My daughter has Downs and is 8 years old. She has achieved lots and is a lovely child, but at the moment we are hearing a very negative story from school....... we have a communications book which teachers and I can write in each day if necessary. I came up with the idea because Emily's language wasn't too great and it helped me to chat with her about her day and to know what she has been learning. However, it now focusses on every 'bad' thing she does in the day charting her behaviour and noting every detail..... its becomming SO depressing. She isn't too bad at home certainly not as she is portrayed in the book I just can't understand it. I also don't know what I am supposed to 'do' with the information... they are clearly hinting that they cannot cope with her and often say they don't know what to do with her. But she isn't like this at home so I don't know what is going wrong ! She is bright and often excells at reading and has even been getting all her spellings right ! When we first applied to the school the head mistress suggested that it would not be the most appropriate placement.... and were quite negative to be honest. I am wondering if they are trying to push her out ? Any ideas on what to do I feel crap tonight ..
I have an 8 year old boy with Downs. We went through a similar situation when he was in Kindergarten. The teacher only had negative things to say in his notebook. I visited the school often to see if I could detect anything going on that might be triggering this so called negative behavior. I found it was the teacher, the way he handled the classroom, the activities and his whole outlook. It wasn't just my child that was exhibiting negative behavior but the entire classroom. The teacher had no control, didn't interact with the children, thought the whole idea of teaching was to put them around tables and do work sheets all day long, no hands on activities, nothing to manipulate to go with the work sheets to give them purpose. When I finally confronted him on his teaching methods I was then labeled a "problem parent". I told him and the entire administration that I would be a "problem parent" for the rest of my life if that's what it took for my child to get a proper education. I found that a lot of my child's behavior was due to the fact he was board, frustrated and continually told he was being bad.
Ask to meet with the teacher on their planning period or after school and talk to them about the notebook and ask what is going on at the time of the negative behavior. Is it the fact they are asking your daughter to do something that 1) she doesn't want to do or 2) she doesn't understand what they want from her, 3) things might be getting more difficult for her and she doesn't know how to tell them. See if you can pin point exactly what is happening and the time. Take ample notes of the conversations. Once you figure out what is going on at the time of the negative behavior try to come up with solutions for the child and the teacher.
Maybe the teacher does not realize when she is writing in the notebook how negative she is sounding and once you point that out to her she will be more aware of what she is saying and how she is saying it.
If your meeting with the teacher does not resolve the issues then call an ARC meeting (IEP meeting) and take your notes from the meeting with the teacher and address the issues there. Based on one of your comments I am to assume that this is not a public school? Does your child get therapies (speech, OT, PT) at this school? are the therapists seeing any of the behaviors that the teacher is seeing? If not they will be a real asset in helping you find out why.
It may be that the school is at a level where they don't know what to do with her next. They may be as frustrated as she is and you may need to help them figure out the best ways to teacher her.
You are going to have to fight for your child, no one else is going to do it for her. You will be her strongest advocate and never back down because you think that is what the school wants. Always do what is the best for her, not whats best for the school.
Some of the mom's here can probably better advise you than I can, since our son is still only 8.5 months old, however - I am the coordinator of a special needs parent/child play group, and I advocate for Ds, (and a full time police officer).
I was curious though, do you have a hired advocate that can help you out with your son's school? Someone independent that will look out for your son's interests and needs and is outside of your family - to help support you? We have those types of advocacy services here in Canada, I am not sure where you are.
Please let us know!
Down syndrome Group Founder/Moderator
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