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ad sits on her own in class...how to deal with this (without screaming)

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here I am asking for advice again and I really must try to give some one day soon......my daughters school are all very nice, but I discovered she had been sitting on her own in class last term. I discretely asked why and she said she was 'getting into someone's space'. (This is the same child who was reported as being "very popular", "with lots of friends" when I raised concerns about her peer relationships last year). When she returned this term I casually enquired who she was sitting with and she said on her own. I asked why. She said because it helps her concentrate. Another adoptive parent had mentioned to me that her ad (in another class) had also been treated like this and the idea of having a desk all to herself was very much sold to her. I am SO very upset to think about this and I fear I will just explode if I go in to raise it so I have done nothing so far. Can anyone suggest what to do?

Thanks for your time:)


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There is only one thing you can do and that is talking to the teacher. No idea about your daughter but information my son gives about school is not always the full storey, and 'that the school gives all adopted children this treatment is far fetched. You just don't know, go in and find out.


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My AD is at high school and in some lessons she is made to sit alone. I am more than happy with this arrangement as it means she can't spend her time talking to whoever is sat next to her, instead of listening to the teacher and she makes more progress in these lessons.

It sounds like your AD is like mine with lots of friends who likes to chat both at break and lesson time.


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I don't remember your daughter's issues but there was a lad at my daughter's special school who had his own small booth built in the classroom - therefore completely cut off - he needed to be separated from the stimulation of the other children - this school also changed all the light fixtures in the school because these were also affecting the same child - his Mum was very happy with their responsiveness. They made lots of individual arrangements for individual children, including letting them wander around in the school grounds or leave the classroom if stressed where they had small sofas (outside each classroom). The staff were very much aware of what was going on and of each individual child's needs but it might have looked a bit lax / chaotic to others. The only negative is that this hasn't been discussed with you. As others have said you need to discuss this with the teacher really to get the full picture.


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I'm a teacher and usually if a child is put on their own it would be either about supporting their concentration or due to the fact they were disruptive to the learning of other children. It wouldn't relate to friendship issues unless these were caused by being quite provocative to others.


Sitting alone however is unlikely to mean "isolation". Other tables won't be far away. It's unlikely to preclude social interaction. And probably not all learning takes place at the table anyway. Some might be on the carpet or in groups or pairs. Cooperative work is very popular these days. Mostly teachers are keen for children to be able to work together and will do what they can to facilitate it.


Try to calm down and then go and find out. As Pluto says your child may not have got it quite right (this often happens) and there's likely to be a good reason if it is happening. Plus the teacher should be willing to listen if you feel it is wrong. If they're not, speak to the head.


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I agree with others comments. I also wonder how your daughter feels about it. She hadn't mentioned it to you so I am assuming she is ok with it? And she says it helps her to concentrate (not sure reading your post whether your AD is just telling you the reason why she is on her own, ie what the teacher told her, or whether she is actually reporting that she finds it beneficial).


Knowing how I have sometimes reacted to things in the past (with BCs not AC) I have been very defensive and hurt by things I have heard about that have been said or done at school. I do wonder whether its your emotional reaction to this info that is the problem. If you feel your child is being rejected or something of that sort which pushes your own buttons?


I once had a very good friend fall out with me over something her daughter had told her (our daughters were in the same class but we had been friends for years before we had children) It was only when I got wind of the fact our daughters had fallen out and why that I realised there had been a huge misunderstanding. I phoned my friend up and cleared the air and things were fine again.


So...yes a child's explanation may not be the full story. And also communciation with the adults involved, in this case the teacher, will probably help you not to 'stew'.


HTH


Larsti


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"I am SO very upset to think about this and I fear I will just explode if I go in to raise it"


I can't understand why you would feel this way. What is so terrible about the situation?


I'm a teacher. I think group work is really important for kids and I bend over backwards to build my lessons around teamwork. Despite my best efforts, some kids still work fantastically alone and terrible with other kids next to them. They still join others for some tasks and they still interact with the class- but it would be daft of me to keep them permanently in a spot that doesn't work.


"Another adoptive parent had mentioned to me that her ad (in another class) had also been treated like this"


So what? Are you really saying that this has something to do with them being adopted?


Your overall reaction doesn't seem proportionate. I really think you need to examine why you feel so strongly. I'm sure most of us have responded irrationally to issues about our kids (I know I have) when things start to get too much- that's normal; but you should at least consider whether there are any other signals that you might need a bit more support.


"Can anyone suggest what to do?" I'm sure you've had chance to chill out and are able to go in for a chat with the teacher now. When you do, have a think about what you want to happen- do you really want your daughter moving or is it just a chat and some reassurance about how she's doing?


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Hi fortysomething - it's so hard not to be concerned, isn't it! My son has huge issues with concentration in school and I wish he was able to sit alone sometimes, because he can concentrate well if he's not group working. His school are sort of willing to give him his own space, but they have never yet got round to it, somehow avoiding having to actually do it, just giving him warnings about being silly.chatty etc. At the same time they say he needs to learn to work in a group - which is also true, since just withdrawing him doesn't solve things long term.


