I have always suspected that my daughter, Charis, has her feet firmly on the Autistic Spectrum - not least because she is incapable of touching her own nose with her eyes closed. It has not gone unnoticed by others but she has never had a formal diagnosis. She is extremely bright and learns to deal with the things that she finds challenging.
Charis excels academically and has high expectations placed on her across the syllabus. She is hard working and methodical and finds most subjects easy. There is an exception. English Literature.
There are some aspects of English Literature that can be tackled with her usual approach. She regularly scores 10/10 on the exam question that asks you to analyse a passage from the study text. However, her overall score is seriously compromised by the scores she achieves on the other questions, in particular when asked to comment on unseen poetry.
Poetry is a mystery to Charis. When asked about the mood of the poem and how it makes you feel - she is completely lost. It doesn't make her feel anything. It is simply a string of words put together in a less than logical configuration.
Charis has her English Literature GCSE tomorrow.
As usual she is putting everything she has into doing well but her inability to 'get it' was starting to drive her to distraction.
I have done my best to help her - including speed reading "Of Mice and Men" so we could have detailed discussions about the characters and themes of the book. We looked at past papers and I tried to give her clues to help her decipher poetic code. I have every confidence that she will do well but it doesn't hurt to remind her of the safety net of resits.
My final offering to help with exam stress was to make her a DON'T PANIC cake. Staying calm is the most powerful strategy at her disposal.
Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry. When I selected the embossing letters to imprint my message on the top of the cake, I picked up the G instead of the C (they looked virtually identical to me). My message read DON'T PANIG.
It was possibly the best mistake I've ever made. It made Charis laugh and relax. I hope in some small way that will help her deal with the task she has ahead.