My son is 10 yr old and in his final year at primary school.
As a new entrant I noticed, in his first week, that he was not coping and different from the other kids. I spoke to his teachers that he seemed confused and dyslexic.
It took till I had this same conversation with his year 3 teacher (when he age 7), for a teacher to acknowledge and agree that he needed to be tested, becasue he didnt seem to know what to do in class and was not able to work like rest of class. We got him tested and he was Dyslexic, 98% percentile visual spatial and he also had no ' learning memory'.
We are now 3 years down the track.....and he is not getting recognised in the classroom, as requiring extra tools and help with understanding and completing school class work(even though he finally, after along wait, got an RTLB interview in the middle of last year and a programme started that stated he needed extra classroom stuff done.....the decided, at end of 2009, to withdrawal him from special needs because he was now 'just below his chronological age'!!!!!!!!!!!).
All along my son has come home from school (right from a new entrant) upset, emotionally drained and often agitated, stressed. We got him some cou(end 2008). But the problem is, the class environment is where he needs special attention......the counselling was an 'ambulance at the bottom of the hill'. My son is so stressed and confused by class work, that he has developed really good camolflage techniques while in the class environment.He is not wanting the other pupils to think he 'dumb/stupid' becasue he was teased as a new entrant and year 1 and 2 for being 'annoying, stupid, dumb' by the fellow pupils when he asked them what they were meant to be doing (since he could not understand the teachers instructions). As a year,3,4,5 pupil my son refined his skills at 'staying under the radar' of his peers intolerance of his constant questioning of them.So my son keeps most of his questions to himself, and in a highly agitated and frustrated state of chaos, he tries to work thru his classroom stress alone. The teacehrs see this as him 'coping' really well and having really good 'independence'...a 'great improvement' on his previous 'asking a lot of questions'. They think he is better and not needing any 'special attention'.....My sons 'anxiety' and stress has escalated every year, and every year he has had to put in extra effort to 'stay below the radar'...he does not want to appear dumb, he does not want to be bullied by his peers and he does not beleive the teacher can help him, becasue he is told he needs to be more 'independant'.
So this has lead to more and more stress and he now has severe anxiety in class. All day long.....which of course he is struggling to keep 'under the radar'. We as parents can not get the school, special needs process to understand that he is not coping, that his 'stress/anxiety' is real and and extreme. They simply do no see it, in the classroom(he is sooooooo good at camoflage!!!!!)They want to exit him from the special needs register. They think he is fixed!!!!!!! He is 98% visual spatial...he is 'perfect' if they taught him with all the visual spatial tools he needs to learn............because he is so intelligent and can look, using his camoflage, as 'below average to average' work, they think they have done their job.That he is now ok.
Has anyone else got this problem, getting the system to recognise the anxiety the classroom is causing.
My son had a major anxiety attack in the classroom last week that caused him to think he was 'dying'. He said the only thing that saved him from dying, is that the bell went and he could get out the classroom before he died.!!!!!!!!!!!
Becasue the teachers dont see these anxiety attacks....its as if they think we, as parents, are neurotic.
We are considering removing him from school. But we are unable to home school him.
We are at a loss, we can not get the school system to 'tailor teaching' for his visual spatial needs.
Please.....any comments/help/avenues we can use to make the school do something for him.
This is extreme anxiety attacks he has.............(in silence he has them....so undetected by an observer, but extreme anxiety for my son, double anxiety because he does not want anyone to see it, he does not want to be picked on for being seen as melting down in class...he does not 'know' what will happen when it explodes out and thinks it must be 'death' and 'dying' that will happen...becasue he thinks that is the only way the confusion in his head will stop.....and this is all caused becasue he did not understand the teacehrs instruction and his head gets overloaded and he has too much confusion within his head to cope... a major anxiety attack results!)
Re: Anxiety in classroom-getting school to recognise and help visual spatial child
Date: 09-02-10 10:27
Just from reading your account, if he was my child he would be removed from school today. He sounds as though he is being tortured everyday and learning less and less each year. IMHO he would learn more being 'unschooled' that he is currently. Is it possible to take a term off to teach him some visual spatial techniques (I don't really know anything about that but many on the forum do), and find a school or teacher that can teach in that way. I think that by the time you win the battle with the school for extra help your son will be needing even more help due to the interim damage.
