Teacher wants to refer 4yo for OT(14 Posts)
I'm a bit shocked, possibly overreacting, certainly emotional. Yesterday when I was dropping the DS off at reception, his teacher smiled, handed me a form and asked if I could give consent to refer DS for OT. She didn't give me any more information but said I should just fill in the rest of the form as she had already filled it in and provided the 'evidence'. I got to work and looked at the 4 pages of checkboxes (plus two examples of my little boy's writing) and I don't agree with about half of what she has asserted; that he can't dress himself, hop, hold a pen or know the name of letters etc. I totally get that with 30 other children in the class she might not see him do these things, especially if he's being an awkward sod and refusing (he's four) but I know he can and does do those things at home. So I had a meeting with her today and told her that what she's written doesn't ring true for me, but I do want to give him help if he needs it, so does she think he really need this and if so, what does it mean - will he be labelled in the future, will he be taken out of class etc. She couldn't really answer me but reiterated that she does think he has physical issues (when I said 'but I see him doing all of these things you haven't seen' she just smiled and said 'oh ok') so I asked for the weekend to think.
So sorry, a bit too long and rambly, but I don't know what to do. He is only 4: some of the checkboxes were right - he doesn't like using cutlery, isn't good on a scooter or bike, doesn't enjoy writing - but should he be referred by a SENCO so young? Will it have a lasting impact if I do / don't give this consent? Shouldn't we just practise writing / scooting / with cutlery for six weeks and see where we get before referring him? Or is it not a big deal?
Am I being ridiculous?
It's not a big deal - if he needs help he will get it, if he doesn't need help the OT will sign him off. He's not going to be labelled or anything.
Remember the teacher sees 30 four year olds a year, and if she has noticed yours struggles more with things most manage then she might have a point. She just wants him to get any help he needs.
I would be annoyed if they did it wighout consultation with you first but don't see it as a negative, see it as a way of helping him to develop the skills.
Ds was in reception when he was reffered to OT and for him it was very much a positive thing and helped me realised how much he was struggling with things I may not have noticed as j was just used to helping him
My son saw an occupational therapist at five. He had help with learning to write, using sissors and managing buttons. At the age of 14 no one knows or even cares.
The OT will assess his gross and fine motor skills and suggest ways to help him. No it's not too early. The is a window of opportunity for the brain to develop visual perception. The fact is that intervention at four years old is very effective and he will never be behind his friends.
If you wait for years your child might feel stupid after years of failure and be less co operative.
Thank you, that is incredibly helpful and reassuring.
It's a positive thing if he needs extra help and gets it. Does it really matter if it's on his school record? Lots of children see a senco or ed psych. The worst thing would be to refuse help!
Children in reception are getting help for all sorts of things and going in and out of the classroom or working in groups or with 'special helpers' for multiple reasons. It's very unlikely that your ds will feel 'labelled' any more than the children in the Thursday knitting club or the boy who comes in late on Tuesdays after his toenail treatment.
If he doesn't need any extra help it's very unlikely a spurious OT assessment will do him any harm. But if there's anything that he can be helped with, then not having him assessed could be worse.
I think you're right, thank you. I do want him to get help if he needs it and not be stubborn and proud / blind. I just wish I had been helping him more.
I'm fully expecting DS's teacher to do the same for him at our parents evening soon. I think I'd rather he have help now than be left to struggle later. It's not a diagnosis, it's just help.
The OT will come in to school and assess your DS, then say what further intervention (if any) is needed.
If any is needed, there may be some delay, as there are probably more DC who could do with some help than there are hours in the OT's schedule.
I would grab the referral with both hands, and be incredibly thankful my DC had such a brilliant teacher. I suspect lots of DC slip through the net, and are never given any additional support
How long does he take to get dressed independently? Most four year olds can ride a scooter....an OT may be able to give suggestions on excercises regarding balance that are more effective than just riding a scooter lots.
IME any input by OTs, physio, SaLT etc in Reception will be actually carried out by the class TA from a programme given to them by the professional.
I understand it is a bit upsetting but it can be very helpful. DD had OT and Physio for coordination etc in reception then a couple of years later. Year 8 she was one of three people cartwheeling during the school musical.
The Physio also realised her tongue wasn't moving properly and the exercises helped with her speech, though she did go on to have a bit of speech therapy.
Ds1 was referred for OT during reception as he struggled hugely with motor skills, particularly writing, and cutting with scissors. He was assessed as being below 1st percentile for motor control. He went on to attend OT sessions three times a week throughout reception, Y1 and Y2. I remember feeling so sad reading his end of reception report which stated that he 'still needed support to write his name correctly' (and he only has a three letter name).
He is now 11 and in Y7. We've just had his first parents' consultation at secondary school where all is going well. Lots of praise for his work and his English teacher, in particular, spoke glowingly about the excellent essays he has written and how well he can present his ideas on paper and his 'nice clear legible handwriting'.
None of his current teachers know or care that he had 3 years of extra OT support at infants school. They have no idea that he couldn't write his name properly at the end of reception. Because the help he was given enabled him to close that early skills gap between him and his peers, and start to reach his potential academically.
Take the help now if it is offered OP. I know it's hard to acknowledge that your child needs extra help, but now is your golden opportunity to maximise the benefits of that help.
Thank you all so much for your context and wisdom - it really has helped and made me feel much more focused and less panicky and frankly selfish about this; I will take the help for DS and be glad we have the opportunity to get help for him at this stage. I really appreciate it, thank you.
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