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To be hurt by ex-Nanny's reference request for my 'SEN' child

(56 Posts)
UpsideAndAround Wed 29-Oct-14 21:02:15

My ex-Nanny has got a new job working with young children with SEN, good luck to her as she's got the character for it. However it came through when I got the reference request that she'd cited looking after my youngest as experience caring for an SEN child.

DD has always been a bit behind her peers, and has actually now been referred to the child development centre. My Nanny though doesn't know this as it's after she left. We never really talked about DD's development really, certainly I don't identify her as SEN. She's only two, and to me full of potential! There was a vague talk about her size and stages being different from others at playgroups etc, but it was never an issue. She is simply like looking after a younger baby, rather than a child that requires different care. I have told the Nanny she was considered as having VERY mild cerebral palsy after are view at 9 months by the hospital but we'd talk about how she'd seem to have beaten this diagnosis. To my face she was positive about DD, cared for her a lot, but never spoke of her as SEN.

I may be unreasonable, but I've never described her as SEN and I guess I'm hurt anyone else would without at least talking to me first. I'm often told she doesn't stand out as different, or how well she's doing and this reference request has knocked me a bit.

So as not to drip feed, DD is only mildly behind now in motor skills. You probably wouldn't notice unless I said her age to you, she walks well, it's subtle. She doesn't talk at all, and generally looks and acts young. She presents as around 13/14 months I'd say to the typical observer but as she's tiny (about 9kg) you'd think she was this age. She's a dream to look after, cuddly, quiet and passive but with a ready smile and laugh. From a floppy 9 month old she's made really rapid progress, the concerns now are more about the absence of speech or understanding of single words.

Littlef00t Wed 29-Oct-14 21:06:05

I'm sorry the reference has upset you and I can see why this would be. I can only assume the nanny is keen to look well qualified for the new position and is trying to infer experience she doesn't really have elsewhere by 'bigging up' her SEN experience.

Your dd sounds lovely btw

Shakirasma Wed 29-Oct-14 21:08:04

OP,in the nicest possible way I think you may be a bit in denial. SEN is not an insult or a criticism of your child. I can't see that your ex nanny has done anything wrong, particularly as you have discussed your DD having CP.
having SEN does not take away from your child being wonderful.

UpsideAndAround Wed 29-Oct-14 21:08:33

Thank you Littlef00t

I'd be fine if she'd said she was going to do it and play along and big up too probably (she was good to the children). It's just hit me that maybe she SAW her as SEN iyswim?

lougle Wed 29-Oct-14 21:11:24

Tbh, a 1 year delay at the age of two (you say she presents as being a13/14 month old) is a very significant delay and I'm surprised nobody has raised that with you. It seems very unkind to allow you to think that it is insignificant. My DD1 presented as a 2 1/2 year old at 3 and now at the age of almost 9, presents as a (rather tall! ) 4/5 year old.

That said, your nanny has overstepped the mark by referring to your dd as having SEN if no one else has described her as such.

DearGirl Wed 29-Oct-14 21:11:34

There was a vague talk about her size and stages being different from others at playgroups etc
I have told the Nanny she was considered as having VERY mild cerebral palsy after are view at 9 months
From a floppy 9 month old she's made really rapid progress,

As a nanny I would be aware that ^ the above makes it seem like my charge has SEN or that they had developmental issues where I needed to adapt my care/expectations/activities to suit their needs.

To my face she was positive about DD, cared for her a lot, but never spoke of her as SEN.

Of course she was positive - she looked after your daughter, even if she had SEN this isn't about the SEN but the child - my last charge had behavioural problems but when I spoke about him - it was about Him not his needs smile

WorraLiberty Wed 29-Oct-14 21:12:16

Ok, no child is special educational needs

Some kids have special needs and sometimes they're educational...other times they're just different needs to other kids their age.

Those needs in no way define the actual child, so please try not to take it personally.

From what you've said in your OP, I'd say your ex nanny has gained some experience by working with a child who has some SN.

You do sound a bit in denial, but understandably given the circumstances.

Icantfindaname Wed 29-Oct-14 21:13:33

I can understand why if you had never discussed this with your nanny it would hurt a little, but I agree with pp that you seem to be a little in denial.

If your DD is 2, but is presenting as 13-14 months then that is a delay in development.

It does not stop her being lovely, delightful and even bright and it is certainly not an insult.

LadyLuck10 Wed 29-Oct-14 21:13:50

Tbh from what you have described it certainly sounds like the nanny wasn't wrong in making this conclusion. Maybe she was just trying to be polite and not being it up as she was just a nanny and not working particular to sen. Also I agree with pp that maybe you are in denial a bit as you did discuss a few of her needs.

coppertop Wed 29-Oct-14 21:13:53

I can understand why you feel hurt.

Your ex-Nanny has decided to refer to your dd as having SEN and also passed that information on to a future/potential employer without even discussing it with you first.

I suspect she probably meant well but that doesn't make it hurt any less.

UpsideAndAround Wed 29-Oct-14 21:15:07

Shakirasma, I think you go into denial as every professional you meet is keen to fob you off as an anxious mum and discharge when they are babies! I learnt to accept she was normal from asking HV and GPs about concerns in the early days! Even the hospital discharged us with 'only you'd notice when she's older' and the HV kept writing 'mum reassured' if I went to clinic. So I stopped asking and accepted it. Suddenly at her two yr review she was referred to OT, physio, SALT, the CDT and audiology all in one hit on top of a concern around absence seizures. We've been on waiting lists since, but only seen another specialist HV who explained the referrals. I think I'd now describe myself as in 'limbo', rather than 'denial'. Everything has turned upside down quite quickly from being shut down if I hinted I felt the gap between her and peers was a bit big. I feel I can't use the label 'SEN' to describe her as the next question would be 'what is her need?' and I don't really know. I've lost judgement on where normal is.

