I will be the first to admit that when my boy’s schools mess up, I can be hard on them because I am frustrated with them constantly not “getting it” and yes, sometimes it feels like they are not even trying to understand what is driving a specific behaviour or action but this week I have to give credit where credit is due.
This week was Buzzbee’s school sports day and he and they have done him proud.
Sports days in the past 2 years have been stressful, humiliating and emotionally charged for all.
• Buzzbee would be desperate to win everything to prove that he is the best and as a result end up either making a ‘poor choice’ during a race or going all out without really concentrating and ending up falling over shortly before the winning line. Which then further fed into his belief that he is a ‘rubbish child’.
• Buzzbee has fidgeted, thrown himself around the floor doing acrobatic tricks oblivious to the dangers to others around him or has begun to get overly physical with the children he is sitting with.
• 1:1 TA has failed to pick up on his signals until it was too late or ignored my discreet attempts to alert them to a possible issue.
• Staff had been insensitive with their handling of issues that arose during the afternoons resulting in Buzz being filled with shame and publically humiliated.
• Parents at the school (or witches coven as I privately call them) took great pride in openly criticising and demonising him for the behaviours they were seeing and further cemented their view point of me being a weak, inept mother.
So what is different this year? Why was this year so much better for him?
Well in the words of Buzzbee “I wasn’t a wiz-cracker this year when I was racing. I won one race and came 3rd in two more, AND I was on the winning team. I HELPED THEM WIN BECAUSE I SLOWED DOWN!” (Choked mummy moment)
His self-esteem was given a massive boost yesterday and I can’t describe how proud I was of him! I wasn’t proud because he won a race – I was proud because he had learnt from previous years and succeeded in doing it differently this year.
He was given the chance to succeed through the sensitivity of his new 1:1 TAs. They were on the ball. They encouraged and praised him when he needed it and distracted/engaged him when they felt it was necessary, and on the one occasion they nearly missed the signal because one had to nip inside and the other had been distracted by Buzz’s friends, they were not offended by me catching their eye to redirect their attention. Actually it was lovely because I got to see first-hand how far they will go to help him re-centre. He was right – he was noticeably calmer throughout the afternoon.
For some time I have been worried that his needs were too great and maybe that this school is not right for him, but yesterday I saw the first signs that maybe I am premature with my fears. The 1:1 TAs hard work and perseverance in gaining his trust is finally paying off and, after watching them interacting and responding to his needs, I am left not only feeling quite emotional, but also feeling more confident that eventually we will get him to a point where he will feel safe enough to engage with all aspects of school life.
Oh, and on a more selfish note. I can’t tell you how good it felt to hear parents from the school commenting on how well he did and the changes they are noticing in him. Mind you I think they believe it is all down to school and nothing to do with the hard work he is putting in but I don’t care, they are finally getting to see the little boy (sorry young man) I know and love and, more importantly, he is happier.