Amazing how differently your teen is treated by teachers when they find out about his almost certain ADHD diagnosis

Ok so before all you teachers instantly take offence to that I will openly say I do not think secondary teachers are paid enough for what they have to deal with and I could not for all the money in the world even contemplate teaching teenagers!! I appreciate you all have several classes with probably 30 moody, whingy, bolshy annoying teens in every class driving you to complete distraction getting on your last nerve at times…………….. I repeat I COULD NOT DO THAT JOB.

That said, when it comes to your own child and you can see him being persecuted for being fidgety, talking, moving, getting distracted and distracting others. Now I am not a mother who sees her children as little angels, I am fully aware that my 15 year old son is ‘high maintenance’, loud, demanding and can drive me to total distraction on a daily basis, so I do appreciate how that could be a pain in the arse to deal with in a class of 30 kids. So when the said child does not change over the years, finds it hard to focus and is the king of ‘low level disruption’ but is generally a very likeable boy surely some alarm bells would be ringing from the school side of things?

However, this did not happen, it was my son after lots of discussions at home who decided that he needed to take this further as he was getting very frustrated with getting into trouble for the same repeatable behaviour, to the point where particular teachers would actually send him out of the room within minutes because he was tapping his pen, or tapping his feet, or fiddling with stuff on his desk and then totally lose his temper when they gave him a detention for disruption. He has been on Head of Learning reports in year 9 and just wasn’t actually learning from it- it his words ‘I feel as though I just cant stop myself- I have done it or said it before I have even realised’.

So we went through the process of getting the school to refer him last year for an ADHD assessment ( totally pushed from our side). He eventually had his assessment just before Christmas 2015 where the consultant openly told us it was highly likely in her view he would be diagnosed and to prepare for him to be put on medication that would help him settle, focus and help him achieve his potential at school ( he is at a grammar school and all his teachers say he is very bright but he is letting himself down with his behaviour). Unfortunately the appointment to discuss possible medications will not be until May/ June at the earliest due to the waiting list.

Tonight we had his parents evening. He has heard so many times about his behaviour that he totally rights himself off with school and doesn’t think he can do anything, yet recently we were emailed by his Chemistry teacher to say he had an excellent result in his latest ISA test. He is on par for an A* in his Drama, and does well in strange subjects such as Classics too. He has the capability to do really well in his GCSE’s and we have been told that by most of his teachers.

So at each of the 4 minute slots you have ( I swear it’s like a form of speed dating!) with each teacher, every single one of them concentrated on his behaviour and not on his work to the point I just didn’t care and totally ran over my slotted time in order to inform them that he has been ADHD assessed, with a highly likely outcome, and is waiting on a probably medication appointment in hopefully may/ June time- all of which has been discussed with the SEN who was supposed to pass it on to his them.

The difference in how they spoke to him, about him and what they could do to help was unbelievable! We went from him being basically slagged off ( no wonder he goes to school with a self fulfilling prophecy attitude, tell someone they are a waste of space enough and they will become it!) to a complete turnaround for some of them.

All of his teachers have said they will………….

  • physically check he has written his homework in his planner rather than just ask him ( as he will say yes intending to do it at break time only to get distracted and then forget………..roll on a detention).
  • some have offered to print out notes for him as he struggles to read his own writing when he rushes notes in class and therefore takes the attitude that it’s not worth it as he wont be able to read them, therefore getting into trouble for not doing enough note taking.
  • Some have decided that they will move him closer to their desk in order to help keep him focussed.
  • Several said to get a stress ball that he could keep in his hand in class so that he has something to ‘fiddle with’ without making noise or distracting others.
  • One has already started to give him a little note at the start of the lesson to break down his one hour class into 10-15 minute bites for him so he only has to initially focus for short periods on one task.

They spoke to him about helpful coping strategies that they could work together on and some we could use at home with regards to his homework and coursework etc. His Drama teacher was absolutely brilliant with him and said that he was welcome in her class when she was there during breaks or after school to ‘vent’ or talk about things he was struggling with and she would help him as much as she could. She said he reminded her of herself at that age where he was almost at a crossroads and could go one way or the other, on a good path or a bad one, and she was more than happy to help him make the right choices.

