lie to me??' I explained that we had to change plans, but she was insistent that I'd lied and was being mean to her. It wasn't a big deal, but it highlighted to me how exhausting each day must be for her.

mariammama Tue 11-Dec-12 13:47:07

Righto, how about a trip to the shops for supplies. Then paste on big Christmas smile yourself and make a big photo album of 'home', With a matching 'school' version, and a disposable camera for dd to take pictures of her classroom.
Thank teacher for her help in bringing you to the eureka moment (yes, I know it was ouryve but flattery will get you everywhere wink). You think it's quite simple, she needs to remember the 'good' bits of school once she gets home and can't manage unaided.
It should either work on dd, or soften school up into a more co-operative mode

mariammama Tue 11-Dec-12 13:50:52

I no longer take offence at school treating me like a naughty kid, have lost the ability to care about their opinions or expect much useful co-operation. My theory is that, to the average teacher, we aren't adults, we're SEN-child-offshoots. Like their pets, or maybe their PE kit wink

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:51:10

Lougle the S&L / ASD similarities are massive ( and get more so ).

I think reading about anxiety disorders and nicking the ideas on how to help, would be sensible.

Dd went from not talking in school a all (18 months!) to a part in the school play in a few short weeks, just with a slight change in approach and morning routine from her teacher. It can happen.

Ds (severe language disorder) had photo stuff too, which helped. (also eating as we went in hmm )

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:51:56

grin maria so f***ing true!

zzzzz Tue 11-Dec-12 13:53:26

X posting, but definitely let teacher take credit.

It's exhausting how many egos we have to stroke.

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 14:00:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bochead Tue 11-Dec-12 14:02:50

maria - so, so true & even odder is that once I finally hit that point where I didn't even care if my "Catherine Tate face " showed relationships started to improve lol!

Badvocsanta Tue 11-Dec-12 14:07:15

I know my sons school think I am mad.
But it's ok.
He is now thriving because of what we have implemented at home and we are thrilled.
School think its the 2 x 10min phonics interventions be has been having (sporadically) since last year smile
Let them think its them.
Don't care.
As ling as ds1 is happy they can take all the credit they want.
I could not give the slightest toss what they think of me and they of me and they know it.
Dead popular, me smile

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 14:10:57

mariammama, if I did that, school would most like call SS and say I've got Munchausen's grin

I think I need to tough it out until next Friday, then no more school until after she sees the Paed.

I just pray that he is able to see the issues. I'm going to spend the next couple of weeks taking (more) notes of things she does/says.

For instance, I asked her if her tummy pain stays all the time, or goes away then comes back. She said 'If I am downstairs in the house or the building, it goes away. If I go upstairs in the house or the building, it comes back.'

I think that she is feeling anxious, and she was thinking of the fact that her tummy pain comes back when she goes to bed (when she's upstairs) because she's away from me. When she comes downstairs to be close to me (if she wakes in the night) the pain goes away (probably because the anxiety stops).

It really isn't normal for a 5 year old to say 'the house or the building' though, I'm sure of it. Just like it isn't normal to say 'I must go and tell the sisters.'

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 16:36:10

'Because the teacher made it so clear that she thinks I am being neurotic and causing a problem where there isn't one'

Generally, that is ASD for you! Not diagnosing of course but it is standard treatment of parents with children who are embarking on ASD-type investigations, and often once given a dx too, so brace yourself.

BUT, don't doubt yourself.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 16:47:29

Lougle I totally agree with you that just because your Dd went into class doesnt mean she is happy.

Dd3 is very passive and rule bound, if a teacher says she must do something then she would do it even if it caused her massive anxiety.
At school she is often described by teachers as quite and shy but outside school no one who knows her sees those things in her.

In fact Dd3 is different in different areas of the school , in the resource base she is not the same child as in the classroom!

Roll on next Friday.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 16:54:32

'Overall, I think it would be much better if the school could accept that there is something real affecting DD2.'

Yes. For you. Not for them.

