View Full Version : I love my daughters teacher!!!


psychokitty
12-03-13, 07:57 AM
Not literally of course:D

But I went to the school quickly today to pick up a copy of my daughters homework schedule (that she had lost) and to drop off an ADHD assessment form from the doctor, and I talked with her teacher a bit about the results of my daughter's doctors appointment and diagnosis of ADHD- Inattentive.

Not much is known about ADHD or learning disabilities in Japan, and the image of ADHD is the little boy who can't sit still.
The Japanese education system still values rote memorisation and repetition.

But my daughters teacher today was fantastic!! He's already tried to help her as much as possible and has figured out what she can do and where she struggles (memorisation of characters and any kind of composition) and he has already reduced her homework to help her.

I talked with him today about how she cannot memorise by writing her characters out 10 times (the traditional way) and how I was trying other methods like mnemonics.

He was instantly on board with that. She doesn't have to do the repetition that is set for homework if we are doing it a different way and is going to look for other methods such as image linking and come up with a plan in consultation with the school counsellor.

I was so impressed. He didn't even know about the existence of Inattentive ADHD before this, but he has been on board to help my daughter from the start and is prepared to learn and figure things out to suit her and help her learn.

There is no "this is the way things are always done, so that's how she must do it" which there so often is in Japan.
He's even going to use the next parent teacher meeting to make sure my husband is on board with using a different approach.

I'm so happy I could cry.

TygerSan
12-03-13, 08:32 AM
It's awesome to discover an ally in a field where there can be a few very rigid and frustrated souls. A good teacher is a good teacher, regardless of prevailing culture or notions about illness/disorder.

In fact, it seems as though he is receptive perhaps because rather than in spite of the fact that he's never heard of ADHD PI.

In other word, he sees a student with potential who needs an alternate approach, not one in need of discipline.

Pingu*
12-03-13, 04:14 PM
Not much is known about ADHD or learning disabilities in Japan, and the image of ADHD is the little boy who can't sit still.
The Japanese education system still values rote memorisation and repetition.
Last semester, two Japanese exchange students were close friends of mine. They both studied education and were interested in special needs, changing the educational system. Yet neither of them had heard of even dysgraphia/dyslexia! I'm really happy for you and your daughter :)

The boy who can't sit still reminds me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyJxxko1J0Y I like it, though nothing about inattentive type.

psychokitty
12-03-13, 10:41 PM
:thankyou:Thankyou :grouphug:

I know it's crazy to post just to say how happy I am with how things are going, but I really wanted to share here where people get it:)

I haven't posted much about my daughter since I arrived back in the forum.
I was a member a few years ago after I got diagnosed myself and I talked quite a bit with Stef and other members about that and my own struggles with ADHD and being an expat mother in Tokyo, with a Japanese husband and a child.

Even then I suspected my daughter had ADHD too, but unlike me she had no hyperactivity. At kindergarten she would never know what was going on and couldn't follow the directions of the teacher. The aide would always have to go up to her and get her attention and tell her one to one. A morning routine was, and still is, very difficult for her. We got someone to come and assess her then and she got some extra classes from the local city. My daughter is bilingual and until she went to kindergarten she'd been at home with me and going to English language playgroups so her English output was better than her Japanese at that point - so that confused the issue a bit.

I was really concerned going into 1st grade and talked about my concerns with the school. Luckily the more structured atmosphere of the classroom compared to the kindergarten helped her at first, and she seemed to do okay.
However, as the year wore on the work got harder and she started failing - as they moved from the easier phonetic alphabet (hiragana) to the characters (kanji) much more was required in the way of memorisation.
Her teacher, who had been good at the start, wasn't that helpful.
My decision to take my daughter out of school one week before the end of term to go back to Australia for a while after the Tohoku Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster didn't sit well with the teacher either.

Second grade was an absolute nightmare for my daughter. The work got harder, the homework really increased and the poor thing was failing everything. Homework became a constant struggle and she was constantly failing every test. She felt so bad about herself - she felt like she couldn't do anything at all. It broke my heart - she was getting depressed in second grade. Second grade!!! The teacher's methods were just making things worse for her. She was so frightened of speaking out or asking a question, and even if she knew she felt so scared that she froze - she said it felt like her mouth was taped shut.

The last straw came for me when she was being penalised for not knowing her times tables at all. We had been practicing them at home and I knew she knew some of them. It turns out that they had to say them in front of the teacher under 9 seconds (the Japanese way of reciting is short so it's possible though still hard) .... the time limit and having to say it in front of the teacher while other kids were waiting in line behind just paralysed my daughter and she'd freeze or try and hide at her desk hoping it would go away.

I had a long fairly heated talk with the teacher who agreed that she could take the time limit off for her and we practiced at home seeing how fast she could go and trying to beat her previous time... And she managed to pass up to her 7 times table in the end.
But when her teacher told me that she was either lazy or unmotivated or we were bad parents, and when she told kids that if they didn't pass their kanji test that they couldn't pass to third grade (there is no keeping kids back in Japan and even if there is that should not be used as a threat) I knew that I had to act and fight harder for my daughter.

