Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

The child who struggles

In Mommy Politics on December 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm

            When my fourth child Arielle was only 3 or 4 years old I often wondered about her.  At times she would appear to be so bright, but then other times….well let’s just say I honestly thought maybe she was a bit of an air head and perhaps it would improve as she got older.

            When she was 4 years old we moved to Saskatchewan and had to put her into pre-school because the Province of Saskatchewan feels it is better to start kindergarten when they are 5 not 4.  In the town we lived in they only offered Pre-school two afternoons a week.  Not much but I figured it was better than nothing.

            During our 9 month stay in SK I was very focused on my son Zachary who at the time was only 2 years old.  He was following the path of his older brother and showing signs of an autistic disorder.  Signs I could no longer ignore, so the time I wanted to spend with Arielle on building her academic skills in preparation for SK was pretty well non-existent. 

            After 9 months in Saskatchewan, I moved back to Ontario for various reasons which I will save for another story.  In September Arielle was registered for SK but I was shocked to discover after about a month that she was really far behind.  How much do these children actually learn in JK?  I seriously didn’t think that missing a year of JK would be such an issue, but obviously I was wrong as she struggled quite a bit that year in memorizing her letters and numbers along with her ability to comprehend things.  Finally the year ended and appeared as though she had managed to catch up to the rest of the children so I was relieved and feeling a little less guilty.  After all, maybe it was my fault that she had struggled because I couldn’t spend the time required with her.

            I made the decision to enrol her in the French immersion program for grade 1 knowing that we would have to see how she did.  If she showed any signs of struggling we would move her into the English program.  Her first report card in November was great – straight B’s and no signs of lacking behind of struggling.  Phew!  I was so happy.  But my happiness turned to concern by February and March when I started to think that Arielle wasn’t really understanding a whole lot and when you had a conversation with her she would suddenly come up with statement out of nowhere that had nothing to do with what we were talking about and she really didn’t understand what was wrong with that.  She was angry a lot and although social she really didn’t have to many friends.

            I requested that she be tested for a learning disability and the school did some basic testing which raised a few flags but they were not really sure because she had been in the French for almost a year so they felt maybe that may be influencing her scores.  I made the decision to finish the year in French but have her in the English program for grade 2.

            Well here we are at grade 2 and things are worse.  Despite being in a reading program, she still really can’t read and doesn’t really understand what it is she is reading.  She is being bullied in class by a few girls, and is always angry and yelling at her siblings.  I know something is wrong and so I have set out to do something about it.

            Many parents are unaware of the services available at schools free of charge.  One of those services is called a psycho-educational testing.  This is a comprehensive testing that helps establish your child’s strengths, weakness, academic abilities, and establishes if there is any type of learning disability.  It is completed by a psychologist provided through the school board and takes months to complete but it is worth it.  If you were to have this completed by a private psychologist it would cost you about $2000 – $3000 dollars. 

            Any child is allowed to receive this service however schools will not usually do it until the child is in grade 2.  The wait lists can be very long so if you suspect an issue with your child’s ability to learn then you should request it even if they are only in grade 1 and have them put on the waiting list.

            I met with my schools Principal last week regarding my concerns with Arielle and she is on the wait list.  Do not be afraid to approach your teacher and the school’s Principal if you have a concern.  Your child has rights and to be honest most schools are very supportive and really what is the harm?  If there are no issues great, but if there are then you now have it in writing and are equipped with the tools to deal with it so your child does not need to struggle any more.

            Have you ever requested your child be tested?  Has your school dismissed your concerns about your child?  Send me a note and let me know.

Until next time,The6packmom