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4yo "6 months behind"... what?

(5 Posts)
AlternativeNickname Thu 24-Apr-14 17:38:32

So, my 4yo son (5 in september) is due to start school in August, at the Primary school attatched to his nursery.

Today i had a meeting with the Headteacher to discuss the transition from nursery to Primary 1 (Scotland) and she sort of dropped into the conversation that DS is about six months behind on a maturity level, and also described him as having behaviour difficulties.

Now, HT is wonderful, DS and i are both very lucky to have her at his school- she is very much involved with all the children and gets to know them as individuals, and is very supportive of children and parents, i really can't fault her at all, but this has come as quite a surprise to me.

I cannot lie and say it's completely out of the blue- DS is an only child and did have a hard time in his first year at nursery, settling down was difficult for him, but with
perserverance and one to one support things improved alot and i thought he was getting on ok. At one point early on, he was referred to Paediatrician and speech therapist but neither of them had any concerns with his development and did not want to see him again. At further meetings with his nursery teachers, reports on his progress have been positive, whilst still acknowledging that DS has some trouble when it comes to following instructions and also with sitting down for group story times/ crafts etc rather than free play, again this has been discussed and strategies put in place which work and things have continued to improve in that area. All teachers agree that he is academically able and not behind in that respect, he just needs encouragement to aplly himself and that is something i have been personally working on as well.

At home he can definitely concentrate- he can spend a good amount of time using lego, knex, reading a book, colouring, with playdough etc. i have put blame on him being easily distracted at nursery by other children- ie. when he sees them running around playing he wants to join in with that over sitting at a table doing at an activity etc. he is also stubborn and desuade once he has an idea in his head, so i admit getting him away from play to sit on a mat is a challenge.

anyway, all of the above i knew, but have always been under the impression that he just needs a little extra attention and ecouragement (usually from TA or student teacher) for more concentrated activities, as well as.some time out when he gets frustrated. i had no idea he was 6 months behind and needed to be labelled as having "behavioural difficulties" and it has really come as a shock- so much so that i didn't even pick HT up on it amd just continued discussion about P1 transition as if it wasnt news to me at all.

I couldn't care less if what she is saying is correct or not- if it is, i just want to make sure i do everything i can to help him, and to make sure he gets what he needs at home and at school- which i have no doubt he will. I suppose i just didn't think the difficulties he has are serious enough to need labelled!

i wonder where to go from here- do i speak to the HT again and explain that i need to know more and was just a bit stunned to pick her up on what was said this morning? do i go to Health Visitor? Peadiatrician? I feel a bit lost like i don't know where to start and also don't want HT to think i was being dim or neglectful... 6 months is alot to be behind by... how did i not realise myself?

sorry it's so long, i don't really have anyone to talk to about this either (my mother quite dismissive about it, his father is totally absent).

not really sure what i'm asking for, i suppose any comments or thoughts would be helpful at this time...

tobiasfunke Thu 24-Apr-14 18:00:17

It would be a good idea to arrange to speak to the nursery teacher/staff about it and what exactly they mean. I'm surprised the head didn't explain more. I'm not sure you can land a parent with a behavioural difficulties diagnosis without explaining further. I think I would be rather pissed off frankly. Surely if it was that serious they would've talked to you about it. It may just be a coverall term.

My DS is in P1 (Scotland) with a August birthday and I have to say by 5 his maturity and concentration levels had taken a quantum leap compared to 4.5 so I wouldn't fret yet.

catkind Thu 24-Apr-14 18:11:34

He sounds like my DS - now nearly 5, who's loving school and doing really well. He did have problems at times concentrating, his teacher moved him to sit nearer the front so there were less distractions and he's doing better now. I'm sure he'd be 6 months behind average socially too. I should think in various skill sets he ranges from a good few months behind to a good few months ahead of average, they can't all be average at everything.
I'm surprised being 6 months behind is labelled as behavioural difficulties at this young age though. It doesn't seem like a massive difference. After all there's a whole year's variation in actual ages within a school year. There's a big range of maturity levels in DS class, and it's not necessarily the youngest who behave the youngest by any means.

AlternativeNickname Thu 24-Apr-14 18:36:46

Thankyou tobias and catkind for your replies.

I will probably see HT in the morning so will ask her when she has time for a quick chat and further explanation- i know this wont be a problem.

I am a little pissed off the more i think about it- DS and i have been out all day and ive been sitting in the sidelines dwelling on it i think, even cried a bit which is not me at all. Just feel that if this has been a big enough concern to label it in this way, it should have been brought up sooner and as a priority for discussion- not a sideline.

Glad to hear both your children are enjoying school- my DS loves nursery and i'm confident that he will enjoy school as well, i just don't want him to struggle if he isn't getting the right support, and i feel that at 9 weeks before the end of term, this is a big bombshell to drop.

i agree with you tobias that in a few months their maturity can take a quantum leap as you put it- this is certainly what happened with my ds last summer, so maybe it will happen this year too. i just don't want him to have three months off school, be thrown back in at the deep end with no support because i havent had the chance to make sure his needs (if indeed he has any) are met.

what you've said, catkind, makes sense and has eased my mind a bit- he is young and is in some ways way ahead of his peers, it's also a very small school so maybe his differences out more where there might be more children at similar stage of maturity if there was a bigger cross section?

thanks again for your replies, i think i need to rationalise this a bit, the shock of what HT said has made me panic a bit.

AlternativeNickname Thu 24-Apr-14 20:02:07

should also maybe point out that we had a bog-standard parents meeting and stay and play a fee weeks before they broke up for easter and his nursery teacher did not express anything close to what the HT said.

Basically she told me that we needed to help him learn to concentrate and apply himself but they had no concerns about his ability or readiness for P1.

i'm so confused sad

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