Children that are "young" for their age? Nursery staff advice please?

(50 Posts)
Bunraku Tue 23-Apr-13 11:21:53

After my last thread I went to visit the new nursery with my just turned 2yo son yesterday and although it was lovely, the children there are all way ahead of my son. They were able to answer questions in full sentences.

One little girl was playfully asked how she had snuck her dummy in and she hid it behind her back and gave the teacher a cheeky smile and said "I haven't got one!" made me giggle but the point is she seemed to understand so much.

My son doesn't speak bar a few words, juice, jelly, ball, daddy, hello and goodbye. He is unable to understand any questions I ask him, cries if you try to hold his hand or show him how to do something and is unable to even answer yes/no.

I had a quick chat with the teacher said that non-talkers are not a problem and that he would be fine but I can foresee it being a massive one as he wouldn't be able to do anything with the other children, even simple things such as going for a walk because he wouldn't hold hands and chances are slim that he would even follow them.

After seeing all these other children it is glaringly obvious that my bad parenting means my little boy is very, very behind and now I am worried that the staff or other children might come to dislike working with him because he can't do the activities. I feel strongly that he is still better suited to the "baby" room which is ages 1-2 rather than the toddler room which is 2-3.5

Do I let him go and trust in the staff,or do I ask for him to be in the baby room for a while? I'd be really grateful if anyone could share any experience

Supersesame Tue 23-Apr-13 11:24:48

No, I wouldn't put him into the baby room. It would be too unsettling to move him to the next room again after that.
My 2.5 DS isn't a great talker yet either, but he is learning most of his words at nursery. I do believe that being in the company of similarly aged children helps the quiet ones to open up.

MummyJetsetter Tue 23-Apr-13 11:43:19

I think nursery will bring him on quicker than anything and yes put him in toddlers. Kids learn a lot by copying so best he copies from children his own age! Good luck and hope you see some quick progress, all the words will be in his brain it's just taking a while for him to let them out. x

Ps I highly doubt you're a bad parent! x

Goldmandra Tue 23-Apr-13 11:59:58

Your parenting would have to be seriously neglectful or abusive to cause the sort of developmental delays you are talking about.

Children develop at their own pace unless they are physically or emotionally prevented from doing so and I doubt very much that someone who did that would be on here asking for advice.

Why are you sending him to nursery? Is there something you think he needs that he's not getting from you or is this so you can work?

Have you spoken to your Health Visitor about his development? Perhaps that would be a good start if not?

You don't need to worry about staff not meeting his needs or finding him frustrating. In Early Years settings staff are trained to look at a child's current development and target their activities to build on it. Him being at a different level should never be a problem. If you feel this is likely because of something they have said look at some other settings and find one that makes you feel more confident or keep him at home for a little longer if that's possible.

DeWe Tue 23-Apr-13 12:27:53

I think he'd be better in the older group because he will see what the others do and adjust (perhaps gradually) accordingly. If he's in with the 1-2yo then he may adjust his behaiour down.

Also if he's the big one, it's very easy for the "big one" to get the reputaiton for being a bit rough. They run across the room and knock one flying because they're bigger.

My dc were early talkers, and were friends with late talkers. I don't think it made any difference in how they were treated at preschool etc. Also the late talkers had (mostly) completely caught up by 4yo, and you could find your ds being held back again because he's moving up with a group.

Have you got him down for speech therepy? Even if you're not concerned it can be worth asking for him to go on the list because there's a huge (~12months) waiting list round here. If he doesn't need it by then, you can take him off, but if he still isn't saying much then getting him checked sooner rather than later can be good. Ask HV or GP.

Bunraku Tue 23-Apr-13 13:18:23

My hv is as useless as my gp they just laugh people's problems off, either that or they are laughing at me because I don't know what I'm doing.

The reason I'm sending him to nursery is because he needs some social interaction with children, he's lonely because I dont know any mums and I feel uncomfortable at toddler groups ect. He is only going for 3 half days per week, his face lights up when he sees children, I'm just concerned that because he seems to be so behind physically ( he's smaller than alot of 1 year olds!) and developmentally with his understanding and speech, he will feel confused or lost or people will find him tiresome.

I'd like to say though: While at the nursery I was pleased with the facility and the staff seemed great, the kids were most definitely happy, it's just my own imagination on overdrive. I think I will have another chat with the manager and see if she can give a bit of reassurance

Goldmandra Tue 23-Apr-13 14:04:22

Bunraku I am sorry to hear that your HV is so useless. You have a right to discuss any concerns you have with someone who will take you seriously and either reassure you or arrange for further assessments. Do you have a local children's centre where you could access some more effective support?

I completely understand what you're saying about him enjoying the company of other LOs but I doubt very much that he is lonely. At his age he is going to get as much, if not more, from interaction with an adult as he will from his peers. You are his greatest resource and the person who can help him explore the world and learn about the things that interest him. Never underestimate yourself. He will learn masses just from joining in everyday activities and hearing you talking about them.

