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Need to re-adjust expectations of ds about school - help

(105 Posts)
DidEinsteinsMum Thu 18-Jun-09 21:32:43

Ok ds is 4 G&T prob, Apergerus poss. He expects school to be sit down learning.hmm
He had an individual visit for 1 hour prior to the normal visit schedule a fun phonics thing. He has been complaining it was boring and is already making reluctant noises about going back next week for his 2nd official visit (this time without parents) His dad reports that he seemed to enjoy it. I suspect he enjoyed it on face value but later felt it did not fulfil his stimulus requirements. He is a high stimulus input kid. I know the school is good and have a plan in place for him once they get past the initial induction aspects in sept.

How do i work on the fact that
1. Reception is a bit of work and a good chunk play?
2. It will get better when he starts properally
3. Convince him he wants to go next (thus avoiding the meltdown otherwise expected)
4. Get him to understand that most children want to play and not sit down to lessons at reception (AIBU?)
5. Do i need to talk to the school about ds' feelings - they have been dealing with it since the CAF voted them best to deal.
6. Oh and the good old one : his peers are not stupid!

Maybe i am worrying too much? feel free to kick my butt into perspective wink

ingles2 Thu 18-Jun-09 21:38:23

I think you're are worrying far too much.
He can't get a feel for how school will be in an hour supervised visit.
You can't identify how he will actually react in a school once he is there full time and without his parents.
I think you should prime him that reception is all about settling in and learning to work in a group, having empathy and understanding for his peers and forging friendships.
Don't worry, but keep your eye out

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Thu 18-Jun-09 21:38:58

Reception year was an absolute PITA for ds. The best they could do was put him in the next year for literacy and maths, then put him back in reception for the 'play'. You really do need to talk to them before he starts school so they can put some measures in place for him. There are things that you can do outside school, clubs etc which will keep him busy. Teaching him that his peers are not stupid is a tough one, I solved this problem by teaching him about how people fit into a society, the roles they play and how important they are. Everyone's good at something, it may not show right away and alot of people don't find what they are good at at school but everyone's good at something. I'd teach him this, it worked for ds.

missmem Thu 18-Jun-09 21:41:56

Based on experience of both aspergers and giftedness I would suggest that DS starts in Year 1 in a years time and misses out reception or if at all possibly send him to a traditional private school i.e. single desks facing the blackboard.

DidEinsteinsMum Thu 18-Jun-09 21:57:38

Unfortunately I couldn't cope with him not being in school for another year - he has educationally been ready for 2 years. Will continue work of everyone is good at something someone else is bad at - we have been doing this for a year already but not getting it yet. Will try emphasising your point ingles2. It is a good and logical one.

Fluffy that is part of the schools plan but they have also said they are getting him on their buddy system and 'social skills' stuff. PLus they are going to give him 1/2 term before getting ed psych in. Plus we have talked about him doing the afterschool club one day a week (its a private thing and fairly expensive). Anything else I can think about?

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Thu 18-Jun-09 22:04:40

I have just plopped ds into a state school, I found that starting him part time really helps. He's now coming home for lunch a few days a week so he can chill and so I can nip any problems in the bud sooner rather then later. A communications book between home and school will help you keep track of what he's up to. I've also made an appointment with a therapits/play therapist as he's not really in touch with his, nor anyone elses, emotions so I'll have to see how this one goes.

A buddy system will help, as will identifying trigers. Ds's are play time/lunch/pe as he can't cope with the freedom of not being in class. I've told him to stick with his friends rather then try to make as many as he can which is helping, so it kind of gives him a timetable for the playtime IYKWIM.

DidEinsteinsMum Thu 18-Jun-09 22:11:16

what is IYKWIM?

I suspect that he will be quite disruptive as he is very easily distracted - particularly when bored. But the school will deal with that, they will have to otherwise there is going to be big problems and they are well aware of the possibilities. And as long as they feed his obsession with learning (doesn't matter what he just has to be learning) he will be fine. Would it be worth asking for feed back from the school after the remaining visits to get both sides of the story?

Thanks for the advice
<stows worry in box for later>

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Thu 18-Jun-09 22:16:04

Sorry, if you know what I mean.

