We met with R's teacher after school yesterday. She reassured us that R is very bright, very intelligent, that none of what she wanted to talk to us about was about his intellectual capabilities. (Phew!)
Basically, he has a couple of issues to work on. The first is that he sometimes has trouble starting tasks, especially writing. She said that it's almost as if his brain is working so far ahead - because he has so many ideas - that he can't figure out where to begin. Once he gets started (sometimes with help), though, he's fine. R's teacher thought maybe I could have R spend some time with me when I write for work - or even this blog or letters to family or friends - so he can see how much I enjoy writing and that it's not just a chore. I thought that was a great suggestion.
The other thing is that he has trouble transitioning to new activities. So, if he's working on something, and it's time to line up to head to lunch or art or gym, he has to be reminded several times to join the rest of the class. And, his teacher is worried that his future teachers won't have as much patience as she does with him. We've noticed the same behavior at home: if R is doing something that he's focused on, and it's time for dinner or bed or time to head out somewhere, he HAS to finish what he's doing first. He has a really hard time being okay with leaving something unfinished and coming back to it later. It takes a lot of time and cajoling to get him to move along.
R's teacher showed us a book that she made for her and us to read to R. It's all about him and school and what he likes and doesn't like and what tools he has available to him to help and how he has choice times but how he also has times where he has to do what his teachers ask him to do. She used his picture and other cute pictures to illustrate it. It's fabulous! She asked us if she should offer him a reward for trying to do better in his challenge areas, but we all agreed to try just reading the book to him and talking about with him first. Rewards don't always work with R, and there's something that bothers me about rewarding him for doing what the other kids are already doing. But maybe I'm being too mean?
We also talked about how R is definitely bored by some things at school, and his teacher totally picked up on how interested he is in hands-on, science-related things. She also noted that he has some sensory issues - he hates glue or other sticky things on his hands, he's very sensitive to smells, etc. I've always noticed that, too, but never really thought much about it. She didn't say it was a problem, just that she's provided him with some tools to help with sensory issues.
So, I love R's teacher more than ever for talking with us and for coming up with creative, kind solutions for R. I'm a little bit at a loss for how to help R change his behavior, but I definitely want to do whatever I can.
If any of you have any ideas or thoughts, I'm open to them!