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SALT referral for not making friends in Reception yet?

(13 Posts)
eviekingston Sun 28-Oct-12 15:57:00

I am feeling somewhat confused as well as upset by my son's schools decision to refer him to SALT. I consider myself fairly clued up on the whole referral thing and reasons referrals are made - I have taught Reception/yr 1/yr 2 for 12 years, and have quite a lot of experience with special needs, particularly ASD. His teacher says the referral is because he is having difficulty socialising, and I completely agree that this is a problem for him at school, but he is in fact not too bad at making friends and communicating with other children outside school when he is relaxed. He has always been pretty clingy with me, and prior to starting nursery in January had only ever been left with my husband or my mother, so starting full time school has been hard for him, lots of tears etc. but that has improved recently and he has started to really enjoy it. Whilst the teacher hasn't specifically mentioned ASD, she has talked a lot about 'meeting his needs', and he has no speech or language issues, so I'm assuming that's where this is all heading. .To get SALT involved only 7 weeks into his school life seems a bit much. I think he is by nature an anxious child, I suffer from anxiety too and had awful PND, and he can get stressed out by new situations such as having lunch in the big hall or a different teacher, but he doesn't flip out about it. he has none of the other diagnostic criteria for ASD. But then am I just in denial? When I think of the many children I have referred myself over the years to SALT/Ed Psychs etc for a myriad of different reasons I just can't associate him with them. And before anyone has a go, I don't think him having additional needs makes him 'wrong' or 'faulty', and it goes without saying that I love him regardless. I'm just a bit confused and feel like maybe I don't know my son after all?

Ineedalife Sun 28-Oct-12 16:14:50

I am sure over the years you have come across parents like yourself, who have been surprised at being told that their child is having difficulties at school.

TBH, I would have been glad if Dd3's school had acknowledged her difficulties let alone referred her for assessment.

Children can be very different at school and home as you must know.

In my opinion it wouldnt do any harm to have a SALT assessment and it could pick up an issue if there is one.

There could be a 3 month waiting list, there i in my area and by the time you get to the top of the list the teacher might not be worried anymore, you can always cancel the appointment.

Good lucksmile

BrightenMyNorthernSky Sun 28-Oct-12 16:45:50

Hi evie, no advice from me, but we are in a similar position. DS1's reception teacher has gently suggested (and we have agreed to) an Ed Psych referral - the suggestion was made in the context of a discussion re some difficulties which he is having at school (very bright but socially immature, has struggled to make friends and is quite unhappy in the school environment). I kind of got the impression that we would have been free to leave it and wait a bit longer to see what happens but on balance we thought it better to take the opportunity now, hopefully with a view to nipping something in the bud. School are seeing something quite different to what we see at home (and what private nursery saw). I also suspect, although it has not been said out loud, that the teacher is concerned about ASD, however having worked with high functioning autistic children myself, I don't think that DS1 is on the spectrum (or if he is, he is so high functioning that it shouldn't cause him too many issues), but I can see why the things which have been picked up would cause an on-the-ball teacher to refer.

I think, a few weeks down the line, that I've accepted that a referral is probably a good thing - if there is something underlying then it's far better picked up now; if he just needs some strategies to help him adjust to school life, then it's great that the school are looking into implementing these. Since we had the discussion with his teacher, he has been much happier and more co-operative in, and far more enthusiastic about, school. It's almost as if the teacher has started viewing him as needing a little extra help / sensitive handling rather than as naughty, and whatever she is doing is making a big difference. My worry now is that they're going to decide that there is no need for Ed Psych after all!

Have you "tested" his comprehension yourself? It put my mind at ease a bit to do a few little exercises with DS1 just to check that he was understanding everything (DS1 is clearly fine on this score - doesn't take things literally which he shouldn't, can easily follow a "set" of 4/5 instructions). I suspect that this is what SALT will look at first.

