‘The most frustrating part is how much it is doing to impede my child’s future’

We have a 13-year-old who struggles to concentrate at school. In the holidays he will constantly ask me to take him out to a part of Birmingham where there are no desks and places without registers. I’m constantly frustrated that he’s not always allowed to come with me.

I try to get him to concentrate at home by having a theme on the walls, which we’ve worked out together. One day I put Mario in a tank and ask him to get clean water. Another day, I saw a giant MASH character and asked him to tell me about his day. Sometimes he gets the hang of it, sometimes he doesn’t. I’ve tried to make it fun, a game where I tell him something and he can come back with a picture or something. But if he gets bored, he keeps asking me to take him out. It is really frustrating because he plays with his Xbox all day.

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I try to focus on the positives. One day, I made him a sign out of paper and stick it on the wall so he can see it, where on my hands it says: “Bye bye homework.” And there is an alphabet that you can draw on with a marker pen, so he knows which teachers work in that area. As the holidays draw to a close, he’s in his own little bubble. I recently saw him filling in a lot of jobs with one sign that he’d made.

The most frustrating part is how much else it is doing to impede my child’s future. He wants to be like the neighbours in the area who have been down with an infection and are out in the garden. I know he can’t go outside – sometimes he looks back at the signs and cannot wait to take them down. He has to go to school and he will never have the choice of when he wants to go. I’m just so angry.

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