Hi everyone, I'm new to Mumsnet! I have two boys aged 12 and 9 and I thought my days of internet parenting forums were long gone. But I so much need to connect up with parents of other mega-bright children.
My 9yo is being so badly let down by his school and it feels like I'm banging my head against a wall - I really don't know what to do. He's incredibly studious and motivated to learn - he has taught himself to program in HTML, he can do simultaneous equations, and has mastered the basics of Latin grammar from a book.
But all I ever get from his school - and in particular from his current teacher - are complaints about his behaviour. I've bent over backwards to be supportive to the school and to go along with their line that it's a social environment and he needs to conform. But they make no effort to meet us halfway. It seems they will go to any lengths to avoid admitting that he's a bit special (their constant mantra is that he's got to understand he's no different from any of their other pupils); there's no gifted and talented policy; and they will absolutely not consider the possibility that some of his admittedly problematic behaviour might come about because he's bored.
I'm so upset! Hoping to get some advice and support here! I'm off to read the other threads.....
What a shame the school has not G&T programme. Maybe they are fed up pf his behavior so that is where the reluctance to help comes from? What is he doing that they find so annoying? Are they giving him an extras at all? Just because he is G&T the behavior issue won't slide as it may be too disruptive other children and it is no excuse for unacceptable behavior. What about home tutoring Have you had him assessed to see if it if G&T and no other issues? Does he does all his other school work well and on time?
Oops, I forgot to say what exactly he's doing! He finds it difficult to wait his turn in class discussions, and jumps in whether he's asked to speak or not. He wanders around the class when he has finished his work and distracts other children. And he makes jokes at inappropriate times and the other children all laugh and the class is then difficult to teach. I do understand that as a teacher it must be incredibly annoying to have to put up with this sort of behaviour, but I'm also pretty sure that if they used a bit of imagination in dealing with him, it would be so much easier for everyone.
As far as we know he doesn't have any other problem - the school suggested that we get him assessed for ASD in year 2 but the ed psych ruled that out completely; he gets on really well with people (older kids, adults, classmates, small children) and has lots of friends, so there's no particular problem which suggests itself.
We've thought about home ed and still might go down that route but he likes being with other children and wants to go to school! I can think of loads of things which might help him behave better but they all need a bit of flexibility and I just seem to draw a blank every time we talk to his teachers. All they talk about is giving him harder work, but I think that's missing the point - I think they need to look at the way they are teaching him, as well as what they are teaching him.
Are there any good books or other resources? Any examples of good practice? Anyone who has managed to talk to their child's teacher constructively?
I am pretty sure that an Ed Psych is not qualified to diagnose/rule out ASD.
If you were still unsure, you need a referral to paediatric psychiatrist and diagnosis support staff.
I have dd with ASD who is in top 1% for some things and bottom 12% for others and it has taken us a long time to find the right school and teachers for her.
There are actually two issues here
1) not meeting his needs
2) his behaviour
It is incredibly difficult to teach if one person is shouting out and it is unacceptable behaviour.
Forget about HTML and simultaneous equations, he needs to learn manners.
I think this is quite common with bright boys (IME) they don't see the point in waiting to answer, they know the answer they shout out and they NEED to learn not to.
One thing you could suggest to his teacher is for him to have a mini white board - you just get some A4 card laminated. That way he can write his answer and show his teacher without shouting out.
Once hos behavioue is under control you can address the school not meeting his needs.
They need to meet his intellectual needs but he needs to learn self-control, too. Does he not enjoy sitting & socialising? It's what most children do when they are still at the table but have finished their work. DC school the children can bring in a book to quietly read when they finish their work so a child could reach for the HTML manual then if they wanted. Is bringing in a book not allowed?
Is he yr4 or 5? Is there no facility for him to work with older kids?
If you lived around here I'd suggest something like flex-schooling at one of the tiny village schools.
I agree I think this needs to be divided into two issues
1. His behaviour. Not waiting his turn and walking around the class really are not on in a 9 year old. I feel at this age this is about respect, children should respect other children having the chance to answer etc. I am afraid I don't buy bordem my DD is also 9 years old, year 4, but is doing year 6 Maths. Any kind of misbehaviour has mortified her since year 1.
2. Meeting his needs. Yes work should be differentiated and that should not be dependent on his behaviour.
when they complain about his behaviour, do they offer any solutions? they are responsible for managing his behviour in the classroom, working in partnership with you.
eg, they complain about him wandering around when he has finished his work... what is he expected to do at that point? just sit and stare into space, read, or get more work? school need to put something into place for childen who have finished their work. they may have done this but your child is not following the procedure, or they haven't and then the problem is with them.
Have a meeting about his social needs. Ask them how they are going to support him in the classroom socially as they are reporting it as a problem. Ask them how they expect you to support them with the problem given that you are already making your expectations clear to him.
if they want to refer him for assessment for asd, let them. it will not get far through the system if he does not have it. he may be twice exceptional and have adhd/asd/other as well as high iq. can you afford to get his iq tested? finding out whether there are any other difficulties will be very useful before secondary school.
look at the nagc uk website as they have good advice about gifted childrern in school.
look also at different schools...if you get no help after meetings with school.
Your ds sounds very like mine. He too is 9, can do A level maths, programme in multiple languages etc. He also reads voraciously. When he was assessed by the ed psych, the conclusion was he was about 7 years ahead of his peers across the board. He did CAT tests recently as was described as being "off the scale".
IMO, he really, really needs to acquire listening skills.
Ds also had problems in being quiet when he was supposed to. The approach which worked for us, was lots of social skills discussion at home from us about why it was inappropriate and the problems it could cause for the teacher and other children. Ds cannot always intuit social norms, but in discussion at home is good at working out what social rules are and can then apply them at school. At school they had a private reward chart for ds which the other children were unaware of. He got a sticker in it whenever he managed to be quiet and a reward of his choosing at the end of the week if he got the right number.
I cannot emphasise how important it has been in getting this skill across to ds. We banged on at him for ages about him needing to engage with the world on its terms as it won't engage on his. He needs to learn to fit in. I have met many highly intelligent people in my life and many were unhappy. The happiest were those who had learned the social rules and can live with in them.
On advice and as a result of sustained bullying, we moved ds to the most selective school we could find about 6 months ago. He loves it. However, they have strict behavioural rules (much stricter than at his old school) and sitting and listening is a key requirement. If ds had not learned this skill, he would have failed at his new school too.
Happy to talk to you more about our experiences if they would help.
This is exactly what they said about my ds 2. He was finally diagnosed with Aspergers at 17. Schools wouldn't listen to us, he was not G&T though.
I agree that the behaviour is another issue although it could be partly due to the fact he's bored and finds it too easy, there could be more to it though.
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