The Grumpy Old Man cried this morning...
Tears of joy, and tears of relief. He cried in the car after dropping the boys off at school, and then he cried again at home when he told me the story I'm about to tell you. He apologised to me for crying, but I told him there was nothing to apologise for.
We are currently in the process of having Ari assessed. There is a strong likelihood that like his mother, his grandmother, his uncle, and several other extended family members, Ari has ADHD. He is extremely bright. He reads well above his grade level (he's half way through grade two and reading Star Wars novels now), and his maths is even stronger than his reading. His writing lags a little, not because he struggles with spelling or anything - he's a whizkid speller - but because he can't focus his thoughts to put a story together on paper. He can TELL you the most fantastic stories, but when it comes to writing them down, he gets very frustrated and anxious and restless.
Actually, in class, he is generally very restless.
This year, he's had a marvellous teacher for dealing with restless kids. Actually, she was the teacher I spotted when we first visited the school a year ago, I thought she'd be perfect for him then, but he chose another teacher for himself (who was lovely, by the way, just not no nonsense enough).
We'd suggested to Ari's current teacher that he might do well if given a responsibility, but she was of the opinion that he had to earn the right to a responsibility. Fair enough, we said, and left it up to her.
This morning the GOM took Ari to his class, and Ari immediately set to doing some sort of work in a workbook. The GOM commented on it to the teacher and she said it was something he liked doing in preparation for another part of the day when the kids did another activity which he wasn't very settled for at which point she usually gave him the responsibility of sitting with a particularly child in the class who has been struggling with reading. The teacher said, 'Your heart would melt if you saw him! He sits next to [X} and [X] get to a difficult word, Ari says, 'Okay, just sound it out, I know you can do it!' He so sweet!' The GOM said it was all he could do not to burst into tears right there and then.
You see we've been worried. With Erik having autism and being unable to relate to others emotionally, having to be taught how to make friends and pretty much mimicking emotions to make connections, we've wondered if Ari might also have those difficulties. He also doesn't have any close friends at this age - he has friends he plays with at schools, but we don't know their names because he doesn't talk about them by name. He never introduces them, never asks to have them over, is never invited on playdates or to birthday parties. At some level, it bothers him, but he doesn't talk about it except very occasionally.
He is very affectionate, but we wondered still if he was capable of awareness of other people's emotions. This act of tutoring another child, actively encouraging them in their learning, this shows he is aware.
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