No child should ever be allowed to feel confused, lost or that they are tiresome. Any setting that allowed this to happen would be a very poor environment for children. That doesn't sound like the nursery you are describing. It is their job, first and foremost, to make him feel happy and secure.

I think that going to talk things through with the manager is a very good idea. Be honest about your concerns, both about how he will feel and about his development if you have any. She should be able to offer you reassurance about how they are adapt the routines and the curriculum to suit individual children and that there will be lots of opportunities for cuddles and quiet one to one time if he needs it.

She will also be able to observe your DS in the setting and refer him for Speech and Language assessment or any other that she feels is appropriate so it doesn't all have to be down to you to organise.

You sound like you are quite isolated and, while this is fine if it is through choice, it can feel very lonely. Would you like more opportunities to link up with other parents?

DeWe Tue 23-Apr-13 14:29:47

The nursery should be able to refer him for speech therepy too.

colditz Tue 23-Apr-13 14:33:56

Woah woah woah.....

Why do you think this is all to do with bad parenting?

In my honest opinion. The sorts of parents who neglect their children to the point of developmental delay do NOT bother to post about their concerns on the Internet.

How do you feel you could have caused this?

Secondly, a girl of 3.5 might as well be a different species to a boy of 2. I don't know many boys who spoke in sentences at just turned two, I know one, and he has aspergers. Lots of the girls I know did, though.

Prozacbear Tue 23-Apr-13 14:44:30

There is a boy at my DS' nursery who sounds a little like your son - at 2.4 he has less words than the others, and is also physically a lot smaller. His parents, by the way, are two of the loveliest people you could meet and certainly not 'bad parents' in any way, and he is a happy, gorgeous little boy. My point is that this little boy loves nursery, has friends there and according to his mum has started picking things up more and more.

Any nursery worth their salt will understand that different children come with different needs - and they should know how to help each child along in different ways. Have a chat with them about your concerns, and see if they might allow your DS to go in for a taster session - I know DS' nursery allow that in special cases.

Bunraku Tue 23-Apr-13 16:04:07

The reason I say bad parent is because when it hit me how behind he is I couldn't find anything realistic to blame but myself so it must be something I haven't given or done for him. Im 24 and He's my only child and if you happened to read my previous thread you'll know my mum passed away before my son was born and so I didn't really have anyone to learn from so I've just been doing what I thought was right by him but I must have missed something very very important because he seems so very far behind any of the milestones set out by various places. Whenever people talk to him and say hello and ask him something like what his name is or a yes/no question he can't answer and then they ask me again how old he is in a sort of " why doesn't he answer?" Sort of way.

I have no idea how old the other kids in the toddler group are, it never occurred to me that they might be a fair bit older but in the same group there is a tiny little lad who speaks coherent polish and English. I think I should probably stop comparing all the kiddies to my own but it's difficult.

My husband can't be to blame because he toils such relentlessly long hours in the week that when he has time at home on the weekends he just wants to play and roll about on the floor. He also notices that our little one is significantly less 'able' than his workmates' children.

I really want him to go to the nursery and have fun and hope that he picks some stuff up, I'm worried people will think that I haven't bothered with him when in truth I've done my best by him and we are always reading, talking, cooking, planting things, talking to animals ect.

Goldmandra Tue 23-Apr-13 17:06:54

we are always reading, talking, cooking, planting things, talking to animals ect.

You are doing a great job. If your son is developing more slowly than normal YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME.

If we all say it will you believe us?

colditz Tue 23-Apr-13 17:17:39

Look, you haven't caused this. I think you should insist on a referral to a paediatrician though, and they will either set your mind at rest or set the wheels in motion for a proper assessment.

But I promise you, absolutely promise you, that you haven't caused it.

Crocky Tue 23-Apr-13 17:24:32

You have not caused this!
My boy was a slow talker because of ear problems that caused temporary hearing loss This certainly did not stop him having a great old time at nursery and none of the other kids ever gave him any grief because of it.

You say that he won't hold hands but you will be really surprised by what children will do for others that they absolutely refuse to do for their parents.

juneau Tue 23-Apr-13 17:38:51

You're not to blame OP. It sounds like you're doing everything right and you're obviously a loving and caring mother, so please stop worrying that you're somehow to blame for your DS's lack of words.

If it's any consolation, I also have a DS, almost two, who is delayed in his speech. We're now getting some help, but he just started nursery and is in a class with 2-2.5 year olds, all of whom have more speech and fluency than him. I too found it a bit upsetting to be faced with how delayed he is, but he loves nursery and it doesn't seem to affect how he relates to the other DC. They talk and he joins in without talking very much, but he's not at all excluded and I think, in the long run, that it will really help him.

If you're worried about your DS's development, why not ask the staff at the nursery what they think? You can always get a second opinion from another doctor too or request a referral for a hearing test. Many DC suffer from glue ear, which impedes their hearing and delays language acquisition (this is the issue with my DS). If this is the case, grommets can help, as can speech therapy.

