Coping strategies when they don’t want to go to school – Learning and language disorders
I’m back from a blog holiday…. not really and apologies but the year has been turbulent. I’ve been very busy working within my marketing business and supporting my husbands business, and being a mum and and and …. the list goes on.
But you’re not here to read about my year…. let’s get back on the blogging wagon as this year has had it’s challenges for my son starting Year 5.
Year 5 – he is ten years old and the step into his senior years at primary school. I purposely chose our new school for it’s smaller class sizes so as he stepped into Year 5/6 composition and a class of 30 – I had something to say to school.
I was anxious over the holidays so I sent a note to discuss my concerns and I was assured that my son had been considered, along with the rest of the children in those classes and he was in the right class for him and that this was a ‘step up’ into the senior year and being mentored with the leaders of the school – the Year 6’s.
I have to see after the very successful transition and year he had in Year 4 – I trusted them.
Well week 3 and he didn’t want to go to school. I think a new teacher, larger class size and well the expectation of more responsibility freaked him out as it did me! So I met with school and we discussed strategies for Luca to cope.
A social skill objective was added purposely in his IEP/ILP so we could work on it at home and with school. He was doing fine, but his poor language skills and at time hearing because of his APD combined with his weak short term memory was leaving him feeling anxious and stressed as he was insecure about knowing the right words, being able to be organised in class and know the answers in trivia quizzes.
There was a particular situation at school that hit a nerve for him. There was a quiz in class – the question who is the prime minister of Australia? They were in teams but another child commented that ‘you don’t know the answer to that Luca’ ha ha ha and well he did but not in that split second.
The topic came up at the dinner table that night. ” Mum who is the prime minister of Australia”? By bedtime he was confiding in me and was upset about what happened so it wasn’t just the knowing the answer it was feeling like he was ‘stupid’.
Resilience is something that is difficult for most younger children, but as they grow they need too, like we do as adults, be resilient to this sort of behaviour. Don’t get me wrong I’m not condoning bullying but my son did need to feel more confident in himself and have strategies within himself to cope in these situations.
As let’s face it, evening without a learning disability, like APD or Language Delay, Dyslexia the world isn’t perfect. It was time for him to lean how to cope in these situations and start teaching him strategies to cope at school so he wanted to go.
The social time at school was great, he was prompted to talk about how he felt more and be open with his teacher and friends and well when someone said something like that, brush it off. There was plenty he was good at like sports, being liked and funny so this boy wasn’t being mean just stating he didn’t know the answer. There were other answers in the test he was great at! But he focused on the thing he wasn’t and being poked fun at.
I know some of you may read this and think easier said than done. I have, albeit two years ago had the child who also didn’t want to go to school at all and cried and cried and felt ‘stupid’ and anxious that he didn’t want to do anything! That all his anxieties compounded and we did need to see a psychologist and talk about what felt like a battle at school. But this school understands more and I think also got me in quickly to talk about what we could ‘all’ do to help him at school.
We are mid term 3 and the only reason he doesn’t want to go to school these days is because he is just tired. Fair enough. But he has friends, he brings a super bouncy ball each day to school and is the first on the two square court to play with his friends, one of them is that boy. They are friends.
He is confident and completing homework and taking responsibility for his things and we even have stopped constant parent intervention with school. He is becoming more responsible for his homework and bringing home messages from school written in his diary, as he can’t retain the messages in his memory always.
Sorry this post is long but I haven’t written one for a long time…. but another example of the stepping up and resilience. He lost his sports jumper at school. When he came home without it I said… ‘where is it’? He explained he left it in the sports hall but he didn’t want to ask the teacher as she was asking them to line up. I explained he needed to go to school and check out the lost property in the morning and if he wanted me to come (didn’t want to have to buy another jumper!). He said no he would work it out. I wondered if he would remember but I left it…. he wants to take responsibility – let go Mum!
That night he came home with his jumper. I asked him where it was? He explained that he asked his friend where the lost prop0erty was and together they went to the lost property and found his jumper! Not a biggy, but for Luca this was. He took action himself. He wasn’t freaked out about losing his jumper and he asked a friend to help him. They were major steps for him as he often would ask no one or let on anything was wrong.
I better wrap this up but coping strategies all start at home and school and maybe us knowing when to intervene and when to not.
Happy Sunday and I’m started up again… more blog posts soon 😉
Kids Speech Matters – check out my book: www.kidsspeechmatters.com
I will also be writing book two – this Christmas for a New Year Launch.