If you just consider basic pyschology. The teacher sees no problem with dd2. You start making demands (albiet reasonable and polite ones) and then YOU become the teacher's problem. The solution for a happier and peaceful life FOR THE TEACHER is to try and make YOU go away. Even if the teacher agrees there is some extra work to be done for your DD, the reward might have to outweigh the work. Often this just doesn't happen with the passive children as there is no consequence for ignoring their needs. Ignore a child with agressive behaviour and the teacher soon knows about it.

I'm not teacher-bashing for the sake of it here. I just want you to see what the situation might appear to be from the teacher's point of view. And you have to add the teacher's professional confidence and sensbilities wrt this (and teachers imo are a pretty defensive bunch having been bashed by politicians, media, ofsted, society in general - the only thing they have to hang onto for their own self-esteem is a belief in themselves as 'professionals' is this idea that they know better than parents at least).

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 16:57:46

'My theory is that, to the average teacher, we aren't adults, we're SEN-child-offshoots. Like their pets, or maybe their PE kit'

Blimey - lol

I always just thought that the only worse thing that a teacher had to face than a parent, was a parent of a child with SEN.

HotheadPaisan Tue 11-Dec-12 17:07:38

Today was the first day in years that DS1 kissed me goodbye and went into class on his own without delaying and saying 'I don't want to go to school'. It has taken that long and a lot of soul searching through some awful times of watching him be horribly distressed.

No easy answers, but I know what you're talking about.

moondog Tue 11-Dec-12 17:18:57

I'd just like to mention that I am in schools nearly every day of the school lterm and see kids very often whose parents swear blind they don't want to come in but who, when they get there are obviously having a great time.

Just saying. smile

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 17:27:35

Yes moon I do too but there is a difference AFAIAC, I can tell when I pick Dd3 up that she has had a tough day and yet if I asked her teachers they would say she has been fine.

I also know that children can be very different at home and at school but I think it is very worrying when your child is saying they are ill and cant go to school.

Tummy pains and anxiety often go hand in hand as I am sure you know but as a parent it is a horrible situation to be in when you have to make that call every day and you dont know why your child keeps saying they are in pain.

Dd3 once vomitted at school through anxiety over staying for lunch and when I bought her home she waded through a bowl of sausage casseroleconfused

HotheadPaisan Tue 11-Dec-12 17:28:48

Just out of interest, when we saw DK she mentioned DS1's unusual way of speaking, we hadn't really noticed, or at least didn't think it was a problem or that it meant anything, but it was true and not typical of a child his age.

moondog Tue 11-Dec-12 17:29:25

Maybe so.
I can't fathom any teacher I know lying about it though.
Why would they?
If kids are unhappy, most people, whoever they are, would want to know why.

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 17:34:32

Ds is another one that only presents anxiety symptoms, both physical and emotional at home. We keep being told he is fine in school, yet he's a wreck and they just don't get to see it. He suffers from reflux, constant upset stomachs, migraines, headaches, nausea and tics when he is stressed and the school says they aren't seeing any of this (despite the fact I was sitting there watching him tic in assembly last Friday hmm angry).

We had some success with using a feelings diary that he completed with the teacher each day, discussing what was good and bad about the school day and eventually (after some work on emotional scaling) he gave the day a score out of ten. I then did a pie chart with him showing that there were actually more 'average' and 'good' days than bad and that helped him understand that school isn't all bad. He then found that he was wanting to put different numbers on different parts/experiences of the day and that was a breakthrough, as he started to realise that each day has good and bad bits and no day (well almost no day) is all bad. The book also acted as an emotional barometer for his teachers to assess his anxiety levels during the day and take evasive action if/when necessary.

Unfortunately, thanks to the behaviour of certain staff members this year, he no longer trust the school enough to tell them anything. As a result he is telling what they want to hear in the diary, then coming home and telling me what he is really feeling. This is a huge problem, because I no longer have evidence that he's struggling at school.

Still, sorry went off on one a bit there, some sort of feelings diary/journaling might help your dd sort out her emotions a little?

