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Y5 pupil, advice please

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lancsHOD, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    I am tutoring maths to a Y5 pupil and a family friend has suggested to the parents that he has Aspergers.

    His number work is weak, working around age 6 with addition. Mum has done a lot of times table work, with some success. He has, in some early lessons got very frustrated on 2 or 3 occasions ....tears and hitting own head. Managed not to have a repeat of that behaviour in the last few months. Parents have often had tears when trying to work on Maths. He can spot patterns but has poor retention and benefits from extensive practice.

    He is an only child and parents are in their own words the age of many grandparents. The parents are concerned about their child’s progress and mum has pushed traditional arithmetic early and beyond age expectation.

    Past teachers have commented on adept use of avoidance strategies.

    He often hums as he works. He collects stones and lines them all up.

    His school have expressed concern because he wrote he was dumb in a piece of work. School have got some confidence boosting strategies in place for a small group including this child. The child is something of a perfectionist and can get upset when he fails to complete things as he wishes eg not performing to his usual standard in his archery lesson. His mum is trying to work with him to realise, ‘it doesn’t matter.’

    At a recent parents evening his teacher said he has not met a pupil with difficulties in all subjects in the way this child has. His maths and writing were said to be ‘developing 4’.
    The parents are meeting the teacher again in a couple of weeks.

    What advice would you give them?
  2. GladRagsAtMidnight2017

    GladRagsAtMidnight2017 Occasional commenter

    Sounds like mum is setting him up to fail with pushing him with maths work beyond his ability. He knows he will struggle with the work, so will avoid it; better to do that than feel a failure each time. Parents are obviously anxious and want the best for him, but also they need to accept the child he is, not the one they want him to be.

    He may or may not have ASD or a processing disorder, even so getting a diagnosis won't change the child, just give him access to support to achieve whatever his potential is.
    lancsHOD likes this.
  3. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    Totally agree but I think there is something and that a diagnosis would hopefully get him necessary support particularly when he moves onto High School.
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    You are in a tough situation but it is the setting's lack of action which I find very unprofessional. You make a comment about one of the staff members lack of experience in teaching a child with complex needs ? and this is v telling. Early diagnosis and intervention are key - this is FUNDAMENTAL good practice and to any provision which will enable him to flourish - (note there that I do not use the ' potential ' scenario- much overused and abused in my opinion ). So yes grasp some nettles and any movement on a diagnosis and support programme is to be welcomed. The parents may have ignored advice and observations in the past ( I am hoping the SENCO in the school has had these difficult conversations with them ? ) but they need to understand that their possible ' head in the sand 'approach will only damage their child. A diagnosis is a signpost by the by not a destination - this approach may help when speaking to parents ? Good Luck
    lancsHOD likes this.
  5. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    Sounds like Apergers potentially: the lining up, the perfectionism, the anxiety over making mistakes, the head hitting. Humming can be a sign of self-regulation. Seek a formal diagnosis obviously, but there are some red flags here.
    lancsHOD likes this.
  6. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    I have already advised the parents to request an assessment, they seemed happy to do so.
    BettyTA, theluckycat and minnie me like this.
  7. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    Good work lancsHOD, my son has Aspergers, and it's important for your tutee and family to get early intervention ideally. Social stories are invaluable, e.g 'it's ok to make mistakes.' Aspergers kids are very literal and binary, and take failure very personally, without grey areas, which can quickly affect self-esteem. CAMHS and local autism charities should provide support. Good work coming on here for advice.
    lancsHOD likes this.
  8. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    Thanks luckycat, good to get others’ opinions to check I’m on the right track.
    theluckycat likes this.
  9. lancsHOD

    lancsHOD New commenter

    I tutored the child last night and I had a discussion with the parents. I was honest about some of the behaviours I have noticed that indicate (to me) some Austistic tendencies. Also that Maths performance is weak for age.
    I have suggested they ask if SENCO has assessed their son (they aren’t aware if they have) and if not request an assessment. I tried to stress the main priority is to find a reason for difficulties so that support/strategies can be put in place. I think it is crucial some action is taken before the child moves on to High School.
    I hope the school acts!
    BettyTA likes this.
  10. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    That's fabulous news lancHOD. Steps to diagnosis (if parents are on board), would be a referral via their GP. Professional diagnosis can often be key as it gives you a piece of paper to flap around, when as can inevitably happen, children's behaviour gets misunderstood or they become mis-labelled. e.g. they are NOT 'being naughty,' they are finding it hard to cope in a 'noisy over-stimulating environment.' etc. Understanding from school staff is very important, and a diagnosis goes a long way down this road.
    lancsHOD likes this.

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