This has been a week of challenges, some more difficult than others.
As a retired English lecturer and literacy specialist, I occasionally work a couple of days a week for a local college, either helping with initial assessment for future learners who may need extra support with literacy and/or numeracy, or carrying out dyslexia testing to identify their needs and suggest teaching and support strategies that may help them. (I do staff training as well, so that the college’s own staff will be able to do this when I finally hang up my boots.)
Anyway, this week, I worked for two days, interviewing 16 year olds about their support needs. Apart from the fact that half of them don’t either bother to turn up at all, or let us know they aren’t coming, there are times when you find yourself walking on eggshells, trying to deal sensitively with a subject they don’t want to discuss. Yesterday was one of those times. Sixteen year old boy doesn’t see why he needs to read and write since he wants to be a plumber. Mum is protective to the last extreme and clearly does not accept the diagnosis of autism that the education psychologist made some years ago. He won’t talk about it. She won’t stop.
But I did it. Somehow I steered the conversation to the point where he was prepared to join in and accept that;
if he joins the college he will have to do maths and English as well as plumbing
if he has to do them, he may need help
if there is extra help available, he may as well take it.