Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 379

There's an interesting by-product which comes out of working at the school with other people's kids. You get to see the full spectrum of learning abilities. Now that I am in the year one classrooms I can see just where the curriculum is up to and what I could probably expect Darbs to be learning. I quickly realised that his reading and writing is not quite up to speed.

Mild panic.

Another interesting by-product to working at the school is that I have instant access to the teacher's and the learning support staff. So I had a chat to his teacher and, as we already knew, the Darbster has a little trouble staying on task. Well, to be honest, he is kind of known for wandering around the room and finding anything else to focus on other than his work. He also went through a period this year of being the class clown. Both were nipped in the bud early a few months back once we identified the issues. But this whole keeping on task is still a bit of a challenge. For example he was rarely finishing his work sheets ... which is interesting because he is very clever and can tell you all the answers. He has full comprehension and remembers facts and figures easily.

Now let's back track a bit further. In term one I sought the advice of an education consultant and between us we devised some "attention" exercises to help expand his attention span. We would sit down each night for half an hour and map out home learning into five minute blocks. He had to stay on task for the full five minutes (no fiddling, shuffling, toilet, drink) and he would get a sticker on his chart. At the end of the thirty minute session (and with six stickers) he could dive into the lucky dip barrel and pull out a prize (bubble gum, an eraser, a highlighter pen, a bouncy ball). After a term of that it seemed to work. But then the class clown arrived ....

Let me back track even further. Darby has battled with a few anxiety issues and kindergarten was a real challenge. He had low self esteem and had trouble integrating. An interesting conundrum for me as I am the positive psychology person who was completely baffled by the full confidence in one child, and complete lack in the other. That my dear friends is why I started writing the books. Anyway, he had anxieties. So this year he got through it a little easier, but with one minor glitch ... he found the best way to "fit in" was to be the class clown. So while we applauded that for a while (anything to make him feel good about himself) it quickly became evident that it was too disruptive. So again with the nipping in the bud. Lots of new strategies to keep him focused and to help him feel confident and safe.

Anyway, that brings us back to now. Anxieties are now minimal and the attention span is expanding. Big wins!! But still, he is a little off task and having trouble with his reading and writing. So as I said before I took advantage of the direct access and went to the learning support coordinator.

She is now on to it. She tested his reading and we are coming up with strategies to assist. She agreed he was very clever and had full comprehension. He is however having to work overtime on the whole reading caper. So she suggested I take our little man to a behavioural optometrist. Roger that. Never heard of a "behavioural" eye doctor. Didn't know eyes had behavioural problems. Anyway, off we went. And to cut this very looooooong story short, our boy is now wearing glasses. From the dyslexia etc side of things Darby seems to be doing ok. Nothing identified there. But from an eyesight point of view it seems his long distance vision (for white boards etc) is under stress which probably means he has less energy, focus and attention left to be on task with his up close work. Uh ha!! Makes sense. So he has just gone through his first week of being be-spectacled and it's working a treat.

So there you go. That's where things are up to with our little four eyed monster. And might I add he is loving it!! They are (by all account) dude glasses and he's very proud of them. It's not magically fixing the reading and writing bit, but it is having an instant impact on the other issues which means he may have more energy and more DESIRE to tackled the reading and writing.

Anyway, when it is all said and done we are very proud of the Darbster and the progress he is making at school. He's a kid with a HUGE heart and he's an absolute delight. Hopefully he'll now find things a little easier in the class room to ensure added comfort in his day.

Hope your day is full of delights and comforts too. Have a good one!


  1. You make me want to meet him, he sounds so adorable.

    And all credit to you for working through all these steps to get him to this point.....xx

  2. Well done in helping Darby, you stuck in there!!!


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