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4.7 y/o DS being assessed by SENCO. I've been begging for this since nursery so why am I so fucking gutted?

(24 Posts)
Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 21:33:51

I've thought there was something different about DS since he was about 18 months. He can be a lovely well behaved child but then a switch will flip and he will become violent, obnoxious and manic. He cannot listen, maintain eye contact or sit still unless he's drawing or playing on his leapster or similar. He really struggles to make friends. He can't understand people not doing things his way but with younger children and babies he is the most patient, loving little boy. He constantly interrupts, repeats things even if hes had an answer for ages and makes squarking noises randomly.
All through nursery he has had violent episodes at random, he will get rage where he sobs and shakes for up to 30 mins. He is hyper. Nearly 90% of the time (not normal 4 year old hyper- completely bat shit running of the walls).
Nursery (ran by MIL) dismissed this. Well his keyworker didn't but was too scared of MIL to actually say something. I took him to the dr's in april/may and they said nothing was wrong but they would briefly observe him to put my mind. They observed him for 5 minutes and put in a request to CAMHS suspecting ADHD. CAMHS refused to follow it up saying that they didn't think there was an issue (without meeting me or DS).

Before he started school I had a meeting with them to explain all of the above and some toileting issues (soiling) that DS has. The school said they dealt with all I had described a lot and it wouldn't be a problem.

He's been there 6 weeks. 6 tiny little weeks. In that time we've had a parents evening that had no positives just that DS needs to work on his listening and that he makes stupid noises when others are talking, DS comes home saying he was sent out of PE for not listening (second week of school), DS begins saying he hates school and pretends to be ill so I will keep him at home. At the harvest assembly he was spinning in circles, tucking his jumper into his trousers and pulling stupid faces. He was the only child out of 50 that had to be told off during it. Then last week the teacher took DP aside and asked how we disciplined him at home as they had to send him out of class because he wasn't listening. Today she spoke to DP and said that DS's behaviour stood out a mile in class compared to the other children. He's been practising karate on the other children and left a mark on anothers child face today.

DP asked if she would consider getting the SENCO to take a look at him and the teacher agreed immediately. I'm so fucking ashamed. Not of DS himself but that I have a child who hits people. I'm worried that he will never have any friends because the other children will steer well clear and the parents wont want them being friends with him. I have no idea how his behaviour will progress, what his future will be like if he does have ADHD or similar.

I am well aware that this is very self-indulgent and there are people who have huge issues compared to this but I just want to cry. DS is amazing. He's bright, funny and caring yet when he flips he can be a nightmare. I don't want his entire school life to be a series of being sent out. I want him to have friends, enjoy learning and not be a PITA for the teachers. I don't want the other parents to think he's a brat when really he would do anything for a friend if he had one. He walked over to DP earlier and tipped half a cup of milk over him for no reason and could not explain why he had done it except to say his brain made him. We are not a milk chucking family just to clarify!

I don't even know what the SENCO will look at. I know they cant diagnose so will they refer him to someone who can? I don't want to stick a label on him but I would like to find out how to support him and make school a bit easier for everyone.

He's just 4. How the fuck is this going to go if his behaviour gets worse? I'm sorry this is very long so I'm not expecting replies I just need to get it off my chest. I just want to help DS but I have no idea where to start.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 21:34:58

I know this should be in the SN topic really (sorry Trills) but I just want it to disappear eventually. I'm so ashamed of how I'm feeling.

Seabright Wed 23-Oct-13 21:38:23

My DD often comes home with bruises (she's 4), and I don't think twice about it, so probably neither will the parent of the child he practised his karate on.

The SENCO assessment will get him held and give you strategies. And it's being dealt with early, in reception, which is good.

Mrsmindcontrol Wed 23-Oct-13 21:46:03

Oh love (((hugs))))
I could have written your post myself 3 years ago. My DS1 aged 7 was diagnosed with ADHD aged 5. Like you, I knew he was 'different' from very early on. To me, the diagnosis came as something of a relief, to know I wasn't imagining it.
Things have been, and continue to be, tough for my DS in school although he is now in yr3 & vastly improved from yrR. His behaviour sounds almost identical to your son's.

