Laney is the older of two children. She is pretty, and popular at school some years. Last year she was not popular and her mother worried about her a lot. Laney used to come home from school crying – of course In what way Special Help Me Help My Child Ruth Coppardher mother worried. School said that there was not a problem but her mother heard Laney said that she did not want to go to school, that the others left her out of games and was heart broken for her 8 year old..

She looked for help. The first people she saw, met with Laney and said that perhaps she had some learning problems. The second person diagnosed different difficulties, so did the third. They were all fairly convinced that their ideas were the right ones.

I am also convinced that my ideas are the right ones: I tested her IQ. She obtained a range of subtest scores which suggest that she is overall pretty bright but has some problems with he working memory. This means that she doesn’t always remember very well, and has some problems using stuff she has learned. An earlier suggestion that she learned things to a certain extent before they were taught – thus learning them twice – was not a bad one. But generally, most of the activities regarding working memory are not terribly useful, and most research suggests that the references given by the Companies who are selling the activities, are not backed up by outside scientists. {in any case, does a quote that 30% of parents, on a self-report measure, say that this has helped count as a ringing endorsement?]

Talking to school was a bit confusing. They claimed that while she was doing quite well, they would like her to do better. But they feel that she is popular and is usually well-liked by the other children. They suggested that perhaps she is sometimes unhappy at home-time, or that perhaps this is a better year for her.

Mum has taken all these suggestions to heart. She has been doing a lot of school work with her on a daily basis, Laney sees specialists twice a week. Her Mum wanted to know which day I would like to see her every week, and seemed surprised when I said I didn’t.

My feeling at present is that Laney has been overwhelmed by people saying she is special. Of course she is, but not in a bad way. I think she probably does have good years and bad years. I’m sure her memory lets her down. But I don’t think she is incredibly needy. I’ve suggested several ways forward.

That the family PLAY games that will develop memory skills – see the list elsewhere on the site – but that they think of this as playing, and do it all together. That if there is a need to learn something new, they think of ways in which it can be seen as a play activity and, again, they can all join in. We talked about Mandalas as a way of finding out what actually happened during the whole day and not just at the end.

I hope to phone and hear that things are going better. Laney needs to know that she is specially wonderful, not a problem.