"Neck, tummy, hat" said Eilidh
Neck, tummy, hat?
and then she shouts, "NECKTUMMYHAT!"
Neck, tummy, what?
This is how E sees the number 5.
This is how the number 5 is taught.
When she sees the number 5, she says "neck, tummy, hat"; she remembers the process of drawing the number but not the number itself.
"1, 2, 3, 4, neck-tummy-hat, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10"
Or is she pulling the wool over our eyes?
I don't know...
And neither does her teacher!
After the debacle that was E's registration at school, the worry regarding her starting school at the tender age of 4 (and 6 months!), and the reassurance that we got from her nursery teachers and educational psychologist, it proves that a mummy does know best; I should have listened to my heart, I should have deferred her starting school.
School have a number of concerns -
her pencil skills
None of these were concerns a year ago at her at her co-ordinated support plan (CSP), nor at her last Staged Intervention (STINT): yet now she sits with seven other little primary 1s in a NetStart group going over the basic sounds and pencil skills, and she's not progressing onto subtraction because they feel her numeracy is so poor that she would get lost. So who got it so wrong?
I am angry and disappointed with her nursery - they had my trust to support, care and educate E - because I feel that they have failed my daughter. I am angry at myself and disappointed for not listening to my mother's instinct that shouted out to me, "keep at her home, she's only little, she's not ready...". And I will also admit that I am angry at myself because I feel that I am letting E down too because I cannot spend more time with her amidst this discombobulated life I lead, because I lose my patience with her at homework time...
But I should remember that E is not 5 until January; that her psychosocial development was hampered by her lack of early mobility; that children with SMA typically have a higher than average IQ; that she is finding her own way in life, her life, her way and in her own time. Children develop naturally and I cannot assume that this is not the case for E. We have placed her in a high achieving primary:
"OLM fosters tolerance, care, concern and respect for ourselves and others. The learning and achievement of all children is valued and high aspirations and ambitions are actively promoted. All children are enabled to develop strong foundations of knowledge and understanding and become successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens"
because we hope for the best for E; we hope that she will be gifted intellectually - as if this will compensate in some way for her physical disability - and as a result that the world will be her oyster. However, I must remember this; there is nothing wrong with seeking high educational standards and accountability, but there is surely something very wrong indeed if this comes at the cost of natural development. Eilidh will find her way, she will... my mother's instinct tells me so.