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A different talent - Can we ask school to support it?

(14 Posts)
rebl Wed 17-Aug-11 21:50:56

My ds is 5, is deaf and has extremely challenging behaviour, he's currently being assessed by CAMHS and a sensory OT. He's going into yr1 in Sept after an extremely rocky reception year. Academically he's not doing well, he's got no concentration, can't sit, can't focus. When he started at the school in Feb he discovered the class camera. The photos he took were so good that the teacher blew them up and put them on the wall. She actually said that she would like them as prints on her wall at home. We bought him a little point and shoot camera for his birthday and over the summer holidays he's been using it alot. All I can say is his photos are stunning. He's fantastic at wildlife and abstract. We've shown them to a large number of people now (including some professional artist friends but not professional photograhers) and they are all flabagasted that they're taken by an amateur, let alone a 5 year old, they're better than the majority of adults can take.

When he's got his camera in hand he's a different child, a child we've never experienced before. He's calm, he's focused, he's got concentration, he's patient, he's quiet. I am actually beginning to wonder if we've found not only a talent but a therapy for him so to speak or maybe even a way for him to learn all the academic stuff. But we're out of our depth, we're not arty! I do intend to speak to his CAMHS team about how this interest and talent can be used but we were wondering if it was something that we could approach the school about. They say they have a gifted and talented program but I don't know enough to know if this is just in the main ciriculum subjects. I would love it if they could provide him with the opportunity to develop the one area that he's actually naturally good at. The boost in his self esteem would be massive, to have something that he can do, rather than always this constant struggle to achieve what school require.

So do you think we could ask the school or is it a waste of breath?

This isn't meant as a stealth boast or even blatent boast. I hope that you can see why I'm asking this.

beautifulgirls Wed 17-Aug-11 21:59:12

I have no idea to be honest what the school can do, but it can not harm to ask. It sounds like something really great for him and hopefully something that can be turned to his advantage in the longer term. It's really lovely you have managed to identify something that he is really strong at and I hope it takes him far and wide in life.

amistillsexy Wed 17-Aug-11 22:01:13

rebl. No real help here but hoping that you get somewhere with your wonderfully talented son. I think, like most things, the way in which the school 'uses' your son's talent and interest depends on their own philosophy.

I think it would be a challenge for even the most creative, 'think outside the box' teachers to teach all he needs to know via photography, but it should certainly be possible to raise his self-esteem using it, and to use it (as a 'carrot') to encourage him to access some things that he currently might be reluctant to do.

rebl Wed 17-Aug-11 22:10:24

Just boosting his self-esteem alone would make a massive difference to him in the classroom I think. And the "carrot" philosophy would possibly work for him as well. TBH I'm pleased that at last I've found something that calms him that isn't hours on the trampoline which is causing problems with his hips. I think any teacher would be pleased to have a way to calm him!

mamalino Wed 17-Aug-11 22:35:09

On phone and about to go to bed but will try and reply to you properly tomorrow.

I have a Deaf 6yr old DS who sounds very similar, he is in a mainstream school (but with a specialist unit for deaf children) who encourage this, they have facilities so the children can take photos/videos to share with classmates. It is fantastic.

Will come back tomorrow smile

coff33pot Wed 17-Aug-11 23:31:08

I am really glad for you, its wonderful when you find something that they actually enjoy smile

Our school (infants) take photos of the kids when they go out on trips or random ones in the class doing creative activities and for year books at the end of the year.

Maybe they can encourage his gift by allowing him to participate in doing something like this or building up a year book for the whole school that he can publish in photographs? If he has a good day at school maybe they can let him have a reward time where they research the net about photography and if he has a TA she can read through it with him and maybe go outside and try out a new way of taking a photo ie. misty, panoramic etc etc.

Just an idea smile

MrsShrekTheThird Wed 17-Aug-11 23:55:32

Rebl, I don't know whether your ds is in mainstream or SEN, and presumably he has at least some support - but in both situations I've taught in (SEN and mainstream) we'd definitely use it as a means to show his understanding, and try and hang a curriculum round it, tbh. But it would hang on how clued up the school / his support is. I had a child in my (ASD) class who evidenced his entire award scheme through photo's he had taken, and it got other students interested in it too smile - bonus!!
As far as G&T lists go, I'm not sure if it varies from one area to another, but in our LEA there are three basic lists that we are expected to have, and there is no minimum age to go on the lists (though I believe there are in some areas?) one list has [gifted] children who are working at a definite two years ahead of their peers in one particular area; another list is children who have talents which are not part of the school curriculum (which your ds would fall into); the third is the children who fit into both of these categories or who have two subjects at which their attainment is particularly high.

