It’s always worried me when as a Visiting Teacher I am alerted to a student who has a recent diagnosis but is not wanting to ask for any help, doesn’t want to be taken out of class, is misbehaving and the teachers are concerned. Often the situation may have been developing for some time but it’s got to a point where it’s getting more difficult to ‘hide’. There may have been a few missed balls at PE, the student wrote down the wrong homework from the board, and on a special night at school with parents and students, he/she never recognised any friends and heard the next day that she had been described as ‘quite rude’ for not saying hello. Sometimes, that’s when the explanation may need to be given.
I guess the big fear is that the student in disclosing the information may be tested with friends. Some may process it and show great interest in understanding more but others may not accept it so easily and decide to not ask of them to participate socially anymore.
We (school staff, visiting specialists, parents, peers) need to be aware of these students and support the loss they are dealing with, and like any other grief – it will all take time to work through and accept. If direct support is refused by the student, the support teacher can work in the background, advising parents, teachers, teacher aides of the implications of such a vision loss and encourage assessment to be modified or reduced for a period of time while establishing the best way to provide for the student. Accessing an independent psychologist or counsellor for the student and/or family can also assist in the grieving process.
NDIS Registered Provider no. 4050011793
Kerri Weaver is a service provider for children with disabilities.