Advanced search

to think that a parents' evening isn't the place to tell a parent that their child probably has SN?

(128 Posts)
DowagersHump Wed 24-Oct-12 09:16:06

Yesterday went to parents' evening for DS, 5, who has just started in Y1. His teacher said that this was really to discuss how he was settling in so I said that as far as I was aware, he was fine, seemed pretty happy etc.

Then she asked me if I had any concerns about his development and I said no (because I hadn't). I said he'd been late to walk and that I know that his gross motor skills weren't brilliant but they were improving and no one has ever raised any concerns and he's been in childcare on and off since a very young age. But she kept pressing the point and eventually I asked her what she meant.

She told me that she is v concerned about his ability to follow a series of instructions (not something we tend to do at home) and talked about the 'spectrum' and 'high-functioning'. So assume she thinks he might have some kind of ASD.

At the end of the conversation she said that she was going to get the SENCO to observe him and we'd take it from there, but that she would communicate with me about progress 'by calling you over when you collect him from school'. By this point, I was fighting back tears.

AIBU to think that if you're going to tell a parent that you think their child has a learning difficulty, a parents' evening is not the place to do it?

And that having a quick chat in the playground to discuss their progress and issues is really inappropriate?

If I'd been called in to the school for a meeting with her, I would have been a bit more prepared because obviously they're not going to do that unless they have concerns.

Am thinking of contacting the HT to say I think their process is a bit crap but am I being a bit PFB?

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Wed 24-Oct-12 09:17:50

YANBU. You should have been called in for a private meeting to discuss this type of matter concerning your DS.

What the teacher did was unacceptable, imo.

CrunchyFrog Wed 24-Oct-12 09:22:15

I think it's appropriate enough for a first concern raising.

It was private wasn't it?

CrunchyFrog Wed 24-Oct-12 09:23:29

Oh, DS1 has HFA. I do get a quick handover in the playground if it's been a tricky day. I like that informality though.

ihatethecold Wed 24-Oct-12 09:23:41

Can't see what the issue is. It's parents eve. You're there to talk about your child!

mumto2andnomore Wed 24-Oct-12 09:24:06

I disagree , parents evening is fine. Sounds like she is on the ball and will be offering lots of help to your son I would focus on that .

DeWe Wed 24-Oct-12 09:26:22

Personally I'd rather it was done at a parents' evening.

Having got a child with sn, I would say there's no good time to hear it anyway. A meeting with the head to me is more frightening because it seems more serious iyswim.

Anyway you say you pressed her, so maybe she was fishing to see if you had any concerns before she called you in for a "more formal" meeting with head and senco. I don't think asking if you have concerns is unusual in parents' evenings. Most teachers I know start by asking if there are any concerns I want to raise with them.

DowagersHump Wed 24-Oct-12 09:27:10

No it wasn't private. It was in a hall with the other teachers in the year at other tables, other parents in the room and more waiting outside.

I'm sure she will offer him lots of help and I'm grateful for that but I would have preferred a more private setting for what is potentially going to be a bit of a shocking thing to raise with a parent.

Feminine Wed 24-Oct-12 09:27:55


A similar thing happened to me a few weeks back. Head of SENCO came over to me(in the playground) and suggested that I have DS9 tested for "she didn't really know what at this stage?"

Apparently his teacher (last year) noticed his organizational skills were a bit , well, dis-organized! We recently moved back to this country, and he was still getting used to this schools way of doing things.

Anyway, they had him tested over a month ago, I've heard nothing since...I spoke to his teacher and she almost seemed nonchalant about the whole thing.

So, I understand where you are coming from op an idea that seemed to suddenly spring out of nowhere, plus its not enough to just get 'end of the day' catch ups!

ReallyTired Wed 24-Oct-12 09:29:00

I'm sorry you have had bad news at parents evening. A reception teacher or SENCO is not qualified to diagnose autism. However this does show that your son is having a communication difficulty.

I think its reasonable to raise a developmental concern at parents' evening and although you are upset don't shoot the messager. The school is trying to help.

I suggest you should ask for a meeting with the school's SENCO and teacher and discuss where you go from here. I think your little boy might benefit from a proper hearing test with an audiologist. (Even if his hearing has been recently tested by the school nurse.) It would make sense for an assessment from a speech and language theraphist and possibly the community paediatrian. These professionals will be able to work out if your ds has autism or glue ear.

CrapBag Wed 24-Oct-12 09:30:24


Parents evening was the perfect time to discuss it. Why should the teacher have to make a seperate appointment for you at another time when you are there talking to her to discuss your child. Its not like she came and announced it to you in the middle of the playground for everyone to hear. The earlier these things are picked up the better. And why doesn't your child have to follow instructions at home? confused

CrapBag Wed 24-Oct-12 09:32:15

I'm pretty sure that the parents at the other tables were not remotely interested in what your teacher was saying to you about your child. I imagine they were focussing on their own childrens report.