CrushedWithIce Tue 23-Apr-13 17:55:45

To echo, you are not to blame...now, I have 3 children:
Ds1 spoke quickly and I did all the things you say you do with your DS.
Ds2 was really slow at speaking and was 3 before he spoke in sentences anyone could understand.
Ds3 was left to bring himself up wink and spoke in full sentences from 18 months

Some things are just the way children are...it all evens out so please don't worry!

As an aside, I work at a nursery with 2 children who are non verbal with SLT Involved etc. they love nursery and the other children play fine with them (children aren't interested in listening to each other anyway! )

Bunraku Tue 23-Apr-13 18:10:27

Thanks all you are very kind. I'm going to go for it and send him along and see what comes up in his progress book. I had a proper look through the prospectus and it says that each child gets a key worker so perhaps he or she will pick up on anything untoward as there are only 6 children in any given session. I was worried he might be overlooked with lots of children there but there are only six so I guess it won't hurt to see how he gets on. Thankyou all again smile

PoppyWearer Tue 23-Apr-13 18:17:34

Nurseries are excellent at this sort of stuff.

My DC1 was in a group at nursery with a boy who couldn't talk at all due to various special needs that were not his mother's fault, his brother was fine (I hope you have that message loud and clear by now, OP!).

To ensure he wasn't isolated, the key worker taught him and the children in his group some basic sign language. They all got on great.

I hope he thrives at nursery (I bet he'll love it) and that you get the referral you need to get more help and understand what's going on with his development. Good luck, you sound like a fab mum!

My dc4 sounds like your little boy. It is nothing you have done he will just come on in leaps and bounds at a different stage. It sounds like he is keen to socialise so whether you go down the nursery route or the dreaded toddlers route by the time he is at pre school he will be fine. At two I did request a speech therapy referral, mainly to get a hearing referral just to be sure I wasn't being neglectful and too laid back. Hearing test was clear and the speech therapist is lovely, the speech therapy route maybe a more specialist way of getting some honest feedback about your los development .

Lousmart Tue 23-Apr-13 18:30:57

Couldn't read without replying. I found out very quickly into this motherhood thing one very important rule, and that rule is 'never ever compare!'

Honest, it won't get you anywhere except frustrated!

You are not a bad parent! And then repeat by 20!!!

My dd didn't speak when all her peers did, I had the same worries, I got the same looks. I can fully empathise.

Now. At. 6. She. Won't. Shut . Up!!!

In fact today, a neighbour commented on her vocabulary as being advanced.

Please, don't compare and don't call yourself a bad parent, you're not. Your little boy will love nursery and love mixing and learning (& teaching!) from his classmates.

Roll forward 4 years, you will wonder what you were worried about. I promise grin

insancerre Tue 23-Apr-13 18:43:36

As an experienced nursery worker I love having children like yours Op. I love seeing them learn and develop and go from strength to strength. I love the challenge of finding the key to unlocking that learning and development with a non-verbal child. It means I have to work harder and use my skills and knowledge learnt over the years.
It means I have to really get to know parents and children, find out what makes the child 'tick', their interests, their learning styles and I have to work out strategies and work out how I am going to help him learn and develop.
Please don't blame yourself- children are all different and learn and develop at their own rates.
There are planty of children like your DC. In my setting out of 43, 4 are late talkers and one is just as you describe your ittle boy, even down to the size issue too.
Also, children are very different in a nursery setting than at home. The number of times parents have said to me in amazement "He doesn't do that at home" You will be surprised at what they will do for other people or maybe us nursery nurses just have ways of making them do things grin. Don't forget, communication is not just verbal, and children uderstand way more than they can actually say.

insancerre Tue 23-Apr-13 18:46:54

Also, if you are worried about his speech, ask the nursery to refer him for SALT, if you do not feel confident speaking to your HV or GP.

MummyJetsetter Tue 23-Apr-13 19:03:39

You can't hold a child back any more than you can push them on so honestly it can't be anything you've done he's just taking his time. Anyway it sounds as though he's a very happy little boy and you sound like a brilliant attentive mum. He'll love nursery I bet! The hand holding thing just sounds like Normal 2 year old behaviour and an attempt to control things a bit. He'll do a lot more things in the next year or 2 to try to gain control too! Hope you can accept that you're doing nothing wrong and just enjoy your family wholeheartedly! x

madhousequeen Tue 23-Apr-13 20:33:54

OP, haven't read the other replies. how old is your DS?

not talking is one thing but not understanding is another issue all together and I would really get the ball rolling on this.

do you know that you can self refer to SALT (speech and language therapy)? just find the number for your local SALT department and give them a call and self refer. you don't need the HV or GP to refer.

do you have any other concerns (i.e. other than speech/language) about your DS?

Bunraku Tue 23-Apr-13 20:45:13

He was 2 in march. He understands a couple of very basic things such as no and nappy change but he does not understand if I ask him for instance what a toy or object is, if he would like a drink/snack, where something is ect, if he is hot/cold/hurting, if he has finished with something.

Apart from his speech/ understanding he is happy in himself, eats all his food, drinks plenty and is rarely poorly. The only other thing I would say is that he does seem very sensitive or easily frustrated which is probably down to him not being able to express himself

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