My advice to you would be to ask for help from anyone & everyone. Speak to the SENCO, ask for referral to every other appropriate service- OT, Family Support, Ed Psych. Engage fully with everyone. Let them see you're an interested & committed parent. And go back to your GP & demand a re referral to CAMHS. Diagnosis is near impossible without CAMHS involvement but they are chronically underfunded & I get the impression their default is to reject every referral initially & only see those who are re referred.

I found it very useful to spec out in the playground those parents who I suspected to be the most sympathetic & tell them DS had suspected SEN so as to manage their expectations of him. I've also nurtured friendships with DS1 & others as, like you, the thought of him being unpopular crucifies me hmm

I could say much much more.....this whole journey has been my life more or less for a long while. Please please feel free to PM me if you need a chat about it all.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 22:04:40

Thank you. It is a relief that I'm not imagining it. DP has ADHD and was a little shit with it and also suffers dyslexia which is another worry.

Does your DS know that he has ADHD? If DS does have it I'm wary of letting him know in case it becomes an excuse IYSWIM. It bothers me that DS is clever, he's reading and adding/subtracting etc at a level beyond his age yet I feel that his behaviour will overshadow his ability and he will be written off as a naughty kid. Then there's the whole medicate or not issue to think about and how it will affect the other DCs.

Arrrggghh. I should be happy that something is being done.

Swanhilda Wed 23-Oct-13 22:10:43

Some children, especially those with ASD find large groups of people or transitions very stressful, and that can trigger off episodes such as you describe. I think the two occasions where he has lost it are quite obviously stressful - PE is noisy, hustle and bustle etc, and being asked to sit still in a assembly is a lot for small children to cope with. Reception for small children can be overwhelming with the wrong support in place.

SO your son may react differently to other children to some stimuli but that doesn't mean you have to feel GUILTY or that he is BADLY BEHAVED, just that he has different sensitivities. And that the school's job is not to tell him and you off, but to accommodate his sensitivities.

I feel very sad that your child is finding school such an unwelcoming place. He sounds delightful in lots of ways. It is good that the school want to try and solve the riddle of his behaviour in the school setting. But they shouldn't imply it is your lack of discipline that is making him behave like this. It is the school environment that is setting him off. It is a problem for them to solve in partnership with you.

Please post on the SN board and you will get lots of helpful advice, much better than I can give.

Swanhilda Wed 23-Oct-13 22:17:17

And I agree with other poster about CAMHS always rejecting initially. This happened to us when ds had suspected ASD at 8. They said there was nothing warranting an appointment. The school had to camp up their concerns and say only bad things about him (ie: him on worst day, not best case scenario) Eventually we received a diagnosis at 9 years. But they will always try and blame things on behavioural issues/parenting if they can rather than on any intrinsic SN. I suppose it is very important to rule that out rather than misdiagnose or medicate, but it makes for unsupported parents in the grey days before diagnosis, and a lot of bad feelings between schools and parents.

Swanhilda Wed 23-Oct-13 22:20:15

Also, who is to say everyone needs to have friends exactly the same age?? Relating well to younger children and babies is an excellent start and you should be proud of him for making those relationships. He is a 4 year old and the world is still his oyster.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 22:29:01

Thank you smile. It just hurts when I say did you have a good day, play with anyone nice and he says "I played on my own. No one would play with me at break so I walked around on my own." He had a friend at nursery. That friend left last December and every week since DS has said he misses him and hopes to see him soon.

He doesn't cope well with big groups. He begged for a birthday party, chose the entertainer (he knew him anyway so not a stranger) and then on the day hid round my legs and in the corridor of the hall whilst all the other children played and joined in. DS just clammed up.

