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How much longer should I try HEing my daughter ?

(14 Posts)
mummyloveslucy Tue 06-Sep-11 13:27:29

Hi, as many of you know, my daughter is 6.5 years old and has some complex special needs. She's basically approx 1-2 years delayed in most areas. She has severe speech and language difficulties and is quite demanding of attention.

She's also an only child and since I don't drive, she doesn't get that much time to play with other children. She goes to 3 clubs a week, but she can't really play at those.

She used to go to a small private school. She loved the nursary and was very happy until she moved into year1. She then went down hill fast, in terms of accademic work and behaviour. She just wasn't at all happy. The teacher thought she was putting it on when she couldn't do the work and refused to help her change for ballet and PE, leaving her in the changing room on her own to miss most of the lesson. angry

She now has quite a phobia of schools and doesn't ever want to go again. She thinks all schools will be like that. She enjoys being home educated, but I'm not sure if she's making any progress. We've been doing it since christmas and I can't see any changes.

I just feel quite burned out and ratty most of the time. She likes imaginary play which is sooo repetative. It drives me mad! She also has problems with toileting and will need changing frequently during the day. We re seing a specialist about this, but it's really hard work especially as she doesn't like being cleaned and refuses to clean herself. It's a real struggle.

I think if I could find a school that would take her part time, I might go for it. I think it'd do her good to make some friends and have oppertunities to play with children regularly. It'd also take the pressure of me a bit, knowing that someone was tracking her progress and helping me to educate her.

I know she'll probubly hate me for it, and I'd hate for her to be unhappy but if I don't try, I won't know.

Have I given HE enough of a chance though? Will it get better in time? I just can't see any other way of me getting some time out and her being able to play with other children regularly. If there is another way, please let me know. smile I've been thinking this over and over for so long. I really want to do what's best for her, but also have to think of myself too as I can't enjoy the time I spend with her if I'm burned out.

(She is at her grandmas house today as I worked last night).I couldn't sleep today, as usual.

bilton2 Tue 06-Sep-11 14:44:40

I have some limited experience of part time schooling. We flexi-schooled my DS last year and the school were completely cooperative about it. However, our situation is obviously different in that he was already at the school. I'm not sure how it works getting a place at a school on a part-time basis in the first place. I would think it probably depends how over-subscribed the school is as to how willing they would be to offer a place part-time. Surely it's worth looking into though

ZZZenAgain Tue 06-Sep-11 14:49:49

I think the school would have to feel like a particularly caring one for you to have much piece of mind, going on what you have written about the previous school and your dd's nervousness about school in general now.

Even if she is there part-time, she would still need to go to the loo and deal with the cleaning aspect. Maybe if that and getting changed could be under control first, it would help. Is the specialist optimistic about her managing this soon?

Pelagia Tue 06-Sep-11 14:55:34

No experience in HE, sorry, but you have a lot on your plate and sound very isolated. Is there any way that you could learn to drive? (I know it is expensive and not for everyone) Do you have a DP that shares/could share in all of this?

mummyloveslucy Tue 06-Sep-11 17:11:19

Yes, I should learn to drive. I realy should. I know what you mean about getting the toileting sorted first but it's going to be a long process. Her specialist said it will take years for her to recognise and go to the toilet in the same way as we do. She's had chronic constipation since she was 2 years old and it's caused a lot of problems.

I do worry about negative comments from the other children regarding this, as it's a sore subject for her anyway. It's taken us a long time to get her confidence and self esteem back. This, long with her speech problems could make her a target for bullies too. sad

She is such a happy, friendly child who loves company and an audience to show off too. It does seem a shame that she doesn't often have children to play with.

