A Week in the Life Series: Episode 4 – ‘Moving Forward’

classroom strategies to include SEN child. Images shows a boy in a chair at a desk

“As you know we have almost completed our assessment process and thought it might be a good point to have a chat with you both to see if you have had a chance to read the assessment reports and discuss how things have been going…” The reassuring voice of the lead psychologist invited comment. It had been a bit of a roller-coaster for the family since the initial conversation with the SENCO almost a year ago; first, the school Educational Psychology Team were involved and then, finally, goodness knows by what miracle of planning or circumstance, and a good deal of support from the school, a decision for a formal assessment with the child and family mental health team was pushed through.

“It was a bit of a shock, at first, to find out that it’s ADHD,” admitted Jack’s dad. Yet at the same time, thinks mum, it was a relief to know that there was a reason for the way Jack was, the diagnosis made sense of things. “But, ‘predominantly inattentive type’, I’m not sure we know what this means exactly, nor where we or the school go from here?” questioned dad…

…The class settled down, Jack glanced at his visual timetable strip bookmarking his place in the reading book. Tuesday, first thing literacy, but the sense of panic was not as severe now. He could manage two minutes of reading, which was easier with a reading rule – his laminated bookmark. If he felt he had enough he could break off for the last few minutes to continue with the latest colouring activity which, when finished, turned into pleasing tessellated patterns, using his choice of 3 colours. He’d got two up on the class wall already in the maths display. “Miss, Miss…” A quick look from the teacher making eye contact told him he’d got her attention, reminding Jack to turn up one of his number cards. This had a ‘1’ on it to let her know he needed help. She moved over quickly to see what was up. He didn’t feel this marked him out though, on every table the children had sets of cards with 1, 2 or 3 on them, so anyone who needed could indicate the help they needed at any time. Using a ‘3’ was less of an occurrence for Jack now, but if he picked up a ‘2’ twice in a row during a session, it was his way of indicating ‘time out’, thus heading off a possible ‘3’ later on.

There are still blips, the least of which involves sneaking that pink custard and coconut from one of his friends at lunch time…but Jack feels like his efforts to ‘get it right’ are better understood, even if it seems to go more ‘wrong’ than ‘right’.

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