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Awkward primary situation, advice?

Forum: LDS Parenting


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May 25th, 2011, 12:13 PM
Angela85's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: South Jordan, Utah
Posts: 2,125
So as I mentioned in my intro, I found this board while looking for the Developmental Delays and Disorders Board. Keith has several delays, most prominently speech and cognition. He's really a good kid, it just takes a bit more to get him to sit still in situations like primary because he doesn't understand everything that's going on.

I'm really struggling with primary. It's his first year in actual primary. Nursery wasn't too bad since the kids spend most of their time doing their own thing anyway. But his primary teachers just don't seem to be making any effort to help him. Which is so frustrating to me because when I've had kids with special needs in primary I've gone out of my way to make primary a good experience for them.

I realize primary teachers are just volunteers, they haven't been trained as teachers. But it's so frustrating to peek in his classroom and see the other 3 kids sitting in their chairs listening, and him crawling around in the corner. It's a couple that's teaching. If the other kids are doing just fine, why can't one of them just sit next to him and help him pay attention? They're just sitting there anyways, why not help the kid who has been completely forgotten?

Sorry this is a novel, I'm having an awful day, and I'm really struggling on how to deal with this. I can't really say anything to the teachers. I'm thinking about going to the primary president and asking for her advice. It's just I feel like he gets left behind and forgotten just about everywhere, I don't want it to be the same for church too.

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May 25th, 2011, 12:42 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: My heart belongs in Washington DC
Posts: 6,415
Wow, that sounds like a difficult situation, I'm sorry Keith's primary teachers don't seem to be trying to include him in the lesson. I think your idea of talking to the Primary president is a good one. It might be that neither teacher knows how to work with children with developmental differences, like you said primary teachers are volunteers so unless they've been trained to work with development delays outside of church they probably won't know how to keep Keith's attention.

I personally would go to the Primary president and ask for her advice, she might know his teacher's better then you do and would know if they were open to learning from you how to work with Keith so he gets more out of Primary or if they (sadly) would just prefer that Keith crawl around in the corner.

I hope you get this worked out soon!

Thank you to the wonderful ladies who mad the blinkies!

"The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude..... These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are percisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character and increase our compassion for others."
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May 25th, 2011, 11:06 PM
Lynsann's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 8,867
I would definitely go to the primary president. Maybe the couple doesn't understand that one of them sitting next to him and helping him focus would help? They probably just need to be taught the best way to work with him. Maybe they just assume that the best thing to do is leave him alone, when that isn't actually the case. They might even be nervous about "disciplining" somebody else's child. I know that if I were the teacher, I would want you to talk to me and let me know what works best for the little guy. Good luck! It sound like a hard situation, but I'm sure if you all got on the same page, it would definitely improve. (((HUGS)))
Mommy to Ava (5/24/06) and Kai (5/11/09)
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May 26th, 2011, 07:50 AM
Brittanie's Avatar just me
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 43,573
Having just taught the Sunbeams recently, I do think that they probably just don't know how to handle it. I personally don't see anything wrong with going to the teachers, but I'm a really laid back person and would appreciate that (I'd actually probably have asked you how best to work with him). If you're more comfortable going to the primary president then that's a good thing too.

I hope you can get something worked out.
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May 26th, 2011, 07:32 PM
geogeek's Avatar Marsi's Mommy
Join Date: May 2009
Location: In yonder mountains
Posts: 9,339
Hi! I used to come to this board a lot, but not so often. I saw this and I understand. DH and I were in primary for several years before we moved. There was a little boy similar to your little boy that it took us a bit to understand what to do with him. But, he and DH became best buddies. He wouldn't be sitting in a chair all the time because he always wanted to be right next to DH. The parents asked the presidency to move us with his class but the presidency wouldn't allow it. It broke our hearts because he went into a downfall with his new teachers. With his parents and us talking to the new teachers, it got better. I am a trained teacher with special needs background and they put me in that class for a reason. Mostly primary presidents are great with listening to parents. I hope that it gets better for you.

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May 28th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Bug-n-Ed's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,521
My oldest has autism and while it's hardly noticeable to most people if at all now, it was very hard when he was a sunbeam. His teachers didn't know how to handle him. Luckily the primary president was perceptive to the problem and talked to me about it to see what could be done for him.

I would first talk to the primary president to have her be aware of your son's developmental delays. It's possible she isn't even aware that he has any. Discuss your concerns with her and then ask her if she thinks the teachers would be receptive to you talking with them or if it'd be better if she did so.

The teachers might also not see anything wrong with your son's behavior as it is sunbeams and not sitting in your chair can be pretty typical for that age of children. A lot of children that age have a hard time sitting still for a long time frame. They might also think that if they ignore your son's behavior that it'll stop once he realizes he's not getting the attention they think he's seeking.

We've been lucky since we moved to North Salt Lake and have an occupational therapist in our ward who was in the primary as a helper for special needs kids when we moved into the ward. She's been a blessing to us. Because of that, you might also ask your primary president if there could be a special needs helper in the primary to help with kids like your son. Our ward has several children with autism or other special needs and it has been a big help to the teachers to have the availability of an extra set of hands every now and then.

Good luck!
Mommy to Brandon (12) and Edward (10)
Emma and Ellie (4)

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