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DS - 3.2 not playing with other children, doesn't seem to get a lot of physical stuff or why its fun, but very advanced mentally

(27 Posts)
BumptiousandBustly Thu 23-Jun-11 17:22:02

Does anyone else think I should be worried about DS? I can't tell if I am being a really paranoid parent, or if I am right to worry.

DS is: 3.2 and is very advanced in some ways and NOT AT ALL in others.


He really only plays with other children if its for a short time, in a closed environment (i.e. a home) and then its got to be specific children (one or two he will do this with). Other children he can't quite seem to "work out"

If we go to anywhere outdoors - or a soft play area - he is not interested in playing there at all and hangs around the adults wanting to talk to them.

I have been noticing this for quite some time - he will just be wondering off on his own or trying to talk to me, while others are running round and playing and having a great time.

He is also not very tall and still runs like a much smaller child.

Pre-school also told me that his is either playing on his own there, or talking to adults and he is reluctant to attend and often has to be left crying.

(this is a little boy who is very confident with adults).

what he CAN do.

He is VERY verbal, and always has been. He is learning to read and is already at stage 4 of a phonics reading program (driven by him, we do it when he asks to) and he is always asking how to spell things, what things say etc.

I am trying to say to people that at this age he should be socializing more - not parallel playing but no-one is hearing me - please help - is this something I should be worried about?

chipmonkey Thu 23-Jun-11 17:44:35

Sounds a bit like my ds1, who has ADD ( but not hyeractive). I feel that ds1 has a lot of ASD traits without actually having ASD, and he has been assessed many times.
When he was little, he was a very advanced reader, and was reading at the level of an eight year old by the time he started school at 5. This started out with him aged 2, constantly asking how different words were spelt. Sadly this has not translated into academic excellence because his attention span is very short so he finds it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time. It was only when he started school that we discovered his difficulties. When being taught one on one, he is actually quite clever. Classrooms are very distracting places for him.
I do remember one incident very well, which was when he was 2. We were at a Christmas work do where the teletubbies made an appearance. All the other children were dancing to the teletubbies but ds1 was all alone in the corner trying to figure out the sound system!
I think if I were to turn back the clock, I would have had him assessed much younger and tried to get more strategies in place to help him.

coogar Thu 23-Jun-11 18:04:42

why don't you try posting this on the Special Needs Children section .. not saying he is, but just that there will be more experience on there ....

BumptiousandBustly Thu 23-Jun-11 18:05:13

chipmonkey. That all sounds very familiar - I remember being at toddler group and all the other children were singing, and he wanted to play the piano, to see how the sounds came out.

Also very interesting about being at school and finding that distracting. DS has a very long attention span at home - one on one but I can easily imagine that not translating into a school setting.

I especially notice what you say about having him assessed younger. That is what I am trying to achieve but I am getting no-where - people say "oh he is too young, oh my child did x it sorts it self out/no -one will assess him this young) and I am trying to say "please help me, I don't know what to do with this child, or how to help him!"

I am looking at having him privately assess but that costs £350!!!!!!!!!! Which is a LOT of money! I was at the docs yesterday about him and they just wouldn't help! (since her son, who is 4 and does to a private school and has been being taught to read by teachers for the last year can do some of the things my son can do it must be normal! Well my son has just turned three, and doesn't go to private school and has not spent the last year being taught to read in tiny classes by teachers!)

BumptiousandBustly Thu 23-Jun-11 18:06:17

Coogar - I think I will, I just didn't want to upset anyone - a good friend of mine's son is being diagnosed with autism at the moment, and i feel really useless stressing about my stuff, with everything she is going through.

snailoon Thu 23-Jun-11 18:12:29

This sounds like my son who is now 15. He learned to read very well and was very good at maths before starting school. He was not very interested in kids his age, though he loved playing with older kids, and he never really enjoyed playgrounds and running about. His concentration span was always long (unlike chipmonkey's son), but he had a similar tendency to go off in a corner at playgroups. We didn't worry because he was always easy going, happy and sociable (with older people).
He is still very academically able and now has plenty of friends his own age. He had about 2 difficult years age 12-14, when he had to learn to conform and dumb himself down a bit (avoid sounding pompous and annoying).
It is hard to describe this in a few sentences, but I guess I would say that as long as your son enjoys interacting with adults, he will figure out how to get along with kids; it just may take some time and effort.

lingle Thu 23-Jun-11 18:24:06

I think you are wise to focus on the social skills right now. I remember the paediatrician pointing out that DS2's advanced skills "would still be there for him later when he's 7 and 8" but that 3/4/5 were the years to progress his social development.

