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Upset over concerns raised by school

(41 Posts)
Shantishanti Tue 18-Feb-14 14:39:14

Dd is in reception. Happy, learning well, loves school. No issues with her behaviour, she's very motivated and we'll behaved.
However she does struggle with the social side of things. It has taken her a while to make friends, but I feel that she's made a lot of progress with this since last term. She does have a few friends now, and plays imaginative and cooperative games with them when she sees them outside school. I think she does play and do activities on her own quite a bit at school though.
She isn't at all bothered by routines, Doesn't have tantrums, points at things, uses facial and verbal expression appropriately etc. She does have a few topics she is interested in, but not obsessively, and dislikes very loud hand dryers but fine with other loud noises. Eats and sleeps well.
She is very bright and has advanced language skills. Her teacher has said that her language goes over the heads of many of the other children and she wants to play games about things the other kids don't understand yet.
I acknowledge that she needs some support to help to build relationships with the children who will have most in common with her, but her teacher is trying to push me to take her to the gp. She has also said things like dd avoids eye contact, which I absolutely disagree with - I've been taking careful note since she mentioned it and I can see see no evidence of it at all. Obviously she's thinking ASD.

I feel angry and upset that dd could be put into a box and labelled, rather than have her very minor quirks accepted as part of who she is, and support given where needed. Why do all children have to be the same? Why is any kind of difference labelled as a disorder?

I should say that dd is exactly how I was as a child - I didn't relate much to other kids - but I am a happy, sociable adult with loads of friends and a job involving a high level of tact, diplomacy and social skills. And I feel sure that dd will be fine with a bit of understanding. I just don't think a label will help.

RevoltInParadise Tue 18-Feb-14 14:44:22

She isn't being labelled. And if she does get a dx the support for those quirks will be easier to access.

troutsprout Tue 18-Feb-14 14:50:25

I'm sorry you have been upset by this... It's very traumatic
You do not have to get her assessed at all if you don't want to. Bear in mind though that labels come in all shapes and sizes official and unofficial. My boy had lots before he got the official one. I think the problem is that sometimes in order to access support, a diagnosis is needed. For some people that is the only reason a dx is sought in the first place .
She sounds lovely ... :-)

autumnsmum Tue 18-Feb-14 14:54:10

Tbh I find your post a little upsetting autism is not the worst thing in the world

Shantishanti Tue 18-Feb-14 15:03:06

Thanks for the lovely answers. Autumn - I'm not saying that autism is the worst thing in the world but that I'm angry that the system here sees any kind of difference as a disorder, and that a child has to have a diagnosis to get support with anything.
I'm sure diagnosis is absolutely the right thing and very helpful for lots of people but not sure it is for dd. I wish that we could be more accepting of diversity in personality in the same way that we are learning to be with race, sexuality etc.

autumnsmum Tue 18-Feb-14 15:22:28

Ok one thing I will say is if and I mean if your dd needs support in the future it's easier to get with a diagnosis than not sad but that's how it is

notapartypooper Tue 18-Feb-14 15:29:15

I can't understand why people refer to a dx as a label.

My ds is a lot of things...

He is a twin
He is very tall for his age
He is mixed race
He has ASD

I could go on, but none of the above are labels, they are who he is. I don't have to divulge his ASD to anyone and neither will he when he is an adult.

My sole aim in life is to secure an independent future for him and I will do whatever it take to achieve this. This is the reason I sought a dx for ds.

notapartypooper Tue 18-Feb-14 15:42:19

BTW you don't need to act upon what the school has said.

You can just say that you prefer to monitor the situation. Time will tell if those differences you note are a hindrance to her progress.

troutsprout Tue 18-Feb-14 16:21:04

People refer to it as a label because they know how narrow minded people can be and they don't want their child to be on the receiving end of that narrow mindedness. I get that fear tbh.

Shantishanti Tue 18-Feb-14 16:30:20

Yes troutsprout, that's one of my concerns - I genuinely don't know whether her quirks would add up to an official dx, but I do think she's making progress and learning and happy. I worry that if she did get a dx that would create barriers for her socially. I know we wouldn't have to tell anyone but these things have a habit of getting out. I've read about people not inviting kids to play who have a dx...I just want her to be accepted for who she is.
Notapartypooper - that's good advice on what to say to school. Thank you.

A label should purely be seen as a signpost to getting more help, its not necessarily something to be feared. Labelling her does not make her or you a social pariah; it actually brings with it more understanding as to why this is happening. Negative label connotations are often applied to children who have additional needs when those needs are not being met.

