Consultation at Simao's paediatric hospital
Freda's been unwell again. It's been about three months now of good days and bad days, increasing to good days and bad weeks, with various symptoms that come and go. We're in a process of exploration, to try to find out what the root cause is. Following a recent lab test we know it's unlikely to be some kind of nasty bacteria in her gut. The symptoms seem to be too severe to be a result of tiredness alone although that's clearly now a factor. We've narrowed it down to either a virus (Lesley's dad was recently diagnosed with something after presenting with exactly the same symptoms) or some kind of digestive problem (though that would be unusual at her age) or, perhaps the most worrying or upsetting of all, school-induced stress. It could of course be a combination of all three. Thus, we're trying to tackle it from all angles. For months Lesley has been increasing her communication with the school to try to influence the way they deal with certain things - like their over zealous desire to put grades on everything the kids do, from bouncing a basketball to writing maths formulas. Since Freda and Edie entered the education system here Lesley has been tirelessly monitoring, evaluation and supporting or challenging everthing what goes on. Bare in mind that she spends her days facing students and teachers who have suffered a great deal in the said system, a fate she doesn't want to fall upon Freda and Edie. So far we have been pleased and the kids have thrived. Edie is still thriving and seems to thoroughly enjoying Grade 1. She has the advantage of being fluent in Chinese, which Freda wasn't when she started. Now it's time to take stock, again.

This has been a hard term, this week being the crux. Lesley has been negotiating her way through the school hierarchies to build relationships and find a way to communicate these needs in a non-threatening and constructive way. In a school system that virtually never invites communication with/from parents, this is a bit step to take. Nevertheless, the school have been very supportive so far. So much so they have agreed to have a meeting tomorrow afternoon with us, the Director of Studies, Freda's form teacher and her Maths teacher. Let's hope they want Freda to carry on attending the school as much as we want her to have a positive environment in which to learn. With that shared goal I hope we can get to the root of the matter. Of course, it might still 'just' be a virus....

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