Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

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.

Hoopsadazy Fri 01-Mar-13 20:28:59

I guess so far when he asks questions I generally know the answer, but SN is a world I know nothing about. I wouldn't say I am 'nosey' but yes, I do want to know, but that way I'd feel better equipped to talk to DS about it - if I know the child doesn't speak but is otherwise entirely able then I can tell him to play with the child, chat to him and look out for hand gestures, or something to communicate together.

I'd just like to support DS and enable him to be inclusive in his playing rather than him just being curious as to why there is a boy in the class that doesn't play with the others.

Am happy to leave it to the classroom leaders to sort it all out there but it would be nice to have the opportunity to teach my son directly that he should include everyone and explain how to.

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 20:47:44

"if I know the child doesn't speak but is otherwise entirely able then I can tell him to play with the child, chat to him and look out for hand gestures, or something to communicate together. "

Why would you need to tell him that? What do you think, for example, children who don't speak the same language do? They would play together by gesturing, putting a toy in the other child's hand, etc.

I think the fact of the matter is that you don't understand this boy's 'condition' and it makes you uncomfortable.

Why can't you just say to your DS 'I don't know, darling, but it doesn't matter why, just try to play with him like everyone else.'

Your DS doesn't need an in-depth explanation. He just needs you to set the example of treating this boy with the same respect as any other child.

DD1 was playing outside our house today. I have to keep constant watch. She is 7. The girls she was playing with don't know her diagnosis. They haven't seen her MRI fact, I'm not sure what they know.They know that she isn't safe out there without supervision.

One of them was helping DD1 on a scooter and said 'she did really well then, until she lost her concentration, then she hit the kerb.'

They didn't need me to tell them that DD1 loses concentration - they experienced it.

PoshCat Fri 01-Mar-13 20:59:37

Please don't approach these children's parents. I was one of those parents and added to my own fears and worries about my undiagnosed child, having a parent of a NT child asking what was wrong with her would have left me distraught.
I say this as someone who found out a group of mothers from our local toddler group had been speculating that my 3 year old was "backward and probably autistic"
She is 4.5 yrs old, still has her issues and still has no diagnosis.
Don't say anything to the parents.

Hoopsadazy Fri 01-Mar-13 21:15:19

lougle: DS and I have discussed a boy in his class who was having trouble with English when DS first started. They now play together a lot but he had a few questions and seemed happier when we talked about it (we have friends with children who don't speak much English so was easy to relate the situation with them).

I have the kind of child who asks questions and likes to have stuff explained to him day in, day out. He is special in his own special way with that too. So, lougle please calm down a little because I know my child best and know that if he's been thinking about it, it's because it's likely he'll want an explanation at some point. Perhaps for all children it is not normal to just get on and play together?

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 21:19:13

I have the kind of daughter who asks questions and likes to have stuff explained to her day in, day out. She's special in her own way with that too.

However, she has to learn that sometimes the questioner isn't as important as the subject.

Please don't suggest that your DS's quest for knowledge is more important than a child's right to respect and dignity hmm

Just accept that you don't have the right to know why this child is the way he is. Full stop. angry

zzzzz Fri 01-Mar-13 21:24:07

What questions are you expecting?

dontknowwhat2callmyself Fri 01-Mar-13 21:30:07

You don't know what the issue's are with the two children at your DS's nursery so when your DS ask's questions about them why can't you just say "I don't know" and leave it at that.

I would not suggest you ask the parents as it would sound rude and nosey - their son's issues should be no concern of yours. How would you feel if some random parent came up to you asking about your DS's development.

Sorry to sound blunt but you did ask

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 21:36:57

Say you did ask me and I said 'well she's got fine motor delay, gross motor delay, speech and language delay with articulation difficulties, ataxic gait, delayed social skills, no sense of danger and widespread subtle cortical dysplasia with epilepsy'

How, exactly, will that help your DS to understand why she may or may not play with him?

It doesn't tell you anything you don't already know.

It also doesn't reflect the absolutely wonderful girl that she is.

Hoopsadazy Fri 01-Mar-13 21:52:27

lougle: Well, I'd kinda expect you to say something helpful like: She struggles a bit with X and Y and it's great when other kids can just be patient with her to get her words out.....something that I can explain to DS about at least otherwise I would have to tell him 'I don't know' and then what? He ignores your child cos he is unsure how to interact with them? That seems a shame to me.

Why does my son not have a right to know what a classmates issues are? If that is how you feel, what about at school? Will you be the kind of parent that has a go at me and my child when they said something inappropriate to your child because they didn't know they were putting their foot in it?

