Swings and roundabouts

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Do you have that expression in the US? Means a situation where there are some good things, some bad things. Life, in other words...
    So the not-so-good thing is that I have decided to take J out of the school from today. Just as well because when I arrived this morning they told me that they are excluding him and putting him all by himself with a teacher because apparently (they say) he is disrupting his class of four students to such a degree that teaching is impossible. I simply do not believe this. They also said many parents had complained about him. If they have, I think it is all generated by the attitude of the principal, which is that he is a bad child who is turbulent and out of control - she has done nothing to make him feel relaxed and welcome, and to explain his behaviour to others. Okay, okay, you may say, but society is not going to understand him, make exceptions for him, etc. That may well be true, but that is later. For the moment he is a six year old child and it is simple. He can and should be understood and helped in the context of his difference or disability. A warm, understanding, compassionate teacher (and, yes, there are not so many of those, doubtless) would have ensured that we would not have got to this difficult place where I just feel he has to come out of the school and we are at daggers drawn. And I just don't know where we go from here... I don't think the ideal is for me to teach him, actually - I don't think it's going to work. I will need to engage a tutor for him, at least for a few hours a week.
    But the good thing is that I have been put in touch with a psychologist who works with ADHD kids (and others) here in Marrakesh and I feel heartened after talking to her this morning. She promises she will be able to teach him skills to help with his social difficulties and she has a lot of experience. She is clearly in this not just for the money but because she has a vocation for and understanding for kids with differences - she comes highly recommended by several people. I have also made an appointment for October with a doctor here who specialises in ADHD. It all costs money, unlike in France where it is basically free, but this is actually more help than we were getting in France. I also have an appointment with a speech therapist and am in touch with a woman who runs an organisation for parents of children with learning difficulties here.
    So there IS help on the ground here and I'm feeling a little more hopeful, as I say. Now I just need to get the school dilemma sorted...
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Good to hear you have some services available.

    When it comes to school, J is bright boy and very young. If school is not offering a good environment for him right now, taking him off, is the best thing to do. Actual academics won't take too much of your time yet anmd it may be easier to train other school skills separately right now.

    I of course don't have any idea what Moroccan law says about home schooling, but if it is flexible, I would concentrate almost solely to reading, math and bit of writing. Everything else is rather irrelevant in this point. And how you have described J, I would research alternative, and active, teaching methods. Make him jump back and forth his math problems or teach math while cooking etc. Write words with your finger to his neck and let him read those etc. Things like that. Sitting still on the chair with books and pens is often not the best way for lively little guy to learn. I'm sure there are lots of alternative (American mostly, I guess) sources for early learning in web. You have couple of years to teach him strong foundation in reading and math before he actually has to learn anything else academically.

    That should leave you a lot of time to concentrate his social skills and group skills. Waiting your turn, being calm and sitting still and all those things.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You're getting access to some good resources. Your dilemma will not be unique...
    Maybe you need to get together with some other parents of "challenging" kids and create your own school?
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, personally I don't believe in segregating kids with differences. I think they do better with typical kids, and interventions.
    I really don't know how this experiment is going to pan out. This morning's "home school" consisted of
    J finding a wild kitten without a mother and bringing it home. We looked up on the internet about how to take care of kittens.
    He wrote a few sentences (sounds like not much - big deal for him) along the lines of "My kitten is called Safia. I love my kitten." His friend Ilyas, aged 10, came round and Ilyas wrote a letter to J's grandma which J composed (along the lines of : I have a kitten called Safia, etc.) He learnt how to write a letter, where to put the address, date and salutation, etc.
    Now he is off playing football with the local kids - or he doesn't really play, actually, just dips in and out occasionally, I think.
    And that's it. This afternoon he goes to the Moroccan kindergarten.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2013
  5. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    That's sounds like a great day! He focused, got some writing done (oh the homework wars at my house with my grandson--you don't even wanna know!!), played with friends, and probably felt like a very competent, happy little boy. Mazeltov! Here in the states, we have what's called FAPE (free and appropriate public education) and if you were here, you would be getting much offered to you. You are having to go it alone because it doesn't sound like your country of residence(s) have much in the way of laws holding local education agencies' feet to the fire to ensure equal access for all children to be humanely and appropriately educated. I saw somewhere on the this thread about forming a co-op of parents with similar needs. Great idea, but like you don't have anything else to do, I'm sure.

    But, there is so much coolness to being raised as a citizen of the world and that's an amazing kind of learning, too. I was pulled hither and yon as a kid (Dad in the Air Force) and had to hit the ground running constantly. I did have the gift of transitioning easily, and picked up languages very quickly. I never did have the ability to make and maintain close friendships, though. Thank heavens I get along so well with my kids! They call me their best friend (they are 34 and 36), and that tickles me so much.

    I know when we had to pull me grandson out of school for various lengths of time, we had a schedule of activities during the day, little contracts to do this or that, timers set, and at least part of the day was very structured.

    And have fun with the new kitty!
  6. Confused

    Confused Guest

    Aww Im sorry he's/ you are going through this. Im glad he had a great day so far! Your doing everything you can for him :) It sounds like you got a great psychologist and let us now how his day finished :).
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Confused :)
    How the day ended? Well, I picked him up from the Moroccan school at the end of the afternoon - the principal is great, obviously brimming with warm feelings and understanding for children - where J seems accepted as he is and welcomed. He went to his tae kwondo class (three times a week, great, enthusiastic teacher) then we came home and he went off to play in the square, came back with two lady friends (aged about six or seven), they played inside and out, eventually he reappeared just as I was going to get him for bed. He is being SO sweet about this kitten. I'm allergic so she can't come in the house but I have agreed he can look after it until she is old enough to look after herself with the other wild cats.
  8. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    If there's any type of program to get the kitten spayed before you send her back out, you'd be doing a good deed.

