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to refuse to send 4 year old DS to a psychologist?

(109 Posts)
Blumke Tue 12-Jul-11 21:55:51

Have never posted on AIBU before but this subject is eating up at me and I can't get enough distance to see if IABU or not. I have altered some details so as not to out myself in RL but essentially what follows is the jist.Sorry this is so long. Please tell me what you think.

I am a Brit living abroad having married a local. I have a 4 year old son who is bilingual in English and the local language although his English is definitely stronger as he is home with me. We have a designated healthcare nurse for him who carries out all his vaccinations and yearly checks. The system here includes developmental checks from 1 year onwards. The child has to perform certain tasks and the nurse satisfies herself that all is well.

All was fine at 1, 1.5, 2 years. At our three year check the nurse was changed. Our present nurse doesn't speak English and the test is conducted in the local language. The three year test consisted of around 30 tasks. First some physical skills - throwing a ball, stacking blocks, pressing pop-ups. With some cajoling from me DS did these. Then the nurse brought out a book with line drawings and asked him to draw first a vertical, then horizontal, then zig zag lines. DS totally refused to cooperate with her . She then skipped to the picture identification tasks but he grabbed the book and tried to see a particular picture and became angry when she went through the verbal tasks - " What's this?" " Which picture is bigger?" " Which one doesn't belong"?. I can honestly say that he can do all these tasks if he wants to but unfortunately he stubbornly refuses to demonstrate this with the nurse.He failed this test and we were allowed to resit 2 months later.

At the resit the same scenario repeated itself. DS lost interest and refused utterly to cooperate with the nurse. She said that he had less than 5 out of 30 and if a child failed their check they should be referred to a psychologist. I felt this was unfair but weakly felt cowed and agreed. But I felt so bad and felt it was so unjust to my son that I phoned the nurse the next day and retracted the referral although she really pushed saying that she had wide experience etc and that this kind of failure needed investigation.

A year later we are back for our 4 year check. This time both my husband and I attend with our son. From the outset DS completely refused to cooperate with the nurse. He didn't want to leave the toys in the waiting room and had to be allowed to take a toy with him to the nurses room. Same scenario as before. DS completes the first task threading beads onto a small wire. He started to enjoy this. However then the nurse brought out the line drawing book and asked him to draw a circle, a vertical cross and a diagonal cross. He squiggled a bit and then asked for the beads back. We try to get him to draw but he says he doesn't want to. She moved onto the picture and verbal tasks but then he would not cooperate at all. Unfortunately he had a tantrum, he his worst behaviour for several months and right in front of this nurse.

She then said he had failed and recommended a psychologist referral. She said she was particularly worried by his behaviour in the waiting room as it was typical of a 2 year old to refuse to leave the toys but not a 4 year old. She said most 4 year olds don't even need their parents with them and complete the tasks on their own with her. She really pushed. I saw my husband was wavering and spoke to him briefly in English stating that we were happy with our son, DS's nursery group are happy with him. We then produced his nursery report ( he has 1 morning a week - it will be three in the autumn) and this seemed to quiten the nurse and she asked for the contact details of DS's nursery worker. We left the appointment agreeing to leave it at that and she will investigate further by speaking to the nursery worker.

I feel so angry and alone. The culture here is very placid, quiet , compliant and I know my son is a bit different (as am I) in that he, like me is very lively, loud, stubborn and determined. He can be hard work but he is a delight and we are so happy with him. Am I deluded? We had no real concerns and have had no complaints from his nursery and have not worried at all until these checks. Please help. I know that a child's own mother is probably the least impartial judge in the world.

PumpkinBones Tue 12-Jul-11 21:58:55



FabbyChic Tue 12-Jul-11 21:59:02

There is nothing wrong with your child, putting him through that sorry is barbaric.

Why the fuck would you subject your son to that kind of assessment?

It doesn't happen in the UK.

Your child is normal he doesn't want to do it, and why should he be made to?

I would refuse any further assessments, he is a normal healthy young boy. He is going to be made into something completely different if you persist with these assessments.

Firawla Tue 12-Jul-11 22:07:53

It seems like maybe he has a dislike for that nurse, if he was okay with the previous nurser in previous checks? perhaps he is sensing the attitude from her? is it possible to see if it can be done with a different person in future maybe? I think yanbu, nursery workers feedback etc is more valuable than a random test done on just one day when they could be having an off day or not in the mood etc, so does not necessarily show the true picture

pointythings Tue 12-Jul-11 22:07:58

What utter insanity - your DS is perfectly normal. Wish you could say where you are, OP, so that the rest of us can avoid ever trying to raise children there...

wompoopigeon Tue 12-Jul-11 22:10:07

On the basis that here in England there are no kind of developmental checks like this, I'd say that the decision "to leave it at that" sounds sensible. I can see why you are upset though by what you have been through and the implied threat of follow-ups.
I imagine when your son goes to nursery more frequently he'll respond better to being bossed around by strangers!

pingu2209 Tue 12-Jul-11 22:13:02

What is right and what is wrong? If you are so sure that your son is totally 'normal' (whatever that is) then by sending your child to the psychologist, he/she will only prove you are correct in your assumptions.

