We had another morning filled with worry and anxiety about school.
He didn’t want to go, but we talked about it and I thought it was going to be a smoother morning. He seemed to understand that it was important for him to go and to keep going, as we continue to work to make things better, more tolerable. Later, I learned that things fell apart when he arrived at the office.
Pleading and trying to explain how we don’t understand. He says that we have no idea what it feels like to have so much boredom, noises and worry.
He’s right…about some of it.
Although I am more sensitive to sounds and crowds than most, it doesn’t impact my day-to-day living. I can enter restaurants. I can go to movies. I can shop in stores.
Like him, I don’t like being bored, but I have learned to tolerate meetings on topics that I already know about. I have learned to watch a show that I don’t find particularly interesting, but others in the family might. I might be bored, but I can usually keep that boredom to myself.
The worry, I know about that. These days that seems to be a strong emotion.
How can I help him?
Can his school understand who he really is and what he is not?
Should I home school him?
Will it get better?
I try not to display all of my worries to my friends, family and my son; however sometimes it is harder to keep quiet. Today, was one of those days.
As many special needs parents, I find myself spending free time researching what to do and how to help my son. We are reading an informative book by Dr. Dan Peters called Make Your Worrier A Warrior. As I read this book, I shared with my TBP the examples of why and how other kids worry. He was interested and listened. It seemed to help, at least for that moment and I can hope that if he hears it enough, some of the ideas and suggestions will stick.
The book did a thorough job of explaining many different types of anxieties. I felt relieved since it seems that my son is only experiencing a few.
In an effort to help his school better understand him, I sent emails to five different staff members with specific information that I thought would help. I explained that according to the book, gifted kids are more at risk for many types of worry and anxiety. I shared that worry can look like avoidance behaviors or inappropriate outbursts.
Unfortunately, there has been no emails back from anyone yet.
I sit here now, the day before Mother’s Day and read these words that I wrote a few months ago.
Those words came easily in those hardest days because my son’s pain was my only focus.
After consulting with his therapist, my son was removed from the big brick and mortar school that he attended. The worry and anxiety and feelings of dread were just too heavy for him to carry for the rest of the school year.
Almost immediately after his departure, I began to see glimpses of the son I knew.
Laughter and smiles were now beginning to reappear and he walked taller than he had those previous weeks.
It took a few weeks of a more unschooled approach before my son could tolerate activities that even resembled real school work. Now, we are able to do reading and science and math on a daily basis and we add educational experiences that stretch his mind and his comfort level.
The real change happened when my son’s rebuilt confidence began to crave time with friends again. Previously, he didn’t want any reminders of those days and his classmates, even the ones that he considered friends, were part of that pain. Now, we have a classmate over to play and he loves it.
As I listen to their conversations, that is what third grade is supposed to sound like!
Honestly, I don’t believe that the worry and the anxiety have disappeared forever; they have been pushed farther away but tend to reappear at more stressful times.
We continue to read Dr. Dan Peter’s book; we tell him that he is not alone. We have a therapist that helps us better understand what we witness on those harder days and he provides strategies and suggestions for challenges ahead.
On this Mother’s Day Eve, I sit here with remorse that I didn’t act quicker. I wished that I would have taken him from school sooner, but we didn’t know.
My wish for others…Don’t let the worry run your house, your family, or your child.
My heart goes out to you and your son, advocating is the hardest thing to do especially when you feel like your hitting your head against the wall and no one is listening. Keep advocating…sometimes it has to come from the top. It truly sounds like he needs some acceleration(boredom…which can lead to lots of free time to worry). If this school isn’t listening talk to other schools in your area or consider district transfers if you know of a school that can better accommodate him.
When school is stimulating to him, then he will find value.
Another great book is What to do When you Worry Too Much, it’s for kids. It helped my son get through some difficult “worry” streaks.
Thank you for the support and information. Will look for that book!
Last year, you were saying he had such a good school year. So, is it the school or the teacher? Also have expectations changed for him as he is older?
I recently posted about the year my older son is having. This past year or so I have learned how invaluable a teacher is.
I am sure that there are higher expectations; however, I truly believe that last year was so good because of his teacher. She had a great relationship with him and was so hopeful to us! Her awesomeness, compensated for the poor communication and lack of education& research that I am witnessing from most of the staff.
I understand completely.
I’m so sorry! I really I feel for you both. It is such a difficult journey, but you are doing all the right things. Schools can be so dumb, huh? Stay strong!
It is hard when the very institution that I love and have worked in for 20+ years, acts this way it is so frustrating!! I am a pit bull though 🙂
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