School assessments for the academic year 2021/2022 have already started at most schools. It’s one of the most stressful times for mothers and the stress is transferred, in turn, to their children. It has become a competition amongst nurseries to prepare children for school interviews. Nurseries are currently evaluated by how the number spots they can get at top schools.
Parents queue for hours in front of schools’ gates to fill admission applications for their little ones. Three-year-old children experience pressure like no other. They have to smoothly leave their parents and go with strangers to a different room to answer questions about things they should learn at school.
A 3-year-old child is expected to properly hold the pencil
Among this craziness, we came across a shocking story. A helpless mom told us how her son, 3.5 years old, was unfairly rejected during a school interview. The reason was his inability to properly hold the pencil, referring to this as a sign of mild autism.
The shocked mother expressed her anger towards the whole situation. She didn’t feel any understanding from the school’s side since the very beginning. She was surprised that they didn’t consider how the quarantine period could have affected the child’s development and behavior.
The mother added that all the comments she received from the teacher were full of labelling and judgement. The teacher mentioned that the child is not sociable enough. However, the mom said that he didn’t show any signs of separation anxiety when he was accompanied by the teacher to the interview area.
The mother was astonished to receive the rejection reply on the same day along with a diagnosis of a disorder like autism. She is emotionally distraught since the interview and feels that she is failing as a mother. She expressed how afraid she is to unintentionally reflect this on her son and blame him even though he did not do anything wrong.
An autism diagnosis in an hour by teachers
It’s not the first time to hear about the rejection of a child by the school admission. It makes sense considering the huge number of applicants each school receives every year. This is the law of supply and demand after all. However, what is heartbreaking about this situation is that the child was not rejected because he’s below the required age or the academic level. The school decided to diagnose him with a serious disorder in a 60-minute-long interview without the presence of any specialized expert in this field.
While many children show signs of delay during interviews, a blatant autism spectrum diagnosis due to the inability to hold a pencil properly is outrageous; needless to mention the way the information was given to the mom. As a fellow mother, I can feel her confusion and helplessness. She wants to enroll her son in a good school and can’t change the illogical processes of schools’ admission. On the other hand, she plans on taking their comments seriously, seek medical advice, and take all the necessary steps for the sake of her child. And just as thousands of moms, the admission deadlines are not in her favor.
You need to stop dealing with children as numbers on a waiting list. Children deserve acceptance and consideration more than international curriculums and fancy buildings. Parents who go through the hassle of applying at a school and paying thousands of pounds expect to see some effort while educating and developing their children.
It’s becoming ridiculous to expect genius children with super social skills and zero learning difficulties. You need to remember that each child has the right to have an opportunity according to his/her needs and abilities and to be guided in a constructive way if he/she has any mild or serious difficulties. Children show miracles when we work on their gifts instead of fitting them into molds.
You’re not alone. Egyptian mothers face judgment and bullying daily with their children. It leaves mothers forcing their children to fit into the criteria of nurseries, schools, and the whole society. I understand how challenging it is to accept the restrictions and limitations caused by children, seeing your plans and dreams shattered. Yet, no matter how much the world labels or reject children, it’s the love of their parents that get them through and help them reach their maximum potential. Apply at other schools that are more tolerant, loving, supportive, and accepting.
- An Egyptian Nursery Said My Son Is Autistic and This Is My Story
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