My poor little Font Bukkake blog, all lonely and neglected. I haven’t posted on your for so long but today I need to offload.
I try to keep my family out of my blog as much as possible, as it’s MY space, one thing that is strictly for me but today, I need to talk about my son.
My beautiful, quirky seven year old son who I’ve always known has something about him that needs support. Something that I can’t put my finger on and something that a few others have noticed. He has a special need, yet no one seems to know what it is and others refuse to acknowledge it’s there.
After years of telling his teachers, they have finally admitted that he is about 2-3 years behind with his literacy. Along the way, I have been told that I have too high an expectation of him and that I expect him to be exceeding as my daughters do academically, in other words, he isn’t as clever as they are and I should accept it rather than try and find a problem with him. But it’s not to do with his intelligence, it’s something more.
Whenever we try to get to the bottom of it and find a special need that he shows traits of, we get close to pin pointing it, then he changes direction and suddenly develops in that area and shows weakness in a new one.
Initially, we thought he was on the autistic spectrum, something that my health visitor suggested, for she also, could see there was just something there. His reception teacher supported this theory and was monitoring his social development, his lack of emotion, inability to play, convey feelings etc Then we changed schools and my son flourished with new friends, a new confidence in being vocal and developed a wickedly delightful sense of humour.
The new school dismissed any problems and suggested that his hearing problem when he was a baby was responsible and although he was behind, he was making progress and I should give him some space to catch up.
Eventually, they decided that he was so far behind that he needed extra work at home. Tonnes of extra reading, writing and word games to be completed each night by a tired little boy, lacking in confidence and frustrated as his incompetence of reading led to a battle. Reading became a chore, a fight each night to complete and the teachers dismissed my protests of additional work being destructive rather than helping. I demanded him be assessed for special needs but they found nothing.
Finally, his latest teacher actually listened. She cut out the extra work and managed to find some school budget for him to have 5 hours a week of 1-2-1 time for reading within the school day, leaving home time to be work free and embraced my sneaky tricks of getting him to read the lyrics while playing Sing Star, or reading the food labels on the shelves as we did our grocery shopping.
She admitted that he was still two years behind with reading and writing and listened while I listed example after example of his quirky behaviour at home. She agreed that he needed to be tested again.
Today, I went in for the results. He is average or above average for every other topic at school apart from literacy. I’ve had his hearing tested and that came back clear.
The school has devoted more hours to him and have worked out a development program but can’t explain what is wrong. At first, they suggested he was tired, lacking in confidence (which is true) jealous of the baby and doesn’t get enough attention at home. They also suggested that the breakdown of my marriage may be a reason. The special needs coordinator has the gall to suggest that I don’t go enough places with him or use enough words for him to have a sufficient vocabulary. She said, if he asks about the moon, take him to the planetarium. If he asks about an animal, take him to the zoo. Considering he spends all our time together asking questions, we’d be on one long giant road trip.
After crying, explaining my guilt and fighting across my point that there has been a problem since he was a toddler, they let me write down all of my examples again.
Result being, they don’t know what is wrong other than, he has a memory problem, he struggles with understanding and his brain works differently, yet they can’t work out how, in order to help him. So not the most productive of meetings.
So I’m going to list them here. Surely, someone out there has a child exactly the same, showing traits of some specific special needs, yet not really fitting in anywhere to get the help they need.
1) Can’t follow instructions. He can’t go to his room and get his shoes. He gets to his room and has forgotten the next bit.
2)Has no concept of time – He can’t name the days of the week or the months and he doesn’t understand what they are. At aged seven, he still works on ‘how many sleeps until…’ He has 5 school days then 2 weekend days. He can’t distinguish between morning and afternoon.
3) He cannot play – He can build forts, make a wrestling ring, make a road track, then doesn’t know what to do next. When I get on the floor with action figures and try and play, he looks at me like I’m crazy. The only toy he plays with is lego. For HOURS.
4) He forgets words so uses something similar or uses rhymes. ‘loo roll’ is ‘bloo roll’ ‘Dude’ is do-ed, bedroom is dreaddroom, he sometimes speaks in a welsh accent which is totally bizarre and noticed by others.
5) He cannot explain things he sees. A teacher showed him a picture of a duck and asked him to describe its feet. He didn’t know the word ‘webbed’ so used ‘flipper paddle claws’ instead.
6) He doesn’t understand fantasy and thinks it is lying. He doesn’t get the point of telling stories that are not true, he won’t watch Harry Potter or read fictional story books and stood up in class and argued with the teacher when she read a story about Father Christmas. Something he has never understood the concept of.
7) At aged seven, he doesn’t understand what is real and what isn’t and is forever questioning this. Is Eastenders real? Well, why are the real people in it doing real things? I reply and tell him they are actors telling a story with actions and words for entertainment. He pulls a face as if the world has gone mad.
8) He gets dressed for football training, goes and plays, returns home and gets in his pyjamas. An hour later, I find him in his football kit again, ready to go. He initially can’t remember going until I prompt him with reminders.
9)He practises basic words on flash cards until they are perfect. The next day, it’s starting from scratch as he hasn’t retained any information. He can look at a word on a piece of paper and read it, then I will show him the same word in a line of a book and he doesn’t recognise it.
10) Some days every letter or number will be back to front, then other days, perfect.
11) He shows ZERO emotion. He never gets frightened, angry, excited, enthusiastic. If he hurts himself, he comes over for a hug, probably the only time he cries, then flinches when you show him affection. Any attention or affection makes him cringe.
12) He now has friends, something which took him a considerable while to find the point in. He takes so long to remember their names and sometimes he can’t recall the name at all. These are kids that he spends all day with.
13) He can’t ask a question or explain anything without it taking about 5 minutes to get his point across. If he recalls something, he starts at the end and works backwards.
14) He shows no remorse. If I have told him he has made me unhappy or I have sent him to his room, 5 minutes later, he is wandering around the house oblivious. When I ask him if he is sorry, or does he know why I am angry with him. I just get a blank look.