It’s the end of the school term and thank goodness for that. In the last few weeks, we have been dealing with some school issues. There is a child in Ally’s class who seems to lack the social skills appropriate for her age. She smacks the other children, pushes them when they are in her way…etc. Unfortunately, Ally has been on the receiving end more than once. The first time it happened we thought it was a one off incident, Ally shrugged it off as well. I did point it out to the teacher though. Then it happened several more times, enough for us to become concern. I sent an email to Ally’s teacher to let her know about the situation. To the school’s credit, they did take action immediately. We noticed that the assistant teacher would often sit next to the child at times when she was most likely to strike the other children.
But recently, Ally has come home from school rather upset. I honestly think she has had enough of being pushed/hit and she’s finally expressed that unhappiness to us. The best part of a small school, I feel, is that it’s truly a close knit community. Her principal knows the names of all the children and we see her on a daily basis. She’s not just some figure whom we know sits in an office far away. We had a talk with Ally’s teacher as well as the principal to see what could be done. In the meantime, the school was also in contact with the child’s mother.
As a mother, it pains me to see Ally being picked on and coming home upset, school should be a happy place for her. I know the school has to remain neutral about the whole situation, but at times I really feel like speaking to the child’s mom to let her know how her child’s actions have affected mine.
The holidays will be a good break for all the children to come back and start anew. We can see that the child is trying to make friends with the children in the class. Unfortunately, no one wants to play with her since they know what she tends to do. This has made her frustrated and causes her to hit out even more. It’s a vicious cycle. I feel that this child needs help that is beyond what the school can provide. She needs to learn what are appropriate social skills with a qualified behavior therapist in order for her to integrate in the classroom better. I have suggested this to the teacher but I’m not sure how open the child’s parents will be to the idea. There is still this whole stigma attached to the word “therapy”. One always assumes that something must be seriously wrong for a child to seek the help of a therapist. I have always been very open with the fact that Ally sees a speech therapist on a regular basis and I’ve had some people ask point blank ” what’s wrong with her that she needs one?” I always explain that there is nothing wrong with her, she just needs help to be clear in her speech. I never want Ally to feel that there is something “wrong” with her because there isn’t. Her therapy sessions consist of a lot of learning through play and that’s what I say to her each time we have to go. I usually say to her, ” Ally, we’re going to meet with Ms X today to play some games and she wants to hear how well you can speak”
I truly hope that the parents will work with this child throughout the holidays, I hate to see the situation escalate and turn into something ugly. This child is physically bigger than the rest of the children and could hurt them quite badly even though that might not have been her intention. We have decided to give it some time, to give the school and the child’s parents a chance to work things through. But if she lays a hand on Ally again, you can be sure I’ll be asking for a parents/teacher conference with that child’s parents.
Matt and I have spent a lot of time discussing this issue as you can imagine and we both realised the benefits of being able to drop and pick up Ally from school instead of putting her on the school bus. Luckily for us we have our own transport and I have the time to ferry her back and forth. This has allowed me to stay in regular contact with her teachers and the principal. we’ve built up an open channel of communication through our daily interactions. When this situation happened, there was no awkwardness when we went in to speak to them. It also allows me to see who Ally’s friends are at school and what the classroom dynamics are like. In a way, it has provided a good insight into her school life which has helped us in dealing with this situation. Things like this are bound to happen in the course of her school life, maybe it’s good that it has happened now where the classroom is still a rather intimate setting and the teachers can keep a close watch on the children. I hope Ally learns to deal with this and regain some of her confidence.