Were your school days hard and if so what could have been done to make them easier for you?. The same could be applied to your DD. Would you really call some of her behaviours minor quirks?. She may well be tolerated now by her peers but she is having real difficulties already with social interaction; her language is well advanced and they do not get what she says. As they become older as well that social gap widens. She could well go onto become isolated socially from her peers and they will not want to play with her as a result. Other social interaction like playdates and parties out of school may tail right off.

Would you be prepared to take your DD to the GP in future to get her assessed?. What if this person is right. You are her parent granted and you do know her best but you do not want to let that fact cloud your judgment when it comes to her behaviours at school. It is fortunate for you in some ways that school have actually said something, many teachers and school staff would not have a clue when it comes to recognising a child with possible additional needs requiring more support. Do not blame yourself either for potentially missing something here, many people do (did that myself long enough re DS) and you simply cannot blame yourself.

Re your comment:-
"I'm sure diagnosis is absolutely the right thing and very helpful for lots of people but not sure it is for dd. I wish that we could be more accepting of diversity in personality in the same way that we are learning to be with race, sexuality etc".

Why not re your first sentence, a potential diagnosis should not be feared and that can bring with it more support. No diagnosis means a lot of doors are shut with the family also suffering. With regards to your second sentence, its a nice ideal yes but I personally think we still have an awful long way to go.

MostWicked Tue 18-Feb-14 16:46:13

I worry that if she did get a dx that would create barriers for her socially

I think that says more about your opinions about kids with ASD, than anything else.

No-one is putting her in a box and labelling her. Her teacher has raised concerns. It's up to you if you act on it. TBH, if you go to your GP and say, 'the school have concerns but I don't agree with them', they are unlikely to refer anyway. Doctors don't diagnose based on a few concerns, it's a very long and thorough investigation unless the behaviours are very obvious.

I would talk it through with the SENCO. If they have concerns, they can call in the Ed Psych. I suspect that all the teacher want to do, is make sure she is meeting your child's needs the best she can, and mentioning any concerns she does have.

OneInEight Tue 18-Feb-14 16:55:09

My children were not invited to play many years before they had a diagnosis because their social skills did not match those of their peers. I wish someone had pointed out to me at 5 that there were problems (and there obviously were in retrospect) before they dramatically failed in year 4. Perhaps, and we will never know now, a label at 5 might just have led to some support that would have avoided or at least reduced the scale of that failure. A diagnosis says nothing about academic ability by the way my boys are well above average academically.

Teawaster Tue 18-Feb-14 16:55:43

Your dc is not going to get a diagnosis of ASD on the basis of a teachers observations only. The school have merely pointed out some quirks and you can choose to act on this or not. There are many people who have had to fight tooth and nail in order for their concerns about their DC's to be recognised so I see nothing worrying about being on the system. If it turns out everything is ok then there is nothing lost. However if there turns out to be an issue then early intervention is great

"I've read about people not inviting kids to play who have a dx...I just want her to be accepted for who she is".

I have seen that happen with children with additional needs who have remained undiagnosed for whatever reasons. Anyone who is noticeably "different" to their peer group in terms of social interaction has problems regardless of age.

I was lucky with my son's infants class; many parents were nice to me and by turn DS. I wanted answers after a period of upset and why us. His peers parents saw us being proactive in seeking additional help from school and wanting to know what we could do for DS to make his school life that bit easier for all concerned. Most people accepted this, some did not but I thought sod them. We as his parents were and remain his best and only advocates; a role I still continue even though we are coming towards the end (OMG!) of his school career.

zzzzz Tue 18-Feb-14 16:57:05

If she doesn't have a diagnosable condition she wouldn't get a dx.
You are behaving like a dx of ASD is akin to leprosy or something. She would be the same quirky little girl she is now. Perhaps the children you are so scared she might be like, ARE JUST THE SAME.

I think you have a huge amount of thinking to do. Because if she does have a developmental disorder she will need you to understand what that means. It's no different than having diabetes, or asthma. Both those conditions are what you call "labels".

If you want to change things perhaps you need to make sure you are including children who have a dx. It might not be so scary then.

FWIW my ds doesn't have a dx. He is eight with language so disordered it is at 3 year old level a best. You would find him very very different from the more average 8 year old. We are still trying to get a dx.

The fight is to get conditions recognised and identified and then to get appropriate support, whatever the "daily mail"-esque vision is of masses of perfectly typical children being misdiagnosed because of dx happy Drs.

bochead Tue 18-Feb-14 17:04:07

If a teacher tells you to go get a child checked out, then it makes sense to do so. They have the observation skills and access to a wide enough range of peer group comparisons to notice when something is "not quite right". What they cannot do for you is make a diagnosis of any kind. So many things are quite treatable, even curable if caught in time, yet can cause lifelong issues if left to fester.

