It started so well – unbelievably well! “I just wanted to touch base to let you know James has had a wonderful first two days” came an email from his teacher.

Normally there is an adjustment period at the start of each new school year, as my son’s anxiety increases about whether the new teacher will like him and treat him fairly, and what the other students in the class will think of him. So I expected the worst; especially as he adjusted to a completely new school, new teacher, and a new class of children with just one person from his primary school. And being only ten – significantly ahead academically but behind socially.

I was pleasantly surprised how most of his first term at intermediate went, after skipping his last year at primary.

Of course there were new routines to get established, like changing in and out of PE gear in break times on certain days. That took a while to adjust to – helped by visual reminders under his desk lid… and getting better at tying his shoelaces! He seemed to adjust fine to going to different classrooms for some of his subjects, although one day early on he got “lost” and students were sent out to find him. Gone were the daily talks from his teacher complaining about some action or inaction, replaced with the occasional email or phonecall with positives as well as negatives.

All in all I was super impressed with my son’s adjustment. He was showing some maturity.

But, as often happens near the end of term, children get tired, and patience wears thin. The “honeymoon” period was over. The result: my boy being put on a contract for behavioural issues – arising from his distraction and impulsivity. What I love though is that my boy sees this consequence positively.

Recently he was made to write ten reasons why his class could feel safe around him. Tears well up in my eyes when I read number seven “Because I do not want to hurt any of you”. I know he doesn’t.

He tries so hard.

And then there was the day he told me that someone had started a rumour that he skipped a year and was now at intermediate only because his primary school didn’t want him anymore. That is so terribly cruel, and although he knows it’s not true, I’m sure he feels that element of belief it could be…

But all in all, he is having a better year than the last, with a teacher who seems to understand his strengths AND weaknesses.

To be understood and believed in is so vitally important for the twice exceptional child.

We remain confident we made the right choice.

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