It is a shame that it wasn’t picked up earlier from school and he felt he had already been written off by his teachers who literally couldn’t be bothered to have him in their class. Therefore, in his head he was never going to do any good at his GCSE’s. Tonight he is already talking about being a primary school teacher ( which he would be fab at as he gets on great with younger kids). Don’t get me wrong he is not going to find this easy, he will have to put some hard effort in himself and knuckle down to getting his homework done, but if it’s in his planner then we as parents can support him by making sure it’s done and therefore cut down on any detentions for not doing it because it wasn’t written in there. He will have to try really hard in class for the teachers to keep this level of support up on his behalf and hopefully help him with coping strategies even before he has to think about possible medication down the line.

So, for the first time after one of his parent’s evening we have all come home much more positive and my son now knows he has a friendly and approachable contact in the form of his Drama teacher if he finds he is getting frustrated with things at school. I cannot thank her enough for how nice she was to him tonight and how supportive she has offered to be- I think if one teacher at school can influence him it is definitely going to be her and hopefully that will help keep him on track in other classes too.

I would love to hear from any of you who have gone through the same thing, and if your child was put on medication did that help them at all?

 

 

 

 

Results day!

This has been a stressful time waiting on these. Not that my son has seemed stressed in any way shape or form. He has had full confidence in himself which is a good thing. But as a parent we know the pitfalls, we have been in that position ourselves and we generally want our kids to do better than we did.

Our son just wanted to get back into his schools 6th form ( I think it is totally ridiculous that they don’t automatically get a place- but that could be my age showing). That meant he needed an average of B’s across the board on a points system. There is so much pressure on the kids at school today not just from school but in a lot of cases from parents as well.

We have had several chats with my son along the way and said whatever he gets and whatever the outcome there will always be a solution. My actual words were ‘ If you don’t get the points and grades you need for 6th form it really isn’t worth throwing yourself on  a train track over it’. Ok may sound a little harsh but you do hear of the stories of the students who feel they are failures just because they didn’t get A*’s in every subject.

For us the aim was for my son to do the best he could and get the grades he required to get back into his chosen 6th form. Today that is exactly what he did!

In fact he got:

1x A* Maths

3x A’s Chemistry, Physics and Geography

6x B’s History, English Lit, RS, Biology, PE and Music

1x C English language

1x D  French

So he wasn’t impressed with his D, but lets face it it’s not in any of his major subjects, and his B in History as when he got the breakdown all his papers were A’s but his coursework was a B so that brought his mark down and he was disappointed with that.

For us we were and are incredibly proud of him, to get mainly A’s and B’s across most of his subjects is just amazing and better than anything I or my OH ever did. This means he automatically got his place in the 6th form at his school where most of his friends are continuing to go as well.

I am so proud, emotional, jittery and happy I cannot explain it properly. He has done amazingly well and we hope he continues to do so in 6th form with his A levels. However I do know of parents who would look at those results and raise an eyebrow and see him as a failure for not getting all A*’s. To them I say ‘Up Yours’ with the appropriate signal, my son is not stressed and hasn’t been throughout like some of the kids, he is very happy with his results and chuffed that we are incredibly proud of him. For me that will go much further in his personal development and self worth than any number of A*’s.

Anyone else been under the GCSE pressure?

 

 

Super Busy Mum

Looking back at school uniforms

A lot of events recently have seen me take a rosy, nostalgic look back at the past, my 20th wedding anniversary, my eldest turning 16 and taking his GCSE’s and soon to be a 6th former!

I cant believe how quickly the time goes and how we find ourselves wishing it away and then wanting it back to enjoy it for a bit longer. It really only seems like weeks ago that my eldest started school, he was so cute and dinky ( now a hairy, spotty teen!) that I almost forget that he was once that small.

 

Soooo cute!
Soooo cute!