You are right to look into the whole issue, to have your dses talent recognised and ultimately to use it as a means of expression, communication and a fantastic key which will open many doors for him smile

rebl Thu 18-Aug-11 09:12:16

He's in mainstream on SA+ at the moment. MrsShrek you've put nicely what I was trying to say, its a means for him to express himself and communicate. Looking at his photos you can see how he sees the world and its totally different to how you and I see the world. Its all in the finer detail for him. He's focusing on leaf veins not the forest iykwim. He doesn't see the forest. There are of course hundreds of photos of Thomas the tank and wheels (thank god for the digital age) but even the wheels I can see what he sees in them now! The most boring subject is alive with his photos.

I'm going to see if I can get him to use the computer well enough to make a photobook of his favourite photos and he can take that to school and we can use that as the starter for speaking to the school. If he'd use the computer to make the book then maybe he'd use the computer to type a word for each picture ?? He won't write, he can't read, he is extremely resistant to trying to hear the sounds in words but if he wants to put a label with a picture he might try.

bedheadz Thu 18-Aug-11 15:11:49

I hope your school support you, its fab that your son has found something he is good at and that he enjoys.

signandsmile Thu 18-Aug-11 18:34:06

just an idea... maybe local college have photography courses, (not for him to go to grin but might be a good contact for people who are interested who might encourage him, share their work, take an interest in his...

Does he sign? maybe could link to use of a video phone, or web cam?

Marne Thu 18-Aug-11 19:19:51

Deffently ask the school, dd2 is starting a new school in september, on one of the visits i mentioned that dd2 likes to play drums and has good rythum, it also calms her, the teacher said they might be able to fund a small electric drum kit for her to use. I think a camera would be a great tool for the school to use to calm him down, also to encourage him to do other things (as a reward).

Tiggles Thu 18-Aug-11 22:11:10

I am sure the school would be able to work with this talent. DS would probably be considered gifted in history, in as much as it has been his AS obsession since he was 2 (although now joined with Starwars and Dr. Who) in particular the Tudors and the Romans. Those have been his topics for the last 2 school years (not because of him I hasten to add) but his teacher has been very happy for him to work on projects in these 2 areas through the whole school year that NT kids just did over one holiday. But his projects have encompassed way more than just plain history facts. We even got 'social communication' in there as he wrote to Terry Deary about writing History Reports, grin and he wrote a power point presentation to get over the main facts (rather than the whole massive mass of information that due to his AS he loves to give out).

LollipopViolet Thu 18-Aug-11 22:40:24

No real advice, but I'm visually impaired and adore photography so definitely agree if you can find a way to use it, do! He's so young, with the right nurturing there's no telling where he might go with it.

And just to prove my point, my Photostream

silverfrog Thu 18-Aug-11 22:55:17

this sounds wonderful, rebl.

if the computer is too much for your ds (how are his motor skills generally? the mouse control can be hard to master, and webpages can be busy and overwhelming to say the least), how about a little printer like this?

we use one for dd1's holiday books (we use binders from jofli - you can get little backpacks which would fit the folder, pogo and camera in), and it is great. you connect the camera to it via the download cable, or via bluetooth, select the picture and it prints it onto a (admittedly little - 3x2 inch, I think) sticker - no mess, no fuss just stick it in the folder and label/write a bit about it.

dd1 loves hers (she does not take very good photos, but enjoys trying! and we make up photobooks/scrapbooks of holidays etc for her to look over)

if your ds is enjoying this (and he clearly is) then you are right to want to use it to help with curriculum stuff. we also put a lot of photos onto dd1's iPad, and use a few different apps there for reading/labelling/spelling where she has to spell the name, or read a sentence etc. it has really motivated her (her school did the same using laminated pictures and words/letters with velcro to stick underneath)

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