There is a time for naming names and time for not. This isone of the former.
Small boy aged 7 has faced his own challenges over the pastyear. Challenges that have tested us all. Without a group of amazing peoplebehind him and us, I don’t know if we would have come this far.
Small boy age 7 is struggling to read. His self-confidenceis in tatters. We were advised to consider a remedial school or holding himback a year. Thank God he goes to a school where they acknowledge issuesinstead of ignoring them. Of course, they probably hate the sight of us becausewe question everything – and by that I really do mean everything.
At school hehas the support of Mrs Owen, a wonderful teacher with decades of experience.Also one, I hasten to add, that Small boy aged 9 has managed to ensnare in hisbig blue eyes. She adores him and it shows.
There is also the Speech and Language Therapist, Angela Sourmenides
, who hasworked with him despite his parents’ constant interruptions.
And of course, the headmistress, Helen Popplewell, who treatseach of her gentlemen with the utmost respect and puts up with us barging intoher office.
The school psychologist, Hugo, who has spent weeks nurturinga trust between Small boy aged 7 and himself and who helped Small boy aged 7find his inner fox.
Mrs Reeve and the school librarian who let him come up to the BIG school for Readers are Leaders
Finally, Patrick Lees, the Headmaster of the Prep School,who has been patient and understanding throughout all the turmoil.
Even given the level of my frustration at times, I could nothave wished for a better group of people to have devoted so much time andenergy to helping one little boy.
After a barrage of testsshe has agreed that keeping him back will cause even more damage to an alreadyscarred little boy. It turns out that his biggest problem is crippling anxiety.He shuts down completely. I know how that feels.
The plan now is this:
- Small boy aged 7 will now follow an IndependentEducation Curriculum at school. This basically means he will carry on asnormal, but when work is handed out, the teacher will choose only some of thequestions for him to answer. This will increase his confidence as he completeswork at the same time as his peers without being singled out.
- He will only see the Speech and LanguageTherapist outside of school hours so that he doesn’t have to be singled out ofclass and miss sports. His fear of being singled out is causing him immensestress.
- He will start a programme of play therapy withHugo and his inner fox to help him grow his coping skills and confidencelevels.
- He has to start taking omega 3 and 6, and thankheavens we no longer have to do that with a spoon of cod liver oil. He also hasto take a homeopathicstress remedy from Solal called GABAtropin that will help him deal with theanxiety.
Thanks to Melanie we also whipped him off for a massive eye assessment atEyetec. They don’t just test for 20:20 vision; they test how the muscles ofthe eye respond. Children’s eyes are not yet mature and they sometimes strugglewith the release and tension of the eye muscles. In the past, they would be thedyslexic kids, the special needs ones, the ones who got kept back. There isnothing wrong with their brain function, but the muscles cannot relax and as aresult they swap letters, they cannot scan from left to right and they struggleto read.
Of course, as luck would have it, the appointment was thesame day as his older brother had to be rushed to hospital. The outcome is thathe is going to wear glasses with a slight magnification so that his muscles donot have to strain to focus.
The glasses have already made a shift in hisperception of the problem. Suddenly, he is not too stupid to read, but justneeded a tool to give him the confidence to do so. Also, they are pretty funky –camo Jeep frames.
He is also going to start a 12 session programme of visiontherapy
. Vision therapy involves progressive eye exercises that train theeyes to move more accurately, work together and focus efficiently for longerperiods of time. He will have to read while jumping on trampoline, play on amassive touch screen and do other fun stuff that he won’t see has educational inthe least.
The cost was also a pleasant surprise. Not only did themedical aid cover the whole thing, but the test only costs R245, a long wayfrom the R800 I paid the day before for a well-renowned optometrist.
As a mother it is often hard to ask for help. We want to doit all. We want to be the superhero. The thing is that asking for help issometimes the best thing.
Without all the people I have listed here, I could nothave helped my son. I owe you all a great debt of gratitude. Thank you.
Nice email back from Eyetek!
Thank you so much for mentioning Eyetek in your (brilliantly written) blog. Casha’s dream is to keep children from being labeled as “slow performers” and your blog proved that we are on the right track!
Glad that we could help and please call on us again in future. Remember, we look after the visual needs of the whole family and not just that of kids.