I would defiently(spelling??) get some feedback from them. Try not to worry though, they would have seen it all (and worse) before. I really do know why you are concerned but more often then not, children have a split personality so can be angels at school and little sod's at home or the other way round. A little sticker chart can help him, a sticker for each lesson if it goes well. Reception is to help them learn about the school routine and what's expected of them.
What sorts of areas is he advanced in and how much?

missmem Thu 18-Jun-09 23:11:59

He may have been ready since aged 2 but he's not going to get what he needs so it would be kinder to keep him at home.

DidEinsteinsMum Fri 19-Jun-09 00:05:36

Ahhh it makes so much sense when you know grin

He is working at GCSE level science concepts at mo. The basics of photosynthesis (ability of plants to make their food) and its implications on the food web.

Reading he is ORT level 4 and the Horrid Henry early readers.

Writing -about average but spelling he will individually write words and would be better if he picked easier words. The first word he tried to independantly spell was Model which he spelt modl (not bad for just 4 grin)

Maths - understands the principles of square, square roots and that number pattern (eg triangle nos) exist. Not sure he could apply though. Starting to handle money and time (struggles with time as a concept so telling suffers a bit)

literature - can recognise different styles of writing and sentance structure ( Capital at beginning only unless there is a name, fullstop at end, speach marks mean talking.

History - current passion is the 2nd world war but only just started that. He has been interested in archeology and family history

Geography -fleetingly understands existance of different countries and cultures and religions.

Art - that when you draw it is only a represetation (only way i could get him to draw - he's perfectionist) and that there are many different ways of creating an image.

Oh and he plays battleships and all sorts of other board games that coem with age 7 label on them

... it continues but this is more than enough info blush Far too much perhaps?

We actually found that sticker charts were counter productive - he is better when the behaviour is expected and he looses privaledges. What he is very weak in is social skills and relating to others. He has got to the point (through a hell of a lot of work) where he will now play with other children but it is out of sight out of mind. And it is best if the children are more in line with his thinking. But can be very awkward to watch. He needs reception to learn these skills imo.

DidEinsteinsMum Fri 19-Jun-09 00:06:40

I think i might have been writing a novel blush


FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 19-Jun-09 00:15:59

Hmm. There's going to be a few problems then as in certain subjects he'll be expected to follow the national curriculum, regardless of how much he knows. Poor ds ended up doing the life cycle of a tree three times, despite already knowing it, he's done about bones twice (know's then anatomically so pointless). Ds asks alot of questions but it's a balance between him getting bored and me being pushy. Do you teach your ds things to keep him occupied?

DidEinsteinsMum Fri 19-Jun-09 00:45:15

He is self motivating. I managed a rare trip to toilet on own today to find him in the lounge mixing honey, gravy granules, salt, sugar, stock cubes into a row of cups with water in them. Conclusion you can use a lot of salt in cold water but the cubes don't disolve. hmm

He asks question and wont accept a kids version answer. Asks until he is satisfied. The blood cells and functions was to stop him obsessively washing a cut (he'd been doing it for 20mins by that point), the photosythesis to get him to leave the plants alone. No can trigger a blowout so try to beat him with logic when in public blush

Yes, he get taught things to keep him occupied but also if i dont i dont get to sleep. As simple as that. Try to stick to age appropriate mind work though. He is a sponge and the discovery channels are his friend when he wants down time (to watch tv)
Althoug i do goof occassionally the square and square root this was to stop 20mins of insessant i know everything shouting. I was actually being flipant hmm it backfired blush

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 19-Jun-09 13:10:26

Ok. I have a rough idea of what's going on, bear with me though. I'm going to be hrsh and blunt but I have good intentions. I've been through this aswell so have seen the fallout when things go wrong so it's easier for you to know this now and use the benefit of my experience smile

