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As I may have mentioned before my two sons are both showing signs of dyspraxia. I have been weighing up lots of things in my mind lately and am not sure what to do for the best.
The youngest (2) has been referred because he has very poor speech, but I am wondering if he really needs to be. He can communicate his needs, just not verbally. So although there is some frustration, it isn't affecting him regularly or badly.
My other son (7) was a slow developer with walking/sitting/ crawling etc but is fine now, just clumsy and totally without any ability to sit still without flailing his arms around or looking aimlessly around the room. His writing is also poor.
I'm not sure whether we need to diagnose or 'help' these things as I can't help thinking that the only problem is that they are both not 'conforming' in time. I have no doubt that Sam will be able to talk before he is an adult
And the only reason my other son would need help is because he can't sit down and shut up in class :( It's not detrimental to him not to have great handwriting yet, he will be Ok in time. And why should we expect a just turned 7 year old boy to sit down paying attention for great lengths of time?
So, I can't help thinking the problem isn't my children - it's the society and constraints we subject them to.
What does everyone else think? Am I going crazy thinking like this????
Mummy to four little ones
I have thought about this with my DD. I have no doubt at all that if I took her to the doctor we could get some sort of referral and probably a diagnosis, probably something like Oppositional-Defiance Disorder or something, but I don't really want her to be labelled with something at her age (5), nor do I want her to be 'in the system'. As you say, I feel it is something they could give a name to, but that she will grow out of. It's obvious she's lacking certain skills that it is more usual for children her age (and much younger!) to have already acquired, such as flexibility, the ability to think clearly when under stress, but I'm sure it is just something that is harder for her acquire due to her extreme sensivity. I ahve no great belief that anyone medical could actually help her at all, and that having done a fair amount of research on this kind of thing, we, her family are the best people to help her learn the skills she needs and avoid environments that are stressful for her.
So, we've decided against any medical or official involvement for us. However, I really think it depends on the kind of special need and if outside help would be beneficial. With some things, I would think it would be. With other more nebulous problems, I feel it could actually make the situation worse.
I'm rambling now, does any of that amke any sense?
Druid, boat-dwelling, home educating mum of DD1 (11), Aspie DS (9) and baby DD2 (2), & part-time step-mum to 2 stepdaughters, 9 and 7.
I agree that his is a good reason to home educate.
It is very hard on a child at school if they do not conform to the norms of the class. They get labeled by the teacher and then start to think there is something wrong with them. This leads to low self esteem.
I know this because I am a primary teacher. It breaks my heart to see so many children who are a little different to the others being thought of a naughty, or a nuisance because they are not easy to teach in a class of 20-30 kids.
If your child is going to stay in mainstream education I would get a label. That way the teachers may have more empathy and the IEP (Individual education Plan) can be written by you and the teachers to enable a happier school life.
I know that getting labeled in the state school system is not always easy, though. I tried to get my daughter labeled for 9 years (dyslexia and dyspraxia) but did not manage it until I went to live in America. It took no time at all to get her an IEP and special help there, and she started to gain confidence and managed to succeed in her schoolwork.
She is now a qualified nursery nurse. So labeling certainly helped her.
I agree with all of you! I think being in school it is beneficial to have a diagnosis, but if in a very small school or being HE then you really gain nothing from this sort of label.
We are looking at schools for my 7 and 8 year olds atm, just looked round one where he would be in a class of 35!! :o It's a good school, but that is ridiculous. They couldn't even commit to having more than just the teacher in there regularly.
Mummy to four little ones
I would also agree that when in main streem education it is good to have a diagnoses. I found that it helped my ds(dyspraxic) work through some of the issues he was having in and out of school and has allowed him to feel more confident about him self.
But I would also say that if you have a child who has a "need" and you don't have a dianoses it might make it harder to access services such as OT.
I am in two minds about diagnosis and and the resulting label.
On the one hand in a school situation it seems like A Good Thing because as mentioned otherwise the child might only be seen as being disruptive or even worse 'naughty'.
It is implied that a 'label' as such gives the teacher a reason for empathy towards that child and can offer more support.
My question is why would ANY teacher not show empathy and understanding and offer to support to ALL children, regardless? Every single human being is different and we all learn things at different times in different ways, we know that.
Is it that a rushed teacher is more predisposed to shout or get cross, and that the 'label' means he/she does not?
I have this theory that we could all do with a label! We could all do with not being shouted at when we are slow at learning something new and the 'teacher' is ready to move on, or whatever. Can we as adults imagine going to an evening class and being shouted at for needing to get up and stretch our legs or not working as quickly as everyone else in the class? We could all do with extra people who know what we don't and are trying to show us something (hopefully we are interested in learning about what ever this is and are not being coerced - obviously if we are not interested our minds won't be focused at all on the task at hand).