CheerMum Wed 07-Sep-11 09:21:35

hi, i've seen one of your previous posts so i know that this is an ongoing issue for you so my apologies if you've heard all this before...

to be honest, at 6.5 with additional needs, i wouldn't be worrying too much about "teaching" her anything too academic. I would concentrate on having fun and maybe learning her numbers and letters and some basic words through play. you say you can see no progress but that is purely looking at academic things as you also say how much her confidence and self esteem have come back - to me, THAT would be the best progress she could make at the moment.

are there any drama groups nearby? it sounds like that might be something to consider. is there anyw ay you could invite people over to your house to come and play?

i would also consider learning to drive as it does make things a heck of a lot easier.

with regards to cleaning herself, could you perhaps get her a baby doll that she has to look after? maybe by looking after the doll and having to bathe it etc she might come to associate cleaning with fun. again, forgive me if this is a completely stupid idea, but does she enjoy playing in a pool? maybe you could get a small inflatable pool in the living room and try to clean her that way instead? you could put some play balls in it so it's like a wet ball pit.

as for you, it is vital that you get some time out for yourself to chill. does she like any tv shows? if so it would be worth getting them on dvd and agreeing that you have regular breaks from play while she watches them. Or maybe a puppet show? she could be sent off for a few minutes to "prepare" a show which you will then be the audience for.

Is there any way that grandma could have a regular time slot where your dd goes to her to give you a break?

sleepingsowell Wed 07-Sep-11 18:06:44

I know it's easy to say this and not so easy to do but I agree with CheerMum - I really wouldn't worry about 'home educating' her at ALL!! Developmentally where is she - equivalent to age four?

My ds has some SEN (dyspraxia/hypermobility/dyslexia) and now that he is 9, I see that only now is he becoming ready to read. He has been at school since he just turned 4. So he has had FIVE YEARS of day in day out reading/work. Yes he has been given some strategies to attack words as he sees them etc which must have helped but it's only helped because he is now ready!!!!!

To be honest just from what you say it sounds as if school wouldn't be the thing for your DD but that lots of time for free play at home will be. I'd say have the faith in her that she will learn when she is ready and that really doesn't sound as if it is now. Perhaps she needs to do her physical developing first - improve her speech, her toileting etc - and then in future years her little body and mind will have the capacity for more 'academic' learning.

Personally I'd be tempted to put away any formal work and worries until she's around 11 but I realise that's a bit hardcore and scary. Are you a member of the HE special needs online group>? There must be people out there who have experiences similar to yours.

All the best x

mummyloveslucy Wed 07-Sep-11 21:27:20

Thanks everyone! At the moment, her "school work" consists of her speech therapy work, her brain gym programme, a maths related board game and perhaps some writing either a very short story or a letter to a family member. This usually takes approx 2 hours. Then the rest of the day we usually go out somewhere.

It's a relief to hear that she probubly wouldn't be progressing much more at school either. I was thinking how much more they'd do with her, but it wouldn't be one to one.

When i've worked a night shift, I usually have her for the morning after to do her work, then she goes to her grandmas, or my husband has her for the afternoon.

I wouldn't like to ask her grandma to have her any more often than that. I have 2 sister in laws who sometimes take her out. I could ask them if they'd like to make it a regular thing if I paid them to have her once a week. I'd rather do that than give her to a child minder who we don't know.

I do envite friends around but they very rarely come. they all seem so busy, most have several children of diferent age groups so it's harder for them. She has a very good friend who's just turned 6. She sometimes goes to her house and stays on her own. I've offered to have the little girl at ours for an afternoon too, so that'll be good.

Thanks for your re-assurance about the accademic side. I will concentrate on the self help skills more for now, then hopefully she'll move on when she's ready. smile

musicposy Wed 07-Sep-11 21:29:24

I've read a lot of your posts and I know you've found this a struggle for a while. I do feel for you.

I can't see how it would be good for her to go into school from everything you've said. I'm not anti-school - I've often said to people to give it a try - but when children are desperate to go. I can't see how sending a child who hates the idea would do anything but cause harm. However, you have to be important in this too and it sounds hard going for you.

Does she have to learn anything formal? Be "home educated" at all? Even lots of DD2's NT home ed friends didn't do any formal learning at this age. One thing that shocked me at first when DD2 came out of school at 8 (and at 9, and 10) was how many of her new friends couldn't read, write even their name, or do anything in the way of school type tasks at all. They are now all 11 - 13 and every singles one reads and writes, without exception, as well as DD2 does - who learnt in school at 4. And they spent the first 10 years of their life playing and having fun (and still do). I see them all now chatting to each other on Facebook etc and their spelling and grammar is fantastic. How did it go from nothing to secondary level overnight? I guess because they did it when they were ready and nobody got stressed about it.