If DS knows, then he will be a lot more understanding, have empathy and, I would hope, a lot more friendly.

I am the kind of person that is interested as I can base my actions and judgements on facts rather than the natural fear of the unknown.

Have you been watching The Last Leg? It was great to watch the other week as the two presenters asked each other about how they handle their prosthetics(?). No one knows what it's like or how things are unless we ask. Without an explanation you will find that people will just blunder on with either too little or too much regard for your/DD's feelings.

PoshCat Fri 01-Mar-13 21:54:08

How old is your son OP? 3 or 4? Am sure you can divert him from the seemingly fascinating topic of his fellow classmates with "individual needs".
You're coming across as plain nosey and inappropriate.
Do you want to experience vicariously the pain of having a SN child whilst being smug in the knowledge that your own child has "nothing wrong with them?".

Hoopsadazy Fri 01-Mar-13 21:56:26

I wish people at playgroups asked about DS's skin so I could explain rather than just move their child (they thought I didn't notice) away in case he was contagious. Those that did ask were great. Why shouldn't they know? Perhaps they could help him/me, perhaps they are just nice people who will be sympathetic? Perhaps they are just curious and if I had issues with people being curious I'd keep him indoors all the time.

Journey Fri 01-Mar-13 21:57:06

Excellent point dontknowwhat2callmyself regarding asking a parent about their dc's development. So op how would you feel if another parent asked you about your ds's development? I'm sure you would think it was a private matter and they should mind their own business.

Perhaps you should show a bit of respect to the parents at your ds' nursery and keep your nose out of things. Nursery children do not need to know the amount of information you desperately want to know about these two dcs. Making out that your ds has all these questions is just a smoke screen to you being nosey.

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 22:07:10

See, call me crazy, but I mention DD1's situation when it's appropriate and now that she's 7 it's damned obvious there is 'definitely something.'

She goes to school with 112 children who have 'definitely something'. She comes home and talks about the other children in her school. She mentions the things she's noticed about them.

When she says 'X is rude because she blows raspberries', I don't say 'goodness....eek...don't know her condition...arrrgh'. I simply say 'It's not rude for X to blow raspberries, that's her way of talking. You use words and signing, so and so might use pictures....X blows raspberries. It's only rude if you can talk and you blow raspberries to be naughty.'

When she comes home and says 'why does Z have a tube to eat?' I say 'well Z's tummy finds it easier to have the food put straight in there so it doesn't have to work too hard.'

When she says that 'A screams a lot and scratches' I say 'well A gets frustrated sometimes, that's probably telling you to give A some space...'

It doesn't have to be the most accurate and profound insight into the child's needs. Just a simple explanation that every child has things they find easy and other things they find harder.

[Message edited by MNHQ to protect anonymity]

Hoopsadazy Fri 01-Mar-13 22:10:41

I wouldn't have any issues with another parent asking about my child's development. That's normal with parents, isn't it? Everyone talks about how their kids are getting on and help each other out and most parents have concerns/struggles with their kids for one thing or another.

I am not nosey at all (have only seen the child in question twice) but I do want my child to not exclude a boy in his class cos he doesn't know how to interact with him.

I asked the question so I could help my son potentially understand another child because I am interested in my child's social development and generally want him to be an understanding member of society as he grows up.

I did say at the beginning that it might come out wrong but I am not going to post any more on here as some of you seem to be getting het up and having a go which means that some of this has been misinterpreted and I think that it is best to stop it now.

Am sorry for those of you having a bad time. Please don't assume all strangers are nosey idiots who wouldn't understand though cos that's not a good example for your children.

dontknowwhat2callmyself Fri 01-Mar-13 22:14:29

Oh I see - you want to find out what the childrens issues are so you can explain it all carefully to your three year old son who will no doubt completely take on board your detailed explanation and show total empathy, understanding and friendship to the two boys in question - confused

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 22:14:32

It hasn't been misinterpreted at all - that's the issue.

hazeyjane Fri 01-Mar-13 22:15:57

The thing is hoopsadazy, when you have a child who is nt, you don't provide a list of their foibles and quirks and things that might upset them, so it seems intrusive when you expect some sort of précis of a child's issues. You say you are the sort of person who wants to base their actions and judgements on facts, but, especially at such a young age, these things are often unknowns to the parents. My ds is 2.8, he will be starting preschool in April, we have a possible diagnosis ( a condition I am almost certain you won't have heard of!) and there are issues we are aware of and others that are emerging, it is confusing enough for us! I think you are complicating the situation, small children are often satisfied by fairly simple explanations.

