Ben – aged 11 – from Dublin, with concentration and listening difficulties.
There were a number of factors that led to Ben doing a Cluas program at home – he lacked concentration in the sense that he would flit from one activity to another and couldn’t sit still as they say for any length of time. Ben’s name could be called many, many times a day and it was as though he couldn’t hear me. He, if asked to carry out more than one instruction at a time, say go to your room and get your schoolbag and call your brother – and don’t forget to turn out the light – he may if we were lucky remember one of the tasks.
Often he would get distracted and I may find he had moved onto something else and wouldn’t have accomplished any of the tasks. Homework was more often than not a struggle most of the time – Ben has two other brothers and finding the time and to be honest patience (SOME DAYS) was taking its toll on family life. Homework often ended in tears … and I could see his frustration building especially as he became a little bigger and more was expected of him at school.
I don’t mean to compare him to his older brother but he rarely read any books and it was always something we as a family encouraged. He fought with his brothers often and now I can see looking back that he was confused and frustrated – who could blame him?
So to school – Ben had many friends – anyone who meets him instantly is drawn to him – he is a bright, warm, bubbly child but he often said that he didn’t feel that he fit into a group and felt alone at school. He said that he had people to talk to and have fun with but felt a little like an outsider – this as you can imagine would break your heart and to see him sad like this at times was unbearable.
This I must stress has all changed and his whole world has opened up and he skips into school now and is so much happier. Academically Ben to an extent was holding his own at school – but each teacher he has had through the years always came back with the same … he lacks concentration at times, he can’t seem to focus on his work, daydreams, so this coupled with what I saw at home over many years led me to Cluas.
I could see that he was struggling not just with school work and relationships – but everyday life at home – he was always in trouble for now paying attention / not concentrating / lacking interest / not caring….and I was turning into the mother from hell !!!! God love the poor child!
He gets along fine with his brothers and I guess will always have bad days … that’s what brothers are there for – to fight with and learn from I guess but it must be said that although arguments happened and will in the future, Ben is not a physical child and any trouble can be smoothed over pretty easily.
Ben will go out to play with the other boys on the road now – even without his older brother – whom I think used to mind him and almost fill in the blanks for him. Before I did notice on many occasions that he wouldn’t go out to play when people called and this concerned me greatly but now that has all changed.
He is definitely happier at school. He has made new friends and seems to have found a new group of people – while still retaining his old pals. He has found boys he has stuff in common with – I think his communication skills have improved greatly and is discerning what he likes and doesn’t.
We had a chat last night as we knew we were on the last leg of our journey with Cluas so to speak and Ben says he can hear things in school more easily – for instance, where he sits there are photocopiers on the corridor outside his classroom – before when he heard them he couldn’t stop hearing them and he wouldn’t be able to listen to the teacher and now he can still hear the noise but can recognise that he doesn’t need to listen to it and can continue to hear the teacher. Likewise he says when two classmates at either side of him say something at the same time he can control who he wants to listen to and answer.
He has taken to writing poetry and I was at a recital yesterday where he stood on stage and recited it to us. He reads so much more now and even has an opinion on what books and authors he likes. His sport has improved – he says it is easier to play now as he can differentiate who is calling to pass the ball!
I have seen a dramatic change in Ben and how he responds to us at home – he will hear you when you call him, He is far more aware of what is going on around him and I don’t have to keep calling him to get a response like I did before. Insofar as completing tasks he is now far more switched on – he won’t always get the three or four thing I may ask him to, but very often he does … go Ben !!!!
I have learnt from this too – how to slow down a little when I speak and not to expect too much and I think that helps a lot too.
Natalie, June 2014