So firstly, I would let her join the ranks of the many, many other home educators who don't do anything formal at this age. I'd stop worrying about her progress. At the moment it doesn't matter. Other things are more important right now. Work on her imaginative play - that stretches language. I think you will enjoy it more with her (I know you've found it tedious in the past, and I think we all can!) if you are thinking of it as what she does as her learning.

Secondly, if in any way you possibly can, make it your aim to learn to drive. It is so much harder if you can't. Then you can take her to lots of places and meet lots of people. The more things you can do outside the house, the better - and you'll both be happier for it.

Hang in there if you can. I wouldn't say it if she was mad keen to go to school. But as things are I honestly think what you are doing is far better than what a school would be, for the child she is right now.

Why not keep us posted here on a regular basis, say once a week give us an update? It's easy just to post when you feel really down otherwise and you might find you sometimes have better days than you think if you write them down regularly. I'd be happy to read and support, as I'm sure would plenty of others on here. smile

mummyloveslucy Wed 07-Sep-11 21:40:08

Thank you! That is realy kind of you.smile

It's also very re-assuring to hear that so many other famillies don't do anything formal at this age. Obviously we'll still need to do her speech therapy and her excercises, but maybe just play the maths/ phonics games when she wants to rather than making it a chore that she has to do every day. I could also ask her wether she fancies writing a story, rather than making her do it. This would be less stresful for both of us.

CheerMum Thu 08-Sep-11 09:51:33

i'd also be happy to support and share what we're up to. today we're not doing a lot, dd (10) is chilling upstairs then later we're going to do some spellings and then some research into orangutans and watch a programme about them (our topic is rainforest at the moment). thursday afternoons she has a flute lesson and then we're going fabric shopping for costumes for a local panto we're doing. tomorrow we are having a "Home Economics" day so we'll be trying our hands at making jam tarts, teaching dd to knit and sewing a cross stitch bookmark.

we normally tend to do a fair bit of academic work because that's what dd enjoys but we're off on holiday in a week or so and so we're not doing a great deal at the mo. dd has health issues so gets tired easily so we take it at her pace, some days she'll do hours of work, others she won't be able to do a thing.

that is the joy of home ed - you can completely tailor it to what you and your child need x hope you have a good day too x

mummyloveslucy Thu 08-Sep-11 20:22:09

Thank you. smile We went to a not back to school picnic today. We did have a great time. Lucy went off with her friends, so it gave me a break and a chance to chat to the mums. We met a new family there who we sold our old house too. (Small world)

I haven't really planned much to do with HE this term. I bought a book of things we can make, I thought we could make a sock monkey or something. I'll try to find lots of fun things to do and keep it all light hearted and fun.

I am feeling much more positive today and I'm going to make farmore of an effort to attend these meet ups. smile

musicposy Thu 08-Sep-11 21:05:17

Good to hear you had a better day smile

We have a not back to school picnic next Friday. Hoping the weather holds!

Today DD2 had a singing lesson, DD1 stayed at home and went on facebook did some study. Then in the afternoon we went to a home ed ice skating session. The girls were playing "it" with their friends on the ice which involved a lot of falling over. It was massively unfair as DD1 skates at competitive level and DD2 isn't far behind so their poor friends didn't stand a chance! Their lovely friends all took it in good humour, though, and had a great time. The ice marshal turned a blind eye to the fact they were somewhat ignoring the public session rules, which was nice! I think there were only home ed children there anyhow.

We are now sat at home watching celebrity big brother a programme relevant to DD1's Sociology. grin

mummyloveslucy Thu 08-Sep-11 21:27:49

Sounds as if you've had fun. I used to love ice skating. I took my dd last month, but it was such hard work! She has no co-ordination or ballance and I basically had to hold her up all the way. (Even with a penguin stabalizer thing) My arms were aching so much.

I hope the weather stays o.k for your picnic. My dd is actually quite happy that the children are back to school. She said she can have the swings to herself now, when they are stuck at school doing hard maths. grin She's feeling quite smugg at the moment bless her.

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