When they start they almost seem to small/ young to be there and yet shockingly look so grown up in their tiny uniforms at the time. There have been so many changes over the years too, from being in ‘Infants’ and then into ‘Juniors’, a week long school trip away from home and then the 11+, and then the huge upheaval and transfer into secondary school. Now it’s all attitude, independence and exams.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the school uniform, as I have boys it’s always been charcoal grey trousers and white shirts and neutral black shoes. Now anyone with boys know you tend to buy more than you think you will need ( because you WILL actually need it) and I would rather have too many shirts than not enough- boys tend to miss their mouths a lot! I have only ever bought my uniforms from one retailer as I have never had cause to go anywhere else. George at Asda have kept my boys well clothed for school at very reasonable prices with packs of 2 polo shirts starting at £2.50, packs of 2 shirts from £3 and trousers from £3. Both the shirts and trousers not only wash up well but go in the dryer week after week over the winter and have kept their shape and quality throughout. Their school trousers also have the fabulous invention of adjustable waists as both my boys are skinny malinkies and although need the leg length their waists fall a bit short when filling the trousers out.

 

All grown up at secondary school!
All grown up at secondary school!

This year however, my eldest will be going back as a 6th Former ( still shocks me to say it *consoles myself with wine*) so he will be needing a suit instead. I am going to think of it as normal uniform though and buy accordingly ie: several pair of trousers and one jacket and about 7-8 mixed shirts to match ( yes even at 16 he misses his mouth!). To be honest most places now sell mix and match suits for that reason and so I think my first port of call will again be George at Asda hoping the quality will be similar to that of the uniforms I have bought over the years, we have already seen one that would suit him lovely in a navy pinstripe with slim leg trousers.

As always with uniforms the best time to buy them is literally as they finish this summer term as most retailers have their best deals on- 3 for 2 etc and I do like to get them sorted and out of the way so we can enjoy the rest of the summer holidays. My eldest this year has an extended summer break as he finishes after his exams……………. I think I will need to bulk buy a stash of wine and chocolate to cope…………….. or maybe just send him to stay at my mums for a while!

 

DISCLOSURE: this is a collaborative PR related article however all views and words are my own.

 

 

New stock from my Beanies and Bobbles site

These are perfect for your little school stars starting in their reception, Yr1 or Yr2 classes.

A great back to school pack for your little newbies at school. A school set with a pencil shaped bookmark, a coin pouch for those collections and school fairs etc, and a fruit cover to keep their fruit from getting bruised and dirty in their new book bags

Available in your chosen colours, suitable for boys and girls.
Price £7.50
p&p £1.50 if needed

Contact me via email beaniesandbobbles@btinternet.com

or via my Facebook page Beanies and Bobbles

or via Twitter – @muminmeltdown

Thanks

A bit of this, that and the other.

It’s all gone past in a bit of a blur………………………the last month or two!

I hope I am not the only one who feels like this. Thankfully I have photographic evidence to prove that it all took place.

Where do I start?

There’s been a bit of this:

My 42nd *cough* birthday!
1 week scout camp for my youngest
A trip to Duxford…. Love it there!
10th Anniversary of my Dad passing away :((

 

Good ‘ol Hamleys

 

Hubby’s birthday

A bit of that:

YAY………….the Paralympics!
Goalball
GB wheelchair tennis………..AMAZING!
Wheelchair basketball…………MANIC GAME!
A new secondary school for my youngest!
My youngest turned 12………….now that makes me feel old!

Oh and a LOT of the other:

A biggy at last 🙂
Ok admittedly they are not always big!!!!

Looked like a huge goldfish????

So there you have it, my life in pictures- and if you flick through them really quick it’s like one of those picture books!!

What have you all been up to?

 

A-Z of recent times

A-Arguing…..yes it has started early in the hols with my 11 and 14 yr olds who do NOT get on together!

B-Brother…..I have 2 but my older is travelling over from America and we all haven’t seen him for a long while so should be fun.

C- Cornish Pasties……………one of the treats of visiting mum, the best Cornish pasties!!

D- Danny Boyle……oh what a genius job he did with the Opening Ceremony.

