Friday, 23 February 2007

We begin the exercises

Well, we've now done two days of exercises - only another 363ish to go.

I had been pretty well primed what to expect and didn't find it all too weird. Well a bit. You can't help thinking - 'can it really help my son's concentration and handwriting to sit on a chair, clapping or shaking his head for a couple of minutes?' But the Dore people in (metaphorical) white coats have given me the talk and shown me the chart - and if it's going to work, it's going to take some positive thinking (I'm trying to avoid using the word 'faith' here).

And I have to put in a nice word about the doctor we saw (cynical voice inside asks, 'doctor' as in 'Doctor Gillian McKeith'?) who was friendly in a twinkly sort of way, informative and able to put things in terms that made sense both for me and my eight-year old.

I struggled to make sense of the instructions on the first day. The booklet could do with being re-written. It wasn't clear what was referred to by the words 'day' and 'exercise' - or maybe my own cerebellum is inadequate for the task which ought to be simple. But I phoned up and asked and it was clarified for me. So no real complaints.

The road begins

Well, we're off. My son is apparently a perfect contender for this programme. This was my ideal outcome, while I was sitting in the waiting room. Now, of course, I wonder if that's what they said to all the muddy-coloured-clothes-wearing Mums about their children? I wonder how many they actually turn down? How much money they actually give back?

I've seen lots of charts which seem to indicate quite clearly that my son is having to work very hard to sustain an adequate competence in a number of everyday activities. I wish I could have seen another child take the same tests - perhaps a high-flyer in his classroom - the golden boy who is ace on the football field and top of the class and popular with the other kids - and see how he performed in the same tests.

But, pushing doubts aside, I feel pretty positive. We trudged back from the station carrying our bag of Dore kit and caboodle: a large inflatable rubber ball, bean bags, charts and a wobble-board - full of hope and new resolutions.

They told me that my son would be tired after the day of tests. He enjoyed just about every minute and couldn't wait to tell his friends at school. I felt exhausted- too tired to switch on the tv or pick up a magazine.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Is this the right thing to do?

I'm sitting in the waiting room of The Dore Centre, in Beford, waiting with my son for his initial assessment, writing this on the back of the directions to get here.

As I understand it, today my son will be assessed to see if he is 'under-utilising his cerebellum' - the part of the brain which helps us to process information and to act automatically, without conscious effort.

The waiting room is pleasant enough. Not many people here. Children who look like my boy (but slightly older) - mainly boys (of course). Mothers who look familiar - I feel I know them. Everyone is dressed in muddy coloured clothes; almost a uniform. People smile if you catch their eye but we are all locked into our own little worlds.

What's the worst case scenario for me? I think that the centre turns around and tells me that my son is using his cerebellum effectively and that the Dore programme can't help him. Yes, we'll get most of our money back. But my son will still be struggling with a range of small learning problems which seem to defy effective description or categorising but which are clearly limiting him badly both at school and socially. We can spend the money on a nice holiday. But where do we go next?