Cancer log 154: Anand’s…

Cancer log 154: Anand's been having enough trouble with school (acting out, etc.) that we asked for a meeting with the support people. I can't remember who warned me that it might be a lot of people, but I appreciate the warning -- there were literally ten school people in the room with me and Kev, which would definitely have been unnerving if I didn't know that in advance. (They did send me a list of who would be there.) It was his teacher, social worker and team facilitator, psychologist, school nurse, occupational therapist, special ed. resource teacher, principal, an intern -- and two more I'm forgetting. Whew.

I took many notes, which I may transcribe at some point, but the upshot is that they think Anand is sort of on the borderline of typical vs. atypical kindergarten behavior (sensory issues, impulsivity, etc.), and it's up to us whether we want to pursue testing to consider early intervention for things like additional occupational therapy. They also strongly recommended some more physical activity for him, like swimming (which he's super resistant to, I think in part because the pool is loud, and he has trouble with loud spaces) or gymnastics, to help him get a better sense of his body and how to control it. I think we probably will look into testing, including gifted testing, just so we have a better sense of what might be helpful.

The school nurse said, "I always tell parents: a little extra physical therapy never hurt anyone." Fair enough.

And I'm posting this as a cancer log because, as I told the school support group, after getting the diagnosis last January, much of our family time was swallowed up with testing and treatment, finishing up in mid-December. Our parenting went into maintenance mode for a full year, and while the kids are doing okay, I think Kevin and I are both feeling bad about it. It's clear, for example, that Anand has not gotten as much help with school stuff as Kavi was getting from us at the same age. We were confused as to why he started acting out more a few weeks ago, when things are finally getting back to normal on my health front, but as one of them said, sometimes kids hold it together through the hard times, and then once the crisis has passed, then they feel free to let the emotions out. Makes sense; I felt that way myself.

We're back now, and have started doing things like working with him every night on his writing and reading, and I'm pretty hopeful that once he learns to read, a lot of the school behavior will smooth out. But still, we can afford to spend a little money and time to get him tested, so we'll do that. Feeling grateful that we have those resources. And grateful that the (public) school has such a great and well-resourced team working together to help Anand have a hopefully happy and successful school experience.

(I should say, we're not super-concerned about any of this. Mostly, we'd like him to a) not disrupt the classroom and/or get a reputation as a difficult / trouble-making kid, and b) enjoy school, and think of it as a fun place. I really liked going to school. So does Kavya. Hopefully, Anand will soon too.)

2 thoughts on “Cancer log 154: Anand’s…”

  1. It’s a small thing, which doesn’t really address any central issues, but as you might remember, Katie is a terrible physical fidget. She can’t stay still and when she was younger she could not keep her butt in a chair without massive movement of her legs. Or her legs would be still but her body popping up and down. It turns out, though, that if you give her hands a ball of occupational putty, that she sits much much more quietly and pays more attention. It turns out that quite a number of the kids in her school routinely play with occupational putty in class and the teachers think it does help. There are different stiffnesses of the putty, but for a trial, why not try some thinking putty at Amazon which isn’t as stiff as the stuff they originally gave Katie but comes in lovely colors:

    Don’t buy the ones with blacklights for school, though. They are too distracting. And you’ll have to get the teacher to agree, which might mean getting your team to agree first. Also, read the email I’m about to send you.

    More physical activity helps, but how about karate? A good martial arts class should teach kids about control and space and it is infinitely more cool than swimming.

  2. I think a ballet class would likely also be helpful. I have often wished that I had begun ballet training at Anand’s age instead of when I was almost 15 years old. And boys in ballet classes are almost immediate celebrities, which it sounds as though he would enjoy.

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