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OK, we've detoxed for a year...

Posted by on Apr. 29, 2013 at 9:23 AM
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Now I need to get serious with my 10yo stepson.  He likes to fake it that he can't read or do math; but more and more, I catch him at it.  Any suggestions for "playing a player" to get him doing more without him realizing it?  Or better yet, getting him to WANT to learn?

by on Apr. 29, 2013 at 9:23 AM
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LindaClement
by Group Owner on Apr. 29, 2013 at 11:31 AM

I'd back up the bus a bit: what pressures is he responding to that makes him think it's reasonable to adopt this stance?

Remember when he was 4, and eager and enthusiastic about mastering his world? That's not gone, it's just buried.

And, if you're 'catching' him at things, I might suggest that while he's deschooled enough to move into something he's interested in learning, you've not let go of a whole lot of what you learned in those buildings...

faeriemom1972
by Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 12:29 PM
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I'm not really sure what you are asking. If I needed to know how to "play a player" it wouldn't be unschooling to me. I just let my player play, lol.

CaitsCookies
by Member on Apr. 29, 2013 at 2:54 PM
I wasn't around when he was 4. My SO and his ex adopted SS out of foster care when SS was 18mo. Additional damage was done by the ex, her older biological daughters, and the PS not knowing how to work with him. By the time I came along, he not only had PTSD but also encopresis and enuresis.

SO and I have worked with him, along with his medical team, to the point that the enco and the enuresis are (mostly) in remission. They recur whenever something is stressing him badly.

He was so far behind in 4th grade that he was barely testing at a 1st grade reading level. The school sent him home, saying that I am better able to work with him than they are. It all pretty much boiled down to us pushing for a 1-on-1 aide to work with him and them not wanting to pay for it.

I successfully unschooled my 23yo son, but he WANTED to learn. I can unschool my 20mo, because she also WANTS to learn. But SS wants to do anything BUT learn. He'd rather watch TV all day. If he realizes that we notice he's learning from something, he shuts down. But if he thinks we don't notice, he will learn all he can.

We've made a TON of progress, but I get so frustrated at times because he will do things to make other people think he doesn't know anything.
Ecoseem
by Member on May. 1, 2013 at 5:44 PM
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Do you think that maybe you could just pretend not to notice when he's been "caught" learning for awhile?  Give him some time to get comfortable with himself, and just let him think you don't see it.

LindaClement
by Group Owner on May. 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM
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It sounds like he has developed a high level of sensitivity to orders, demands and pressure --the basics of defiance.

I think, in this child's case, a year isn't half long enough. 

Be careful about the tv channels that are available for viewing --high on the Discovery and Science channels, low on the MTV and Nickleodeon options-- and let him pretend to not be learning anything at all.

I think it's probably going to be a good 5 years before your little guy is capable of hearing any kind of feedback about what he's learning. 

The problem with all of the carrot-and-stick and behaviour mod he's been subjected to up to this point is the deep resistance that it creates in people's bodies, even to 'going along' with their own goals and desires and dreams.

If he gets what he needs now (an evaluation-free zone, constant reassurance of his security and attachment to your family) he CAN catch up with the academic/learning stuff later. If he doesn't get what he needs now, all the academics in the world can't help him ever.

I would very, very strongly recommend reading everything you can get your hands on by Alfie Kohn. And anything written after 1994 by William Glasser (he's a terrible writer, his new wife improved the work enormously!)

Quoting CaitsCookies:

I wasn't around when he was 4. My SO and his ex adopted SS out of foster care when SS was 18mo. Additional damage was done by the ex, her older biological daughters, and the PS not knowing how to work with him. By the time I came along, he not only had PTSD but also encopresis and enuresis.

SO and I have worked with him, along with his medical team, to the point that the enco and the enuresis are (mostly) in remission. They recur whenever something is stressing him badly.

He was so far behind in 4th grade that he was barely testing at a 1st grade reading level. The school sent him home, saying that I am better able to work with him than they are. It all pretty much boiled down to us pushing for a 1-on-1 aide to work with him and them not wanting to pay for it.

I successfully unschooled my 23yo son, but he WANTED to learn. I can unschool my 20mo, because she also WANTS to learn. But SS wants to do anything BUT learn. He'd rather watch TV all day. If he realizes that we notice he's learning from something, he shuts down. But if he thinks we don't notice, he will learn all he can.

We've made a TON of progress, but I get so frustrated at times because he will do things to make other people think he doesn't know anything.


CaitsCookies
by Member on May. 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Thanks, everyone.

Last week, I stumbled across something that seems to fit SS like a glove, so much more like him than the ODD & ADHD diagnoses he had along with the PTSD - PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome).  It's on the autistic spectrum, which would correlate to his hand-flapping & other autistic-type behaviors, while explaining why his resistance to any requests seems along the lines of a panic attack.

PDA description

Verification that the unschooloing/child=led=learning approach is the right one for him.  I just have to continue looking for ways to entice him to WANT to learn, because if you try to force this particular horse to drink, he'll freak out & die of thirst.

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