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How can I help my DS.

(15 Posts)
Sweetlottie Thu 09-Jun-11 12:21:12

Hi, my 12 yr old DS is in yr 7.

Throughout primary school he lagged a little behind most of his classmates in developing his academic skills, however, he was articulate and sociable so we weren't too worried. In year 5 the school decided to give him an individual development plan which offered him some limited one to one support, particularly with his English.
This support (which we worked alongside) continued through yr 6 and he achieved grade 4 in all of his SAT tests.

His transition to high school went well and he loves it. He is, however, very focused on making new friends, developing his hobbies and generally having a great time!!
I received a letter today from the school informing me that they were putting him on the special need register at the school action plan level, (at a recent parents evening I was informed that he was doing well and there were no concerns!!).

My worries are these:

I know he lacks confidence in his academic skills, he says that he can't do things and is reluctant to even try.
He is very easily distracted...although this is only with school work...when he is making a film for the computer is completely focused.
He is very sensitive about his ability...when we approach offerring support he usually ends up in tears.

So I wondered if any other parents knew of any online or written academic support material that they could recommend that would grab the interest of a totally uninterested 12 yr old boy!....or....something that could help myself and my husband communicate with him in a more positive way about studying.


IndigoBell Thu 09-Jun-11 16:48:51

Sounds like he was also on the special needs register at primary school if he was getting 1:1 support.

It was a positive thing for him in primary, and hopefully it will also be a positive thing for him at secondary.....

Danthe4th Thu 09-Jun-11 16:54:37

Let the school deal with it for year 7, continue to let him chill out at home or focus on his strengths. Year 7 is very important socially and quite a bit of growing up goes on this year.
The school have obviously identified his needs I would see how the rest of this year goes, let him settle into year 8 and then see if a tutor or computer programme helps.
At my girls high school they do have online access to several revision sites and they also use bbc bitesize.

gingeroots Thu 09-Jun-11 18:41:52

Praise him for effort he puts in ,not achievment ?
I'm sure effort /doing one's best is hugely important in work and therefore an important habit to acquire .
Sorry not to be more/much help .
Maybe post over on Special Needs section ?

Sweetlottie Thu 09-Jun-11 21:51:44

Thank you all so much for your replies.

Sometimes its just a relief to hear someone reflect back to you confirmation that you are doing the right thing.

Your advice supports what we have been trying to do....focus on the positives, look beyond simple academic achievement and give him room to relax.

@gingeroots....just someone listening and replying is enormous help in itself.

ivykaty44 Thu 09-Jun-11 21:56:31

Does he like sport? Just that often sport can help with classroom work, help with confidence which you say is a problem as he will not try new stuff, and give some self esteem

Sweetlottie Thu 09-Jun-11 22:02:38

He isn't really sporty, although he enjoys hillwalking with his dad and swimming.....he is very wary of anything competitive. He seems to have picked up the idea that its better to not even try rather than try and not suceed.
That said...he has in the past tried karate and football. He said that he enjoyed the 'sport' but didn't like the competition. if he could have just 'played' without the exams or matches he would have probably stuck at it.

mummytime Thu 09-Jun-11 22:12:13

Being on the SEN register is a good thing, especially at School Action plus. It doesn't mean he won't do okay in life, it just means they feel at present he needs some extra help in some areas, and are prepared to get outside help for him.

Do ask to go and talk to the SENCo and get some advice from her for what you can do to help. She may even know of some local classes or groups he could go to. My dyslexic son, was helped massively by going to a help with spelling course run locally. The main benefit was looking around the room and seeing that the other children were all "normal" not "freaks".

Do show willing to be involved in supporting him with school. But my other big tip is keep a diary of your requests and things the school promises.

GnomeDePlume Thu 09-Jun-11 22:36:42

My 12 year old DS is in a very similar situation. In year 6 he was finally recognised as being mildly dyslexic (no surprise to us) and received additional 1:1 support. He isnt that enthusiastic about school but seems happy enough.

We arent focussed on his results but on his effort. The results will follow.

Something he is looking forward to is joining air cadets at the start of next year. We are hoping that this will help him to focus and apply himself.

Sweetlottie Fri 10-Jun-11 16:36:03

@mummytime: we are waiting for the SEN co-ordinator to ring us back so that we can arrange a meeting to discuss this. He isn't in a class specifically for children with special educational needs, he is in a middle streamed class....with what I suppose you could consider the average level achievers. I think your idea of keeping a diary is excellent and certainly one that I shall be taking on board immediately...thank you.

@GnomeDePlume: I know that you are right....he is happy and that is something worth a lot in itself.

I just wish I could convince him that trying is more important than achieving....we believe this but he has a problem with it. I think this probably stems from having an older brother that manages to achieve brilliantly without trying in the slightest. A difficult act to follow despite our purposeful efforts not to compare the two in their presence.

Thank you for all your has been really helpful and uplifting X

Naoko Fri 10-Jun-11 20:02:16

If he enjoys outdoors stuff and active things like sport but not the competitive element of matches, would he enjoy scouts? That might suit him and give confidence.

mummytime Fri 10-Jun-11 21:31:40

BTW not to boast but my son is School Action plus and is on target for A* Maths. A good school knows children can have all kinds of SEN and still be able to achieve. A friends daughter who really struggled has now discovered her talent for Art, is going into Sixth form and hopes to study some kind of art at Uni (I've only had a brief conversation with her). Others show real talents in lots of other ways.

GnomeDePlume Fri 10-Jun-11 21:59:09

Sweetlottie my DS has older and younger high achieving DDs. Something we are learning to do (and I emphasise this is a long term activity!) is value DS's achievements, skills and abilities separately from those of his sisters. DS is good at different things. He isnt academic but when we look at his school record what we actually see is that he is mildly dyslexic and in fact quite normal. It's his sisters who are weird!

Sweetlottie Fri 10-Jun-11 22:14:01

@Naoko: He did try Beavers when he was younger and enjoyed it, however once he went up to cubs he lost interest...I hadn't considered revisiting that but now that he is old enough for scouts I think I will....thank you.

@mummytime: I agreee, there is more than just academic talent to celebrate.

@GnomeDePlume: LOL, that struck such a chord with me. I know that I am looking for support with DS2 on this forum with motivating him academically but on the whole he is far less 'weird' than his older brother.

I have to admit that I was wary about posting here, but Im so glad I did. This site should be required reading for parents, because it so reassuring to realise that we are not out of the ordinary or failures when we lose our way in trying to do whats best for our kids X

mumblechum1 Sat 11-Jun-11 12:03:56

The one bit of advice I'd offer is to praise him for effort rather than achievement.

Our ds is pretty good academically, but when he gets a good grade for coursework or whatever, we don't say, "you're really clever", but "you're a really hard worker". That way, if he came home with a C or something, the obvious correllation is not that he's thick, but he didn't work hard enough.

If your ds does work hard and gets a half decent grade, even if it's not an A*, by telling him you recognise that he worked hard for the grade, the fact that it isn't a really good grade isn't important, and that may help him feel more confident and likely to try even harder next time.

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