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Educational psychology service?

(7 Posts)
sunnyday2015 Tue 13-Jan-15 10:05:52

Would love some advice please. I have an 8 year old son who is at a local junior school. School staff have always described him as 'very bright', 'intelligent', 'capable' etc. But he is under-achieving and behaviour seems to be an issue. He is by no means physically challenging, he is not an aggressive boy in anyway, is not unkind to others in words or actions or rude. He can be a bit silly, seems to struggle with concentration, gets distracted, always seems to get drawn into matters that are not his concern but gets the blame for it. He is having difficulty making friends and keeping them and is often alone and loitering at break times.

On a personality level, he is very imaginative and creative, loves to read and enjoys music. He is obsessed with anything scientific, especially natural sciences. He has been very strong at maths, but has recently been put down a maths group, which has dented his confidence. He can be very stubborn and struggles to listen. Sometimes he is so much in his own world I wonder if he even hears! He does have friends and enjoys his peer company very much, but can sometimes be a bit awkward and terribly shy in the company of others and seems to lack social airs and graces. He seems to be emotionally quite immature for his age but intellectually much more advanced. He is physically very agile and has loads of energy, often struggling to get to sleep at night.

Our home atmosphere can be tense and stressed at times as we have a younger son and the boys together can be 'high maintenance'!!! We can already see that the younger child is perhaps a less complex character and is in many ways more 'sensible' and 'chilled out' that his older brother.

We totally appreciate all kids are different and love our children dearly for all that they are and will be. But we get the sense our 8 year old is swimming against the tide, for want of a better metaphor and its very hard to know how best to support him.

It is a confused picture and I do not know what to do. I have talked to school and his teacher and they do not suggest there is anything 'wrong', but that he needs to mature and is under-performing.

Is this just the behaviour of an 8 year old boy making the transition to a 9 year old or should I seek some help from educational psychology, GP, behavioural specialists?

Any advice hugely appreciated, thank you!


Bilberry Tue 13-Jan-15 14:11:55

On the SN pages we often say if you think there is something wrong then there probably is. I also don't think it is helpful to minimise other parents concerns. However, if the school are not concerned you will find it hard to access educational psychology through them. Have you checked sight and hearing? Eyesight changes with age and difficulty seeing can impact on behaviour. Eyesight is easy to get checked at an optician. Otherwise, make a list of everything that concerns you and have a chat to your GP (probably best without your ds in the first instance though they will probably insist on seeing him if they want to refer him on to a peadiatrician).

NyumbaPeponi Tue 13-Jan-15 21:06:32

Wow, you could be describing my son sunnyday. He is also 8 and is, by all accounts, very intelligent. Like your son my boy is an avid reader, musically talented, great at maths, creative and has an obsession with astrophysics. He, too, is great at sport. His teachers believe he is not fulfilling his potential as he has a tendency to lose concentration, be easily distracted, is rather disorganised, he zones out and goes into his own world and he will occasionally get involved in silly incidences. Despite all this he is in the top set in his year and seems comfortable in this group. He can be a loner at times and his jocular manner in class is in stark contrast with his extreme shyness and social awkwardness at other times. That said he is a nice, kind boy who adores his family and friends. He is boy who is easy to love and everyone including his peers regard him with great affection. He knows his behaviour is not great at times and is upset when he gets a negative report but he tells me he doesn't know why he does it and he doesn't know how to help himself.

While teachers at his previous school attributed his behaviour to a lack of maturity the teachers at his new boarding prep (where he started in September) commented that there may be more to his story and have been discreetly observing him and supporting him. He loves it there, it suits his outdoorsy personality more than his central London pre-prep (an excellent school but no outdoor space at all, bussed to nearby parks instead). He is also receiving excellent tuition in his favourite musical instruments. We all observed a marginal improvement in the weeks leading up to the end of the last term and I was happy to wait and see if the improvements continued this term.. However, before Christmas I decided to have a quick catch up with my GP and we discussed my son's progress and after examine him Dr was concerned enough to refer him to a paediatrician. It now seems that many of my son's sometimes challenging behaviour may have been caused by to an undiagnosed, but easily treated, physical condition. Without question the prep school setting has helped but we believe without treatment the negative behaviour would have continued to present and his physically development would have been greatly affected.

I am in no way suggesting that your son has the same condition as my son but l really support what Bilberry posted: trust your instincts, my GP was happy to listen to my concerns and acted accordingly. In our case an educational psychologist would not have helped but I do believe if you think it may help clarify things for you it then you should push for a referral.

YvetteChauvire Tue 13-Jan-15 21:11:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NyumbaPeponi Tue 13-Jan-15 21:16:41

Me too, except I don't have lack of sleep as an excuse. blush

sunnyday2015 Wed 14-Jan-15 10:05:06

Thank you so much for your replies.

Spoke with Ed.Psych helpline today for our area. Very reassuring and helpful. She spoke of the gap between cognitive ability and emotional awareness and that school are so (understandably) focussed on academic achievement, that for my son, his lack of that to date, has made him dis-incentivised. He needs to be supported more so with his emotional needs (ELSA).

Ed.Psych also said that if a child has an intrinsic desire to learn, primary may just not be the place to flourish, but that once secondary school comes, they will fly. She also said interestingly that if a kid is quite science/concrete facts oriented, then emotional/social intuitiveness may just not be their strength. And I am guilty of maybe putting pressure on him as I was a nurse so have high expectations! I need to back off, is kind of what was suggested!

Emotional thermometer and comfort menu were advised as managing emotions at home (for all members of the family). She also said that if someone (i.e. a mum or dad or carer) is finely emotionally tuned, they can sometimes quickly fulfil that need for a child, rather than letting them explore and work through that emotion for themselves. So need to reflect on own parenting a bit more…….oh dear. Hard to get it right!

On all your advice however, I will talk to my GP as makes complete sense to rule in or out a physical/medical/mental well-being issue. Did go to the opticians last year and eyes were completely fine (above average!). Hearing, yes, will get that checked.

Thank you again. Keep you posted.


noramum Wed 14-Jan-15 13:03:50

DD has some issues, mainly missing concentration, fiddlyness, immature etc. We raised the issues with the school but they say she is still in the normal ranges and therefore can't do anything from their side.

We just went to the GP yesterday and now are in the process of being referred to a paediatrican, suspision of Attention Deficit Disorder.

It is worth going even if the school can't find a serious fault.

Our school is fine-tuned, they have a separate SEN class, a SENCO all day round, several support staff part-time and they take lots of hints seriously.

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