How to help, learning difficulties, very bright class. Parents of similar or SENCO please.(10 Posts)
My dd is currently being assessed for autistic spectrum, ADHD and dyslexia.
She is well below average in a class of very bright children.
My first problem is that she seems to have given up, several teachers have noted this on her report. She had lots of teat results from 10% Maths to 78% in French.
Because the average was 88 in French, she is still below average with her best result.
She doesn't concentrate in class and will disrupt others as she can't do the work.
She does have help from the SENCO at school but it doesn't seem to alter her attitude to learning.
We have 10 weeks holiday and I want to help, what can I do.
Do I work on attitude to learning first and try to build up confidence and then tackle some school work?
Also, some teachers have stated they were surprised at results compared to effort in class, will her SENCO note this or do I mention it in our meeting next week. Meeting is for something else unrelated, so can't go into detail about learning, next week.
Has she seen an educational psychologist. Ds1 was similar and we found he had very slow processing and a very spiky profile dispite being bright. It did his confidence no end of good finding out he wasn, t "stupid". One of his friends also on the spectrum has a very poor working memory.
In terms of the holidays I would work on confidence.
I wouldn't work on 'attitude to learning'. Her attitude to learning will improve when she finds the work easier. If the work is too hard for her, then of course she won't engage.
Although it's not clear if it's a attitude problem at all.
It's far more likely to be dyslexia etc, which can't be overcome by trying harder.
So I'd just work on the basics. The 3 Rs. Get her as good in them as you can over summer, so she's better able to cope with the class work.
First of all your DD needs a diagnosis, indentification of what measures can be put in place to help her and then these measures need to be implemented (good luck with that one).
DS1 has "moderate dyspraxia and dyslexia", his last ed psych report puts his IQ well in excess of 140, he's highly articulate creative passionate exceptionally emphatic and super sensitive to others peoples emotions with a photographic memory for detail, but working memory is very poor, processing is diabolical, this makes his learning erratic at best, he has poor concentration at times although he's not disruptive. He has been completely misunderstood and basically underperformed all his school life. This is frustrating for us and even more so for him and at times he's struggled with MH problems.
I've learnt you cannot change him (this has taken me years to accept this), this is the way his brain is physically wired up, if he was missing a limb a leg or an arm you wouldnt expect him to grow another one, you would accept it and he you and he teaching staff would put measures in to help him adapt and build on his strengths and marvel at him if he ran a race and won or learnt to knit with one hand. Dyslexia dyspraxia ADHD are "invisible" but this doesn't mean they are not there. My advise is build on your DD's strengths, encourage her in every way to do what she loves, even if to all intense and purposes it seems to you and teachers to be an odd choice, this will work wonders for her mental health, and confidence, if possible remove from her life anything she struggles with that is not essential, or if say she's crap at say math for example aim low, we celebrated DS1's C at math GCSE (first attempt I now believe in miracles) in the same way most would celebrate an A*. If you can don't overwhelm her with subjects, DS had to do 12 GCSE's he couldn't organise that many, and struggled terribly but the school insisted, he did better in the 6 th form where he was at least studying one subject out of four subjects that he's interested in and now at uni he's doing even better because he's only studying that. You will have to accept that your DD will have good moments even moments of unexpected pure genius and very bad, one lesson will go well and the next won't, this is because she has worked 4 times harder than others to overcome her problems and is now physically and mentally exhausted. This doesn't seem a difficult concept to grasp IMO but most teachers struggle with this. Finally in my now very extensive experience most teachers (in both section sectors) are lazy couldn't care less less jobs worths, who have no more understanding and imagination of any child that's different from the norm than one of my cats, occasionally no I'm wrong very occasionally you'll meet a brilliant one (I'm talking 2-3 in 13 years of education) but most want a easy life, make no effort to understand your DC, are not prepared to adapt their approach in any shape or form, although some say they are, and moan constantly that your DC is underperforming. You as a parent are all you child has, you are her only advocate, you will have to stand up and try and get what help she needs, defend her when she's criticised and is understood, believe in her, fight her corner. Never assume anything is being done for your DC ( it's probably not) or that the help you managed to get put in place last term will still be there next term (it won't), so never take you eye off what's meant to be going on. My head still aches from 13 years of banging it against a wall stuffed with useless jobs worth lazy teachers who couldn't care less can't or won't read their own commissioned ed psych reports or implement its recommendations, I would have been struck off by my governing body if I as a professional behaved half as badly as this, and our resources (in the public sector) are stretched much more thinly than teachers are. Anything we achieved was due to us fighting tooth and nail for it. You'll have times when you will be enormously frustrated by your DD and loose you temper or think fuck it, I can't struggle with this any longer but stop for a second and imagine how they must feel. For those of you who think I'm exaggerating or my DS1's case is unfortuate or it's the schools he's attended etc trust me it's not I've spoken to 1000s both professionally and personally who sadly will tell you the same thing.
