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Can you please help me? (it's gonna come out wrong, but not supposed to)

(50 Posts)
Hoopsadazy Thu 28-Feb-13 19:41:17

So, there's a kid in DS's nursery class.

He clearly has some sort of special needs - he doesn't really talk and I can tell from his physical movement that 'something is up'. There is also another child who waves his hands around a lot uncontrollably but is otherwise communicative and plays 'normally'.

DS prompted conversation today about the first child and was curious as to why he doesn't play with the other kids but did spend time playing with the second today and seems to like him.

Anyway, please help me talk to my child in the right way about all this sort of thing as I have no experience and not sure what to say.

Since DS has started this train of thought, am pretty sure he'll continue it until he gets satisfactory answers. Not sure what the questions will be yet though.

Sorry this is rambling, but I was caught unawares and suddenly realised that I was unequipped for it.

Hope I haven't offended anyone.

zzzzz Thu 28-Feb-13 19:46:34

Why doesn't XXX play with the rest of us?

I don't know, why don't you ask him to join in?

He only wants to play with YYY.

Well you could play with YYY too.

thesecretmusicteacher Thu 28-Feb-13 19:53:28

the expression I found useful, from both sides of the fence is "s/he's still learning about xxx". Still learning about talking, still learning about playing, etc.

It keeps the doors open - xxx might want to play with your child one day.

And it means you can give analogies - your child may still be learning about playing football, for instance.

I think it's the phrase that gives a child the best chance of identifying with another child.

Anway, it has worked for us in a variety of situations, from DS2 being asked about by other children to now, DS2 himself asking about other children smile

zzzzz Thu 28-Feb-13 20:08:30

I think that works (s/he is still learning about xxxx) if the individual you are talking about is delayed, if you don't know that for certain I wouldn't assume it.

Hoopsadazy Thu 28-Feb-13 20:26:48

I think one is delayed and the other might be more permanent.

I like that suggestion - thanks.

Would it help to talk to the parent to ask - it's unlikely as there is not a fixed pick up time for all parents so it's ad hoc to meet them. If I bump into his mum though, do i broach it or not? I would be happy (and am when it happens) for people to ask about DS's skin problems and explain, but this is a different level.

zzzzz Thu 28-Feb-13 20:36:31

But you can still talk to a child who can't talk well, or play with a child who finds that harder???! You don't need to know the other children dx, they may not have one. All you need to do is encourage your child to include and accept people who are different than him.

bialystockandbloom Thu 28-Feb-13 20:46:14

Is your idea to get your ds to play with one or both of these children, or just that you want to know what to say to him if he asks about them?

If the former, you could say to the nursery staff that your ds is keen to join in with x and y, could they help facilitate this? Or suggest to your ds that he asks x or y to join in.

If the latter, and you just want to know what to say to your child, I would just say that children x and y might find it a bit hard to play with other children so need a bit of help. Like when 'you' [your ds] finds it hard to do [something he finds hard] and needs a bit of help. And it would be really kind of him [your ds] if he helped them to play.

Not sure I understand what or why you'd want to ask the other parents?

Btw ,y ds (who is nearly 6yo, has asd and is in mainstream school) has many friends. Afaik none of the children themselves have asked anything about why he might behave 'differently' - children just seem to accept things at face value.

starsthatshine Thu 28-Feb-13 20:51:48

My dc has delays in every area,plus some social & sensory issues. The 'still learning about that' would work well in our situation. I love it when other children ask 'why isn't x walking' 'why doesn't x talk' because it gives me the chance to say something along the lines of 'x can't do that yet,he's still practicing' or 'x can't talk yet, but he's still listening. You can tell he's happy-he's smiling'.

I would probably expand the conversation into how we are all different (books like giraffes can't dance are good),and encourage the questions. I think its important for your dc to feel able to ask.

I don't think I'd ask the parent directly,I wouldn't want someone to ask me. Once I've got chatting to another parent I do tend to mention things in conversation,I'm quite open. Everyone feels differently.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 20:58:17

Don't ask the parent..a mum at DD's nursery asked me what "the matter" was with DD and I found that quite offensive.

Just teach him to play with everyone ..the other thing I find people do is teach their kids to pity my DD as being less fortunate than them and less able to do what they can and the kids would brag to me about how they still talked to DD even though she was like a baby.

Or they said 'she can't read and I can".

Which was awful.

I sound intolerant but it was really unpleasant for me.

Just relax and don't try too hard I would say.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 20:59:25

I'd be wary about telling him X is still learning to do stuff because IME children parrot this stuff.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 21:00:19

I may be bitter..DD's time in mainstream nursery was hellish for me.

