By Alison January 24, 2008 42 Comments 1 Min Read


Finley doesn’t have dyspraxia. He doesn’t have anything anyone cares to give a name to because what he is suffering from is sheer joie de vivre….

He is, as I quietly suspected, (but didn’t want to shout about for fear of sounding like I was boasting), an unusually creative, linguistically gifted and emotional child whose feet simply don’t work as fast as his brain. Where we have one solution to a problem Finley is coming up with three and finding the whole matter a muddly old business.

For a child of four he is unusually percerptive, intuitive and visually orientated. He finds the world mildly frightening only because his brain goes into overdrive and pre-empts disaster where other children see none. He is noisy, spirited, chatty and lord help me, curious to the point of distraction. Above all else he is happy.

That the British  education system is not  apparently "set up to deal with kids like Finn" and thus I may find myself with a fight on my hands in order to prevent him  subduing who he is in order to better fit in is a cross I will bear with pride. And so I will fight. I will fight with every instinctive nurturing bone in my body to help my scrumptious little boy (thats his cheeky face he’s showing off up there) be everything he is destined to be….


  1. Sharon says:

    Hi Alison, I've been lurking for a long while and thought I'd say hello!
    I think the education system can be far to quick to label children and to put them in a little box, Finn sounds lovely and you are right to encourage him to be the person he is, and don't let them tell you otherwise!!!

  2. Linda says:

    Hello. You could be describing my four-year-old daughter. (She seems to have some sensory processing issues, but doesn’t otherwise have anything anyone can put a name to.) The education system in my part of Canada seems unable to “deal with” her, either.
    Your little boy is lovely. 🙂

  3. Carlie says:

    Good for you! Gosh he’s gorgeous!

  4. Lisa says:

    Well, no surprise there. Mama’s instincts are always right. Hope that puts his teacher in her place! Congrats on your gifted child.

  5. Kelly says:

    Your such a good Mama Alison!
    Don’t worry about it…I don’t know what the rules are of you lovely Brits, but you could always homeschool him. And I agree, Mama’s always know best! Follow your gut Girl….and your poppet will always have the best!

  6. Alison, you can SEE the intelligence and joy in his eyes! He’s gorgeous!!
    Yea YOU for not squelching any of that to fit someone else’s standards (and yuck phooey to that “expert” who mentioned social issues – i agree with the commenter who wondered if the woman was new in her field..that is SO common, yakking like they knew what they were talking about when they’re wet behind the ears).
    My daughter found this awesome book that’s helping us with raising my granddaughter (she’s 4 as well) – she sounds a bit like your sweet young man. The book praises kids like we’ve got – and offers loads of ideas on ways to help with the experts and stuff like’s called Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic by Mary Sheedy

  7. French Knots says:

    I had a discussion yesterday with my 4 year old son’s teacher as every week there is some complaint about him – not sitting nicely on the carpet at story time and so on. I feel like they are labelling him as naughty after only a few months at school when actually he is just a very young 4 who is full of fun. So keep at it, our boys need us!!

  8. Ali says:

    Four years of age is too early to being school. Even five years (which is the norm in Canada where I’m from) is too soon for some children. I do believe Sweden doesn’t start them til age six. Which is probably more sensible. Most healthy, well cared for children (no, well cared for does NOT mean spoilt!) are curious, active and highly imaginative. Why on earth at such a tender age, they’re expected to keep their little minds and bodies still for any more than 20 minutes is absurd. And who says your son has a neurological disorder?
    Fie, says I! You, as Finn’s mother, know your child best. You act in his best interests. Not the interests of an educational system that lost its way about two decades ago. Have you considered home schooling him chick?

  9. La Chouette says:

    REEEEEEAAAAALLLLLY ? No dyspraxia ? Gees, what a surprise!!!! Sincerely, all your readers knew he was a gifted child. It’s obvious! You are blessed and so is Finley!

  10. melissa says:

    Oh…I just want to eat him up! He is so lovely! The commenter that mentioned the book by Mary Sheedy is right! My mom gave me that book when I was struggling with understanding my daughter, who seemed to melt down and have sensory overload. She is creative and a perfectionist, detailed but needs simplicity. A complex beautiful little girl. When this is embraced and nourished she thrives and is such a joy. I homeschool her right now. Having her home these last two years has protected her from the labels and stifling. I actually think she will do well in school now. It was just keeping her home long enough to preserve her confidence and creativity.

