Nursery want to refer DS to an educational psychologist?(31 Posts)
DS2 is 4. He has been at nursery (school not creche) since September. At first he was delighted, lots of little friends and he settled well. Since January though he seems less happy. When the teacher criticises him he will put his head down and be quiet for a few minutes. He also finds it necessary to go off and seek 'quiet time' away from the other kids with books.
He's a bright kid, his skills except for reading are on a par or better than his brother who is 2 years older but he seems a bit behind emotionally. Heck though, he's 4. He was never in with large groups of kids until he started nursery (before that he was at home or with a childminder). I understand perfectly why he would need quiet time. The nursery teacher however has suggested he be observed by an educational psychologist. I agreed (largely because I am tired of the teacher telling me she basically thinks my kid is weird) she won't tell me what she believes is the issue or what they are looking for.
I'm a bit baffled really and feel he's been picked on because he is a bit different.
Anyone else been through something similar? Is looking for peace in a class of 26 3-4 year olds really that weird?
Yes, Ed Psych came into nursery, undertook discreet observations on several occassions over the course of a few weeks.
In summary, they identified that the problem lay with the Nursery and not our child; school did not like this and said the professional had got it wrong and wanted a second opinion.
Long story short we moved our daughter to another school where she is not considered weird, is progressing leaps and bounds emotionally and educationally and most importantly she is happy.
With thegift of hindsight, I would ask school in advance what they are hoping the outcome of the observation/s will be.
Doesn't sound at all weird to me. It sounds as though you understand him very well. He sounds like lots of children to me so I'm not immediately understanding what the issue might be (I was like it myself as a very young child - I have learned to manage lots of people over the years but it's not my natural environment).
No harm I suppose in seeing the ed psych. They may have some interesting observations.
DS is in the same class - he's only 3.5 so the baby of the year. He probably wouldn't have the emotional maturity to go and seek out a quiet place but I can imagine one or two of the children in the class would.
I don't think wanting quiet time and looking for peace are grounds for an Ed Psych. You generally have to push for their involvement IME.
Has the teacher mentioned anything else?
I meant to add that I have been through something similar. When my dd started nursery I was advised that she was behaving in a way that gave staff cause for concern. They didn't give me any clues as to what they thought was wrong. However, I already suspected deep down that things weren't quite right with dd.
Do you have any concerns of you own?
Thanks folks, this is very helpful! Nice to know I'm not alone.
We have also had incidents where when he has gone off for 'quiet time' the teacher had picked him up and he has been limp. This she says shows no concern for his personal safety so rings alarm bells for her. We pick him up though, he has never been dropped, so I don't see why he would perceive being picked up as being a threat per se? He does I think use his quiet time as a way to get out of doing things he doesn't want to. When he began to do this at the start of the year the teacher encouraged him into the 'story room' a quiet room filled with books. He began to spend more and more time there and she started to bring him snacks. Eventually after her ringing me once a day for 3 days we met and agreed a strategy. To me though it looked lime he was manipulating the teacher, especially when she started to bring him snacks etc in the room. When we rewarded him with a star chart the long visits to the story room stopped suddenly. Now he seems to have gone back to this occasional quiet moments, largely I think because he has not been well.
Thornrose, to be honest I had more concerns about my older son who again after initial worries with the same teacher (who had us bring him to the gp because he was clumsy... he was fine). Comparing the two DS2 seems far less worrying, though this love of peace and a cuddle has always been there. DS1 is very full on and never stops talking.
Thanks DrJohnsonscat, that's v kind of you. I don't want to make excuses for him, but I can see where he is coming from.
Why is the teacher picking him up?
I agree that your ds could be using the quiet room to avoid things he doesn't like or finds difficult.
I would want to hear much more cause for concern than this. I think you need to push the teacher for more examples of behaviour that she is worried about.
Oh ok, after reading your last post I think the teacher has unrealistic expectations of children. Is she experienced? I'd take what she says with a pinch of salt but let the Ed Psych have a look just so you can get this teacher off your back!
Teacher has 20 something years of experience & seemed capable. She picks him up because he ignores her. Ed psych it is! I will report back with what they say. And have a Very Large glass of wine.
for you too Thornrose, hope your DD is ok.
My dd is 13 now thanks for the keep us posted!
I have never heard of a teacher picking up a child because he's ignoring her. How odd.
Perhaps this teacher is relying a bit too much on what she learned 20+ years ago rather than what is relevant in a nursery environment now.
I work at a nursery school, albeit in an admin role but have been very involved with policy writing over the years. I can think if very few instances where a member or staff would physically pick up a child and move them to another area, short of them being like to endanger themselves or another child which is clearly not what is happening in your son's case.
Is there anyone else you can talk to about your DS - a manager? Also I'd ask to look at his learning journal to date to see what notes they have made on his behaviour/development to back up their concerns.
FWIW when my DD was in Reception, her teacher flagged her up as having emotional issues around relating to other children. She is an only child, was cared for by immediate family until the age of three when she went to a very small nursery just two mornings a week and was simply not used to the number of kids and rough and tumble of a class of 30. As a result, she went into Year 1 with a listing on the school's special needs register. Within a term of being in Yr 1, she was removed from the list - her teacher told us she had absolutely no idea what the Reception teacher was on about.
Unfortunately you do get the odd teacher with their own weird axe to grind and I wonder if your son's teacher is one of them tbh.
Sounds like my ds age 4. When he first went up to preschool at 3.0 (had been at nursery for 2 years) he really liked doing his own thing, having quiet time, and avoiding doing things he didn't like very quietly.