    Why can't J go to the afternoon K all day? IT sounds like a better environment. I am also not sure that only ADHD is going on but I'm not an expert.

    He sounds like a delightful, bright child and I hope he finds his place.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well... I'm afraid, without sounding surly, that really nobody can diagnose anything over the internet. I don't think there's anything with J other than ADHD. But it is quite severe ADHD. He is delightful and bright but very much larger than life, intense and needs help putting the brakes on his constant over-physicality with people and things. Sad for him... he is so sociable and friendly, and kids would like him, but the ADHD screws everything up for him socially. Are we allowed to say that on air?
  10. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    Yes, we are allowed to say that. He is your son and clearly know him better than I do. J does sound absolutely delightful. I don't always comment but I do enjoy reading of his exploits and cute sayings. I'm partial to little boys, having had 4 of my own, each with different issues and temperaments. My baby is 14 now but the 6 - 9 age group is one of my favorites for boys.

    Oldest boy was believed to be ADHD for many years. In grade 8, he was finally diagnosed with Asperger's and I believe it suits him. His ADHD was very different from J's and I never really bought the diagnosis for him - he was hyperlexic, focused on a narrow range of interests, was sociable enough and kids liked him well enough until his difficulty with parsing out inflection and the like made it tougher for him to assimilate into different groups, which began to occur about grade 3. He's in his early 20's now and not nearly as successful or focused in life as his IQ would lead one to believe he could be and I am now starting to reconsider adult ADD for him.

    I know that you are opposed to medications but have you tried biofeedback? We did that with oldest boy when he was 9. It really helped and I wish I could afford another course for him now. It's non-invasive and helped him a lot with his focus and attention issues.

    Do you think that martial arts would help him? My son did it for awhile but I know many ADHD kids who do it and it helps with their physical fidgeting and self-discipline. A good instructor teaches the students that they are never to do it outside of the studio. Perhaps gymnastics? or any activity like swimming which is physical and requires concentration but not competition. Maybe a bmod plan with treats he selects himself would help?

    I personally hope that once J settles down into school that he will learn to harness his physical energy.
  11. Confused

    Confused Guest

    Im glad he had a good day!! :yess:The kitten seems to be helping him out as hes helping her :) Animals are therapy, too bad your allergic. I understand tho, I was fine with dogs and when I got my own cat when I was 10, omg, I couldnt breathe! Constant sneezing, the eyes, throat! Well we went to an allergist he said get rid of the cat! I said nope! So I( my sis too) took a shot weekly for I think a year- now Im good. But it doesn't work for everyone. Least your trying to help her out! I agree tho with svengandhi, if you can find a program to spay her. Good luck :)
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, J does tae kwando and karate and I am sure it does help, svengandhi. He also does or has done horse riding, tennis, roller skating, swimming. I'd like to get him into football and he really wants to do hip-hop. He is passionate about, and very talented at, stunt scootering though there is no place to do it here in Marrakech.

    Yes, I'd certainly be willing to give biofeedback a go, though I believe it is very expensive? For the record, I'm not "against" medications per se - like most things, it's not as black and white as that :) I can see their real use in certain situations and I can visualise J trying them again in the future. I can also visualise him not trying them, if that makes sense. We will have to see how things evolve. He is very bright but because his attention capacity is so compromised, he does not have the academic skills of children his age... I presume medications help with all that.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
  13. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sometimes.... sometimes not. Like usual.
    It depends on whether the inattention is caused by brain chemistry, or by other factors.
    For some people, a brain chemistry issue may respond appropriately to medication... and when it does, it's a "miracle".
    Too bad they can't figure out all the rest of us!
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot, whatamess. Some interesting links, particularly the one to do with unschooling and ADHD. This is why I am unknowingly doing, then... and actually it makes sense to me. A lot of sense! I've decided to put him more often in the Moroccan school with the open/kindly principal - she is open to him taking time off as and when. Jacob will be trilingual. This is actually an interesting thing in itself, an interesting base for learning - not just something that gives him added kudos :) What skills does he need for life, will he need for life, this is what I ask myself? What conventional school has to give him is largely irrelevant for him. Good luck, bad luck, who knows... I am now glad, actually, that the French school was such a disaster. It's brought us back into touch with something more real and vibrant.
  16. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    The Moroccan school sounds wonderful. I read something once that said that as children, people who are exposed to multiple languages sometimes have difficulty communicating and become frustrated because they haven't yet figured out how to use the brain to sort through it but, of course, as they get older, the ability to speak multiple languages is such a benefit. One thing about America is how few native born Americans who are second generation and past are bilingual. When I went to Europe, I was so impressed with people who slipped in and out of languages.

    Can I ask you just one question about J's name? I love it, it was my grandpa's name and my oldest boy is Hebrew named after him. Do you call him Jacob in English or Hebrew and in Morocco or do you call him by an Arabic version? I'm just wondering because I have friends who call their child by an English name when they're in America and then use only the Hebrew name in Israel. The children don't have any issues with it.