  11. Grace says:

    Aw, what a sweetie Finn looks to be! I applaud you for following your instincts (I swear, they will never lead you wrong) and embracing the unique WONDERFULNESS that is your little boy. How thrilling and exciting it will be for you to watch him grow and develop into the magnificent man that he is well on his way to becoming. Oh, the lessons he will teach us (and those know-nothings in the education system) along the way. Enjoy the journey, bumps and all! 🙂

  12. linda says:

    I completely understand your situation. I went through something similar with my son who is now 14 and doing really well. Be grateful the school system isn’t involved (I am grateful for that very thing myself). Your son is adorable and gifted and with your support, everything will work out well.That is all he will need.

  13. Buffy says:

    Like the commentor above I wondered if you would be better off home schooling him. I can't help wondering what children get out of state school these days – certainly not consideration for others or maturity. And most schools do not seem to be able to cope with the idea that all children are different and have different needs and ways of learning.

  14. ari says:

    yay I am so glad for you and the adorable finley :}

  15. Susana says:

    Good for him. Good for you! What do those people know anyway! You spend the most time with him, and obviously you know he’s an intelligent and creative soul. I was told my second son was too small compared to “other children”. Other children being not of Hispanic origin. My parents are Mexican for goodness sakes! My mom is like 5 ft. tall at the most! We are not exactly a tall people! 🙂
    Congrats to Finley. You’re just going to have to learn to stick to the establishment 🙂

  16. Susana says:

    Stick it TO the establishment I meant! 😉

  17. debbie says:

    Mother knows best, I say. At least LOVING mothers like you! Trust your instincts. My youngest daughter, now 26 and in grad school, didn’t learn to read until she was 8 or 9. I can’t even remember now, and what did it matter? I homeschooled both of my girls so they wouldn’t have to fit into the public school mold. For us that worked well. I didn’t have the energy to fight the system, or rather, I chose to spend the energy living and learning with my daughters!

  18. Amanda says:

    Alison, your son is absolutely adorable! I put in a vote for the Mary Sheedy book, it helped me tons with my two kids. With a happy boy like that, it’s obvious to me that you are doing a wonderful job!

  19. Jade says:

    Sounds like Finley is smart ! Nothing complicated about that. He,like many of us ,doesn’t fit into the cookie-cutter world- my kids never have -neither do I and from all I’ve read- neither do you ! So, here’s to all of us- “Anti-muffins” as Madeleine L’Engle refered to us !

  20. Rachael says:

    What a delicious looking boy he is, he’s lucky he has a strong Mama to go out and bat for him:) Rachael

  21. Karla/Grace says:

    Mother’s wisdom wins again.

  22. Polly says:

    He is then without doubt like his mom. You’d be good at homeschool, you know. Blessings.. Polly

  23. Kelly (in Ohio) says:

    May I say, as a mom of many years and of 4 sons, ALWAYS, ALWAYS trust your mommy instincts!
    Alison, Your Fin makes me wish I could still have babies… maybe it is a good thing I can’t! Hubby would think your Fin is adorable, but his hormones are not as easily affected as mine!!!!
    Also throwing in that we homeschool.
    Thanks for your wonderful pages, pictures and ideas. You are one joyful and creative lady!

  24. Kimberly says:

    My oldest couldn’t ride a bike till she was 8. She’s 10 now and rides like the wind. He’ll get it in his own time. 🙂

  25. Barbara says:

    Yeah for you and Finley. Have a glorious day today…followed by a glorious life!!!!

  26. Jayne says:

    Oh I’m so pleased for you that his assessment has confirmed what you always knew to be true. I’m still frustrated, however, that they put you through this in the first place.
    Finley looks like a lovely child and how lucky he is to have a Mummy like you.

  27. Sarah says:

    Quelle surprise! It seems to me that our system just needs to learn to cope with all of the children it “provides” for. It sounds to me like Finley’s brain works faster than the woman trying teach him.