His opinions about it have changed too. Last year he would have liked to sit alone, but this year he is more aware of his peer group and is not so happy with the idea. Socially, he manages to keep up with some of his peers except the parent council mum's boys (!). I don't think there's a right answer to any of this, unless your child's needs are extreme, like the child who needs the booth mentioned above. Just keep a wee eye on things - and maybe it would be good to get a wee update about how things are going in general, which might help to put some context in - and then you'll know whether to scream or not!


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Hi fortysomething,


I can understand why you don't trust yourself to control your emotions in school, I've felt like this many times and had to wait and examine myself/regulate myself before going into school to confront the issues surrounding my dd. I'm a teacher too and I've seen children sat on their own many times. Sometimes it's been done well and the child is happy and fully integrated and sometimes it's been done badly and drawn attention to the 'naughty child' who is so difficult/dangerous that they can't go near anyone else.


Tbh I've never seen it done very well in a mainstream school as the teachers are often too busy to implement it properly and the other children quick to label anyone different. In special schools 'workstations' can work really well because the focus is on concentration and aiding the child's sensory needs rather than segregation. My daughter is in a special school and she has both a normal class seat (on a table of about 6) and a workstation. She moves between the two places depending on what she is doing. This works really very well for her, she is part of the whole class and has a seat with her friends but she knows that for certain lessons she will need to be on her own to concentrate. She actually sees this as a treat and something special rather than some sort of punitive isolation. It depends on how it's being done and sold to the child (and other children).


Maybe you need to try and tease out how your daughter feels about this. She might actually enjoy it. Then you could go in and ask questions about how it's being done and why. Maybe even suggest a workstation and a place on an ordinary table too depending on what work is being done e.g. extended writing on workstation, science on group table.


HTH


A xx


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Slightly different I suspect, but my daughter prefers to sit on her own but is rarely allowed to because of class size (she is in year 8). She struggles socially and is the person no one wants to sit next to, and they make it clear they are not happy when forced to sit with her. Unfortunately, because she is very approval seeking and compliant, she ends up having "naughty" boys put next to her. I'm having to fight hard to get teachers to allow her to sit at the front and away from the more disruptive children. The only way of dealing with things is to talk to school - it has taken a couple of meltdowns in class and a fair bit of persistence to get people to listen but we are making headway


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I do understand how you feel. This was done to my ad in mainstream school and I didn’t like it and it also bothered by ad too


To be fair though I think school did it with the best intentions. I think the specialist teacher who came in to assess my ad recommended it as my ad has adhd and so is easily distracted and also very distracting! She wanted her to have a bare desk on her own, I suppose a bit like the booths you see in specialist schools for children with asd


Personally I don’t feel it works well for an adopted child with possible attachment issues....but that’s just my gut reaction


I’d go on and calmly talk to the school about it


Xx


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Whatever is going on, the school should have told you. End of!!! I am absolutely amazed that teachers think this is OK. It might be that your daughter has some needs which need support but the school should be informing you. But the others make good points about wondering why you zoned in on friendship issues and why you got so upset - we all get our buttons pushed in different ways, but you might want to reflect on this and why it's so important to you xx


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The question of who sits where can be a total nightmare for teachers and pupils. My son and his mates got moved around a number of times as certain configurations were too distracting for one or some or all of the class, which contained several kids with " issues" and my son who is easily distracted. Eventually ( small class) they all ended up spaced as far apart from each other as the teacher could manage ! At one stage my son was well apart from the others, but he said he preferred it as he didn't get so distracted by the most disruptive class member. Because he was happy with it, all was ok, if he had felt unhappy about it I would have raised it.

Fortunately the worst boy moved elsewhere and the whole class is now much more settled.


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*Whatever is going on, the school should have told you. End of!!! I am absolutely amazed that teachers think this is OK.*


You are expecting teachers to phone/write to all the parents of a class when they rearrange their seating plans? Why?


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This isn't swapping some children in class around, this is sitting a child on her own. Flosskirk is right, parents should be informed. As a rule teachers should be thinking about the feelings of children and parents not just imparting facts and knowledge. How would they feel if this was their child? Would they want to be kept in the loop? I think the answer would be yes!!


A xx


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Matineo are you seriously suggesting that teachers shouldnt discuss matters of interest with parents? Am genuinely angered by an attitude that suggests that parents shouldn't be kept in the loop. This sort of attitude by some teachers is really distressing for parents. Don't schools have systems for telling parents? Mine had home/school books where I or the teachers could write messages to each other. It is simply good practice.


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*Matineo are you seriously suggesting that teachers shouldnt discuss matters of interest with parents?*


I said nothing of the sort. I merely asked you a question, which you haven't answered.


I'm just not sure what issue you think is occurring here? It might well be that having been moved is a sign of bigger problems, but nothing in the OP indicates that- it could just be that the class has moved around to mitigate some minor distractions.


*This sort of attitude by some teachers is really distressing for parents.*

*I am absolutely amazed that teachers think this is OK.*


I'm just not sure what 'this' is or what 'sort of attitude' you think the teacher has. I think the OP needs to speak to the teacher and ask how things are going- not be encouraged to assume the worst.