I don't want to offend you, but I think at this stage that you are jumping the gun somewhat and panicking unduly.

I had a friend at my son's last school who didn't want her daughter to wear the glasses she needed for fear of her standing out. Drove me nuts when she then complained her daughter wasn't making the expected academic progress! I don't always make proper eye contact, not because of ASD, but because my astigmatism is so severe that by the time I got specs at 7, I'd passed that developmental milestone. Glue ear can cause language issues, yet is treatable.

autumnsmum Tue 18-Feb-14 17:06:18

Zzzz fantastic post

tacal Tue 18-Feb-14 17:17:00

my ds has a dx of HFA. The diagnosis has been a really positive thing. I feel a little bit offended by your post. I didn't want a label for my ds, I wanted him assessed and diagnosed. He has a diagnosis of autism because he has autism and it helps the teachers at school and at the clubs he goes to know how best to communicate with him. If you don't agree with the teacher then say so. It is up to you how you want to proceed. You know what is best for your child. A diagnosis was best for mine.

troutsprout Tue 18-Feb-14 17:26:06

Can I just say one thing? My son spent years with the wrong labels....'quirky' 'weird' ' lazy' 'eccentric' ' in a dream world'
He was almost never invited to parties. That narrow mindedness rears it's ugly head dx or not
He got his 'official label' when he was 9. It was the best thing I have ever done for him. Lol... He is still the same boy ! ( he's 16 now)
Zzzz is right... You have a lot of thinking to do Shanti
Because most of us are party to that narrow- mindedness before we have children on the receiving end of it. It's easy to be all right-on when you've taken the leap ;-)
Good luck !

Ineedmorepatience Tue 18-Feb-14 17:34:07

My Dd3 got her first 2 labels at preschool,they were naughty and stubborn!!

If her preschool leaders had seen autism in her instead of those things she may have been diagnosed before she was 9!!

I think you are lucky to have such observant switched on staff in your Dd's school.

lougle Tue 18-Feb-14 18:04:11

Shantishanti that must have been quite a shock for you.

My questions to you, would be these:

-Why your DD, out of all the children that started in September, if there is nothing to justify it?
-Why would they come to you and cause themselves hassle?
-Why would they spend the time to raise concern with you?

My DD2 is in Year 2 and I am spending inordinate amounts of time trying to get the school to see her struggles.

Take this opportunity with both hands and run with it. If there is nothing, a paediatrician will have you out of their office before you can blink. If there is something, you're having the best start in helping your DD to build on her strength and smooth out the weaknesses.

My DD2 is highly anxious and her self-esteem is so very low, mostly, I believe, because she isn't having her needs met.

mymatemax Tue 18-Feb-14 18:30:12

In thevsamevway that i would support a parent pushing for a referal i would say if you dont believe it is right then politely tell the school that you would prefer to take the watch & wait approach. So long as your dd is happy & progressing at school. Not having a dx or referal should not stop the school providing help in any area that she may need it. Individualised lesarning is what they should b providing for all children.

ouryve Tue 18-Feb-14 18:42:37

OP, there are people on this board who have spent years trying to get teachers and other professionals to listen to them and recognise that their own child has various difficulties that are overlooked because their behaviour is usually not outlandish, so they fly under the radar.

So it's great that your DD's teacher has noticed that she stands out in certain ways. There's various possibilities. Yes she may have Asperger's. That's not the end of the world, but would be good to know, as children with AS often find the demands of school and social situations harder to deal with, as they grow up, their peers grow up and those demands become exponentially greater.

Extremely bright and gifted children often have asynchronous development, too, so may be socially immature in a way that seems completely at odds with their way of speaking and thinking.

It's also perfectly possible that she might simply be a bit shy and happen to have a good vocabulary, but the teacher is being overly concerned.

No one is going to "force" any diagnosis on her. She might find herself labelled snooty, aloof or dorky as she grows up, though. (Speaking from bitter personal experience, here.)

zzzzz Tue 18-Feb-14 19:07:39

shanti something that might help is that you can refuse dx. You can have all the assessments, listen to what they think and still say no to the dx.

What about having all the assessments and then deciding?

I feel I was too layed back about dx. I thought it wouldn't make much difference as we weren't in the state system for education and SALT seemed affordable.

I underestimated the cost of therapy, the extent of ds's problems and the impact of multiple illnesses in the family, war, death, depression (economic!) etc.
I see dx as insurance. I wish he had it and am pursuing it now.

My earlier post was too strident. We all know how you feel. People do not queue up to post here and ALL of us know how difficult it is to voice those worries. This is a good place to explore your feelings and learn what could happen next.

Different is NOT less.

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