DowagersHump Wed 24-Oct-12 09:33:07

He does have to follow instructions but nothing massively complicated CrapBag. Things like getting dressed, putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket, putting dirty crockery on the dishwasher etc.

DowagersHump Wed 24-Oct-12 09:34:56

I don't really want to be crying at parents' evening.

Should not have put this in AIBU really - I'm probably feeling a bit too fragile for it.

BeingBooyhoo Wed 24-Oct-12 09:34:57

she didn't say he probably has SN. she asked if you had any concerns and then discussed what she had observed, then said she would ask the SENCO to observe him. this is what i would expect to happen if it was my child.

tbh i think you are a bit in shock at hearing this and are lashing out.

ChiefOwl Wed 24-Oct-12 09:36:12

Yabu parents evenng is private, I've never heard a teacher talking loudly enough or anyone else to hear.

I do find it strange tho that you did not have any idea about his development really, unless he acts very differently at home/school. I have often pondered over dd being dyspraxic, I try not to compare my dc to others, but it is hard not to sometimes.

pigletmania Wed 24-Oct-12 09:38:12

Exactly really tried just because he finds it difficult to follow instructions does not mean he has Autism. It has to be a whole number of difficulties, not one on its own. She is not in the position to diagnose. My dd 5 was dx recently Wth AsD, dx took a couple of years as tey want to be certain beforehand. He is in year I and this is the first your hearing? Surely they should have raised concerns as soon as they spotted a problem. My dd was quite obvious, the older she became th more her problems came apparent

maybeyoushoulddrive Wed 24-Oct-12 09:38:46

This is a pet hate of mine. I agree with the OP that parents evening is too much of a melee to receive new news about your child. I wouldn't want to be in tears infront of the rest of the parents and teachers...

When I was teaching I was told that parents evenings were to lightly discuss the child, if there were any problems then a separate meeting was important so that the parents and teacher could talk properly.

I'm sorry you had such a shock. I would ask for a formal meeting with the SENCO to discuss the way forward.

Our dd was given a test for dyslexia - the first we heard of it was when the results came home in a brown envelope!

LemonBreeland Wed 24-Oct-12 09:40:08

I'm with the YANBU crowd. If there is something that is more than just everyday how your child is getting on in school then a seperate meeting should be called, not just at parents evening.

WilsonFrickett Wed 24-Oct-12 09:40:26

I do actually agree that parents' evening wasn't the right time to raise something potentially this big. That said, there is never a good time to hear news like that. Also, tbh, it's really good that she's flagging things up.

But moving on...
A teacher is not qualified to diagnose anything, so while she's flagging issues, at the moment 2 + 2 does not automatically = 4.
Interesting that the example she used was following instructions, yet you say OP that he can follow an instruction like 'get dressed'. Typically, that would be extremely hard for a child on the spectrum as it involves lots of different steps (get to your room, find your clothes, put them in the right order, put them on, stay on task). My DS7 has a communication disorder (so similar to ASD but not as severe) and he still can't follow an instruction like 'get dressed', he has to be taken up to his room and I have to lay his clothes out in order.

So... I wouldn't start panicking just yet. What I would do is start reading, reading, reading. The National Autistic Society is a good place to start, they have lots of information on ASD and aligned conditions. Read the fact sheets there and see if anything chimes with you.

Also the Special Needs boards here are really good for support and info.
Good luck, it may be something, it may be nothing, but what's important now is you get yourself informed and make sure the follow ups happen.

DameMargotFountain Wed 24-Oct-12 09:40:49

hearing that someone has concerns about your DC is always going to be difficult, no matter what the setting is - i'm sorry you feel this was inappropriate, OP.

perhaps the CT was trying to make it less formal so that it was less threatening/shocking to you?

and I agree that the CT is not qualified to make diagnosis of your DS, but if she's as switched on as she seems, embrace her insight, she could be a great benefit to your DS's education.

good luck.

maybe pop over to SN section for a big of hand-holding and general information?

SconeInSixtySeconds Wed 24-Oct-12 09:41:09

I am really surprised that most people think that you are being unreasonable Dowager. I don't at all.

In a very former life I was a primary school teacher. One of the lessons I remember most clearly was about Parents' Evening, the mantra was that nothing should surprise the parent at this discussion, it should always be mapped out ahead of time.

Parents' Evening should be a time to come together and talk about how the child is progressing, not totally derailed into a one sided conversation about possible SENCO involvement.

I find it very unprofessional.

LemonBreeland Wed 24-Oct-12 09:41:50

x post with maybeyou, that is what I was trying to say but not so elegantly.

WilsonFrickett Wed 24-Oct-12 09:41:54

You could ask for this to be moved to SN if you are feeling fragile ((hugs))

SconeInSixtySeconds Wed 24-Oct-12 09:43:02

X post with maybeyoushoulddrive

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now