As a child with severe language problems I was very shocked when he was first diagnosed. For at least a year I was in total denial. I could not see anything different about him. He was 4 1/2 and had just started school. Even now, at age 8, few people can see the difference in him to his peers. It is subtle, but important.

I also have a friend whose son has Asbergers. She too was totally shocked and could not see any differences to other children. He was diagnosed at 4 1/2.

What I am saying is that it is not unusual to see nothing different in your child, but that does not mean you are right. You would be doing your son a huge dis-service by not following up on an experts view. If there is something a bit different to 'normal', as with most things, the earlier you get intervention and specialist help the better.

As I said, if you are correct, what do you have to lose? If you are wrong, you could be really putting your son back in his development without the correct help.

As an aside, 1 morning a week is not a lot for a nursery to get a view on a child. Also, in the UK (I know you are not in the UK) most nursery workers are on minimum wage and very young with little life experience. I wouldn't have trusted solely my children's nursery workers opinions.

pigletmania Tue 12-Jul-11 22:15:58

What a load of cack, what evidence is she basing this rubbish on hmm. I would refuse any further testing, pre schoolers are known for their defiance, and they are still very young.

PumpkinBones Tue 12-Jul-11 22:16:54

then by sending your child to the psychologist, he/she will only prove you are correct in your assumptions.

I don't think it is healthy for a 4 year old about whom there are no concerns other than his reluctance to do some random boring tests with a stranger to be sent to a psychiatrist and pursuing the whole thing could be unecessarily damaging.

Blumke Tue 12-Jul-11 22:19:03

Goodness . You are quick off the mark!

It's good to hear than perhaps I'm not just in denial. At heart I agree entirely with you - that these checks are excessive. But the problem is that the answer from the nurse is always " everybody else does them, it is standard". She says problems should be identified early well before they go to school. That is another thing I worry about. School doesn't start until 7 here but they have to pass a psychological assessment before they are admitted. God help us if we still have this nurse. It makes me want to move house

IgnoringTheChildren Tue 12-Jul-11 22:22:08

YANBU and if I were in your shoes I wouldn't take your DS for any more of these "developmental checks".

I took my almost 4 year old for a hearing check recently. When he was called through for the appointment he didn't want to leave the toys in the waiting room and he didn't take to the person doing the checks at all - it took a lot of effort from me to reassure him and a bit of a bribe before he would do the very simple activities they use to check hearing.

I couldn't really blame him though as I didn't really take to her either and I wasn't surprised when she said that she'd had to send a lot of children away to calm down before she could do their hearing checks already that day - some health professionals who work with children really don't have the skills to put children at ease!

My son would have responded in the same way to these checks - no-one's suggesting that he should see a psychologist. grin

tanukiton Tue 12-Jul-11 22:22:36

dear lord. it's japan isn't?

Blumke Tue 12-Jul-11 22:22:54

Sorry I would just like to add in response to pingu that I swear he is capable of these task. The nurse herself said that she believes me when I said that he is capable of these task but she emphasised that the question is why he will not perform them in the surgery with her.

youarekidding Tue 12-Jul-11 22:24:03

excellent post pingu

Your DS doesn't sound out of the normal range, my DS too was a reluctant (actually still is!) writer. But he started school at 4.03 and had to do these things. He wouldn't have wanted to leave the toys, but would have not had a choice if that's what was expected of him.

It does sound extremely stringent testing but your DS reaction to it seems a little extreme too.

tanukiton Tue 12-Jul-11 22:24:42


Pagwatch Tue 12-Jul-11 22:27:32

Good grief. What on earth was barbaric about an evaluation?
The ops son did not comply - that is hardly torture.

It may be that the cultural norms are making your childs personality seem like a symptom of something when it isn't.
Maybe you should just leave things alone for a bit and wait and see if his 'differences' increase or diminish.

But being reffered to a psychologist is not hideous. My son saw a psychologist at 2 and I am very grateful he did - it was the beginning of my understanding the difficulties he had.

And having difficulties does not change him. It does not mean he is not 'normal' ( ffs - really? ) - it means he may need a bit of help or may operate a little differently and it would help you and him to understand that.

