School have called me in to talk about DS, 4yo :(

(106 Posts)
wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 16:46:21

Am a regular but have name-changed for this. I'm sitting here in tears and shaky, I don't know what to do.

DS is in Reception and is one of the youngest, a last days of August baby (which may, or may not, be relevant). Since he started in September, he is always in trouble and this was also the case when he was in a (private) nursery for mornings for the previous six months. We are talking general not listening, fidgeting, being silly etc. as well as some spitting and the odd bout of hitting and kicking, although my understanding is that there is less of this now. I realise that none of these things are acceptable and I can understand how irritating it must be for the teachers.

He has always been pretty feisty but we have always had boundaries and taught him right from wrong. I'm sure everyone thinks 'it's the parents' fault' but we really have always tried to be consistent. Both DP and I are pretty meek and mild, we don't fight, we never hit each other or the DCs or condone such behaviour in any way. We have seen DS's behaviour improve immensely at home as he has got older and tbh we don't have many problems with him, above and beyond the usual 4 year old stuff. If I take him on playdates or to parties, he behaves well. He can be so lovely, is a nice older brother and is doing well learning-wise at school. But something about school environments seems to drive him a bit bonkers.

At the first parent's evening before Christmas, his teacher told me he was naughty but 'I don't think he's on some spectrum, if that's what you're thinking'. We agreed to a sticker chart which I did for a couple of months but tbh it didn't really feel like it was helping him stop what is essentially impulsive behaviour and also for it to work relied on the teacher reporting back to me every day which didn't always happen or I didn't really know enough about why it was 'not a good day' in order to explain to DS why he wasn't getting a sticker. So it fizzled out.

Yesterday was the first day back after half-term. He was in trouble yesterday for throwing people's things. Today was worse (some spitting and DS said they put him in the nursery) and his teacher has asked me to go in on Thursday to 'talk about how we can support him in school'. I don't know what to think, I don't know what to do. I feel like such a crap parent for this to be happening but I just don't know what else to do when I don't really have major problems with him elsewhere. He does go through phases of being particularly bonkers (including the last couple of weeks) after long periods of relative calm; we have looked at food, sleep etc. but there seems to be no obvious cause.

Sorry for the essay and the ranting. I just wondered if anyone had any words of wisdom. I just know I'm going to go in on Thursday and blub, although I really don't want to sad. I want to work with the teachers and I also don't want my DS to be 'crying and bored' in the nursery every day sad.

jenbird Tue 26-Feb-13 17:13:39

Oh you poor thing. I really feel for you. I got called in today for my 7yo ds. It was nothing serious and like you say down to impulsive behaviour rather than premeditated naughtiness but it is still upsetting.
I would be asking questions of the school. If your ds is well behaved at home then why is it that this environment provokes something in him? Is he being stimulated enough? If they expect consistent behaviour from him then they need to deal with it consistently and communication between you and them also needs to be consistent.
Hopefully you going in on thursday will be a positive thing so that you can discuss strategies to make ds and the learning environment for the whole class better.

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 17:20:53

It's highly unlikely to be your parenting. It really won't be that.

So the question is, what is it?

The question saying she doesn't think he's on the spectrum rings huge alarm bells for me.

I think you'd be wise to read up on symptoms of ASD, ADHD and dyspraxia and see if you think it's something like that.

Out of all the things it might be (school, home or mild SEN - mild SEN is statistically the most likely.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 26-Feb-13 17:34:00

I would be a bit cross about them putting him into the nursery class.

It is not his, or your, fault that his birthday is so late in the year, and IMO school should have a plan to deal with children who are perhaps too young socially and emotionally to cope well with Reception.
If the school didn't have an attached nursery then that option wouldn't be open to them, and they would have to find a way to deal with it.

I would put the ball in their court. What are they going to do to help him settle and feel comfortable?

lougle Tue 26-Feb-13 17:35:24

This is a huge shock for you, I'm sure.

The alarm bell for me (as a Mum to a child with SN) is that you are seeing markedly different behaviour at home than at school. So, that means one of three things:

a) You and school have different views on 'acceptable' and you are actually seeing the same behaviour at home and school, but through a different lens.

b) Your DS is not coping at school because he's a young for year child who isn't ready to be in a classroom all day

c) Your DS has SN.

If you are confident that you have realistic expectations of behaviour for his age, then you can rule out a.

Then, the question is whether his behaviour at school is arising from b or c.

What did the nursery do to help your DS before transition to school?

Iggly Tue 26-Feb-13 17:35:49

What do you mean by impulsive behaviour? That sounds like you think he can't control it?

Is he getting enough sleep?

pixi2 Tue 26-Feb-13 17:40:23

No answer but I am watching this as I expect the same from my DS next year. He too is a late August baby.