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 22:20:43

I'm sorry...I'm actually not able to sit back on this.

Nobody suggests that all strangers are nosey idiots.

You have come to ask advice about a child who you have only seen twice and want to know

"Why does my son not have a right to know what a classmates issues are?"

What on earth makes you feel that your DS has a right to know what his classmates issues are??

He is three....he has no reason to know what the issues are. What makes you think that he should form social relationships based on whether 'issues' are justified or not?

I live my whole life with people 'noticing' that DD1 is 'definitely different'. I'm damned if I'm going to explain to you so that you can instruct your DS how to tolerate her.

If your DS was to play with her, accepting her as she was, then I might volunteer what her difference is.

In fact, contrary to your view, I'm incredibly open about DD1 and her differences.

coppertop Fri 01-Mar-13 23:14:41

"Why does my son not have a right to know what a classmates issues are?"

Because those classmates and their families have a right to privacy.

zzzzz Fri 01-Mar-13 23:16:04

You want your son to be an understanding member of society, yet you yourself show very little understanding or empathy.

I think you are being quite rude and confrontational.

It isn't at all "normal" to discuss your children's medical history with strangers even if they have met your child twice through nursery. hmm

Your ideas about friendships and interaction are frankly very odd. You don't need to couch your child to tolerate children with sn, you need to teach him how to be kind to everyone.

Panicking over a bad cold or rash or crying at a weepy movie is not like having a child with sn. That's a ridiculous idea. I find much of what you post utter nonsense.

Do you go through all this faff when he asks about race, or gender too? hmm

5madthings Fri 01-Mar-13 23:17:32

Surely you just tell your child that everybody us different? And just to be nice to everyone.

Also children adapt easily and work out ways of communicating very easily themselves quite often.

silverfrog Fri 01-Mar-13 23:18:06

I can't believe that anyone seriously believes that their 3 year old has a ight to know intimate details about their peers hmm

grow up, and when you have, start acting like a decent person, rather than whining about your child's rights.

lougle Fri 01-Mar-13 23:21:07

My DD is verbal, but also uses Makaton. She has friends, genuine friends, who use Makaton alone. She also has friends who are minimally verbal, or non-verbal. She has friends who use picture symbols. She has friends who use wheelchairs, kaye walkers, standers. She has friends who have splints or gaiters. She has friends who have feeding tubes in their nose, or feeding tubes into their stomach. She has friends who wear nappies during the day, when she wears nappies only at night.

The only time she 'notices' these differences is when she fancies having some of the cool equipment they use. So she sometimes comes home a bit frustrated that her friend has cool splints and she doesn't.

hazeyjane Sat 02-Mar-13 06:31:06

Please don't assume all strangers are nosey idiots who wouldn't understand though cos that's not a good example for your children.

As others have said, I try and set a good example to my children by explaining that all people are different, and to try and show kindness to everyone.

I don't assume all strangers are nosey idiots, but have been taken aback when people have asked, 'what's wrong with him?'! That, to me, is just rude and intrusive.

MerryCouthyMows Sun 03-Mar-13 19:30:00

Hoops, nobody but the child's parents have any 'right' to know what that child's issues are. It is helpful for their education if they keep the school teachers involved, but outside of that very small sphere, if I don't wish to tell you or anybody else what is causing my DC's issues - and more to the point, I may not actually HAVE an answer to give anyone!

I can say what my DD's DIFFICULTIES are - but even though she is now 15yo, I STILL don't have a 'name' for what is causing these difficulties. She is classified as a 'SWAN', or 'symptoms without a name'.

It happens a LOT that parents don't have the answers anyway, and I WOULD have been (and was) angry and upset with anyone who asked me for a 'name' for DD's issues when she was preschool age - I was busy looking at other DC's cuddling their mums, chatting about what they did at Nursery, while I was busy trying to teach myself simple signing, taking my DD to A&E because she had cut herself whilst banging her head on the metal stairgate while I went to the toilet, seeing her shy away and scream when I tried to cuddle her, and her hiding under the tables at Nursery, and getting hurt by other DC's every day there until I pulled her out.

The LAST thing I wanted at the time was some well meaning busybody asking me what was the 'matter' with my DD, when I didn't have the answers to give them!

Just tell your DS that X is still learning to do that, or that not everybody CAN do that, and it shouldn't matter anyway because everybody is different.

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