Both our children are now in school. Since September they’ve gone into years 1 and 2.
Our eldest who is almost seven has struggled through school. He came to to live with us just 4 years old. He had a shit start to life with several ‘carers’ of a type. As a result he has attachment disorder. He feels shame, has low self esteem and plays it all out with a sense of humour or anger.
When he arrived with us he wanted nothing to do with me but now we’ve got a great bond. In fact, he stayed up late last night with me watching a film and even shared my Thai meal delivery that I’d sneakily ordered for when they went to bed. My husband was out with his mates for the day/evening watching football, trying to find himself again in the way that blokes do.
Anyway back to my son. He’s underperforming educationally but he’s come along way. He’s emotionally aged 3. He is slowly learning to read although not to the level of his peers. He’s great at writing although no one can understand it. Who cares about spelling anyway ?! He loves sport and gardening, anything practical and he’s great at taking things apart… Maybe he’ll go into demolision?
He’s finally learnt how to play imaginatively – hurray! The photo above shows him in his element.
His behaviour can be very challenging. He’s been seeing a therapist in school, paid for by the school pupil premium. Her synopysis of him recently has been spot on but she suggests he gets assessed for ADHD and ODD.
He never talks about his past, he has blocked it out. He has a small lifestory book but he doesnt care about it that much. His social worker said that he was completely unemotional when he left his parents for the last time. He was coping with too much at far too young and age and he learnt to switch off. Love him.
He’s gained so much confidence and is now a really loving little boy (although not as much as his sister).
This school term he began running out of his lessons constantly. If there was something he didnt want to do he would simply say ‘no’. The teachers were taking the Dan Hughes approach to deal with his attachment disorder however, he was riding rough shod over them and as a result was barely in his class.
Begin given ‘special’ treatment was seeing him walk around the school believing that school was not for him, he is one of the grown ups – he doesnt need to learn. he was choosing not to engage in anything he didnt want to do… he told me at breafast one day into his first few days of school, ‘I dont need to learn only (my sister) needs to learn as she’s younger’.
So after the report from the therapist said that his boundaries were too loose, the school tightened up (as we do at home) and all of a sudden we have a little boy who is in class all of the time, he’s completing his learning and getting his playtime and all the things he likes to do. He’s much happier. Taking a more traditional approach to boundaries and discipline works better for him.
The theraputic approach works much better for our daughter so we’re not against at all.
The choices are not ‘do you want to learn today?’ it was more ‘when you write do you want a pencil or pen’. The teacher was reluctant at first but now its working.
We’re still going to go with the assessment for ADHD and ODD as he goes to junior school next year with a whole new set of teachers. We’re not sure if the assessment is the righ thing to do. Fingers crossed this new approach in school will work. I’m hopeful that he can do it…