Saving for a GrowIn(g) Future Chapter 4 - The Middle of the Road
Welcome back to another chapter of Saving for a GrowIn(g) Future, and today we will take you to the next stage now that your child with special education needs has completed primary school. Your child is now well equipped with knowledge, skill and are proficient in new subjects such as science, geography, advanced mathematic, religion and others after being taught by their teacher during primary school. All of these accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible unless their parents have balanced their financial requirement between the school fees, therapy fees and basic necessities. Now, the child needs to advance to middle school where the environment and curriculum has become more complex in nature as they would have to be able explain and think in order to master these new subjects. Not only that, the cost for secondary school necessities and fees are far more expensive than previously along with the therapy fees for their child as such parents with children with special education needs will need to step up on their finances.
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The transition from primary to secondary school has plenty of factors for parents to consider, such as the fees for major secondary school exams, stationery cost such as a scientific calculator and also the books. In addition, they would also need to consider the fact that their child with special education needs would need to be more independent during this age range of adolescents and the necessary therapies for them at this juncture. If the child is able to be fully independent and control themselves behaviorally, mentally and physically, then parents may opt to discontinue therapies for their child. However, if some problems faced by the child due their special needs that can’t be controlled fully, then being selective of the therapies they need is still a better option and for such cases parents would need to be well aware of the therapy for their child as this may shape the development path for their child to move forward.
For this blog post, we will focus on adolescents or teenagers aged between 13 to 17 as this is when they would enter secondary schools. The atmosphere and curriculum for adolescents upon entering secondary school is vastly different from primary schools and this also the first step for them to proceed to adulthood, welcoming them to teenage years. As such the subjects being taught at this education level are more advanced versions of what they had learnt in primary schools. For instance, additional mathematics, this subject in particular is more subjective based compared to the basic mathematics as such they need to be proficient not only for the advanced subjects but also other knowledge and skills related if they wish to pursue a relevant career in various fields.
A new stage for a child with special education needs also signifies a new set of developmental milestones to accomplish and these new milestones make a shift towards adapting new skills and knowledge required to pursue their dream careers. The first step is always the hardest to make but it has to be done for them to pursue their dreams.
The greatest change for this age group is puberty which will cause a growth spurt in terms of physical and emotional changes. As such adolescents may feel uncertain, moody, sensitive and self-conscious which is quite normal and this is where their relationship with their parents is crucial as they try to adapt to these changes. Males will physically mature faster and be more confident while females will be more self-conscious of their bodies. Sometimes, they may feel troubled with their appearance once they reached puberty such as acne, body weight changes and others. It is also important to take note eating disorders may also occur within this age group.
· Rapid changes in physical appearance
· Varying rate of changes during puberty may cause anxiety as some may feel afraid and some will feel impatient should their puberty start late
· Experiencing many growths pattern
Puberty does not only affect their physical changes but also their hormonal shifts which can lead to mood swings. Mood swings is a condition in which the behavior and temperament of the teenager may shift quickly. Stress from school or even peer pressures further increase the problem. This stage is also where they start their journey to self-independence as they will have control in decision making such as deciding on friendships, problem solving and others. Teens will also assume that the world revolves around them as they will be very wary that the public has an eye on them or assumes that everyone’s behavior is because of them. Their self-esteem may rise and fall frequently as such they may be well behaved in one instance and then stressed out in the other instance. In addition, they may also seek affirmations from their parents if they’re on the right track even if they claim they wanted to do things independently.
· Concerned about physical appearance and development due to onset of puberty
· Perceived themselves as the protagonist or a center of attention to the world
· Strives for independence but still needs adult approval
Children now teenagers or adolescents would like to be more independent from their parents, therefore, they tend to rely on their friendship with peers. Teenagers would prefer to talk with their friends more frequently and spend more time with them than their families. Peer pressure tends to become a brick wall between them and their independence as such this situation is known as social acceptance. Teenager would like to be socially accepted and acknowledged by the people around them. They may also switch their peer groups as their interest shift throughout the years. Rebellious behavior is also common within this age range as they are going through a few personas or several phases in their rebellious behavior they settle down. For example, they may try new clothes or hairstyles to express themselves. Furthermore, sexual interest may also develop as such romantic relationships needs to be kept an eye during these years as they may be reckless during this period.