I saw the counsellor at my daughters school and talked about all our concerns. She gave my daughter the WISC–IV test, which showed she was intelligent but struggled with working memory, sequencing etc. From that the school put in a request for a teachers aide for her, and her 3rd grade teacher reduced her homework. They also started studying science in 3rd grade which my daughter loves, and for the first time she started having some success at school. I'll never forget the joy on her face the first time she brought home a science test with a score of 100%.
Things improved over 3rd grade, but she was still struggling with memorising her characters.... And they got harder and harder and there were more of them. She also had to write more in class and she could never do that. She would sit there looking at her blank paper. The aide would come and get her on task, but she would stop almost immediately.

I was concerned about her 4th grade teacher at first, because he seemed really strict and I feared a repeat of her 2nd grade nightmare - but it turn out that he is strict when it is needed and kind and involved otherwise.
We continued the measures that we put in place, but the teacher has been very concerned about her ability to cope with higher grades.
She has been having quite a bit of success though, which is helping boost her self esteem. She regularly brings home perfect scores or near perfect scores in science and social studies tests, and recently even got 100% in a math test and in a reading comprehension test.
Her intelligence is getting a chance to shine which is just wonderful:)

Goodness this got long. I don't know why I didn't come back to the forums sooner because I feel like I've been doing it alone for so long. My health suffered this year, so it's been a pretty hard slog.

My husband doesn't really understand, so we've had some ups and downs there - even in the last couple of weeks. He can't understand why she can't do it, when that's the way everyone learns. We've had some teary homework sessions because of that.

It feels so good to have an ally now, and to know that I am not crazy or overprotective or makubg excuses anything.

psychokitty
12-03-13, 11:42 PM
It's awesome to discover an ally in a field where there can be a few very rigid and frustrated souls. A good teacher is a good teacher, regardless of prevailing culture or notions about illness/disorder.

In fact, it seems as though he is receptive perhaps because rather than in spite of the fact that he's never heard of ADHD PI.

In other word, he sees a student with potential who needs an alternate approach, not one in need of discipline.

That's an excellent point. He has no preconceptions, but just wants to figure out how to help her, whatever the label is.

psychokitty
12-04-13, 12:07 AM
Last semester, two Japanese exchange students were close friends of mine. They both studied education and were interested in special needs, changing the educational system. Yet neither of them had heard of even dysgraphia/dyslexia! I'm really happy for you and your daughter :)

The boy who can't sit still reminds me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyJxxko1J0Y I like it, though nothing about inattentive type.

Thank you for this video. I hadn't actually seen it before.
I also googled the name of the NPO at the end of the video - and will look into that more.

Even though my daughter isn't the little boy who can't sit still, it was really good to see ADHD in the Japanese school context.
Hehe... My daughter's teacher really looks like the teacher in the video - though he's much nicer:)

Yes, very little is known about dysgraphia and dyslexia in Japan.
My daughter can read and enjoys reading , but she can't write much - either in Japanese or English.
I was lucky enough to be in touch with someone here who is studying to be a dyslexia tutor to English speaking children and needed to tutor a student as part of his practical component of his course.
After he tested my daughter and reported the results to his supervisors who are trained and experienced in diagnosing dyslexia they strongly urged that I should
get my daughter tested because there were a number of signs.

The doctor and the school counselor don't believe that she has dyslexia, but the issue is complicated by her two languages and the way dyslexia shows itself in different languages... As well as the fact that so little is known about dyslexia in Japan because the rate is lower, probably because of the nature of the language.

I agree with them that she has ADHD -I, but I think she may also have dyslexia (or dysgraphia) which is why she struggles so much with writing.
There is nowhere I can go for testing here, but I'm hoping to test her in English here or Australia when I can:)

psychokitty
12-04-13, 07:56 PM
It really helped yesterday to write all that down about how my daughter has struggled. I have been carrying it all around, along with my own stuff and struggles, and it was good to lay it down.

We did have some success last night with study, but it all ended in tears.

But this morning I was happy how well she bounced back. We've talked more and we decided that she may never love kanji but we are going to crack the code and we are going to beat it - it's not going to beat us!!

And while we are at it we are going to crack the code of writing English too, and then with her intelligence and creativity nothing can stop her - she will set the world on fire!!:yes:

zette93
12-05-13, 12:30 AM
I've been researching dyslexia recently, since my DS8 is struggling with reading.

Two very good books I've found:
Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz
Reading in the Brain by Dehaene, Stanislas

Most info on dyslexia seems to focus on people who have difficulty with hearing and interpreting the phonetic sounds that make up words. There is a second area of the brain that can be also be affected, a visual area that makes quick recall of high-frequency words. (For instance, most kids can sound out "d-i-d" 4 or 5 times and then instantly recognize "did". My son still has to sound it out every time.) I can see where this might contribute to difficulties in learning and remembering characters in Japanese.