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What would actually HELP DD2? -Met with SENCO yesterday

(20 Posts)
lougle Fri 16-Dec-16 15:12:52

I met with the SENCO yesterday to go through the CAMHS form. They are very supportive. They don't see DD2 as a 'problem' in class in any way. She isn't rude, isn't disruptive, is a pleasure to teach...but a few problems. Her eye contact isn't good (at last, someone has noticed). Friendships are virtually non-existent. But the main thing is:

She may be working at Age Related Expectations, if she is supported by an adult. She may be capable of working at Age Related Expectations without an adult...if only they could get her to do anything. She is so incredibly anxious, that most of the lesson time is spent worrying about the task that is given to her, asking questions, seeking help and support. Then she is only producing a very small amount of work. And that's with support. They've said they actually can't assess her given the amount of work she's doing.

So..what would help her? They are already using pre-teaching, so that she knows what is coming up before the teacher teaches it. This is apparently helping, but not so that she can produce work.

She's finding class 'chaotic' right now and is finding 'Christmas Maths' stressful, even though it is just the same maths as normal, but with holly leaves printed on it.

If this is what it's like in a stable, single class environment, I dread to think what her anxiety will be like in just over 18 months when she will be starting at Secondary School.

PolterGoose Fri 16-Dec-16 16:09:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

youarenotkiddingme Fri 16-Dec-16 16:33:28

habe a look at metacognitive thinking. This was highlighted as an area of need by ep for Ds. It's basically thinking about thinking.

So he may have the knowledge taught but cannot transfer that skill to a question. It maybe because she can't infer what the question is asking.

If you want I could email you the info the ep send me.

zzzzz Fri 16-Dec-16 16:33:32

She needs to be assessed by an edpsych surely? It sounds VERY classic anxiety based behaviour (not that it's not caused by neurodiversity). 3 out my 5 have struggled to produce volume at some point or other. Support could still be put in.

zzzzz Fri 16-Dec-16 16:35:11

Nb get someone to put "doesn't produce anything without adults support" in writing it obviously implies she needs a dedicated TA.

youarenotkiddingme Fri 16-Dec-16 16:35:28

This is a quick definition of what it means within education.

lougle Fri 16-Dec-16 16:47:12

I think you're all right. Her SENCO felt that DD2 hears the beginning of instructions, hears a word she's not comfortable with, gets into a thought spiral about that, then by the time she's finished thinking about it, she's missed the majority of the task, for example.

Apparently, one suggestion was 'question pebbles', which would give her, say, 3 questions she could ask before she's told to try to work independently. The aim being to stop the endless cycle of questions without an end result. By limiting it, the aim would be that she asks 3 really good questions. I'm willing to try anything, but suspect she'll just feel abandoned.

Zzzzz, in an ideal world EP would be helpful. In reality, with most schools getting 4 EP slots per term or whatever, I suspect there are a fair few children who need assessment and do disrupt classes that would come above her on a list.

I just feel for her so much. She said that yesterday was a 'good day' because Mrs X helped her do a co-ordinates reindeer. I said 'ahhh that's lovely DD2. Who helped the other children?' 'Nobody because they all got how to do it without help.'

lougle Fri 16-Dec-16 16:58:02

Youare yes please.

I've seen the CAMHS form and they've said that she relies heavily on asking an adult to repeat instructions as soon as they have ended. That she needs continual reassurance from adults. That she requires instructions to be repeated numerous times before she can attempt a task. That she thinks there is a 'right' answer (eg. In literacy) and she won't know it.

They've said she will cooperate with group work, ie. answer questions put to her, but won't volunteer info, take the lead or anticipate her role.

She takes group instruction as directed at her specifically. She takes instruction literally (eg if someone is nasty, teacher says 'don't play with them' so she takes it as a rule that she can't play with them even if they're being nice).

It was interesting to hear their perspective.

youarenotkiddingme Fri 16-Dec-16 17:03:41

No probs. PM me an email address.

Word of warning I'm crap with computers so if I can't send just the bit with it on I'll have to send whole report blush
It may well be useful for you to see the things they picked up anyway as there was stuff about not being able to do something because he'd never done it before!

zzzzz Fri 16-Dec-16 17:06:07

Regardless of the difficulty she does NEED an ed Psych to work out how to help her. Anxiety is real and it escalates. To learn either she is going to have to miraculously work out how to work without adult support or the adults around her are going to have to step up and bridge the gap.
It sounds like she is severely risk averse.

lougle Fri 16-Dec-16 17:38:15

zzzzz, you're right. She wouldn't even try a new book in case she didn't like it. I had to convince her that it's ok to realise part way through that you've made a mistake and you don't like this book.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 17-Dec-16 11:42:45

Sorry to read that your Dd2 is struggling so much.

