Progression of a child, a heartfelt story…

This past summer I helped an incoming 5th grade child with reading comprehension. Within three weeks he went from reading at a 3rd grade level with an average grade of 36% to reading 5th grade level at 82%.

That was an accomplishment to say the least. I was then asked by the mother to shadow her child in school – 5 mornings, 2.5 hours each day. Her child needed to be shadowed because he was impulsive, hyper-active (ADHD), disruptive, not focused, insecure and was disorganized. I made a commitment to be there for this mother since she feared, her child would continue to fall behind socially and educationally.

Before the school year began, I met with the parents, the principal, the school psychologist, and the teachers to create a support group with all the members who will play a huge part of this child’s well-being. These were my objective goals:

1. To help the child become more organized and start the year smoothly.
2. To help the child to be able to transition from one subject to another.
3. To help the child increase his sense of confidence which in turn, will decrease his avoidance of taking on difficult task; in addition, ask for help when needed.
4. To help the child control his impulsivity by recognizing his feeling state and learn to manage them better.
5. To help the child sustain independent work.

Then I shared the following needs:
1. Organizational Skills
2. Immediate Tasks
            a. Offer different method of teaching, based on his learning style, when appropriate.
            b. Keep him on task
3. Behavior
4. Academics

The most important request I had was to make this a team effort. With that, the teachers and I were always sharing different ways to help the child. I also wrote daily reports to the boy’s parents and therapist so that we understood every action and every emotion that came up. Our team would meet every 6 weeks to reassess the situation.

During the first 6-weeks, I sat next to the child, assisted him with his tasks, reminded him to control his impulsiveness, helped him put thoughts down on paper, helped him transition from one subject to another, and helped him deal with his Eventually, I began removing myself from the room to go to the “ladies room” and came back to see he was managing on his own.

During our first 6-week meeting, the teachers and I believed the child had learned to organize himself, control his impulsivity, focus in class and he always did his work. I felt, I was able to wean him into independency. The principal, feared he’d regress . Being the professional that I am, I assured her I wouldn’t just pick up and leave and I would slowly wean him.

Over the next 6 weeks, I would slowly move to the back of the room and become more of an observer than a participant in the child’s every movement. As the teachers slowly took over the role of assisting the child and helping him, I watched this child mainstream into the classroom setting. Every once in a while, the child would ask me a question and I’d help him but in the end he was transitioning to an independent student. My presence was no longer needed in the classroom, though I decided I would better him if I tutored him prior to class, so I did. I began to pull out two days a week, then I would come for 1.5 hours during the 3 days I was there. Then I would show up for 1 hour twice a week until our final assessment meeting.

During that final meeting, All the team players were there and we all had shared how this child had progressed. I handed out the original objections and goals. Each and every one of them were met. The principal was overwhelmed with tears as she explained how she was surprised that this child could have turned around the way he did. She believes that the teamwork and the authentic love for this child is what saved him. I agree with her.

If you have a child with a learning disability or a behavior disorder, it is critical, to create a support team. Each member is a team member and each team member has a crucial role. Besides helping this child get organized, learn differently and impulsivity, my role was to be the mediator between parents, therapists, teachers and principals. I am truly grateful to have been part of this child’s journey. 

Spread the word. Share this post!

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

thirteen − 7 =