Monday, 11 May 2009

Exams - stress, frustration and fear

Education is incredibly important for all the
children whether they are typical or with
special needs. Finding the right school is
never a stress free task.

The school Cirwen attends is the best in the area
and she loves going there. I have always been
very grateful for loads of support, help and
understanding she has there. Cirwen never was
offered the Special Education Needs Statement
as for this a child has to have developmental
delay in 3 areas (academic, social and physical) and
it should be on the level of 3 years behind their

While autism is a "learning difficulty" itself, it
still has to be assessed separately. Cirwen's ability
to socialise, lack of behavioural challenges and
mild physical problems were not enough to grant her
the statement.

Despite of this the school used their funding for speech
and language therapy, occupational therapy and
additional literacy and numeracy lessons. However
Cirwen is not a genius, she also is not thick. Due
to limited materials and training of teachers her
academic performance in maths is rather poor. As
many autistic people, Cirwen is a visual learner and
a "doer". Theory of maths goes past her ears and she
cannot comprehend either the question or the verbal
explanation. She gets very frustrated in class as
despite asking questions often it still is difficult to
understand what she is supposed to do.

This week is the SATs week. The nightmare for
Cirwen, who knows that this time she will not be
allowed to ask questions during the exam. Today
is science. She went to school happily, but on the
way she expressed her fear that she might not
understand the questions. My answer to that was,
"Don't worry, you are not failing or passing this test.
Do your best and read carefully. You are bright
so I know you'll figure it out - just don't panic."
She seemed reassured and brightened up and
skipped for the rest of the way.

She was worried the most about the maths test.
It was to our great relief to have found out, that
due to her attainment in maths and the stress
levels it would cause, Cirwen will not sit the test.
She will be assessed by the teacher on the base
of her day to day work. Again I am grateful to
the school teachers involved for this decision.

Cirwen will sit English tomorrow and on Wednesday.
Hopefully, she will do well. I am sure, she will try
her best and both her Dad and me will do what it
takes to help her relax afterwards.


  1. Tell Cirwen I am wishing her the best on her sats and just do her best not to worrie to much.

  2. Well, I never liked the SATS .... icky!
    Please let us know how she did!!! I am sure she will do just fine!

  3. Good luck! Im sure she'll do fine though!

  4. Good luck to Cirwen!
    I have my exams at the moment too.

  5. Hope all goes well with the exams. Never the easiest of times anyway. Look forward to hearing how she gets on.

  6. Hope all is well with Cirwen following the exams. She is lucky to have such supportive parents.