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Argh! 7 year old Ds's forgetfulness is driving me insane! Any ideas?

(8 Posts)
moosemama Mon 19-Oct-09 16:56:10

Ds1 is 7 and in year 3. He does well academically and I don't have any worries about his actual work, although his is 'unusual/quirky' and does have some social/communication and other issues which we are still considering looking into further.

Half way through year 2 we started having problems with him forgetting to hand in and bring home things. Well actually remembering anything really, from letters and reply slips to lunch boxes, pe kits and coats. As for homework, he seems to be acually incapable of bringing it home when its given out and handing it in on the day it is due.

At the end of last year, after he teacher had a word with me about him 'not doing' his homework (he does it every week without fail and always has it with him to hand in on the right day) I wrote him a prompt card/list which fitted in the little window on the front of his bookbag so it sort of said Monday, change reading books, bring home spelling book. Tuesday, bring home literacy homework and library book etc etc. This worked for about three weeks and then he 'forgot' to check the list even though it was staring him in the face!

We are having worse problems this year, as now he is in the Juniors, he is expected to be lot more responsible and remember things for himself. He has only managed once to hand in his homework on the right day and every single day when he comes out I have to get the list of reminders I have written him out of his bag and send him back in for the missing items. Most days I have to send him back in two or three times even though I only told him two minutes ago what he needed to bring out.

Quite frankly it is obvious that he just isn't looking at the list at all and he has just admitted as much to me. When I asked him why he doesn't look a the list, he says "I just forget" which I am a bit hmm about as I deliberately put it in the little pocket on his bag in front of his mid-morning snack so he can't really miss it.

We have tried doing a reward/sticker chart on which he gets a sticker every time he hands in his homework on time, but it proved demotivational because he still didn't remember to do it.

Would it be unreasonable of me to ask the teacher to work with me on some sort of prompt/reward system to remind him what he needs to do in the hope that it just becomes routine/second nature as the year goes on? Initially I thought this would be a good idea, but I realise his teacher has 26 other children to deal with and she can't be reminding each and every one of them of everything they need to do every day, so I would understand if she didn't feel she could do it.

So, does anyone have any other suggestions? I am truly at a loss to know what else I can do to help him. He honestly seems unable to remember things and writing him lists obviously isn't helping if he can't remember to look at the list.

I would be so grateful if anyone could help as we are having daily arguments about this problem and its ruining home-time for both of us.

TIA

Fennel Mon 19-Oct-09 17:01:16

My 9yo dd is like this, it gets more problematic as she gets older as the teachers expect them to be more organised.

The school office staff are used to reminding her about lunch tickets or just doing it for her. She forgets to bring home her homework, to take her glasses, to bring home bits of uniform she's discarded. She kept getting black marks last year for homework she'd done but forgotten to hand in, which upset her.

Last year's teacher suggested a "remembering book". haha. of course she lost it.

I resort to having special meetings with the class teacher about it and emphasising that dd really does aim to please and likes to do homework, but cannot remember things. I do treat it a bit like a minor disability because she does really struggle, compared to her two little sisters who are both more organised. DP is the same and he's 41 so I have little hope she'll grow out of it either.

I think it helps if the teacher does realise it's a particular ongoing problem. My dd doesn't have any other problems apart from an appalling memory and poor organisation. After I talked to the teacher she did stop getting black marks for homework done but not handed in, which was an improvement.

cornsilk Mon 19-Oct-09 17:02:06

Ask the teacher for help - she/he won't have to give the same help to every child as presumably most of the other children will have better memories! Is it a dyslexia friendly school? If so they should have strategies in place to help dyslexic children with memory difficulties which could be applied to your ds.

carocaro Mon 19-Oct-09 17:21:37

I have 7 year old DS in year 3, and he is also finding the greater sense of responsibility as a junior hard.

He has dyslexia, so they school done things to make it easier for him eg: coat peg right at the end so he does not have to search for his coat, the TA puts all letters in his rucksack and writes info in his homework diary.

He is also being assessed so for DCD (development coordination disorder), I am in two minds, is he just being 7 sometimes or is there something to it?

To stop the daily battle, because it's wearing for us both, I lay out his school clothes each day and menatally check he's got everything he needs at the end of the school day.

He can remember one thing at a time ONLY, too many instructions and he's lost.

Gotta gonow but will check in later as I know how you feel!

Watch this space.

Fennel Mon 19-Oct-09 17:23:58

How is his spelling, OP?

I suspect my dd has slight dyslexia but the school doesn't think so as her reading and creative writing are fine, but her spelling is atrocious, as well as the poor memory and organisation.

Whether she does or not, I think the strategies which help dyslexic children do work for my dd as well.

moosemama Mon 19-Oct-09 17:34:34

Thank you for replying.

I think I will have to speak to his teacher. Although this in itself is problematic as his actual teacher has been off sick since week 2 and he has a supply teacher who could disappear again at any minute. I am quite concerned about this, as the supply teacher doesn't seem to be noticing that his homework is missing and I really don't want his work to slip backwards.

I think it is a dyslexia friendly school as we spoke with the SENCO about his brother's reading problems and she said all children are tested for dyslexia in year 2, so they seem to be pretty clued up.

His teacher last year suggested that she should arrange for him to see the SENCO as he seems to have trouble listening and being told what to do (a couple of incidents where he was rude to and argued with teachers precipitated this) and doesn't get that you can't argue when you are told to do or not to do something. She suggested this twice last year, but then each time we told her we would like to go ahead and organise it she said "oh there's no need he's fine now" hmm

His teachers tend to really like him but a few of them have now recognised that there is a real problem somewhere. Despite being extremely articulate, he really seems to struggle with communication and I do wonder if its part and parcel of the same thing.

He has the same problem at home, if you speak to him you have to wait for a minute and then get him to say it back to you. Sometimes he can say it back to you, but hasn't actually taken in what you told him/meant and other times it just doesn't seem to go in. This ends up with me being a horrible naggy Mummy who is constantly having to repeat herself and remind him about every tiny little thing twenty times. To be honest I'm finding it totally exhausting and am embarrassed to say I'm getting exasperated and losing my cool far too often with him at the moment. which is something I hate and feel very sad about.

I have just been sat here trying to compose a post to put in the special needs section to see if anyone has any ideas. To be honest I am at the end of my tether, he is such a lovely boy, but so full on to handle. Last week I actually booked an appointment to speak to my gp about him but then he was off sick with flu and I had to cancel the appointment.

Thanks for suggesting the dyslexia strategy cornsilk, I will mention it to his teacher tomorrow I think.

moosemama Mon 19-Oct-09 17:45:09

Sorry cross posts - down to my verbose writing style I'm afraid. blush

Carocaro, I already do all that for him as well. I lay out his uniform, bags and pe kit etc for him. Talk him through everything before he leaves the house, show him where everything he has to hand in is in his bag, write his daily list and go through it with him and write it all again in his homework diary. I then go through it all again with him in the queue to go into school. Then at the end of the day I do it all in reverse. Its exhausting, especially when I have ds2 in year one and a 9 month old dd to deal with as well.

Fennel, he is a top speller and got level 3 in everything except listening and communication for his SATs. His handwriting leaves a lot to be desired, but he is left handed and actually he is capable of beautiful writing when he is in the mood.

I think its one of those situations where as a Mum you just know in the pit of your stomach that there is more to it, but don't know what to do about it. sad

He came out of Judo last week and his Judo teacher jokingly called him his little 'space cadet' and that about sums him up in a lot of respects.

cornsilk Mon 19-Oct-09 17:47:08

He sounds exactly like my ds2! He needs lots of visual prompts to help him.

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