Firstly, thank you for asking. You sound like a lovely parent who wants to educate your son to be informed and understanding of others.

I agree with the line that we are all different, and we all learn things at different speeds. For example, I learnt maths really easily, but it took me a long time to learn how to drive, and I still can't bake very well.

DS2 is nearly eleven. He is really good at some things, but still learning how to write legibly, tie shoelaces, work as part of a group etc.

Hoopsadazy Thu 28-Feb-13 21:03:44

He is happy to play with one but the other definitely not so much. At the moment he is just asking questions as he is obviously noticing there is a difference in the 'definitely's' behaviour. He seems curious and I am just preparing myself for more tricky questions.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 21:04:05

I think it's hardat nursery age as I would say pretty much all of the parents of the kids with SN are feeling raw and hurting that their children can't do what the others can.

zzzzz Thu 28-Feb-13 21:07:45

What questions are you expecting?

Hoopsadazy Thu 28-Feb-13 21:23:10

I meant to say that the one he doesn't play with doesn't play with the other kids, not DS choosing not to play with him (altho that may be the case too as I am not there to see).

Not sure what questions, but realised that felt out of my depth with him telling me about the one child today not playing and sort of dreading where the conversation might go. I didn't change the subject, he just carried on looking thoughtful - which is why am expecting more questions once he's thought of them.

Fanjo - Can I ask why you'd be offended? I can only half-imagine what it must be like. I get upset with DS's skin and feel hard done by with some issues it causes us. When I am tears in the middle of another sleepless night I am grateful that on the scale of things we are so lucky and I feel upset knowing there are mums out there dealing with much worse. I cannot imagine how many parents cope as I am clearly a wuss at it.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 21:24:21

It was the wording..I don't think anything is the 'matter' with DD..I love her

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 21:24:52

Sorry if I am making your situation harder..just sharing my experience smile

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 28-Feb-13 21:25:12

You do sound lovely to care.

When you realise that your child is different in a way that is going to stay with them for the rest of their life, there is an adjustment process to go through. It's emotionally exhausting, and each time their peers reach another set of milestones, the poignancy hits you anew.

starsthatshine Thu 28-Feb-13 21:37:33

Threebee you just summed it up for me. And Hoops,I would have said I could never have coped. But you do,because you have to. It's hard,esp when their peers are doing what you thought your child would be. Or their parents can do the things you want to with your child. Or you are emotionally drained by umpteen appts/battling to get your child more help.

So that's why its nice when other parents bother to help their children understand 'differences'. Thank you for asking the question smile

Hoopsadazy Thu 28-Feb-13 21:59:39

I know you do cope cos you have to, but it must take everything you've got cos normal parenting pretty much does. Sometimes I would love to just get DS up and dress him without a battle most mornings. Even at our level I get annoyed by other parents being able to ignore their kids in the night 'cos it's just attention' etc.

Sorry, I didn't mean to moan about my lot!

I guess, I am thinking that the saying is so true that if you all threw your troubles up in the air you'd be sure to grab your own again. If a Mum asks you what's up with your child, I guess don't assume that all is well in their world either. Also, we all know how bloody hard normal parenting is for all of us, so you'd get nothing but sympathy and understanding. I don't think there's a mum out there that can watch a TV show where a child is ill or dies without being affected. We have all been in situations (even when child just has a bad cold or rash) when we panic and worry about different scenarios. We will never know exactly but we definitely have the capacity to be understanding.

I have to go to bed now as am shattered but if questions do arise, I will report back or ask for the answers!!

Big hugs to you all.

Hope your DS has a peaceful night, OP.

Journey Fri 01-Mar-13 15:07:51

To be blunt op I think you sound nosey. I find it hard to believe that you don't know what to say to your ds who is only at nursery age. He hardly needs an in-depth explanation. I think you really want to know what is "different" about the children.

I tell my dcs that we are all different (whether we have a sn or not). If they talk to me about a dc with sn I focus on that child's personality in the main (do you like him?/ is he nice to you?/ do you play with him? etc as I might ask about any other child) and then I may add in a sentence that explains why that child may not be able to do something etc. The important thing in my opinion is that the child is personalised. They are not the sn. They are James/Sally/Michael etc.

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 17:22:45

Hoosadazy, I think you are overthinking smile

The blunt answer is that in many cases even the parents may not know why their child is as they are. I don't. My DD is 7 and goes to Special School. I still don't have the answers, may never have them, so why should you?

You need to teach your DS the best ways to behave and respect children with differences, regardless of cause.

Would it actually make a difference to how your DS treats his peers if he knows the cause?

Would you expect him to behave differently if child 'definitely' was actually just really grumpy?

Tell him the truth - you don't know why, but it would be lovely if he tried to play with him.

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