Sunday 9 October 2022

"I don't like school"

a young friend told me yesterday. 

I was not surprised to hear that. She is an unusual child. It would be easy to label her "on the autism spectrum" but I don't think that is right. She is actually socially very able. I have had some fascinating conversations with her. She reads widely and is constantly asking questions. "The teachers don't like that", she tells me.

No, they probably don't. The sort of questions this child asks would get in the way of what most teachers need and want to teach. This child learns "differently".

Her aunt, with whom she lives, tells me that the school is "worried" this child is not "fitting in" as she should. "At that parent-teacher night I was told she wasn't making friends and she doesn't fit in well with class activities. Of course they said they were making allowances because of all the trauma but really they have no idea how to handle her."

I am inclined to agree with her aunt's assessment of the situation. B... is one of those rare children who probably really would be better off learning alone for the greater part of her time. Her curiosity seems endless. It was her birthday recently and I gave her, at her aunt's suggestion, a book about polymer clay beads. She promptly researched polymer clay, "So I know how it works." Her art work at home is stunning, full of movement and life. Her aunt is an artist and encourages it. At school though, "It's so boring there. They tell you what to do and I got told off for doing something different." 

We have talked about this too, about the apparent need to conform and when to conform. She doesn't like this at all. Next year she will be starting high school and it isn't going to be easy. "There will be heaps more homework and I need time to do things."  

Her aunt has offered music, ballet, tennis and other classes. B... has turned them all down. "Politely and I can't say I am sorry I don't have the bother of getting her to such things but it might be a way to mix."

I am actually not too worried. B... walks a dog for a neighbour who does not really have the time to do it.  It's how we met. "I know a lot of people from walking him. It's a good way to meet people." As the dog seems to be very protective of her the walks seem safe enough for both of them. 

He's also a good companion. I haven't any doubt that B... will learn to mix in her own way and in her own time. She will almost certainly learn to tolerate school a little more as she gets older. I also suspect she is one of those people who needs her own space and time for herself. There is nothing wrong with that is there?



1 comment:

Beryl Kingston said...

I met a lot of kids like her when I was teaching. Quick brains, great characters, very friendly. Loved them. Many of them are still in touch with me.