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The boy who came with his grandmothers

18 hours ago 236 Reads 6 min read
Sejal Davey Special Education 28 Nov 2020
The boy who came with his grandmothers

One fine evening, a cute young 7 years old boy, bunny teeth, smiling face entered my cabin along with two old ladies. His two grandmothers. Father's mother and mother's mother. Both so carrying and worried at the same time, holding their only grandson's hands on both sides. The child was referred from school by his school counselor. The child had issues with his learning and coping with his school activities and studies. The counselor had mentioned a few things which were found and also told by his subject teachers. Like he never promptly responded when asked questions in class, he used to stare at the blackboard and smile only at most of the times, his notes were incomplete, he could hardly copy from the board, for him letters were just symbols, he couldn't read double-digit numbers, he never brought his books regularly and replied with wierd answeres when asked for not bringing his books, he hardly made friends in class, parents did also not seem to be aware of his behavior, at home he was pampered badly by grandmothers as being only child, parents were not allowed to scold him at home, his life decisions were taken by grandmothers and not parents. The list goes on. 

After reading the reference letter, I spoke to both ladies that I need to be alone with a child and talk to him. Both the old ladies were seated in another room and I made him sit just opposite of me. He was still smiling and seemed to be very happy coming to a new place. He was looking around the room and smiling. I started my conversation with him by asking how did he come here. He replied immediately saying in car. Then I asked him what all things did he see around the room and what he liked the most. He was still looking around but didn't answer me this time but still smiling. Then I told him I will be doing his assessment, will he like to do some worksheets, for that he agreed. I started with basic to find about his reading, spelling, writing, and comprehension, and finally with mathematics. He was very cooperative throughout the session. It took around 45 to 60 minutes for me to complete. Then, I asked him to go to the activity room and do some activity and called his grandmothers who were very anxiously waiting for me to call them and talk to them. While doing assessments I had observed and found the child was way behind his chronological age in his learning process. In spite of being 7 years, he knew only oral concepts like a preschooler boy's age. So I made both old ladies sit and started explaining them. I told them their grandson was having severe issues with his learning process. He was way behind his actual age and needed help to make up to his age. It will help him but it will take time for him to show that improvement as he needs other help also like going to occupational therapists also. Both the old ladies were staring me with open mouth and disbelief to what they had heard now. Now both together disagreed to believe that their grandson was having any kind of issues and needs help. They said they had brought him just because school was insisting them to. otherwise, the child was absolutely normal at home and at school, only teachers were troubling him. 

It was very hard to make them understand. I had to use examples to make them realize what the actual fact and denying will only affect their grandson. Both started crying and were seen so worried. I assured them everything can be taken care of; and child will definitely show improvement but it will take time. After a long conversation, both ladies agreed to bring their grandson for remediation weekly thrice to me but were not ready to go to an occupational therapist. For which I did not compel them and thought to help the child myself with few activities at my center. We decided to start from the next day but before that I wanted to meet the child's parents. So I informed them to send his parents to me the next day and then on the following day I will start with classes. Both old ladies agreed and left along with the child. The next day child's parents came to meet me at the scheduled time. I asked them a few questions and enquired with the child's history and I wanted to record it for my reference. The child had no birth and developmental issues. He was a normal child, growing and developing normally but he was very pampered and he never listened to his parents. Basically, parents were never allowed to take and make decisions for their son, as they respected their mothers, they did not oppose and were doing what they were asked to do. I jotted all the history and information and also explained to them how remediation works. How long the classes will go and what they have to help children at home with other activities. Everything was scheduled in front of them making them understand and agree as well.

Finally, remediation classes started the following day. I had start from scratch for him. That is from basic alphabets identification to sounds of letter to framing words and to framing sentences. I also worked on his behavior by telling him motivational and behaviors changing moral stories. Things were planned for school teachers and school counselors. We all worked as a team and in 6 months of time, the child started showing improvements in his studies and his behavior at school and at home towards his parents. I had regular sessions with his grandmothers and parents separately initially and then had joint sessions too, wanted them to understand how things needed to work for the betterment of their son. Towards the end of the entire remediation sessions, the child was doing fare enough and was coping with all given learning skills at school. He was now full of confidence and started making friends, he was happily participated in his school games and all activities and was having fun in school. We all were happy to see him progress well. For another year child was called for remedial classes just for hand-holding and slowly he was called only once a week.  After 3 years of him coming and doing sessions, the child is now doing very well in his school. Happy to see him when he comes once in a while to meet and talk too much about his school life and how he is happy. His thank-you note which he wrote all by himself I  have pinned it on my cabin's wall. 

 

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    Sejal Davey

    Special Educator, Child Psychologist

    Chennai, India

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