Artandco Wed 29-Oct-14 21:15:59

Sorry but it's sounds fine. If your ex nanny was looking after a 9 month old who was 'floppy' then that is more needs that a typical 9 month old ( baring in mind some are walking at that age)

bauhausfan Wed 29-Oct-14 21:17:49

I prefer the term 'additional needs' - not sure why though. I know where you are coming from op. These things are hard to take on board.

UpsideAndAround Wed 29-Oct-14 21:18:50

I'm not in denial to the point where I couldn't accept it to my face, I could talk openly and honestly about it. In fact I'd often welcome being listened to. It just hurt to have it mentioned in this way.

I know I'm sensitive right now, the two year review was a bit like the rug being pulled out. Normal is your normal, you don't read ages and stages questions for fun. She fits in well in the family, she's happy, it's more than easy to ignore once a few professionals have implied you're overly anxious.

Icantfindaname Wed 29-Oct-14 21:19:43

Oh bless you. I knew my DD was delayed from very early on and like you was fobbed off. Essentially there was not much that could be done until it was clear that she was delayed and speech seems to be the big trigger for referrals. Things will become clearer. For what it's worth my DD is now nearly 6 and still has no clear diagnosis, but is under SALT, OT, physio and CDT.

2times Wed 29-Oct-14 21:21:08

The in limbo stage is very difficult.
Really really hard because you're wavering between thinking your imagining things/sounding neurotic and being really worried for the future.
It does get easier.

Chandon Wed 29-Oct-14 21:21:21

I am sorry it came as a shock to you, I would find it hard too...

But the SEN reference was no dig at you or your child. Just the "jargon" that covers a huge range.

lougle Wed 29-Oct-14 21:22:40

The biggest thing to realise is that you will always be ahead of the curve. The DD1 I'm describing above, was first referred to a paediatrician at 2 years 9 months. I'd been ignored as an anxious mum until she started preschool at 2 years 6 months, when they realised she needed 1:1 support for her safety (very active with 0 awareness of danger at that time). Then she started falling over for no reason. Suddenly we were sent to hospital and from then diagnosed with epilepsy and referred to SALT, OT, etc.

zzzzz Wed 29-Oct-14 21:22:57

Just fill out the reference saying your child has no identified SEN, but had a difficult start and is now mildly delayed. They can infer what they like from the facts.

As far as your dd being described as a "SEN child", it isn't an insult to have SEN, SN or a disability, however most people would say a child with SEN or a child with "name particular issue" AND most people would NOT say such a thing unless the parent had described their child in such a way.

lougle Wed 29-Oct-14 21:24:32

zzzzz from a reference response point of view I agree with you.

However, I do think the op needs to know that a delay of 1 year at 2 years old is not a mild delay.

UpsideAndAround Wed 29-Oct-14 21:24:58

In a weird way, if just one professional said 'she's got Special Needs' rather than positive waffle it would be easier. I could tick that bloody box on forms and broach it without the world and their friend telling me she's fine/ will catch up/ their son or daughter didn't do xy or z until they were 3.

Quite seriously, when on earth is when you think 'oh, I'll decide to tick that box when she registers at the children's centre playgroup?'. And would it get staff to fuck off out our faces thinking they'll be the one to magically get her talking stop looking at me like I keep her in a cupboard and don't talk to her?

I'm ranting! But it's AIBU.

coppertop Wed 29-Oct-14 21:30:24

I remember the pre-diagnosis days well. (Two children with ASD).

On one side you have the "Well they'll talk when they're ready. You just need to give it time" brigade.

And on the other you have the "It's the parents' fault. It's obvious that they just don't talk to him/her enough. I'll show them how it's done!" brigade.

lougle Wed 29-Oct-14 21:33:26

People stopped telling me DD1 would be fine when she was.... ooh about 7. I still get people reassuring me that 'she's lovely!' Well of course she is!

I found people stopped needing to be told she had SN at about 5. The toddler years are the hardest, imo.

BlinkAndMiss Wed 29-Oct-14 21:34:55

OP, it doesn't sound like the nanny is bigging up her SEN experience or insulting your DD but I can understand why you feel quite shocked by it all. The nanny views your DD as having SEN and whilst you weren't really aware of this at the time, she's had to bring it up in order to secure a new position.

The care your DD needs which is 'additional' is obviously very subtle. But isn't it very professional of the nanny to care for your DD without having to bring up SEN every five minutes? She does see your DD as having a lot of potential and this is why it's never been the label she's applied to her - but it has to be something she kept in her mind, it would be a massive injustice to your DD if the nanny had simply ignored these small details which could have had a huge impact on her development.

It's scary territory because it's so difficult to identify what is 'normal' and what isn't, it's also worrying when you don't know the origins of any SEN or how to help. A lot of the time it is trial and error because it's such an individual and personal thing. I hope your DD continues to do well and that you have support for the times, like now, when it seems so difficult.

It does get easier.

zzzzz Wed 29-Oct-14 21:38:03

Oh upside my ds1 is severely language disordered. Come over to the SN board and talk delayed/disordered communication with us. Practically everyone with a toddler doesn't have that tick or proper recognition of their child's difficulties. You don't need a diagnosis, just a worry.

I agree with lougle though. When I said your dd was mildly delayed I meant that is an expression of where you describe her being.

I would say she is significantly delayed if she is functioning a year behind at 2.

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