DS - Stuttering at school(5 Posts)
My DS is 6. I don't know if he's gifted as such but I understand that he is the is the most able in his class certainly in terms of reading and maths. He's a very able reader and a bit of a maths genius. His mental maths is already quicker and better than mine. He seems to just know the answers, if that makes any sense . He is sociable, has understanding and insight into other people's needs and emotions, is very imaginative and creative. He loves building things and is Lego mad. For the last two years he has been able to build even the most complex Lego sets with no help. He can do this for hours at a time. He devours books ( although can be quite picky) and will read 100-200 pages over a couple of hours. When he is engaged in activities like this there's no issues with his behaviour at all. However, he's also very emotionally intense, feels things very strongly and has strong reactions. He's not really a behaviour problem at school but will often get tearful apparently. He can be incredibly stubborn and needs a lot of jollying along to move on from an activity he is engaged in. At home, he can have big meltdowns in shops when he wants something but doesn't have enough money. He'll work out how much he's got, add items up and gets very frustrated if what he wants exceeds the funds he's got! This is the biggest issue for us at home to be honest. Having entered year 2 they're trying to get him to sit in his seat more as he was tending to get up for a wander around a lot ! He now has to put up his hand and ask to get a book, which he reads in his seat until the rest of the class has finished their work. I think he tends to finish work quite quickly and he says he ends up reading A LOT. I appreciate where they're coming from as I sure it can be really disruptive but I just don't think it's working that week for him. He is a bit of a fidgeter when bored. His current teacher says that she "tries" to challenge him but that it can be difficult, especially in maths . Last year's teacher said he wasn't able to challenge him due to the limitations of the curriculum. His behaviour at school is becoming a bit worrying as he's showing signs of anxiety. He goes to the toilet a lot and has recently been bullied for this at school as he had a chart to encourage him to stay in his seat and only go between lessons. Other kids have picked up on this and bullied him as a result .Over the last term he has developed what I'm told is quite a severe stammer. This has come out of nowhere and has never happened at home, only ever in school. I've never heard it.
I suspect school are going to query ASD, but could this just be a bright boy who is a bit bored or perhaps anxiety at being in such a busy classroom. He does thrive in calmer environments. I suspect that making him sit down is having a detrimental affect on him.
What should I be doing in this situation?
Sounds awful. Some children have anxiety and it shows a different way. Some children have selective mutism, so don't speak at school at all but are happy to talk at home.
I would take things one step at a time - first, sort out the bullying. That's the most important thing to me. Speak to the school about it, be honest about how your son feels. I think this should be sorted out first. If you try to put all the issues in one discussion it will probably get too much.
The toilet issue could also be related to anxiety. Mention 'mental health' to the school and make sure your son gets the right level of support for that. You will probably have to be pushy.
In the meantime, challenge him at home - is he learning a musical instrument? a second language? maybe he could join a coding club - coding is very good, interesting and would probably fit in his ability set.
Maybe in a few months time, when he feels more secure and confident, you might want to re-schedule another meeting with the school to discuss how they challenge him for maths. I hope this helps.
(a) they've stigmatised him by putting in place a reward chart for potty training and letting this become known to his peers.
(b) they've acknowledged they are not meeting his needs due to "limitations of the curriculum" (which is horseshit BTW, there is nothing to prevent them from giving him work from higher years and this can be done efficiently with computer instruction - e.g. maths whizz / conquermaths; literacy planet)
(c) they're confining him to his seat for their own convenience even though he's probably gifted and has psychomotor overexcitability associated with that.
It sounds like the stuttering is a result of stress/anxiety, which they have caused, nothing to do with ASD. The school has caused the problem by failing to meet his needs and mishandling the situation. The school need to resolve it by changing their approach to meet his needs.
An ed psych assessment might give you evidence to help you advocate. I wouldn't let it lie - if they don't address it, it's likely to get worse. If you can't resolve it with the school I would pull him out.
Sounds like anxiety - the toilet thing is a prime tactic mine use to avoid something they're not confident about and I have a stammer when I'm stressed or anxious.
I think Going has a great advice. My ds was a selective mute for over 2 years. It took a lot of time and effort for him to feel at ease.
I don't have any good advice for you other than agreeing with PPs, but really hope it will get sorted soon. Good luck.
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