BumptiousandBustly Thu 23-Jun-11 19:19:32

lingle - I really am trying, but he seems to be getting worse with regard to that, rather than better. i.e. when he first started pre-school he loved it, now he really doesn't want to go! We do so many activities and things, all of which are social/physical - the only "mental" thing we do is teaching him to read, which is driven by him, and yet his tendency to parallel play is getting worse!

Snailoon - very comforting - especially that he learned to adjust his behavior like that - many thanks

Roo83 Thu 23-Jun-11 20:04:29

I'd try not to worry too much yet. At 3 most children are only just starting collaborative play, and like everything, they all develop at different rates. I have a friend who's dd will sit and chat, colour, write etc. for ages....she worries that she doesnt join in with the rough and tumble. My ds is running around like crazy, and I worry he won't sit and draw/ what I'm trying to say is that whichever way you have it, there's always worry. Have pre-school said they think there's a problem? Or have they seen similar children before? They see so many different personalities that they are probably in a good position to advise if this needs further intervention.

SarkySpanner Thu 23-Jun-11 20:09:35

Sounds just like ds1 (now 6).

The social stuff is coming. Slowly.
My advice (which I don't always follow) is not to push the social stuff. Unless he us unhappy then I would just let things develop at their own pace. I see it as an aspect of his personality not a problem. It may become a problem later but for now he is happy being him smile

BumptiousandBustly Thu 23-Jun-11 20:11:13

Roo83 - I am meeting with pre-school tomorrow and we will see what they say. However I am a bit sceptical as last time I tried to bring it up, his key worker spend the time telling me how her son was a child who was good at everything, and how she dealt with that!

Which firstly is NOT the situation with DS, who is not good at everything, and secondly is not really helpful.

BumptiousandBustly Thu 23-Jun-11 20:16:07

sarkyspanner - the problem is that he IS unhappy now at pre-school - he cries when I drop him off and has to be left with an adult. He also seems to get pretty bored on play dates and quickly gets bored with any other activities (i.e. sports etc) that I arrange for him. At the same time he wants constant stimulation and gets fed up if we spend too much time at home.

I am really reluctant to enroll him in "mental" stimulation stuff - as it seems to be that this would separate him even further from his peers, plus he is only three and I want him to run around and play!

theliverpoolone Thu 23-Jun-11 20:38:00

Sounds like my dd too, who's 3.11. She's very confident with adults, and doing anything adult-led at nursery, but not at all confident with other children. She still struggles to 'join in' with them after 2 terms at nursery, and usually just wanders round on her own (based on what she says, and feedback from her teacher) sad. She's never been confident enough to go off and play at softplay, playgroups etc - was always glued to my side (I was always the mum trailing after her at softplay - not through my choice, but she'd only go on anything if I went too!). Interestingly, like your son, she also runs like a much smaller child.

I do worry about her ability to mix with her peers, and do try to find ways to help her (I know more playdates would help, and I recognise I've not been good at setting these up for her) - but I don't really worry in a 'does she need to be assessed' way. I recognise a lot of what she's like, as I was the same as a child, and am still not confident in social situations. I just hope I can help her learn earlier how to deal with it better. I really like snailoon's comment that they'll figure out how to get along with kids, it may just take some time and effort.

Good luck! smile.

SarkySpanner Thu 23-Jun-11 20:42:58

I gave up trying to make ds1 run around and play. Instead I encouraged him to make up daft games that he could play alongside the other kids who were running around.

Is there anything he does enjoy at preschool? Can you encourage the staff to engage in the activities that he does enjoy?

And IME experience it makes a massive difference if you can find him a like-minded friend. This has only just happened for ds1 and the change is enormous. Sadly his friend is not at the same school.