*Am genuinely angered by an attitude that suggests that parents shouldn't be kept in the loop.*


What a very aggressive thing to say to someone for asking a question. Again, I think nothing of the sort.


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Look, a child has been sat on her own for some reason and her parents haven't been informed. And you support this. Nothing else to say.


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*Look, a child has been sat on her own for some reason and her parents haven't been informed. And you support this.*


What am I supporting? What are you disagreeing with? Are you saying that all children must be sat right next to another child or their parents must be spoken to? I'm just suggesting that the OP might want to speak to the teacher before assuming he/she has an 'attitude'?


I'm not saying there might not be an issue, but you seem to think that the teacher has done something very wrong, and I'm wrong to 'support' it: why?


*Nothing else to say.* *End of!!!*


Well perhaps if you said a bit more I would understand.


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Gosh. Sorry I created such commotion! Thanks to everyone for your time and advice and I have been emotional due to the history with our school.


To clarify, my ad certainly does have peer relation issues and I raised my concerns last year, following a comment from her teacher the previous year who said 'autism presents differently in girls....empathy not developed". I did not think she was on the ASD spectrum, but I said it would not surprise me if she did have ADHD and I realise she has under developed empathy....that kind of thing is hard to miss as a parent, right? However, her teacher last year said 'no problem whatsoever' and reported that my ad is 'exuberant' and 'very popular' and 'has lots of friends' - definitely no developmental disorder at all. Off the record the teacher said my ad was a bit 'fidgety' but not to a problematic extent. My ad's peers and my childminder would readily verify that my ad is quite unpopular, her peers say she is mean and they hate her and my ad seems to follow the same pattern of a few adopted children we know who were adopted as toddlers.


My greatest hope for my ad is that one day she will make a friend, so I organised for a family support worker to do some friendship work with her - this seems to have helped. (e.g. she is nearly nine and had her very first invite to a play date (long story we do loads of play dates, she never gets invited back, no return invites to parties etc).


Anyway, it seems the school are, on the one hand, officially saying there is no problem whatsoever and then I hear she is sitting alone in class! I would not expect to hear of every move to engineer better group dynamics in the classroom, but sitting alone is not something I would inflict on the adult learners that I have taught. Emotionally, I do feel this is an insensitive thing to do to any person, particularly a child from a background of rejection and abandonment and I wonder what message it sends to her peers? We are trained not to use timeout as a discipline and this sounds rather similar. I also think (rational head) it does not allow her the chance to practice her newly developing friendship skills. I posted to 'put the feelers out' to other adoptive parents and people who understand attachment, to see if my gut reaction was correct and I was actually quite surprised that so many people believe it is an acceptable thing to do. People I have mentioned it to so far ( a couple of teachers, one an attachment lead network trained teacher) have expressed concern that it is wrong.


I do intend to arrange a meeting with the school's (little known about) adoption champion and her teacher. My ad has not complained about the situation and I am careful not to allow her to see that it bothers me. I am ready to accept if I am wrong and the teacher really does know best, but just perhaps, faced with a class of 30 children, the only feasible way is the one that gets through the year.... without considering the longer term implications.

Thanks again to all for your time and comments and I will post again with the outcome if there is learning to be had from it. Just remember we are all trying our hardest to ensure that our children find happiness and are not let down further by life as many have been badly let down before Smile

Best wishes


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I guess the real question is trying to understand your daughters issues - I was thinking more ADHD, ASD for which sitting separately might be more appropriate to help her learn but if it it's basically attachment then it does give the wrong messages. I think from your reply it's really important to have a proper meeting with the school (not the sort where they give you 2 minutes in the corridor) and first to understand what is actually happening and their reasons for this then to discuss her issues in general - perhaps there is more to their thinking and you need that information to get the right help yourself. They may not know much about attachment and may need help to understand the implications of her background resulting in feelings of rejection - many people understand it is significant without thinking through the details of long term effects. School could just be thinking "behaviour" and may need to unpack this a bit more. It sounds as if your earlier discussions have been just with previous teachers and now maybe you need to see the Senco too?


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I think the best thing is to get your daughter tested so you know for sure or she is on the asd spectrum or she has adhd, or there are problems learning. Do not think teachers are peadiatricians, they are not, some might have some idea of children similar they teached before but add neglect and attachment in the mix and it gets complicated fast. If you have a report with what's exactly problematic it is much easier to make a strong case. Autisme can present in many different forms, it is a possibility your daughter has it, adhd like behaviours can be a symptome of asd.

If the 'case' is not clear cut you might investigate or private assessments are a possibility. I can tell you it's nice to know exactly where a child's problems lay, it is nice no longer to have to talk like 'I think, I suspect, I hope, etc'.

It can be difficult as well as sometimes hopes are dashed and doors are closed.

Before investigting in a possible attachment diagnosis I would investigate, asd, adhd, learning disabilities, and arnd first. I had teachers and even peadiatricians who told me 'nothing wrong', until I got him tested privately, 4 diagnosis later and special education, now at 12 the picture is much clearer.


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