Monday, October 17, 2005


Michael attends a school for children with Mild to Moderate Learning difficulties, when he first started at the school he was in the unit attached to the school, for children with Autism. He did really well in there, and it wasn't long before they were moving him out and putting him into the main part of the school.

The whole ethos of the school is to work with the children in small groups, to help the pupils achieve their full potential, and where possible to re-intergrate back into mainstream education. I have to say it is the school we wanted Michael to go to.

It was not an easy decision, the school across the road, the mainstream school, bent over backwards to accommodate Michael, to make sure he was able to access everything that they had to offer. But when it came down to it, Michael was too far behind for him to be able to work at the same rate and pace as his peer group. He would have needed and entire curriculum just for him, he would have to have been taught on a 1-1 basis and so excluded from his peer group. There were certain area's of his behaviour that caused raised eyebrows, from the staff, his ability to disappear if eyes were removed from him, being one.

It caused a lot of sole searching from us, about what the future had to offer, do we go with mainstream, where Michael may end up becoming totally isolated, and further and further behind, or do we opt for special ed, for a school that has a reputation for working wonders with it's pupils??

That is just what it seems to have done with Michael, his verbal communication has come on in leaps and bounds, his interaction is amazing. Last clinic appointment we had, his Resp commented on the difference in him now, to how he was 18 months ago, when he showed no interest in anything, other than what someone had hung round their neck.

He has a fascination for Necklaces, Name badges, anything that hangs on someone's neck, however it stresses him, if the item is then removed...He just couldn't work that out. Almost as if he thought the head would then follow.

The child I sat and discussed last night with his teacher, is a completely different child to the one who started there a year ago. His teacher tells me he's too easily distracted, but he distracts himself, if someone walks into the room he needs to know "who they are", "why they are there" if it's his turn to go off and "work." Apparently one of the other children in the class was talking to him yesterday, when the SALT walked into the room, the child who was talking to him had to ask him 3 times, and Michael had to be reminded he was talking to E. before he took any notice of what she was saying!

His teacher did tell me that his eye contact is not good at the moment, and he needs support to concentrate on what he's doing, he needs to be helped to return to the task in hand, but the good news was that he is staying in his seat, and not getting up and wandering all over the classroom, as he was prone to do when he first started in her class.

As for his writing......well that was interesting, his teacher tells me he can copy the letters M I C H A E L. But chooses not too most of the time, so one of his targets for this term is to copy write his name. His writing on the whole seems to be a series of O's. When I asked what she seemed to think that was about she tells me that "its a boy thing" But with Michael it's not an easy process, trying to think about how to hold a pencil, what he wants to write, and how to write it..too much going on all at once for his brain to process!

She tells me his maths work is age appropriate, his grasp and understanding of math's, numbers, shapes etc is excellent. I think I have a genius on my hands!!

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