Staff admitted they had never met a child like him before (some with 10 years experience), but listened to me when I said I'd at least been one just like him, and followed their training to provide activities to tempt him to interact, and taught him useful phrases to use to stand up for himself (now used mostly on me and teacher!)
Soon he was clearly having great fun and learning loads, though he will still go off for quiet time by himself regularly and staff have concluded he is a lovely intelligent quirky child when he isn't being a stubborn git. Which sounds like my primary school reports except for the teachers who thought I was a weird smartarse (also true...)
Half my friends have autism or Asperger syndrome so I wouldn't be surprised if I do and ds does too, but unless he has problems with school no point in pursuing. An ed psych might be useful in explaining how a child is reacting to things this teacher clearly hasn't thought about.
I don't think the teacher is doing anything wrong if she is concerned about your child. She may not want to venture an opinion other than that because she isn't a qualified Ed Psych. One of my children was in a class with a child who was clearly responding in a different way to the other children. The nursery suggested an Ed Psych, the parents wouldn't have it. 6 years down the line, child finally was referred and is having help with behaviour. If the Ed Psych says everything's ok, then that's great, if not, better to catch these things early. Sometimes teachers just have a "feeling" that something is a little amiss, they may not be right, but surely we should be pleased that they show concern.
It sounds as if the teacher has concerns about your DS and wants a professional third party opinion rather than trying to work through things on her own.
This doesn't necessarily mean that there is the slightest thing wrong with your DS or with the teacher. There may just be a mismatch between them. I would go along with the suggestion of an Ed Psych and remain open minded.
I agree with tigerella and bonsoir"s posts.
EPs are an expensive commodity for a school. In ours the classes fight over time allocations and nursery children are the last to get a look in.
Educationalists cannot dx a child, but they may have a strong feeling that they can't put their finger on.
The EP will either find absolutely nothing to worry about, or suggest ways in which the school can be of most support to your DS (creating his own personalised quiet space etc)
Whichever scenario, what have you got to lose? I would rather have a school that cared enough to ask than a school that ignored a child.
Nocitrus, it sounds like your DS's school did an excellent job! I think this a similar situation. I think this just seems to be the first time they have met a child like DS2. Talking with my mother she tells me both my brother and I were identified as 'different' but there was nothing wrong, just different.
I've accepted the offer of the educational psychologist. I do recognise this is an expensive commodity but I think it will make life easier for all involved in the end. Thanks everyone for your advice! I will report back when we hear more.
I agree "it seems as if the teacher has concerns about your DS and wants a professional third party opinion rather than trying to work through things on her own."
How many children does this one teacher have to manage? Are the other children more boisterous or aggressive? This can be a turn off for the more reserved children. Unfortunately some teachers don't want to put the effort or time in - or have the experience and knowledge - to help children in these circumstances - it's easy to handball to the parent "the child has a problem go see a specialist".
If you go the Ed Psyche route - trust your own judgement as the parent when you get the report. From my experience they WILL find something - anything - to justify their existence (aka expense). The teacher will then JUMP all over that finding, playing on a parent's angst. Make sure you ask the Ed Psyche to give YOU the report and make it clear that it is up to you to disperse it as appropriate. Don't forget the age of the child - do not write a child off at 4 years of age!!! Children develop at different speeds.
If you go the Ed Psyche route - trust your own judgement as the parent when you get the report. From my experience they WILL find something - anything - to justify their existence (aka expense)
I have not found this to be true at all.
The Ed Psych cannot act on just their findngs- the nurser will have to present lots of paperwork detailing their interventions and how these have not worked.
In my LEA, you simply cannot refer straight to the Ed Psych, you have to have had targeted interventions, an Individual Education Plan and input and support from the Inclusion Teacher or Area SENCO, as they used to be known as.
Unless, it is very, very obvious that the child is autistic or has other really obvious needs.
OP, has the nursery doen IEPs for him? Any sorts of observations or interventions?
I do agree with auntevil though, you have nothing to lose by agreeing.
When will the EdPsych come?
I am struggling to get an EdPsych to assess DS, so I would bite the hand off that offered if I were you.
I doubt the Ed Psych will get round to seeing him before the end of the year and then he will be in school in September.
My comments relate to engaging an Ed Psyche in a private consultation not school/government funded.
Well the upshot of it all is that DS2 is very bright and a bit shy.
The techniques being used by the teacher were aggravating the situation. The Ed Psych has given several suggestions to the teacher and has advised her to stop some of the things she is doing that she employed to help DS2 but were actually hindering him and making him feel singled out and punished. We have also been given some advice on how to work with DS2 (give him reasonable notice of change, ensure kisses and hugs are done before we go into school so that when he walks through the doors he can't drag it out).
It is felt generally that he will do better in 'proper' school next year where everything is more structured. She did make enquiries as to whether we felt he had ASD tendencies or if those characteristics ran in the family but I haven't noticed anything of this kind with him.
We are waiting for the full report.
DS2 is now much happier at school and no longer fights in the morning. Whatever they said to the teacher must have worked!
Dingbatsfur I'm so pleased this is now being sorted out! What a relief for you & speaking as the mother of a very clever but shy son, he'll find his way through the education system.
By the way I should make it clear the Ed Psych came through the school board and not privately. Turnaround was probably 6 weeks including the Easter break.
Thanks Mutteroo for your comments! Hope your son is doing well!
Sounds like seeing the Ed Psych was a useful thing to do then.
Great news! Now the school will focus on what needs to be done to help him.
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