I have no advice but I hope you can get her the support that she needs.

Good luck flowers

FrayedHem Sat 17-Dec-16 14:29:29

Is it help that they could do now, or help if they had the extra resources ikywim? DS1 has responded well to adult supported semi-structured talking with a socially strong classmate. Last week the topic was likes and dislikes with a view to seeing if they had anything in common. He was a bit reticent to begin with, but with some prompting got into the flow of it. It's very short bursts (10 mins out of the class a couple of times a week) but he's started participating more in class and in the playground. May be useful for DD2 if she views everything as a bit of a test.

They've also started giving him more of a break on some stuff; Christmas crafts wind him up a treat so they let him distribute the materials and collect the finished products up.

zzzzz Sat 17-Dec-16 20:44:06

I've probably said this to you before but what really helped me help my dc was an EdPsych who said that for every negative experience people need 20 positive experiences to regain balanced feelings about that activity. It seemed nonsensical and pretty impossible to achieve but it gave me a good way of thinking about things and focused my attention on creating opportunities for positive experiences. I think that more than anything has guided us back to ales anxious position where growth and learning can occur.

I think if school can't support her (and they've said as much) then they do need to be looking at getting some focused strategies from EP.

lougle Sat 17-Dec-16 21:12:03

Thank you. Lots to think about. I probably haven't helped by trying to help her improve her handwriting and spelling during homework. Perhaps it would be better to just let her get whatever down on paper and praise her efforts, then school can correct her.

lougle Sat 17-Dec-16 21:22:30

The thing is, zzzzz, school think they are supporting her and they feel the issue is how she'll cope in secondary when that support is gone. They don't yet seem to appreciate that as much as they really are trying to support (lots of adult help, pre-teaching before activities so DD2 isn't surprised by them, etc.), it isn't reducing her anxiety sufficiently to achieve a result. DD2 still completely depends on adult support and still produces very little work.

It's a credit to them and their school culture that she isn't being seen as a problem, tbh, because it sounds like she is taking up a lot of adult time and they already have a child with DS (+TA) and a child with significant SN (not specified) who doesn't get full TA support, plus several children who are 'lower attainers' (but don't have SN) who need to catch up with the rest of the class. While I know the mantra that their resources aren't my child's concern, etc., it must be a logistical nightmare to support all of those children, as well as stretching the not insignificant number of able children, keeping the middle ability children on track, and having DD2 needing pre-teaching and then constant support and reassurance.

youarenotkiddingme Sat 17-Dec-16 21:31:46

Camhs said the same re positives zzzzz and my mum (who has been a teacher for 40+ years) said how much Ds is having positive experiences is supporting him.

So although Ds isnt learning as much as he could/should ATM he's getting the opportunity to learn because his anxiety is lower.
Because each thing is dealt with as it happens (although there's still reactive support rather than proactive iyswim?) he's having good experiences inbetween we can refer him to if things go wrong.

I think letting handwriting and spelling go is a good idea for now lougle I use to do the same with Ds but the then realised gpusing that metacognitive thinking and getting to understand what he had to write and communicating what he knows using 2/3 good sentences was a great starting block. So for homework I tend to get him to acheive 2/3 very good sentences and allow the rest to continue as he would do alone.
In the new year I intend to increase the number of sentences.
I've found modelling it for Ds the biggest way he achieves. It works for him because he rote learns - he does it for social communication too.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 17-Dec-16 22:24:22

Thats really interesting about the number of positive experiences needed! Dd3 has really low confidence in her academic abilities and she is such a perfectionist that its really hard to help her feel good about her attempts especially if she doesnt get something right first time or it doesnt live up to her expectations!

Its very difficult to know how to help children who are so anxious isnt it!

zzzzz Sat 17-Dec-16 22:44:13

For me the change in focus to "creating positive experiences" was very helpful. It is good to be able to DO something because dealing with your own pain watching your child terrified to talk in public, or wear their hair a different way, or eat something different or choose a dress, or a book or whatever is terribly hard. Sometimes it's quite unbearable and you wonder where you are all going. For us it was enormously helpful and I saw results within weeks (maybe days).

That ability to learn in a group without constant reassurance is a huge deal, so much so that it is really ALL I am looking for this year for my dc. For me it is infinitely more important than academic stuff because frankly you can master fractions or haiku any time.

Ineedmorepatience Sat 17-Dec-16 23:56:36

I think you are right zzzzz Dd3 has had so many positive experiences in so many ways this yr academics are probably one of our only big sticking points now.

Learning in a group is massive though!

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