Wednesday, February 24, 2010

School and the Sensory Child

And doesn't that title sound like something published in some high falutin journal? Well it's not. I'm sitting on the lappy by Aquamans pool drinking a little sumpin sumpin and generally relaxing.

Or am I celebrating?

Today was a good day at school for the Cyclone. On those days I drive down the bushy, winding school driveway with a big grin feeling all is well with the world.
On the other days I drive out holding back the tears and wondering how my boy will ever learn to cope with life on a day to day basis, with the things other kids just take in their stride....or don't even notice.

Cyclone loves his school. He loves the animals, he loves the space, he loves the freedom and most of all he loves his Buddy whom I shall call Indie. Indie has all the patience in the world and he is only 9 years old. Some days he will only listen to Indie and Indie gets called out of class to get Cyclone off the play equipment, out of the library or talks him down out of the tree he has decided to reside in.

Being "sensory" means Cyclones Sensory Integration Function is well...dysfunctional. There are short-circuits and longer pathways in his little brain. He is capable of absorbing ridiculously large amounts of information but ironically it also blows his mind. Am I making any sense?

I'll try again. Too much noise/information...overload and meltdown tantrums. Conversely not enough stimulation and he seeks it - usually by talking VERY LOUDLY, making ridiculous noises or throwing himself around so he can feel the sensations properly.

You wouldn't really notice it until something happens that he is not expecting, or he must do or experience something he hasn't done before. It's taken me years to realise Cyclone gets anxious. About the outcome, or that he cannot do the new thing perfectly or better than everyone else.
For years I wasn't sure if he was as highly strung as I am - or just a very naughty boy.

This is Cyclone on his first day of school. Standing next to the pizza oven the children have built themselves.

I enrolled Cyclone at the local primary school, literally 300 metres from my front door. It's a big reason I bought the house. However during a presentation from this very school in which they waxed lyrical on all the academic achievements of the preps (they can all write at GRADE 2 LEVEL WOOO!), I started to crap my pants.
The didn't mention anything about individuality, personal growth, creativity or responsibility. Just the fact that the bloody preps write at a higher level that the rest of the state.

My son doesn't sit still for long, isn't particularly interested in writing or drawing and - as far as I'm concerned - streets ahead in other subjects that I wondered if he had a place there. How would he fit in if he didn't toe the 'party line'? Would he be a 'problem child' because of his energy? Would anyone be bothered (or have time) to find out the (usually simple) things that make him tick?

Crapsville. Mummy freak out time.


Lucy@DiminishingLucy said...

Celebrate the good days. I am glad today was one. His school that he is at sounds perfect. And Indie sounds like a friend we all want and need for our kids.

Nelle said...

He sounds ace Lu, thanks for sharing about him. xo I'm glad he's got a little buddy to help see him through - I think a good friend can sometimes teach us more than any school.

Lori said...

That was really fascinating Lulu, thanks for sharing. My mum is a teacher, and this one of her pet peeves- so much emphasis on achievement, not enough on life skills, actual learning and helping the school fit the kids, not the other way round.

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing your son lulu, the whole post made perfect sense to me :) I totally agree with the previous poster, lap up and celebrate the good days! :D