The School Feedback Meeting

As Aaron graduated from one grade to the next, getting ready for the school feedback meeting was always stressful.

I would prepare in advance. Id arrive at the meeting with my laptop and take down every word, so that I could unravel the feedback and make sure I didnt doubt what had been said later. My behaviour would always make the teacher nervous but I didn’t care. All that mattered was Aaron and the end goal.

Martin on the other hand, couldnt care less. He’d tell me that Aaron was doing just fine and he wasnt bothered by feedback driven by teachers agendas that was no true reflection of his ability, where he’d come from or where he was going. Martin was confident in Aaron’s ability.

As time elapsed and Aaron caught up his delays, we were subjected to less feedback that could cause any parent to require resuscitation.It was extremely difficult for him to loose his shadow. The shadow of autism. The label teachers wanted to define him. The “out of the box” child they’d say. Just because he had some areas to polish didnt mean he displayed enough criteria for an autism diagnosis.

I had to fight the system to get him where he is today. Looking back, we put up a tremendous fight. In time, I came to realise that his teachers had very  narrow experience. They hadnt experienced inclusive education and they certainly hadnt experienced recovery. In the end, it resolved when Aaron proved himself and there was nothing left for them to attack or criticise.

Everytime we left “that” school meeting, Martin was mostly worried about whether he’d said the right thing so as not to upset me. Towards the end of Aaron’s journey, I’d prepare my responses prior to the meeting to find that no response was needed.

I can’t say its been a pleasant experience. In general, I feel that our South African education system falls short of true inclusive education. The support to integrate and provide the learning environment necessary to achieve recovery is lacking. What is needed is simply a change in mindset. I have written about this before but inclusive education is a legal right.

I now get to represent other parents at school meetings. The more parents demand a school system that supports the learner with a difference the more chance we have of a shift away from the old school of thought. The time has come for change! It is up to us to ensure that change and to secure inclusive education as a right for all learners in our country.

The most amazing part of being a part of the Catch Up Kids team is the variety of children I am lucky enough to work with and seeing their progress. The progress I am talking about isn’t just the academic progress we see, although there is no doubt that is our main goal and endlessly rewarding, but the growth we see in them personally. Many of the children we work with are reluctant when they start out with us and are considered incapable or difficult to work with in the school environment. They are not excelling or reaching their full potential and we work on more than just academics to make sure they can achieve that.

One of the most common things we see is that children have no confidence, or have difficulty managing their disappointments, and as a result they are scared to make effort. This is often what causes the mindset that a child is difficult or not capable, and the worst part is that children will believe this of themselves too. Our emphasis on building confidence as well as emotional coping skills produces kids who are confident to try their best and are able to manage when things don’t quite go to plan as well. This leads to children who are performing their best while improving through our academic support as well.

I believe working with our Catch Up Kids is a real privilege as the kid depends on you to help them fill in those gaps that most mainstream schools struggle to do so in a class setting. The one on one time opportune the kids with the necessary skills development that also hone in on specific needs required by that child. I enjoy my session thoroughly with our kids as they are able to bring a learning element to our sessions that are imaginative and thought provoking. I enjoy listening to and utilising their interests in our learning. This allows for a fun learning environment which peaks the child’s eagerness to learn more and master out their shortcomings in no time. Been able to know that we are making a difference to that child’s school environment is also a big moment for me.

I’m currently working with a kid who absolutely loves his sessions! It’s such an awesome feeling when a kid who has had a long day at school is still so excited to see you at the end of their day. He gets so happy when he has achieved something he has been working on for a while. We were working on rectifying his number reversals and when he was able to write his numbers the right way, he shouted “I’m such a smarty pants!” He was so chuffed with his performance! I’m so proud of him! Those are the little moments that make my day really special 🙂


I have been in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis for almost a year and a half now; I cannot believe that I spent a year of that time not working with Catch Up Kids. It’s always a highlight to see one of my Catch Up Kids on my schedule. I have learnt so much in my time with them from how to make lessons more fun to how to practice patience (my daily mantra!). Watching each child grow and improve in not just their centre work but their school work too leaves you feeling more proud than you ever imagined you could feel.

A young boy that I began working with earlier this year has worked so hard. Watching him grow physically and within himself is amazing to see. When he started, he was just a (super sweet) shy seven-year-old boy who didn’t even want to ask for help during lessons. He is now a super sweet, confident eight-year-old boy who insists on harder words and sums because the ones that I give him are “easy peasy, lemon squeezey”. The growth that I have seen in not just him but so many kids who attend Catch Up Kids make each day worth it. They make the late afternoon hours spent planning fun activities to the mid-winter water balloon fights so, so worth it.


I have been working with catch up kids for about two years. I really enjoy working with these kids and it can be incredibly rewarding. I have learnt so much from this experience, especially patience, but most of all how to adapt the way I teach to the way kids think.

In my experience, if a child is struggling to understand a concept, it doesn’t mean that they are silly or dumb, it just means that I need to be more creative. There are many ways to teach something, and for me it is so rewarding when, after trying a few different things, I find a way that works and it changes the game for the child I’m working with.

I have seen children who struggle with reading find new confidence in themselves and their reading improves hugely, some who learn to skip count with a song and some whose maths marks have increased at school. Catch up kids has been a game changer and I highly recommend it!