I'd stop the talking to him about things's he'll learn at school and things that you know he shouldn't know but you teach him to try and catch him out. It really isn't the best way to go. You'll find that when he's at school his life's going to be really difficult because he'll already know what the teacher is talking about, the urge to interupt and correct the teacher is there for a bright child and one with aspergers won't know not to correct them, which will go down like a lead balloon.
You appear to be pandering to his academic needs more then you need to. I know how easy it is, sleep is lovely and my own child doesn't sleep well when he's bored so I really can see why you are doing this but it's really not going to help him, when he's at school there's going to be countless other children all asking questions so he really does need to learn 'not now'. There are also ways of answering a question in a way he'll understand and won't drive you up the wall in the process. I think this is individual to each child so you have to sit and find the key with him. Ds's is to relate things to something he knows, the heart/arteries/vessels for example are like the bus network in the city where we live, the buses leave the depot/station (blood leaves the heart), it has passengers that it drops off along the way (blood delivers oxygen around the body) then it returns to the depot/station when it's empty to collect more passengers.
I also (so sorry) think that this is part of where his umm..superiority complex, where he thinks that he knows more then everyone else..has come from. He's going to run into so many battles with the teachers and other children if you don't help him to change this (again, so sorry).I do suggest instead that he joins a team sports team if you can find one, it's really important that he learns to value other people, that he works in a team and has something to wear him out. He needs to learn that everyone is good at different things so he can appreciate people for who they are. A team sport will help with this.
Academically wise I really would stear clear of anything that's in the national curriculum. Reading's good. I also used to do topics with ds, things like dinosaurs as this is not taught in school and there's a very large scope to it (latin, model making, research etc). There's a term called stretching sideways, this is what this is.
You do also need to teach him that sometimes you just don't know things. This is normal and you need to emphasise that not even he knows everything. I would try and say that you don't know rather then say 'no, I'm not answering that'.

To be honest with you, the social side of life is just as important as the academic, he really does need to wrok in a team and be respectful to others if he's to get along in life so you need to start this now. You need to work with the school in this, you are all in the team that's trying to make your child the best person he can possibly be so you do have to work together. A nintendo Ds was a life saver for me, limited to an hour every couple of days gave me my sanity back. wink

ingles2 Fri 19-Jun-09 14:35:05

Have to say I totally agree with FluffyBunny... You are obviously extremely proud of your son and rightly so. But I really think that you are placing too much emphasis on the academic. It's very impressive you know all that info about where your son is, but slightly concerning to me (sorry to be so blunt)
It really is so important that you/he use these early years to encourage team play, understanding, when to speak up, when to concentrate, when to be proud or to be humble/thoughtful/compassionate.
I also think sport is a good route... any sport, swimming, riding his bike, football whatever....really doesn't matter. It should also help tire him out, both mentally and physically.

cory Fri 19-Jun-09 14:55:39

on the one hand, I think Fluffy is a perhaps a little bit harsh. I can well understand why you answer his questions to avoid meltdown, and am sure I would do the same.

ototh you do appear to be a little taken up by levels before he's even got to school. why would you be thinking about what level photosynthesis is just because you got talking about it? (I assume that this is what 'he is working on it' means, rather than that he is doing original research), isn't this just one of those things that you do talk to small children about anyway, because they're there, and they crop up and life is interesting?

normally, I'd just say, talk to him about whatever you both enjoy and just teach him he has to be considerate to other people at school

but because you suspect Aspergers, it's probably a good idea to help him keep out of trouble by doing what fluffy and ingles suggest and teaching him things that are not in the national curriculum

he can have just as much fun- but life will be easier on both him and his peers

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Fri 19-Jun-09 14:59:08

Sorry, I didn't mean don't answer any of his questions, you may find things settle down a bit when he's in school. I would be selective on what I talked to him about though and the level of depth that's required.

usernametaken Fri 19-Jun-09 15:31:07

My DD (4y3m) is also starting Reception in September. She is currently in the very play-based Nursery section of the school. We choose her school because of it having such a focus on play in Nursery and Reception.
Having her in the play base means she gets to be the 4yr old we feels she needs to be. She loves the sand/water tray, playing outside, being with her friends, playing on the bikes and trike, home corner etc etc. We are doing our best to keep her a good all rounder, she does swimming, gym and ballet outside of school which she loves. I feel we have found the right happy balance of keeping her as a 4yr old who happens to love academics!
But, she craves learning. I cannot imagine not answering her questions or teaching her something that she wants to know. I have every faith in the school that they will differentiate for her when the time comes. Starting full time in September is going to be so hard on them- long full days, staying for lunch, new teachers, classes, assemblies, PE is going to make them exhausted so he will need the first term to adjust to the new environment.

