So I left you last time (The Adventures of My Complicated Little Boy – Part One )with an illiterate, slightly slow, underweight, timid, crying boy. And me putting my boxing gloves on.
First thing we did was put my boy into Kung Fu classes. A bit of manning up as Hubby would say. But it was more for male peers, male mentors, self-defence, and to help concentration, confidence etc. Kung Fu is supposedly the most lethal form of martial arts – but the class that my boy does, has no contact. He learns all the moves in the form of a dance called The Form. He has to get The Form right to move up to the next level. They are taught what each move means and how it is used in self-defence. Sort of like “wax on, wax off” in Karate Kid – the move becomes so ingrained that when he does have to defend himself, it becomes instinctive. Well, he has been going for over 6 years now and has upped his lessons to 2 a week, because he loves it. He is now learning weapons and when his sister has pushed him to breaking point, he can floor her in one gentle move!
Secondly we chose his Junior School very carefully. We found a cracker! Totally outside the box of a school – just like our boy. No uniform, open plan and just a happy place. Best decision ever. And I went in straight away to discuss my boy’s needs and to make sure that I would be involved every step of the way. Well, his first teacher was a gem, after a few weeks he realised that my boy wasn’t below average, but was actually quite clever in an unusual way. PHEW, Mr D realised that my boy was thinking too quickly to write down what was in his head, and that he found the writing down bit deathly boring and frustrating. So we did do the normal extra writing at home and he had extra writing lessons in class, but Mr D gave him a Dictaphone and my boy’s world and grades exploded!!
Giving someone a way to express what is going on in their head is a wonderful, wonderful thing and one of the reasons I love writing my blog. My boy was coming home with his Dictaphone and I would type up his ramblings every evening. Going from a couple of illegible sentences to 3 or 4 typed pages of the most complex and intertwined story. My boy’s confidence blossomed and he wanted to try hard at school again.
After Mr D, we had Miss P. She decided that we needed to make this official, so sent us off to the Occupational Therapists. Miss P, wanted to ensure that my boy could get the extra time, computer access and scribes in his exams, so we had to have confirmation from someone official. The Therapist was great, she wrote off dyslexia and dyspraxia, which I knew, but was pleased to hear officially. And the therapist agreed with Mr D, my boy just thinks too fast, but added that it was exacerbated by his anxiety (crying fits), so my boy got his official permission to get help. Miss P, was pleased and also understood that my boy thought outside the normal boxes. She even said that when she asked the class a question, she would wait till my boy put his hand up, because she knew that he would take the class in a direction that she herself had not even thought of.
Finally we had Miss T, who got him through the final exams. She loved my boy and would often turn to him to answer specific science questions that she didn’t know the answer too – because she knew he would. She would get him up in front of class and make him answer and he would get cheered. Talk about confidence booster. (Although I did want to question why she as the teacher, didn’t know the answer, but I think she was just being kind!)
So at the end of Junior School my boy excelled in his Maths, Literacy and all other subjects. But what I am most, most proud of was that he got bang on average for Writing and Grammar!!!! We had a party about that one, to come from illiterate to average – WOO HOOO, so proud.
But… and yes there is a big old scary but… he was still crying. All the time. He would be a normal, happy, confident, smiling boy and then he would be confronted by a bee or a spider or get this… cucumber and he would end up in the corner sobbing hysterically. Inconsolable.
How do you deal with that as a parent? What do you do? I had no idea, but I found out and you will have to wait for the next instalment to find out too……..