AlfalfaMum Tue 26-Feb-13 17:42:55

I agree with Mandarin, you need to rule out the possibility of Aspergers, ASD, ADHD or dyspraxia. A teacher is not really qualified to say. As a parent of a child on the spectrum, it's often the first thing I think of (although I'm obviously not qualified either blush. every child is an individual).

He may be particularly sensitive to noise/lights/smells in the classroom?

Smudging Tue 26-Feb-13 17:45:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 17:51:33

Thank you for your answers. The easy ones first - he sleeps from about 7.30ish until 6.30ish so seems to get enough sleep. By impulsive behaviour I mean throwing people's hats about or pushing a tower over. The nursery were rubbish - at first they put DS in the lower pre-school 'because he's 3'; he was the oldest and twice the size of most children. His behaviour improved markedly when he was moved into the high pre-school class, where there was a teacher and more structure.

Obviously I have wondered about SENs. I'm no expert - I have looked at ASD, ADHD and dyspraxia. He really doesn't fit into the 'profiles' for ASD or dyspraxia at all. And ADHD - yes, to some extent, sometimes, but then it's difficult to know where the line between being an energetic 4 year old boy is and ADHD begins. As I say, I'm no expert.

I am a bit cross he was put in the nursery and also that they don't seem to have done some of the things that were talked about at parent's evening (teacher talked about a little 'social skills' group for some of the children in the class, for instance). But equally, I understand they are in a difficult position and have 29 other children to consider so don't want to play the blame game.

I am just scared. I don't want the 'naughty' label to follow him through school and life. I don't know the implications of having SENs (I don't mean to offend anyone by saying that, just that all this is new to me).

wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 17:53:16

X-posts - yes. He does eat well but interesting what you say about TV as he does tend to watch it in the mornings.

Musomathsci Tue 26-Feb-13 17:57:55

Just a thought, but outbreaks of bad behaviour can sometimes coincide with growth spurts.. might contribute to the long periods of being ok and then having a few weeks of being difficult again.

Perhaps he is bored in school?

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 18:04:53

He's only 4 bless his cottons.

I really feel for you as ds2 was a nightmare when he started school. Cranial osteopathy helped enormously for him but I know not everyone believes it does?

Is there any chance you could take him out of school for now? What does he say when you ask him about school?

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 18:06:19

I'm just wondering. You say he likes tv. What about putting a tumble tots dvd on before school. Or something similar. DSS used to love them when that age. It'd burn off some energy too and they're fun.

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 18:07:32

The implications of SEN is that there is a reason for his impulsive behaviour etc.

My own belief is that if he does have ADHD its better to be labelled ADHD than to be labelled naughty.

Don't expect school to know whether or not he has ADHD. If you think he might have it then you should ask your GP to refer you to a child development paedetrician.

Make a list of yours, and schools, concerns to take to your GP and paed appointment.

That really is the only way you'll find out if he does or doesn't have ADHD

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 18:07:54

Here's one that looks good.

wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 18:08:41

Are some children affected more by growth spurts then? We have racked our brains trying to find a trigger for when he has a bad pacth.

Interesting you say that CuriousMama as DP's osteopath is dying to get her hands on him!

He loves school. Couldn't wait to get back after half-term, has lots of little friends, is learning to read well, writes little love notes to his teachers smile Then has a bonkers phase again sad

What questions would you be asking on Thursday?

How would you say he is in terms of reading and number work?
It's interesting you say that he was happier in the older nursery group. I wonder if there is less structure again in reception.

wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 18:10:27

Mandarin - would a SENCO not know/suspect?

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 18:10:37

Sounds like he's going to be bright then?

Well the CO worked amazingly for ds2. So much so that teachers asked what had happened grin He did have blips but nothing like the boys he was. His communication wasn't very good tbh.

Your ds sounds adorable.

CuriousMama Tue 26-Feb-13 18:10:56

boys?? boy he was blush

wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 18:11:50

Reading work - good, teacher said he was keeping up with or exceeding older children in the class. Numbers - so-so, I would say, he is counting but not much more.

Ah, cross post. I would be asking whether an independent observer could go into the classroom and watch him for a bit. It could be something as simple as that particular school or teacher doesn't suit him.

wheelsfelloff Tue 26-Feb-13 18:12:56

CuriousMama, thank you, he is smile

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 18:15:21

The SENCO may or may not know. All schools have to have a SENCO but by and large they're just a regular teacher who has that role as well as other roles.

And if they do know / suspect they may or may not tell you. Either because they're not qualified to diagnose. Or because it's a very hard conversation to have.

I think you should ask them directly so that it makes them easier to tell you.

There are even SENCOs who believe that labels are bad and don't help and so wouldn't tell you.

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