Also, ds1's autism teacher suggested using a sparkle book at bedtime. It's when you take some quiet time before bed to think of three good/nice things about the day and write them into a notebook. You can decorate the book together and use it to remind her that good things can and do happen every single day.

Ds1 is highly anxious and very much a glass half empty kind of child. He needs it clearly pointed out to him that nothing is all bad and gently prodding to notice and try to focus on the positive.

StarOfLightMcKings3 Tue 11-Dec-12 17:37:13

I think it is more complicated than that though moondog. DS often creates a whole song and dance about going to school, and he did at his last school.

But his TUNE is very different now.

With old school he was withdrawing into himself and becoming frightened and tearful but at the same time not actually making any demands. They were denying his needs.

His new school understand him and make him engage when he doesn't want to. He has a behaviour plan and he's pushed to perform in the school productions.

He's a skilled avoider and would rather stay at home all day playing with google earth. I sometimes have to physically get him out of the door (stupid taxi won't wait), but once out of the door he bounds, all smiles, to the car and straight into a row about whether the driver is going to put capital or kiss fm om the radio.

cansu Tue 11-Dec-12 17:57:01

Maybe the fact that your dd is or appears happy in school isn't the issue. She is displaying unusual behaviour at home. She is showing anxiety and saying she is I'll when she perhaps isn't. This is still an issue but perhaps it isn't a school issue. I think the fact that she presents very differently at school doesn't make you wrong and maybe it doesn't make the teacher wrong either. T is simply that she presents differently in different environments. This doesn't change the fact that you are concerned about how she is behaving at home.

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 18:10:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 11-Dec-12 18:36:22

moon, I dont even think it is about lying, ime. It is more about lack of awareness about anxiety and also being too busy to spend much time really getting to know each child, especially the passive ones!

Dd3 spent 3 years in her old school and they knew nothing about the real her because they never saw the real her.

She was virtually mute, very well behaved and never caused them any trouble.
They just cant understand it why would a parent be worried about a.child like that???confused

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 19:00:47

Imogen, ds's feelings diary scales all his emotions from 0 = worst ever to 10 = ecstatic. The sparkle book was suggested in addition, to reduce bedtime related anxiety and is only to be used at home - nothing to do with school and they would never get to see the contents.

Sounds like your link-worker needs some lessons on how to develop emotional literacy in children.

The feelings diary has been a fantastic way of developing his understanding and scaling of his own emotions and was something I read about and implemented and then the EP developed while she was working with him.

The problem we have started having this term (after two years of using the feelings diary successfully) is that ds is afraid to tell his teachers and TA the truth about how he's feeling and doesn't want them to read it in his feelings diary either, so is putting down what he thinks they want to see, rather than how he's actually feeling - hence giving the school evidence that everything is ok at school. Unfortunately, he seems to have made a connection between his previously much loved and trusted autism teacher and the school as well, so he no longer even trusts her enough to tell her what he's worried about, because he sees her as 'staff' and possibly complicit as a result. It's a nightmare. He's telling me things and then begging me not to tell anyone at the school, including his ASD teacher, which effectively hogties me and stops me being able to help him. sad

PolterGoose Tue 11-Dec-12 19:22:57

It is so hard when school don't see what we see, or when they interpret behaviours using the wrong framework IYSWIM? They see a quiet passive child whilst we see a frozen scared child sad

Lougle, I so hope you get what you need from the paed in January, sending honks.

moondog Tue 11-Dec-12 19:28:03

Ok then.
I must be fortunate enough to work in schools where this doesn't happen, thank God. smile

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 19:32:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Walter4 Tue 11-Dec-12 20:05:24

Totally agree with star, par for the course before diagnosis and with some, after too. I sympathise with you're situation, I have a similar one with my 4 year old. A nightmare to get to school, walking on egg shells every morning , with him saying he won't go to school every day. Once there he refuses to go into class, very upset and extreemly anxious,the second I leave he is ok. This is coping behaviour for a child with asd/PDA. He is not ok in class and any trained professional would see the signs of his anxiety at school, teachers are NOT trained autism professionals and will not see passive anxiety/avoidance, often if the child co operates for them all is well. For my son PDA means that for the moment he can cope with the demands of school and his challenging behaviour is reserved for everywhere except school. I would imagine that because you treat your daughter as she need to be treated at home, this is enabling her to cope with the stress of school, for the moment.
Don't allow yourself to feel this way, you are right, and although diagnosis is not always a solution it does really help. Before it I felt much as you do, but its better now , most teachers sit up and listen. Often it's just ignorance of asd , once you have a diagnosis, bombard them with " helpful" information!