Differentangle Sun 28-Oct-12 19:22:22

I have a slightly different take on this. I have been in exactly the same position as you in the last three weeks. The teacher started an open evening conversation by saying they thought ds had ASD and we needed to book an additional meeting and see a developmental paediatrician. We saw the developmental paediatrician - my ds is absolutely normal. I am seething with the way it was presented to me as a "problem". Clearly if there are things which are identified then this needs to be communicated, but teachers need to be mindful of the stress and consequences of what their opinions are

Differentangle Sun 28-Oct-12 19:23:19

OP do pm me if it would help

MrsCantSayAnything Sun 28-Oct-12 21:08:47

I like DifferentAngle had this OP.....with my DD who is shy and quiet. She is 8 now and totally normal. Still quiet but FINE! We moved schools actually because she was being almost picked on by a mad teacher who was insisting that DD had "problems"

Her current school have assured me that she is fine. Her HT said "not all kids want to be in the thick of it and some take longer than others to settle in."

So right. My DD took a year! The she was fine. Have you asked any children for tea op? It really does help.

adoptmama Mon 29-Oct-12 06:00:06

I'd say it is a bit quick off the mark tbh for a referral. 7 weeks is very little time to be settling in for a shy child. I'd ask the school what else they are doing first to help your child make friends - directing play on the playground etc. Tell them you appreciate the concern and are not discounting their worries at this time but explain your own persepctive and why you think it is too early to go for a formal referral. If you have it, show them video of your child enjoying social activities with children and tell them the kind of activities they enjoy doing with othe kids, and ask for their help in facilitating this at school.

MrsCantSayAnything Mon 29-Oct-12 08:22:31

Good point by adoptmama there....what are they doing to help him? Do they have an older buddy? My smaller DD is 4 and in reception and her buddy has been a great help...even though DD2 is not shy she still needs a constant help available to older DD was certainly nowhere near settled after 7 weeks but was still very introverted.

Katiebeau Mon 29-Oct-12 08:30:32

Some children grow up to be introverted adults who much prefer the company of friends and family they have known for a long time. It dilutes the need for supporting children truly on the AS when assuming all shy kids are on the spectrum. We see more and more of this. Some kids are quiet, shy and don't like change. It doesn't mean they have the inability to empathise or be emotionally open to those closest to them.

Good luck op and I hope your son settles in over the next year.

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Mon 29-Oct-12 09:39:05

I too think its a bit much after such a short amount of time. I teach reception too and I see many children who find the school environment overwhelming, especially if its a two or three form entry school. The vast majority of children don't like changes to school routine, they don't like the unexpected. Some children take to school life like ducks to water while some children take ages to settle, I mean not until after Christmas. There's a girl in my class, who spent the first couple of weeks following me around the classroom, holding my hand at play time, looking away when other children talked to her and not doing free play unless I was there. It was hard work, but with a lot of patience, giving her space, letting her take her time, introducing her to a buddy, doing turn taking games with other children, she is beginning to come out of her shell. The thing is I've seen her with her cousins and older sisters outside of school and she's a confident chatterbox.

I would ask what support they have put in place for him, eg buddying him up at free play, play times and the dinner hall, organised games at lunch times, social groups in the afternoon session. Are they making sure that they tell him in plenty of time what changes are taking place? As you know, OP, it's good practice to do that for everyone. Also, I think I would ask the teacher about 'his needs' - what exactly are they specifically and do they have examples to highlight his needs? They would have to have built up evidence to support their view, right?

MrsCantSayAnything Mon 29-Oct-12 10:37:41

Katiebeau exactly! The OPs DS needs a buddy to keep an eye on older one, my DD has one who is in year 6 and she's marvelous.

eviekingston Mon 29-Oct-12 16:24:12

Thank you so much to you all for taking the time to reply. I'm starting to feel now like I'm constantly assessing DS myself, but the more I see or don't see the more confused i feel! mrscantsayanything I arranged a play date for today with a little boy DS knew from nursery who is in his class, we went to a soft play place and he was great! Not the life and soul but chatting to his friend, running around exploring with him. The only problem he had was when a series of children kept pushing in front of him and he couldn't get on the slide - I had to remind him to use a big voice and say "excuse me it's my turn", which he did. I've asked for an appointment with the SENCO just to clarify what the specific problems are, so hopefully that will make things clearer. I think they are trying to create opportunities for him to socialise in class, and he likes the visual timetable, and he is definitely getting mush more settled and happier at school which is why the referral seems a bit left field! Oh well, I've got a couple more playdates lined up this half term and we shall see what next half term brings...
Thank you all again, just getting some other opinions and experiences has really helped x

midseasonsale Mon 29-Oct-12 23:05:54

To me it sounds like he will take time to adjust and get used to his class/school/friends. It's all very new still.

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