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Old 12.03.2012, 16:35
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

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I'll get that practice name and website posted this evening .. am out and about at the moment.

As for the procedure, it differs from Canton to Canton, but here in BL, any measures to be taken regarding any alteration to the usual progress through school have to be formally proposed by the teacher/school and then agreed by the parents. It will not get to a formal proposal before meetings and discussions and further input. Part of this formal proposal procedure involves getting a referral for advice and assessment from the Educational Pyschology Department (for want of a better translation) and although the school does not technically have to follow their recommendation, it is a brave school to stick their neck out in the face of a highly qualified psychologist/pyschiatrist's report. In practice, it seems that our school automatically refer everthing and actively want the recommendation of the education department.

Our experience of the deparment was really positive. Things had reached an all time low. I was totally confused and demoralised. I expected nothing from them but to tow the line. The person we saw became our child's best advocate and gently but firmly rebutted every one of the his teacher's claims (she had got herself a little entrenched by that stage ...). I only wish I had got them involved sooner.

If you still are not in agreement with the formal proposal, there is a right of appeal which is set out on the formal proposal letter and details of which you will find in the cantonal educational regulations.

By all means consult your family doctor; he or she may well be a good sounding board; but these are issues that are well outside a regular doctors' sphere and the only solution is to get to a specialist.
The problem is in my case I have two boys, both were referred due to different problems, but the school had made up their mind what they wanted to do before they discussed it with me. When they tried to "sell me' their view and wanted me to sign the paperwork, I refused on the grounds that my partner wasn't with me. Cut a very long story I then had further meetings where the outcome of the meeting was to not agree with their opinion. If it really gets sticky, you need someone Swiss on your side who can work on your behalf. We now have one child who is in a Sonderschule and this is a good solution for him. However his brother was bored and in the end we got him into a Sonderklasse at another school and he is working two grades ahead of where he should be in maths but not in German. We went through hell and back again with the school authorities here and at the end of the day we as parents were right to fight for our children.
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  #82  
Old 13.03.2012, 14:09
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

Hi there,
the same thing have happened to my friend's kid,what she did is,she went to the education department(Erziehungsdepartement) in her region and ask surpport, they send someone to the school to investigating the problem,late on they moved her kids to another school in the same region. the kid is doing well now,no more problem.

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Hello all,

I need some advice regarding a problem at my son's school. My son is in the second year of Kindergarten here in Zurich and this is his second year here. In the first year he had a younger teacher but she left and this year he has an older, and stricter teacher. His new teacher brought to our attention a couple of months ago that she wasn't happy with my son's interactions with the other kids and that she thinks he might have autism. She noted:
1) He sits with a glum expression on his face in class
2) He doesn't initiate interaction with other children (though he responds when other's start talking to him)

Now yesterday she asked for a meeting next week with myself and my wife about my son. She indicated she wants to get a Doctor involved and that if she doesn't see some improvement in him in the next 7 months she will keep him back a year.


Obviously we're quite alarmed.

If he does have symptoms of autism, then obviously we want to see him get the appropriate support. But from our point of view, the problem is that we don't see any of these signs she describes in his behaviour outside of school and none of his previous three teachers in nursery over here or in the UK have observed in him what she is describing.

My wife encourages him to in his reading, writing and maths at home, and his former teacher said that he was way ahead of the kids in these areas. His current teacher also acknowledges that he is an intelligent boy.

I've talked to my wife and we wonder whether:
1) he might be bored? If he can already read, write and do his basic maths, perhaps he is bored? If that is the case, I can't imagine anything more frustrating than keeping him back a year!

2) My wife has also noted that there is a kid in his class who isn't so friendly with my son. For instance, when my son is downstairs playing on his scooter, this other kids will push my son off it and take it away. And also this morning, my wife stayed behind in the class to observe my son for 10 minutes, and she says she saw the following: the teacher asked my son to pair up and play with this unfriendly kid and another. My son went over, but the unfriendly kid told him to go away. So my son goes to the teacher to complain the other kid isn't sharing the toys, but the teacher said 'just go back and play with them.' So my son goes back and is just sitting there with a glum expression on his face because this other kid doesn't get on with him. All of which frustrates me because I had a word with my son yesterday and told him that I want him to interact with the kids more.

So that's the problem in a nutshell. Does anyone have any help or advice regarding this situation, and next week's meeting with the teacher?