  28. patchie says:

    Finley is so cute.

  29. Revee says:

    Hi Alison, I’m also a lurker but wanted to encourage you to keep up the good work – you are a great mom! It’s very obvious that Finley is a happy and very bright child. Don’t let the public system “labels” deter you or your son – they are just that – “labels” – and mean nothing more than some uninformed person’s perception of particular circumstances.

  30. Mandi says:

    HERE HERE……Whenever there is someone out there who does not fit the norm then they say there is something wrong….they are wrong and Finn is as you say…I could never fit the system and so was always in trouble for things I never did…..just cos I was noisy, creative and downright obstinate (cos no one would ever listen to my opinon when a child) it had to be my fault…Wrong it was them cos they didn't understand not all kids are the same…good for you Finn…be yourself for ever and ever and with your mum at your side you can never go wrong x

  31. becky says:

    us moms always know our children better. homeschooling is a great option and he can learn when he is ready, not when the system says he should be. GOD created each child differently,and HE entrusted this one to you !!!.

  32. Sasha says:

    You knew it, we all knew it! Fin is simply unique, just like you, me and every child! I am glad for you that your Mother's instincts were proved right and you are now 'officially' reassured. And just remember school is only PART of life – Fin has you staunchly encouraging him to be himself, and loving family and friends to re-enforce this too when he's home. I personally feel that home schooling can have disadvantages too, especially with an only child (socialising with peers, loneliness etc) but each situation must be judged on it's own merits. And remember, Fin doesn't legally HAVE to start full time school until the term in which he turns 5 and no sooner, if you don't feel he is ready….. and there are other schools…..

  33. Colleen says:

    I know you said Finn is "above all else…" but I think above all else he is a BEAUTIFUL little boy – you can just SEE the joy he feels. You are a lucky Mommy! Take care, hug him tight and document all the sweet,smart,wonderful things he says and does. You'll both enjoy reading them years from now – I can guarentee that! As a Grammie to 5 – time is precious and the memory is short – unless it is written for all time. Love your blog and read it almost daily.

  34. Tracey says:

    Ugh, they do that over there too? When did we decide that every child who doesn't fit into their Stepford mold needs a label and a pill? It's so frustrating and beyond unfair to those children who really DO need some extra help.
    And by the way, that boy is hella gorgeous. He might even give mine a run for their money. 😉

  35. JenR says:

    Hear, hear! I'm glad you are taking that approach. Has anyone told the school it is 2008 and a couple splitting up does NOT equate to "social issues"?? The mind boggles. Well, mine is another household with "social issues" and my daughter is a beautiful, independent, well-balanced, thoughtful, creative, mature 17 year old, relatively unscathed by us separating when she was 2 1/2. In fact, I think she's better off! All the best (and PS, he IS a gorgeous little boy!!)

  36. Karen says:

    What a doll! You're a lucky woman.

  37. Rebecca says:

    Not at all surprised. First year teacher? Eesh!

  38. Anita says:

    We all knew it… He is exceptional like his mother… :)Wonderful news…
    You are right when you say you have a fight on your hands… I fought the schools for several years before deciding to homeschool… Just nver give in! Good luck!

  39. jaybird says:

    As a mom of three little wonderful, rowdy, energetic boys, it's nice to hear other mothers understand the need to nurture their unique needs.
    And yeah, homeschooling rocks.

  40. amanda says:

    Another lurker here in Florida coming out to say hello! Schooling is a hot topic in our house these days too. My 3.5 Year old boy is high energy. In fact, I removed him from preschool here because, similar to other posters, he is on the move all the time. There is no such thing as ‘walking’ in our house. School was an environment where he was being told “Walk, Sit Still, In your seat” etc. all morning long. And I knew that wasn’t good for his spirit, soul, or body! Now I am thinking of homeschooling when the time comes. I say Trust mama insticts!

  41. Thea says:

    You should consider looking into the Waldorf School system that Rudolph Stein starting in the 1920's…my neice and nephew have blossomed in that form of education….from what you say about your Finley, I think it would suit him quite well…let me know if you end up educating him there! 🙂

  42. Monika says:

    Perhaps Summerhill could be what you're looking for.
    Good luck! ☼

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