Good luck, trust me you're you going to need all the luck you can get.
Thank you for the comments, and think working on the 3rs will help.
There is an attitude that is terrible, but I'm sure some of it will improve when she has a diagnosis.
However, some of it we can't let go as it is such bad behaviour that is holding her back.
A her teachers know that she can struggle with concentration, organisation and Maths, but her attitude towards those who offer help is appalling.
Her teachers are giving up free time to help her and the SENCO is putting in strategies even before the assessment is finalised.
She repays them by misbehaving and getting detentions, rather than accepting the help.
She has also admitted that she hasn't tried and been the class clown, wanting to be popular.
We have had a chat and gone through the report and she has been very honest about her behaviour and how she is seen now.
I believe she wants to start again, try hard and improve her behaviour but we aren't sure what to tackle first.
I know she needs a summer holiday, but with it being so long, thought we'd help her to be in the right frame of mind to put this disastrous year behind her.
There was hardly a week went by for what she was in trouble for something, usually bad behaviour or not doing or handing in prep.
Hi, HG. Sorry, I posted before I read your essay
Thank you so much, I had no idea your ds had gone through similar.
I'm worried sick that she won't reach her potential.
Also, as you are aware it's a narrow line between good and bad mh, and I want to promote the former by at least helping with attitude towards learning.
She is bottom set for everything next year, even languages her best subjects.
I have explained to her that the average was very high, there are some very gifted linguistics, it doesn't mean she is no good. I was honest with my appraisal that she could do better if she took all notes, completed her work so she had the full information for revision. She took this well.
We have a meeting at school next week, so hope we have a chance to address these issues for next year.
I agree about finding out about out your "not stupid" although DS1 struggled to accept this.
Over the summer if you really want my honest opinion let her enjoy herself. I'm on holiday now, my job is exceedingly stressful at times and demanding, and I'm physically and mentally exhausted, I'm not logging on to our training system to do my 55 bits of mandatory training or on the plane I wasn't reading that text book on my kindle because I'm trying to get my head round a particularly difficult work concept that I'm struggling with, I was too busy breaking the TV thing in the back of the seat! I'm having a wonderful time in a country I've never been too before, I'm enjoying a completely different culture, last night we ate street food with our wonderful friends we laughed and despte being exhausted from a hideously long flight I felt so much better, and the sun is shinning (yes you can be jealous). We've a packed itinerary but I'm hoping I'll come back refreshed with renewed enthusiasm. It's the same for your DD, let her enjoy her 10 weeks, she's spent a whole year learning to board to live with others, to adapt to new ways of learning, new teachers, (she'll be totally exhausted both physically and mentally) that is a tremendous achievement in its self, learning is not just the 3R's.
NewLife it's DS1 who's got all these problems he was in the independent sector till yr 9 and then in the state sector. The former makes promises it has no intention of keeping then moans about your DC that latter doesn't even make promises but still moans.
I can't offer advice with regards to helping with the learning difficulties, above what you are already doing, but to me it sounds like a confidence problem too.
I could be wrong, but there's a good chance your dd is misbehaving because she'd rather be seen as choosing not to work, than have classmates think she can't do it. Even if she doesn't admit or even realise it, perhaps she believes she'll get the low scores no matter what, and she'd rather people thought she was bad instead of stupid. And she needs her confidence building before she can believe what everyone else does, i.e she is by no means 'stupid' and can do it.
I know maths was never your Dd's strong point, but till secondary your dd always had her outlier musical ability to balance that out. So struggling with maths didn't dent her confidence because she knew she had her rare musical talent. Whereas now she isn't the only child with that talent, she's got peers. Which is great, and as adults we all accept your Dd's school is just a gathering of musical outliers, but from her perspective she could be (incorrectly) thinking her musical talent is nothing amazing either. Basically instead of a group of peers who were better at maths but light years behind musically, she's now got peers who find maths easier but are also on her musical level.
I think I'd be really looking at ways to increase her confidence in herself, although I'm not sure of specifically how, other than time away from being just one of a talented group making her realise that her music is just as much of a rare outlier gift as ever.
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