Thanks
Kash.
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  #83  
Old 13.03.2012, 15:52
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

As a teacher I know the slippery slope that you can enter if you start throwing around the "autism" word. If your child really has Autism, you would see it in all situations. Children with Autism don't act normal at home and then show the behaviors at school. Staring off into space and not engaging with other students is NOT the red flags for autism. Being bored could be a part of it. The fact that he engages children after he is engaged is a good sign that Autism is not the deal. Most Autistic kids live in their own world and often don't engage at all. Maybe he is unhappy with the new teacher. As a teacher, she should NEVER mention Autism unless she already has had a number of other professionals (school psychologist etc) observe your son. Total rubbish. Unless you were in COMPLETE denial, you would KNOW if your child had Autism because your life would be very hard ALL THE TIME. In my experience of teaching for the past 9 years, I have NEVER run into a case where an older child (6 years +) is diagnosed with Autism and it totally surprised the parents. They all knew SOMETHING was up. Not to say that it isn't a shock and a blow, but they all knew there was something major that wasn't right. That is not to say that there isn't a problem of some sort mind you, but I highly doubt Autism is the cause.
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  #84  
Old 13.03.2012, 16:02
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

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you would KNOW if your child had Autism because your life would be very hard ALL THE TIME.
You are totally right about that ..
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Old 13.03.2012, 18:59
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

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As a teacher I know the slippery slope that you can enter if you start throwing around the "autism" word. If your child really has Autism, you would see it in all situations. Children with Autism don't act normal at home and then show the behaviors at school. Staring off into space and not engaging with other students is NOT the red flags for autism. Being bored could be a part of it. The fact that he engages children after he is engaged is a good sign that Autism is not the deal. Most Autistic kids live in their own world and often don't engage at all. Maybe he is unhappy with the new teacher. As a teacher, she should NEVER mention Autism unless she already has had a number of other professionals (school psychologist etc) observe your son. Total rubbish. Unless you were in COMPLETE denial, you would KNOW if your child had Autism because your life would be very hard ALL THE TIME. In my experience of teaching for the past 9 years, I have NEVER run into a case where an older child (6 years +) is diagnosed with Autism and it totally surprised the parents. They all knew SOMETHING was up. Not to say that it isn't a shock and a blow, but they all knew there was something major that wasn't right. That is not to say that there isn't a problem of some sort mind you, but I highly doubt Autism is the cause.
But it depends on what you consider autism, too. Light forms like Asperger's Syndrome often aren't diagnosed at all, or can even be confused with ADD.
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Old 11.05.2012, 02:26
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

So hopefully the final chapter in this saga, and the good news is that my son will not be held back another year

About a month ago we had an appointment for my son at the Psychomotilik Therapy centre and he was assessed for an hour by the lady that works there. Her report said that he is fine except that some of his movements are a bit stiff, and when he holds a pen/pencil he holds it really tight (because he is concentrating on what he is writing/drawing) and that leads to his hand getting tired, which could put him off of writing when he gets in school. So in agreement with the Kindergarten teacher, my son will now be attending the therapy centre once a week for 45 mins where his gross and fine motor skills will be fine-tuned.

I wanted to thank you all for your support and advice because it really helped to shape how we approached this situation; and for anyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation i'd suggest what everyone else here has recommended:

1) never stop advocating for your child because you know their strengths and weaknesses best

2) Engage, engage, engage! Work with the teacher and not against him/her. If only to cover your own back, when the teacher suggests something like you cut down your child's TV consumption, or that you should take him to the forest once a week, just do it. You don't want the teacher to be able to point a finger at you later and say "hey I suggested to the parents to do x, y, z but they didn't listen."

Hopefully what the teacher suggests will also make sense. As a parent, if the teacher suggests the amount of TV watched should be cut down, I can't really argue against that right?

3) If the teacher wants to get the school doctor/psychologist involved I would suggest that you place your trust in the system and agree to it. We agreed to have my son assessed at the Kinderspital to get the teacher off our back, knowing that if (as we expected) the report came out clear, this would be a very strong point in our favour. I noticed a MASSIVE change in our relationship with the teacher once we'd had the official report sent back to us from the Doctor at the Kinderspital.

I also hope that I'm correct in saying that it's unlikely that a teacher, a school doctor and school psychologist would all work in league with each other against your child. If there is nothing wrong with your child, one of the professionals will pick it up.

I actually found the school doctor and the therapist to be nice people and very helpful in answering our questions. Discussions with them also helped me understand a bit better the way the school system works over here, and also to recognise it's strengths (when it works properly).

Thanks again dudes!
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Old 11.05.2012, 03:14
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Re: Problem at my son's school - advice needed

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But it depends on what you consider autism, too. Light forms like Asperger's Syndrome often aren't diagnosed at all, or can even be confused with ADD.
Agree, it depends on the degree of Autism. Its sometimes very hard to pickup and not necessarily linked to how well they are doing in their subjects.

My nephew had a similar issue where his teacher said he might be autistic due to lack of interaction with other kids, he was also very bright and ahead of most of the other children. We noticed that his social interaction was not great but didn't know if it was just because he didn't really get along with the other kids or something more serious. They moved house and went to another school which was much better, instead of jumping to labels they just helped him by having a "big brother" mentor to help his social skills. He soon found his feet and kids that were into the same things as him (comics, manga etc..) and his doing fine.

I would go along with the general comments here that its something to take note of and start investigating, but it is just one opinion so I would not do anything too drastic until you have a expert opinion.
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