I'm not sure how far we will get with school support. He has encopresis so occasionally soils himself. So far he's been sent home covered in shit 3 times, the TA has waved his soiled clothes bag around in front of everyone at home time and school called us in for a meeting to see if we would put him in pull ups for school. They also said they had no idea about his condition bloody google it then! and didn't have anyone that was available to change him. Yet they apparently have staff to supervise him being sent out of class!

It's his school open day tomorrow. I really want to go and see how they handle him but on the other hand I'm not sure I can face up to how he is behaving at school. I know he probably can't help it but sometimes it's hard to keep that in mind.

FlapJackOLantern Wed 23-Oct-13 22:31:48

Swanhilda - But they will always try and blame things on behavioural issues/parenting if they can rather than on any intrinsic SN.

This is sooooo true, and I am sad to hear it is still going on. They did this to me and my son 25 years ago - they treated us appallingly: the school, the ed psych, the paediatrician.

My son was finally diagnosed with Aspergers after 11 long, painful, awful years.

I am ashamed that the treatment is the same today as it was all those years ago.

Swanhilda Wed 23-Oct-13 22:35:55

Just to say (encouragingly - and I really mean that, because I want you not to feel all these things are the end of the world)

ds2 also had occasional soiling issues
he hated large parties, but loved the small parties we gave him (6-8 people with theme at home)
used to sit on his best friend in school because he found it difficult to know how else to play with him grin

Seriously though - The school needs to give you support IMMEDIATELY - what you describe is very upsetting re: soiled clothes does not have to be dealt with in the way they are dealing with it.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 22:39:06

I emailed them about the soiled clothes. Apparently I upset the TA. This was when they said he should wear pull ups and didn't seem to think that a 4 year old might be teased when getting changed for PE if he was essentially wearing a nappy!

We chose this school because it's small, Ofsted outstanding and we thought it would be the best place for DS. I'm really regretting it now.

mummytime Wed 23-Oct-13 23:21:55

I would suggest you work on multiple fronts. Go back to your GP, explain about the continued issues, and get him referred back to CAMHS or a Paediatrician.
See the SENCO and get her on your side, she can also refer to CAMHS (or alternatively the Primary Mental Health Team, at least I think that is what it is called in this area).

Personally I think a diagnosis is worth it, as your child can no longer be labelled as just "naughty".

Unfortunately the other things you need to develop include a thick skin, and the ability to keep a diary of interactions with school and other professionals. A diary of concerns or observations about your son can be helpful too.

This school might be okay once they know what is the issue, it could also be the TA is inexperienced.

Swanhilda Wed 23-Oct-13 23:23:26

I think what you need to do is go to your GP again. With a supporting letter from the school outlining the problems they are having (worst case scenario - this is important) then GP will refer you for assessment - once the school has a diagnosis or feedback from CAMHS they should be given guidelines with which to support your son. Anyway that is how it worked with us. Ds has never been sent out for any misbehaviour or punished for it; it has always been considered an aspect of his SN and managed accordingly. To some extent in his school he was handled very well, and behaved well as a result. For example, in Reception they encouraged us to send him in for half day only. (Other posters may frown on this tactic, but for us it worked brilliantly. He loved school and managed to cope because he didn't find it too overwhelming when it was a half day. By Year 1 he was coping fine with full days till 3.10.)

The things like spinning, the holding on till the last minute which causes soiling, the noises, the lack of auditory processing, getting distracted, affectionate and funny but difficulty with social "norms" all flag up not attention deficit disorder to me, but"being on the spectrum" or Asperger's. My son requires no medication, btw, can be extremely well behaved unless upset (when he can go berserk) yet has Asperger's (which has now come be known as HFA in some cases - the two conditions are considered merged from a diagnostic point of view - if anyone corrects me I am happy to be corrected) He is enjoying secondary atm, and has enjoyed for the most part primary school.