· Seeking attention and trust from family and friends
· Questioning the authority of people such as their parents
· Tendency to reject solutions offered by their parents
Teenagers should be very proficient in problem solving but they may feel difficult when asked to think about their future or struggle when thinking about the consequences of their actions should they act it out. The reason for this, is that their parts of the brain are developing at different pace. It is also quite common, for teenagers to think that they are immune to everything bad that happens in their lives as such they may be involved in risky behavior such as trying risky behaviors that may endanger them such as criminal activities. Teenagers may also develop abstract thinking in which they will have the capability to understand the concepts of life that are tangible such as freedom and vulnerability but not directly connected to physical objects or experiences. They may also have unique thoughts and assumed that nobody else could understand them. In addition, they become more concerned with moral issues as they learn a lot more about abstract concept. As they age, they will better understand the world and how the public perceives them.
· Developing skill with the use of logical reasoning
· Solve problems that involves more than 1 variable
· Justice and equality become a priority for them
Speech and language
Most teenagers are able to communicate similarly to adults. They’re able to use abstract languages such as figurative language and metaphors which means their type of speech would be less literal and more figurative. They will also learn about morality through communicating with others.
In terms of play, despite they are no longer playing with toys, they will still have the intention to play in terms of social interaction such as joining slumber parties and summer camps. This type of play can help manage their stress as they communicate with their friends about the issues they have during their play. These type of plays helps them manage their stress.
One of the important things to take note for teenagers I that they will frequently communicate using social media. Interactions through social media can be considered a stress relief for them as they’re able to communicate with their friends privately as compared to speaking with their parents. However, not all of them experience such relief as some may find it to be another additional pressure. This is due to the fact, they felt compelled to join the conversations in order to feel accepted by their peers and have fun with them.
Brightling Program (soon to be transferred to BrightFuture Day Care Centre)
Teenagers should have lesser difficulties in learning more complex subjects and are able to adapt towards independence. However, they may still be struggling in communication or having difficulties to focus on their studies effectively. Occasionally, their behavior still needs to be checked as they may still behave out of control during class such as temper tantrums and fights.
We at GrowIn Sprouts are committed to help you and your special education needs teenager to prepare for secondary school life with our patented academic program, the Brightling Program, specially designed for children aged between 5 to 14 years oof age. Our Brightling program will soon be separated and be a standalone program in our new day care in BrightFuture Day Care Centre. Every child that joins the Brightling program has their own individualized education plan specifically designed and tailored for them providing both academic, life skills and the essential components of learning. The program syllabus is based on the Cambridge Curriculum also known as the IGCSE.
Once every 4 months, your child with special education needs will have their performance reviewed based on the learning goals and objectives while still being closely monitored on their progress to ensure a smooth pace in their growth and excelling in several areas. Subjects within our Brightling program includes music, movement, sensory play, mathematics, individual and shared reading, English, free play, prevocational skills, executive functioning, science projects and even extracurricular activities such as music, computer classes and much more. The Brightling program not only assists your child to prepare for secondary schools but the fees are affordable and can help to balance out financially for secondary schools and necessary therapies. The program provided the best therapists and suitable syllabus that can assist your child with special education needs into adulthood.
As the child proceeds to adulthood, they will need to be well prepared in their adolescent years with new skills and knowledge in secondary schools. This is an undeniable fact as its important to prepare them when they need to advance into college, university and then towards employment. As a parent, the need to balance between financial responsibilities for secondary school fees and therapies for their child with special education needs is of utmost priority as we hope that someday our child is able to become fully independent and possibly become the future leaders for the nation. If you would like to find out more about what we at GrowIn Sprouts have to offer for you with our experienced therapist you may click the following links for the designated therapies.