I derstand your concern and conflict.
But the responses based around omg - are they trying to say your child is not normal - are not desperately helpful from where I am sitting. Because what if the nurse is right and your son could benefit from seeing someone?

Fwiw my ds could do most of the tested tasks at home. He was not outside of his routine at home.

Dexifehatz Tue 12-Jul-11 22:30:01

His behaviour in the waiting room was more akin to a 2yr old than a 4yr old.That was only a snapshot though and in no way should she have based her reasoning on that occasion.If he displayed the same angry behaviour in the second test I can kind of see how the nurse could think that something could be awry.'Random boring tests' also determine concentration and social interaction,which I'm afraid your son didn't display very well.

bubblesincoffee Tue 12-Jul-11 22:32:22

If you know he's capable, what harm would taking him to see the psycologist?

I completely fail to see how it could possibly cause him any damage.

If you repeatedly refuse routine checks in the UK, social services start to wonder what's going on.

I'd take him and be proved right. You will never forgive yourself it it does turn out to be something and your refusal could have meant that he had no early intervention.

youarekidding Tue 12-Jul-11 22:35:25

Yeah pag another voice of reason.

We do have these 'tests' here in the UK for all people who are saying its wrong/ over zealous etc. Its just in the curriculum here as our children start school before 7.

DS had to do all these type of tests which was the DEST (dyslexia early screening test) in school and failed spacial memory spectaculary grin

I may just have been lucky with DS? but at 4yo he would have been expected to do as an adult asked without a monumental tantrum. If he couldn't then I would have, as a parent, been wondering why he couldn't deal with the expectation. He did need co-ercsion though as most children with this age still do.

op I don't think this is specifically about the tasks more about his lack of co-operation.

redexpat Tue 12-Jul-11 22:38:06

Fabby What would you do if you were a health worker and had concerns about a child, whose mother was being difficult (OP I'm not saying you are difficult, it's the way you may be perceived)? By refusing point blank the OP may cause more problems than she solves.

And just because something doesn't happen in the UK doesn't mean it isn't valid. The UK isn't the gold standard for everything, although in many instances of course it's bloody marvelous.

OP was it the language that put him off? Or just this one particular nurse? I would ask to see a different nurse. If tehy say 'oh that's not how we do it here' tell them you don't care and you want a second opinion. That's pretty universal isn't it? Also it sounds like quite a stressful situation - could a nurse come to the home and do it?

pingu2209 Tue 12-Jul-11 22:38:15

I don't understand why the OP is so determined for her son not to have the psychological tests when he will have to have them anyway to go to school?

A child Psychologist is well trained and will be very used to working with and communicating with all sorts of children. What is the fear of sending your son to an expert who has nothing but your child's best interests at heart?

Clearly you have your son's best interests at heart, but as with all parents, it is very hard to separate out our heads from our hearts.

Are you afraid a child psychologist will confirm the nurses concerns?

You are very sure your son does not differ from the 'norm', and I am sure the chances you are wrong are very slim. However, for 2 years you have been told that their expert advice is to have him 'checked out'; it will be like a health check.

LeninGrad Tue 12-Jul-11 22:41:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ihatecbeebies Tue 12-Jul-11 22:41:26

Pingu said perfectly what I was going to say too, my 4yr old DS has a speech and language difficulty too which he had to go to a SALT for and has a support worker in nursery who is now going to school with him too, I didn't believe it at first as at home he is wonderful with me but he is also difficult with other people too, similar to your DS - refuses to leave toys in a doctors surgery without a huge fight, etc, but after working with SALT and support worker he's come on leaps and bounds and I'm glad I listened and agreed when I my son was offered help. I'd take the nurse's opinions on board IME as it could benefit your son.

exoticfruits Tue 12-Jul-11 22:41:59

Don't get cowed. He sounds completely normal and I would say that he has a personality clash with the nurse. My DS refused to speak when he had his 3 yr check-he can speak! He was written down as 'silently co operative'.
You know your DC.

Blumke Tue 12-Jul-11 22:43:21

If there is a problem of course I would want to get advice asap but I really feel that his behaviour in the clinic is an extreme. An earlier poster mentioned that he is not used to being "bossed about by strangers" and that is spot on. He only really listens to me, my husband, grandparents and has come to like and usually obey his nursery worker. I don't know what this indicates, if this means he is anti-social but I would say in his defence that his circle of people he trusts iyswim is growing and surely will expand once he goes to nursery more often.

Perhaps I have kept him at home with me too long. Most children here start daycare early, from 1 or 2. We wanted to make sure English was well established before he was in full time childcare and I also had DD and was at home anyway.

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