I just wanted you to know that whatever the diagnosis for your son, finding what the issues are is a very important way to make him and you happier and dealing with them appropriately. Sending him out for misbehaviour at 4 doesn't seem to be a very therapeutic approach, and if he was diagnosed, that wouldn't be what CAHMS would recommend. Our primary for example, had what is called a Nurture room where children would be taken to make toast and chat if they were very upset/in meltdown. That is the sort of therapeutic approach which worked much better, use of TAs to support specific child for example, as well as the ordinary classroom strategies to make classroom a calm place for all the children.

I think you need to go to the SN board now!! Even if it is with a new message.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 23:24:23

I just printed out the Vanderbilt ADHD screening assessment and filled it in (think it's American though) just to give the school an idea of how he is at home. According to the assessment (although it does state a diagnosis cannot be made from this alone) DS scores highly on combined ADHD, ODD and anxiety/depression.

The school will probably think I'm nuts but I would rather they know what we are dealing with at home so they can see if it compares to how he is there.

PolterFucker Wed 23-Oct-13 23:24:37

Kryptonite (((hugs))) I don't have time to reply properly now, I need sleep, but SN Chat disappears just like this chat topic, so if MNHQ move it for you it will still disappear flowers

Swanhilda Wed 23-Oct-13 23:26:46

cross post Mummytime!

Also read up on Asperger's/HFA. At this early stage you are probably horrified to think that a word like autism could be connected with your son, but you will see there is a very wide spectrum.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 23:27:58

Thank you everyone. I will ask MN if they can move the thread for me.

Kyrptonite Wed 23-Oct-13 23:31:53

I thought autism at 18 months. He was actually referred but I chickened out and everyone told me I was over reacting and all children spin and line up toys. He would go mental if I turned a car round when the others were all facing one way etc.
I'm generalising but he's always seemed too affectionate to be autistic. I am aware that there are massive differentions (sp- hopefully you know the word I am attempting to spell!) so I'm keeping the idea that he may be on the spectrum in the back of my mind so if that is the case it's not a huge shock.

Myself and DP really don't want to medicate him. He is who is he so we just need to find ways to help him cope with the world around him. Easy to say at the moment I know!

Goldmandra Wed 23-Oct-13 23:46:30

A child can't be too affectionate to be Autistic.

I think you need to read up on Asperger's Syndrome. Tony Attwood's books are brillliant, particularly this one.

The school needs to get an educational psychologist to observe your DS and, if the have access to an Autism outreach service, they should ask for them to come and observe him too. The role of the SENCo is to make these requests, not to make any judgments themselves.

Those reports would contribute to the diagnostic process which you can kick off be asking for a referral to CAMHS or a developmental paediatrician.

Don't chicken out of an assessment again. You aren't going to do him any favours because that will just restrict the support he will get.

Accepting that your child may have additional needs is an emotional rollercoaster ride. It gets easier with time.

I hope you get some decent answers soon.

Goldmandra Wed 23-Oct-13 23:47:38

He is who is he so we just need to find ways to help him cope with the world around him.

With a diagnosis, if one is appropriate, and the right support in school this is exactly what should happen smile

Apileofanyfuckers Wed 23-Oct-13 23:59:26

I don't have any advice OP but just wanted to say you are doing the right thing looking for a diagnosis. The school has to recognise your lovely DS is not naughty but has some difficulties. It made me really sad to hear how he is being treated. I hope it all goes well for you.

Pancakeflipper Thu 24-Oct-13 00:09:29

There's some brilliant posts on here and I cannot add any thing useful but I think you go through a mini 'grieving' process of the child you dreamed about in your tummy and in your arms. That's allowed. Cos it's not fair.

Then the diagnosis can take ages to arrive leaving you in limbo and uncertainty.

But go with your instinct. Your love for him and determination is evident. The journey goes up and down like a roller coaster but as you go your respect and proudness for your son will increase. And some days you will burst with pride and some days it will hurt so badly because society lets you down. Not your child.

And it's a funny old journey but whatever happens along the way just seize the lovely/unexpected joys and the 2 of you will go far.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 13:11:30

Afternoon.

Just to let you know that we're moving this into SN chat.

MNHQ.

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