E- emotional as my youngest left primary school and exhausted after all the Leavers celebrations.

F- Family History………….I had the full run down of where we all came from as my younger brother has researched it all in recent months but saw the pics for myself in a recent visit.

G- Great Britain………..C’mon, the nation is proud!

H- HOLIDAYS! at last the long awaited and sometimes dreaded school hols……..I for 1 am glad not to have the early mornings

I- Injustice as my bank account is hacked to the sum of £590 and used for online Bingo!!!!!!!!! Bizarre.

J- Joking

K- Kids………cannot live with them and cannot live without them!! Wish they would just get along and make everyone’s life a little easier.

L- Laughing………..a weeks worth with a stay at my mums!! Don’t ask but she thought Ciabatta bread was called Carburetor bread!!!!!

M- Medication…………has been increased and added to……….but still in pain.

N- NEED a proper holiday, with sunshine and things to visit……….oh and the money to enjoy it!!

O- obviously the Olympics!! Something I wasn’t too bothered about until the opening ceremony and now watch everyday

P- Paralympics! I have been so into the normal games we have bought tickets to a paralympic event to get into the spirit of the whole thing and want to see the Olympic park.

Q- Queen………what a star to get involved in the Games with Mr Bond himself!! Brilliant.

R- Relax………..a few days away and I did just that.

S- SUNSHINE………..yes we had it ………for a week, but oh how lovely it was. Please come back soon.

T- Travelling. To go and visit my family I have to travel from London to Plymouth. Worth the travel but oh sooooooooo tiring for me.

U- Unwashed!!! Not me of course but my youngest on his return from his week long scout camp………………..NASTY!

V- visiting family and relaxing, which I managed to do last week.

W- Wedding! Yes I’m excited to have a family wedding next week. I cannot wait, have a new frock and everything!

X- X marks the spot……..not for treasure but my fishing spot. Have been again and looking to sort my next day there!

Y- YAWN………….more than a regular occurrence for me regardless of how many coffee’s I have.

Z- Zonked!! No other word for it. I am officially Zonked to within an inch of my life at the moment.

World Education Games

Are you smarter than a 10-year-old?

Lets face it most of us would like to think that we are, right? Well truth be told I struggle with my son’s yr 9 maths homework ( I’m better at spelling and literacy I think!), but thankfully my OH is good at maths so we get by with helping out with home works. So do you have a bright spark at home? How do you think they would fair against school children from across the world with maths, spelling and science?

This is what the World Education Games is trying to do.

 

To celebrate the World Education Games we put Britain’s best young Maths brains to the test against the general public and then the world famous ‘Human Calculator’
This March, hundreds of thousands of school children from around Britain will pit themselves against students from around the world to find the best young Mathematicians, spellers and Science brains in the universe during the World Education Games ( 6th– 8th of March).

The three-day global competition will test students during a variety of online games set against the clock and our best young brains will be battling for honours during World Spelling Day, World Science Day and the opener –  World Maths Day.

The games are being backed by world famous Maths entertainer Scott Flansburg AKA ‘The Human Calculator’ who holds the world record for the for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than a person could do with a calculator.

So to see how our British competitors are likely to fare during the World Education Games we challenged some of the big hopefuls to a ‘calculation off’ with ‘The Human Calculator’ as well as members of the public.

This originally started in 2007 with a World Maths day but has progressed since then with popularity to include spellings and science.The World Education Games are aiming to unite children from across the world in education and learning.

So take a look at the video below to see if you can answer some of the questions posed to people in the street!

Are You Smarter Than a 10 year old?

For more information visit the website at: http://www.worldeducationgames.com/

 

A nervous day!

Yes, it’s a very nervous day in my household today. It’s the day my youngest son’s 11+ results arrive on our doorstep!!

As the day has drawn closer I have noticed him getting more and more concerned about it. He is hoping to pass but we have tried to warn him that it doesn’t always go to plan and not to be too disappointed if he doesn’t get through.

However, what makes it worse is that he is a bright boy, he has the potential to pass, he has done some work towards it………………but there is never any guarantee.