Working at Catch Up Kids has been one of the most eye-opening experiences ever. We take it for granted that reading, writing, spelling and other academic skills come naturally with age or exposure at school. However, to some it does not. To some it is difficult. I have had the pleasure to work with children who are in different grades, and it feels like I have gone back in time, remembering some cool tricks to pass on to my children to help them out and also remembering the things that were also difficult for me and being able to almost get a “second chance” at an academic or concept that was difficult for me. When a child is not succeeding at school it can result in a very low self-esteem. One of the most rewarding things for me on a daily basis is watching a child improve at an academic concept and therefore improve their self esteem.

One of my favourite success stories is a child who came to Catch Up Kids with difficulties in academics. Due to this, his self esteem had been broken and he was presenting with extreme rudeness at school and at home. We worked on his academics and his tests improved over time. With this, he became less frustrated and his self-esteem and attitude towards others improved. He is now polite, kind, and always looking forward to the next academic challenge. To be part of a transformation like that is a rewarding and pleasing feeling; it boosts us everyday at Catch Up Kids to try to get everyone to that point.


At Catch Up Kids, we help many children who are seemingly struggling to meet grade-level requirements and maintain focus at school. We primarily focus on the specified problem at hand and target that problem until a satisfactory solution is obtained. Our Catch Up Kids are really amazing individuals and such a joy to work with. The one thing that brings me so much personal joy is seeing our Catch Up Kids grow emotionally and not just at an academic level. One particularly adorable little boy was very shy when he had initially started services with us; he didn’t interact much with the other peers as his confidence levels were low. As weeks went by his confidence grew – he is now such a smart, confident, happy and witty little boy who proudly struts his stuff to the world. His confidence has grown so much that he will call me and ask me look at his new cool tricks or cool moves he has learned. He has become expressive. It is such a rewarding feeling to contribute to and witness first-hand the impact Catch Up Kids has on our future generation. The little boy I’m referring to has not only exceeded academic expectations, but has also grown into such a wonderful child with a smile and a sense of contagious confidence and affection. It is so exciting to work with these children as they ignite purpose, joy, accomplishment and happiness in my life. I will always have a smile on my face if our kids are happy. I look forward to working with these kids more and more as they inspire me to become a better person and to work harder. Even when I am not sure just how much they realise how thoroughly I enjoy their cool superhero stories, silly dance moves and hilarious jokes; what I know for sure is how thankful I am to them for allowing me the opportunity to form such strong relationships and bonds and continue my passion in working with truly inspiring little humans. Catch Up Kids bears meaning to many lives.


We help children catch up, exactly as the name says. Many of our kids at Catch Up Kids have ADHD or learning difficulties and our job is to help them catch up on their school work, social skills, and any other skills they are below age-level with.

Catch Up sessions are so much fun because they involve teaching the child at his/her level in so many different fun ways. It’s about entering their worlds and understanding how they make sense of their word sums or comprehensions, and then finding a way to teach them that they will understand and learn best. No two kids are the same, and that is the exciting part!

My favourite part must be when that boy who you have been working super hard with to build up his confidence and growth of mindset, walks in and tells you that he wrote a test today and he didn’t feel scared and he feels like he remembered everything he learned, and then when his results come back, he passed!

One of the children I work with is such an amazing boy who used to struggle with making friends, but since he has been with us he has made two very good friends. He is also participating in class more often and putting up his hand more without being afraid anymore of getting it wrong. It’s that moment when his teacher tells you that he is so eager to give his input that he is always the first one to put up his hand that makes it worth all the effort.

The feedback we get from schools when they can start seeing the changes in areas we are working on is super-rewarding.

Sometimes we take small things for granted, but it was Catch Up Kids that made me realize it’s all the small little steps that add up to the bigger picture.


Working at Catch Up Kids has been an amazing experience. I have worked with many incredible children who have taught me so much, and have shown me that if they are given a bit of extra time, effort and patience, they can achieve so much!

There is one particular experience I had which stood out to me. The child was not able to sustain attention to a task for more than a few seconds, and would read and write at a very slow pace. After just two months of three sessions per week, the child could sustain attention fully to a task until it was completed, even with distractions present. She could also read and write fluently and at an age-appropriate speed, and we even moved on to having her write very descriptive stories of her own.

I have had many fantastic experiences with these shining stars, and I love watching each of them grow, and seeing how far they have come. It amazes me to see how hard the children try to do things that they thought were impossible, and seeing the look of pride on their faces when they achieve something new is absolutely priceless. The determination and perseverance I see every day from these children gives me so much inspiration. This is not just a job to me… it is a passion!

We have such special jobs at Catch Up Kids. There are a lot of kids who come to us struggling with their self-esteem and the emotions that come with it. It is so nice to see how their self-esteem can improve as they walk their paths with us at Catchup Kids.

When the kids are shown that there are ways to cope, to solve problems in other ways, to store important information, and to have fun with work, they brighten up and their self-esteem improves.
These kids try so hard every day and it makes me so happy when they achieve something that they never thought they would be able to and when they bring tests back with proud faces, knowing that they did better and that THEY CAN!