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 20:13:02

He won't write anything down at home if he thinks I will tell the school what he's said and I couldn't break his trust by getting him to write it down and then telling them despite him asking me not to. So frustrating.

Also, I suspect if it was written down at home, they would claim I'd coerced him or I was causing the anxiety.

imogengladhart Tue 11-Dec-12 21:07:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moosemama Tue 11-Dec-12 21:21:33

I know imogen - at least we're in it together though. smile brew

Lougle Tue 11-Dec-12 22:09:58

Moondog, you are right, in many ways. DD2 does have a good time once she gets there, according to her teacher, and I believe her (the teacher). However, that doesn't negate the fact that, when I ask her what the best bit of her day was, she says 'coming home'. Or the fact that she hides under my bed so she doesn't have to dress, then begs me repeatedly not to make her go to school. Just because she complies when she gets there and it isn't as bad as she thought it would be, doesn't change how she feels about it beforehand or afterwards.

Interestingly, when I got to the school this afternoon her teacher pulled me to one side and said she felt bad about our discussion earlier, that she wasn't suggesting I was neurotic, but was trying to reassure me that, whatever DD2 is saying at home, she's displaying no signs of unhappiness at school.

We were able to discuss the situation, and the teacher mentioned that she had noticed DD2's meltdown about tights/leggings/socks after dance club and had been suprised because they never see anything like that at school. I was able to explain that they were very unlikely to see anything like that, because DD2 is so keen to do as she is told by her teacher. I think it got through.

I also managed to communicate that my concerns have nothing to do with 'intelligence' or 'performance' and that if her teacher came to me and said that DD2's ability was low average, say, but she was happy at school, I would be fine with that as long as she was progressing as she should. My concern is about something very different.

I'm hoping that we're coming to an understanding. We both agreed that I looked pretty daft when I told the teacher what DD2 had said moments before, then DD2 started dancing, making funny noises and saying 'look at my bear' before skipping into the classroom (the same classroom she'd refused to go into for the few minutes before, when I was trying to get her in). Having said that, DD2 laughed moments before going into complete meltdown over her blood test, meaning that 3 of us had to hold her down. She does that wink

Shayo Wed 12-Dec-12 07:55:57

Could you record her discreetly using your phone?

Lougle Wed 12-Dec-12 09:16:59

Yes, that's a thought.

We have progress, though!

Today, DD2 (for the first time since 22 Oct) didn't refuse to dress, actually skipped on the way to school, and was singing Christmas Carols, then flew like an aeroplane into her class [shocked]

Her teacher came out to tell me that yesterday, she had taken DD2 to her old classroom to look at the differences between them. She then took her to all the classes in the school to look at the differences between them all, and explained that they all look different because each teacher likes different things. Then, she talked about change in general and how DD2 is changing.

DD2 didn't mention it yesterday, but I doubt it was a coincidence.

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 12-Dec-12 09:39:05

Great news lougle, sometimes a little bit of extra support is all it takes.

I hope now that the teacher has realised what she needs to do you will have a better time.

Good lucksmile

Shayo Wed 12-Dec-12 09:40:44

Thats good lougle.Hope this is the beginning of good things for both of you.happy the teachers doing something thats seems to be working.

moondog Wed 12-Dec-12 10:12:54

Is her anxiety due to not knowing about how the day will unfold do you think?
If so, a written/symbol diary can be of enormous help.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 16:51:49

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 16:58:11

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

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 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.

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!

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

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

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 ?

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.

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 20:32:17

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.

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

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

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 20:43:53

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.'

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 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.

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.

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