So is the problem not the child but the environment (as mentioned already)? If the environment cannot be changed in some way to suit individuals then yeah, as a last resort I suppose a label might get that one child (lucky him or her!) some extra time and space and more relaxed learning and someone who has *time* to help. So it could be a bonus.
On the other hand I also feel that a diagnosis and label can be a handicap. Like for instance a child is having difficulty with something and so the adult (parent/teacher) says (in a vague way), yeah well that is his/her Autism and sighs a sad sigh and then leaves it at that. Or says hey, he can't handle interactions and that's why he's screaming at that other kid - It's His Autism. We let this thing, this label own the child rather than look, really look at the child and situation and see how we can help this one time, in this moment (like we could do with any child in any moment of difficulty). Sort of a neglect or some sort, I suppose, since we assume it is this intrinsic fault within the child and so cannot really help them. It is just how they are. Which of course it is, but what I am saying is that the label may hinder us from helping out in the moment with whatever is at hand - like we would with anyone else showing trouble with something (because it is more work for us - hey it will take longer - are we not time pressed too?) or because we feel that perhaps at the heart of the matter there is not much we can do, that our efforts won't amount to us, maybe even (from a teachers perspective) that it is a waste of time - there are more children to see to, who perhaps will retain what they are teaching and be a better example of their teaching (and thus of the school?)?
That the condition is static (which we know learning difficulties/disabilities are not - hey no one can determine the difference between those can they ) and once labeled the child gets stuck there: I guess is my worry in this regard.
Ok. So I do have this wonderful friend who's son is autistic (diagnosed and labeled) and who is so beautifully responsive to him it brings tears to my eyes. These thoughts here are just that thoughts….. I am not portioning blame etc, just meandering and wondering about this interesting subject.
Oh, and yes my children are home educated so I am coming in from that angle What ever the qualifications of the home ed. parent, there is one adult to only a couple of children and what is not known can be found out together at what ever pace the child sets.
I would give a thumbs up to ANYTHING that truly helped a child in what ever daily environment they found themselves in.
Thanks for your musings, very useful and a lot of what you say echoes my own thoughts. I am still struggling with this one… I saw someone from CAB who thought we could get middle or higher rate DLA and carers allowance but I feel that is a big line to cross so i'm thinking about that too…..
Mummy to four little ones
My son is going to be 9 on Friday and for most of his life we were struggling to get a diagnosis. He had meningitis when he was born and so we always knew that this might affect him in some way. He had slow speech, slightly weird behaviour and we thought on and off that he was on the autistic spectrum. He went to a special needs nursery which was fantastic, but when he started school then the fun began! We had struggled with the educational psychologist who never had enough time to see him properly, he saw a speech therapist for about 20 minutes every 6 months who would then draw conclusions from that meeting, similarly with an occupational therapist. It got to the point that I was felt like no one was listening to me. His behaviour was very challenging at home but much better at school (he liked the structure, I think) and I was made to feel as if I was making it all up. So of course I wanted a diagnosis if only to justify my concerns and get the right help for him. His self esteem was so low that he expressed an interest in killing himself. Yes, that bad.
We finally had to take him for a private assessment at the Dyslexia Institute in Winchester and from then on our lives became better. He was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and since then dyscalculia. To cut a very long story short, he is now in a small school for children with specific learning difficulties who totally understand the associated problems with children like this (eg food issues, emotional sensitivity,etc). He is a different child. He is happy, bright and full of confidence. I have written a small booklet about children like our son and you can view it as a PDF by visiting http://www.chilterntutorial.co.uk (it's called 'Please Mind the Gap'). Let me know if this helps at all.
Sorry, a bit of steam of consciousness this, but there is so much to say and so much emotion behind it. I no longer care about his diagnosis because he is getting the support he needs. A friend of his at school was offered a Statement at the age of 3 or 4 but his mother refused it for the same reasons you are quite rightly struggling with. She now deeply regrets it since he has been through several schools before he found the one that was right. With a formal acknowledgement of his problems (he is dyspraxic too) she feels that she would have been able to get him settled quicker.
Enough of this! What ever you decide will no doubt be well informed and right for your child, since you know him better than anyone. All I can do is share my experience for you to get another perspective. Let us know how you get on.
It's a hard one, I would say that if it is developmental then yes…you need all the help that they can get! If it is bahavioural then they may grow out of it and they are better off without having a label…but one caveat…if they have a disorder that they are not likely to grow out of till they are adults then get them in the system before they are 14 cos once they hit that magic age they can refuse any treatment and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it, I know this from very bitter experience!