I hope someone on the forum can direct you to all the posts about VS teaching and give you ideas for helping him at home. I don't think I have VS children but I hope there are games, videos, books, etc available to help VS children learn using their VS processing.
Re: Anxiety in classroom-getting school to recognise and help visual spatial child
Date: 09-02-10 16:11
There is someone on this forum called 'Tiz Me' who specialises in VS in children. Try and post a direct question for her, as she is studying at the moment she may not look at all posts. I'm sure she will be able to give you some great ideas of where to go to from here, what may assist not only your son, but ideas for you - books to read on VS etc.
I couldn't begin to imagine how distressing it must be for you to see your poor child suffering under this bully regime.
Sorry I can't help anymore but don't know much about VS myself.
Both my children, as well as my husband and myself are all VS learners. My 9yr old daughter is also slightly dyslexic.
I suggest you look at Dr Linda Silverman' website. She has studied VS learners for years and has written several excellent books (such as Upside down Brilliance) on the subject. Her website is:
Her off-sider Allie Golan has also written at least one (that I'm aware of) very good book as well.
I suggest you start there. Certainly Silverman is known as one of the leading authorities on VS learners and has a wealth of info on her site.
I can sympathise with you totally. Luckily we have been homeschooling for the past 2 years so I no longer have to worry about teachers and their perceptions. Suffice to say that for the 2 1/2 years my daughter was in school
we were on the receiving line of some very disturbing comments from a couple of teachers - although on the whole the school was extremely welcoming of gifted - I even taught a gifted programme there during the time my daughter went to school there!!
Thanks for the replies to my entry.I really appreciate the responses.
In the last week I have learned two interesting pieces of information, due to me posting this entry.
1)I have been told that the Northern Hospital school may be able to help and my son could qualify to get a tutor, or teacher aide, thru Hospital School funds, because ‘anxiety’ could/might fall under their role.
2)I have been advised of the GSE(Government Special Education) area of The ministry Of Education.
Here is a link, to Learning Difficulties pages at Min Ed, for anyone else who has same problems as me.
On the Min of Education pages there is information about the Hospital School and the criteria for getting help/funding thru them(“Students with High and Very High educational needs may receive one or a combination of the following support measures. (Only 3% of children are defined as having High Needs)”).
I was advised by someone that Gifted Visual Spatial kids with similar anxiety issues to my son have successfully been referred by their GP’s to Starship Hospital. There are apparently two Doctors there , who can help children with anxiety. It was suggested to me that Starship may be able to refer my child to the Hospital School(as outlined in Min Ed funding guidelines)
So this is what I will do……..get my GP to refer me to Starship, see if my sons anxiety in classroom meets criteria(due to his Gifted Visual Spatial , dyslexia learning difficulties not being met over the last 5 years at Primary School). Anxiety could fall into the 3%, as defined by ‘Severe behaviour Initiative' and' Severe Behaviour Difficulties’
SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS I HAVE CUT & PASTE off Min of Ed site.
“Students with High and Very High educational needs may receive one or a combination of the following support measures. (Only 3% of children are defined as having High Needs) -
• Severe Behaviour Initiative – This initiative provides advice and specialist support for students with severe behaviour difficulties, their schools, families, the community and Government agencies. It is directed at students with the most severe and challenging behaviours.
Support for these students and their teachers, families and whänau is provided by the Behaviour Support Teams. There are a number of these teams around the country and team members include Education Psychologists, Special Education Advisors and teachers with significant experience in working with students with behaviour difficulties.”
So thanks again for your responses and help.
I now see a way forward, to getting my son the extra funding and support he needs.
There is a new program for schools and for families that especially helps visual learners. It is kindercares and primaries. It is called I Can Do It and it might help have a llok as there is a classroom variation and the school might buy it. www.icandoitlifeskills.com