Going on his work at home, if he finished the practise papers on time he then didn’t do very well. But if he concentrated and didn’t finish the paper on time ( quality rather than quantity) then he tended to get a good score!!!
On both of the test days he came out saying that he had finished the papers…………..not a great sign!!

But you just never know. We are not holding our breath as parents however, we are trying to prepare for the meltdown that will be if he doesn’t ‘pass’ the test. I know he will feel a failure, I know he will feel resentment against his brother ( who did pass a few years ago and attends the school my youngest really wants to go to) and I know tomorrow going into school will be hellish for him!!

You see most people have the opinion that he will pass, I’m afraid that they mistake his confidence (which he has in abundance) for ability! I think he feels under pressure because of this!

These are children who are only 10 or 11 years old. They are too young to have this much pressure. I know of many parents who openly talk about it all in front of them and therefore, the pressure of not being a ‘failure’ is all too apparent.

My post does not arrive until lunchtime…………………….my nerves may not stand it!

Little does he know that I will be steaming that letter open to find out the result before he opens it on his return from school!! I need to be prepared in order to deal with any of his disappointment straight away!!

On the other hand he may pass and be overjoyed……………………………who knows what the day holds.

Either way we will be treating him to dinner out to at least celebrate the fact it will all be over!!!!

11+ nerves

It’s 11+ tests tomorrow and I don’t know who’s more nervous…….mum and dad or the son who’s taking it!!!

We have a 13 yr old who has already gone through this who comfortably passed his and attends a really nice grammar school close by. This school is perfect for him as it is mixed and because he is a sensitive soul we thought it would be better for him. He loves it there ( as much as any boy ‘loves’ school!) and has made a great set of friends that from the beginning of year 7 to today in year 9 have all stuck by each other.

However, I think this makes it more difficult for the second child. He also wants to go to the same school as his brother, he has already had a look around and loves the drama department there ( as some of you may remember he is a budding ‘actor’!!). He is also a very capable child and has been in top sets for maths and literacy in junior school. But there is no guarantee that he will get through on the test!

He has worked hard towards it with his dad ( which we did with our older son) however, we have tried not to put too much pressure on him about it. Rightly or wrongly we never sent either of our boys to a tutor in order for them to pass. Any work they have undertaken over the summer has been worked through by my OH who seems to have the patience of a saint when it comes to school work!! We live on the border of Kent so the children can also apply to do the Kent 11+ too and I know some of the kids from his year have taken that on Saturday. He decided (just like my eldest) that he didn’t want to take this test as it would possibly mean that he would end up in a school out of our borough that he would have to travel to, and therefore lots of his friends would not be living close to him. So in the end we didn’t register him for that test as there would be no point sending him to a school he didn’t want to go to.

So now all his hopes are on the test tomorrow and Wednesday. He seems confident and we have confidence in him. But is it wrong to try and prepare him in case he doesn’t get through? That is what we have been doing. Trying to tell him it isn’t the end of the world if he doesn’t pass. It doesn’t make him any less capable than his brother. There is a lot of competition between them over the silliest of things so this really would cause a major upset!!

We certainly don’t want him to feel any sort of failure. We don’t want to be seen as treating him any different from his brother if he doesn’t get through.

So the next 3 weeks waiting for the results just won’t go quick enough!!! Talk about wishing your life away. As with his older brother we have told him that the letter will arrive and we will not open it as this will be his job when he gets home from school.
( What we won’t tell him is that we will have steamed the letter open at lunchtime when it arrives so we know the outcome before he gets his grubby mits on the thing!!)

And then the drama will start!! The next day at the school playground………….kids and adults alike all eager to hear if your child has passed or not!! Whispers behind peoples backs about the shock passes and ‘fails’ ( although no child at the age of 10 and 11 should be seen as a failure!!!) But that’s what it all comes down to with a lot of parents these days.

So on that note……

A HUGE GOOD LUCK TO MY SON AND ALL THE CHILDREN TAKING THE 11+ IN THE NEXT 2 DAYS