I have to say the Nintendo DS has been a great buy and taking her out bike riding every night certainly wears her out a lot!

lou031205 Fri 19-Jun-09 15:32:03

I honestly think (as a child who was hopelessly bored in school, was used to teach other children to read etc.) that if there are two lessons you can teach your DS prior to starting school they are these:

"There are some things that no matter how boring, how much you already know, or how much you hate them, you just HAVE to do."


"If you already know it inside out, keep quiet so other people can catch up".

I would have had a much more enjoyable school life if I had grasped that. He can extend at home, read other stuff, but at school he needs to know that he is one in a class, and that they all need to learn.

cory Fri 19-Jun-09 15:48:53

it is going to be harder for him to grasp if he has Aspergers though, lou. Maybe some kind of social story?

otherwise I agree; I too could have been more successful remembering this. blush

lou031205 Fri 19-Jun-09 17:21:22

I know Cory. It is a hard one. But if he truly has Aspergers, perhaps a visual reminder might help? Or a 'rule'?

ingles2 Fri 19-Jun-09 18:19:54

It seems from your OP DEM, that your son doesn't have a diagnosis or statement yet?
As I said try not to worry (I know it's difficult ) But what you are describing is really quite common for new school starters, particularly the 4 yr olds. They haven't yet grasped the concept that the entire world doesn't revolve around them... the first term will be a steep learning curve.
Good Luck.

DidEinsteinsMum Mon 22-Jun-09 10:19:27

Cory the only reason I know what level the work is, is because it is going to be the level I am hoping to teach. So science comes naturally. I do try to explain this in terms he would get eg like the bus transport route for blood but he knows enough from his own research to know that that is just not how it is.I am lucky has he has just topic shifted [big sigh of relief] and has so new aspects to go on. I agree with not trying to throw his out- that is my biggest mistake. I haven't been able to get a sports club as there aren't any for the under 5's in my area and he is currently in a play school -play setting. We have been working on the conept that nobody knows everything for years and i am always honest and if i don't know the answer I tell him we need to look it up. Additionally, he isn't very good at some things (like riding his bike) that his friends are and we have been emphasising that difference and that everyone is different. PLus he has just had to learn mummy is dyslexic as his reading was getting so good he was spotting that mine wasn't.

The one problem I have is he has never enjoyed play for the sake of play it has to have a purpose. This is something that we are trying to work on but failing. I just wish physical exercise was enough for him to sleep. sad I can walk him 6 miles in a day and he still wouldn't sleep without his brain having been busy. hmm

We were thinking piano lessons would stretch and challange him. Anyone got any opinions on this?

usernametaken Mon 22-Jun-09 10:29:26

What about an activity half an hour before bed to wind down but also stretch his brain. we used to do this with DD until we started going for a bike ride/walk. Jigsaws can make him think plus games like Blokus, Qwirkle, Rush Hour, Tantrix, Make n'Break, Draughts are popular favourites in this house with DD. They engage her brain which makes her sleep better.
DD taught herself French last summer which I have to admit was excellent for getting her brian going, she'd fall asleep with the dictionary on her face. Shame she learnt French with English pronunciations, lol!

Are there any gym clubs in the area, this is a great social outlet for DD, offers her a bit of a challenge and a lot of fun. Swimming lessons too offer the same. These have also given DD the chance to see that sometimes things don't come easily to her and she does have to work to achieve. This is a great lesson for school where she has just realised that her friends aren't reading/doing maths yet.

cazzybabs Mon 22-Jun-09 10:30:17

THE SCHOOL will focus on his needs now which are playing, creativity and social skills i am guessing...that is what he needs to learn to be ready for year 1.

I disagree with who ever said keep him at home till year 1 - and i do agree with who ever said the social aspects/play aspects are vital. You have to view these as important as reading, writing amd numeracy and until YOU do your son will have the attitude from you hat he will be bored. I am sorry to sound negative but to me reading your posts it sounds like you expect the school to fail your son. You need to trust and believe that it won't.

I would leave the piano lessons (great idea BTW) for a few weeks until you have seen hw he is coping. You may find with him leanring new skills that he does get tired.

Also what about ballet, gym, football - round here they all offer it to pre-school children

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