SarkySpanner Thu 23-Jun-11 20:46:50

So for example...
Ds1 hated soft play. He just didn't see the point and got no pleasure from the physical side of it. So we made up a shopping game where each colour ball was a different type of fruit and ge would try and sell different combinations of fruit to the other kids.

BumptiousandBustly Fri 24-Jun-11 05:52:49

theliverpoolone. Its very interesting to hear from other people who have similar experiences and clearly there are a lot of similarities. There are some differences too:

DS runs of happily to play at toddler groups - he just plays on his own. When he first started Pre-School he LOVED it - couldn't hold him back, and this went on for months, now he cries when I take him!

Something I do is that i arrange a LOT of play dates, toddler groups etc (mostly for my own sanity I must admit smile ) but it does mean that he gets out of the house a lot.

SparkySpanner. I think the idea of a daft game is brilliant. DS and I play lots of word games/silly rhymes etc anyway so will try and think of a way to engage him using that.

With regard to a like minded friend - he has two little girls he seems to get on very well with at Pre-School. One of whom we meet up with a lot outside pre-school and who he does play with (unless she runs off to climb etc). Which is why i thought that things at pre-school must be better than what I was observing at home. However now that I am being told by pre-school that he is not playing with anyone despite that little girl being there - I am getting really worried. (This is what set me off stressing about it all)

Roo83 Fri 24-Jun-11 08:30:53

Goodluck for your meeting today-maybe try to speak to other staff not just his key worker as they may have noticed other things. The crying going in is quite ds goes through phases of being fine, and then phases of not wanting to go BUT he is happy after I've left and chats away about what he's been doing when I collect him. According to his key worker lots of children go through this at different times. Fingers crossed you get some reassurance/advice today

SarkySpanner Fri 24-Jun-11 08:53:38

IMO if any child is unhappy about being at the preschool then the staff should be working with you to fix that. I agree that if his key worker is no help you should speak to others who work there. By coincidence Ds1 had a rubbish kw and it was only when ds2 started at the same nursery with a different kw that I realised how little she had done for him. If you think that she doesn't 'get' your Ds then speak to the manager. Don't worry about being pfb about this. If your son is miserable then it needs fixing and any decent preschool will want to sort it out.

lingle Fri 24-Jun-11 10:22:26

good luck with your meeting.

it can't be fun for him sensing the pressure to play games he doesn't get and doesn't know how to join in.

please post an update

BumptiousandBustly Fri 24-Jun-11 11:24:05

Thankyou all so much for the help and advice as well as sharing your experiences. I met with his Key worker today and she is referring him to the Senco.

I was relieved and pleased that I nearly cried! I really felt that at last someone was listening to me - while for that last year its like people think I have been saying "my son is so clever - please validate me!" rather than hearing me saying: I don't know what is going on here or how to deal with it.

So - it will probably take a long time, I have already been warned that probably nothing will happen till after the school holidays - but I don't care - at least someone has heard me, someone agrees that there might be an issue, and it will be investigated! Hurray!

SarkySpanner Fri 24-Jun-11 11:55:51

Good news.

But what is his key worker planning to do in the mean time? They still need to be making the effort to make him a happy boy again.

lingle Fri 24-Jun-11 12:16:50


after all, you can be highly gifted but still have SEN.

Roo83 Fri 24-Jun-11 19:27:39

Glad you're meeting was a bit more productive. At least you've started the ball rolling now so even if it is after the holidays things are moving. I'd just enjoy the holidays with him doing whatever he likes to do x

chipmonkey Fri 24-Jun-11 19:32:02

Glad you got through to them, Bumptious!

BumptiousandBustly Sun 26-Jun-11 07:59:09

Sparkyspanner - you are right, and I will discuss this with them as well. Honestly I was so happy that someone was finally taking me seriously, and I forgot that bit!

Thankyou ladies - Like you say, at least I got through to them. I am considering having a "chat" with the practice manager at my doctors surgery though, as the Doc I saw earlier last week, and was practically begging to help me, just told me "no-one will asses a three year old" - which turns out not to be true at all!

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