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Nursery hinting that Dd may have SN. Would you be worried?

(20 Posts)
MeeWhoo Mon 03-Oct-16 14:12:06


Just got back from nursery pick up and I am a bit upset.

DD is 2.8 and started nursery the 2nd week in September, she's been doing 2 hours sessions until today, when we did a trial half-day with lunch included and it didn't go well.

The nursery staff very diplomatically hinted that DD has developmental or behavioural problems. I don't think that is the case, but the behaviours that they are concerned about are:

- Doesn't interact with other children, doesn't like it when they touch her. (Does not display this behaviour at home with her brother, cousins, doesn't seem to have this problem at the park with me present either. Not sure whether related to an incident I witnessed where a child pushed her onto the floor twice and no staff were around).

- When she gets upset and cries/shouts she rejects cuddles or physical comforting. (She does do this at home, rarely with me -her mum-, but sometimes with her dad or grandparents, who have discovered that sometimes it is better to leave her alone for 5 minutes until she calms herself down and comes to find them).

- She throws herself backwards onto the floor when she doesn't want to do something/is upset, which, I agree, is dangerous. (She occasionally does this at home, mainly when she doesn't want to do something and I go to pick her up, so she is doing it as a way of preventing me from picking her up IYSWIM)

- She covers her ears with her hands. They seem to think that this is because she is overwhelmed, whereas our experience at home is that she does it as a way of ignoring us (when we are saying she is not allowed to do something for example). She has always liked covering and uncovering her ears as a game though, especially in the car.

I do know that she is very stubborn and headstrong and is not easy to convince her to do things (although the occasional chocolate bribe does work), but it is not generally a problem as she is quite happy go lucky, so she is not in this mood all the time. I wouldn't say that my daily life with her is difficult, or that I can't get things done because of her stubbornness/tantrums.

The one area where she is 'behind" is language (although this wasn't a nursery concern), but she is bilingual so I don't think unusual to be behind. She does say short sentences, like 'I want xxx", "Where is xxxx', 'Doesn't work', etc. but unfortunately she says these in English which should be her 2nd language (We live in Spain and I'm Spanish).

I haven't been worried abut her behaviour until now, only in an "I wish she would speak more so that I/other people would understand her" and I do know she is stubborn and not easily compliant.

Also, nursery set up here is crap, very different. She is a classroom of 18 2-3 year olds, with 2 staff. She does go to the staff members and demands attention but obviously this is not always forthcoming with such a crap ratio.

Sorry for the essay, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

Ineverpromisedyouarosegarden Mon 03-Oct-16 14:31:34

Hi, We had similar issues with Ds but he was older. He also was behind in language. It's difficult to know what to advise as a lot of what you describe is typical toddler behaviour.

I would be inclined to say go to GP and see if you get Speech and Language referral. By the time you actually get seen it might have sorted itself out if not you will be glad of early intervention.

Ds is fine now after lots of speech and language input. His issues were mainly from not being able to cope with the language required in the nursery.

flowers Try not to take personally.

Ineverpromisedyouarosegarden Mon 03-Oct-16 14:31:54

Hi, We had similar issues with Ds but he was older. He also was behind in language. It's difficult to know what to advise as a lot of what you describe is typical toddler behaviour.

I would be inclined to say go to GP and see if you get Speech and Language referral. By the time you actually get seen it might have sorted itself out if not you will be glad of early intervention.

Ds is fine now after lots of speech and language input. His issues were mainly from not being able to cope with the language required in the nursery.

flowers Try not to take personally.

MeeWhoo Mon 03-Oct-16 14:52:12

Thanks, Inever.
That's what has baffled me a bit, that the things they say they are worried about don't seem out of the ordinary to me. If they'd been concerned about language it wouldn't have surprised me at all.

I know that our way of parenting is a lot more "laissez fairer" than the norm in our area, where children for instance are used to being spoon fed for a lot longer than in the UK, to avoid mess, and a lot of them seem happy to stay in their stationary pushchairs for quite long periods of time, so I am wondering whether it's just a case of them not being used to a stubborn child who doesn't have a very strict routine, etc.

To be honest, part of the upset is because I was so looking forward to 4 child-free hours per day and it looks like that is not going to happen any time soon, now. I think I probably will have to remove her from that nursery whether she has behavioural issues or not.

Lindy2 Mon 03-Oct-16 15:05:42

Generally to me, that all sounds like normal range behaviour for her age. It is very normal for no lingual children to talk later. They are processing 2 languages. A good nursery should know that.
It does sound like she may be feeling a bit overwhelmed though with the war covering and not wanting contact. Would you consider a childminder instead? Maybe one with no lingual experience. Childminders can be paid through the 15 hours of early education if you are using that.

Lindy2 Mon 03-Oct-16 15:06:17

bi lingual not no lingual!

MeeWhoo Mon 03-Oct-16 15:28:38

Thanks Lindy, I do think that she will benefit from a place with better ratios, whether a different nursery or a childminder.

The language issue is no doubt contributing to the stress. I think in a different setting where she doesn't have to compete so much for attention she will have no problem communicating. My mum always says about Dd '"she may not talk much, but she has no problem getting herself understood", but obviously this is not working with 18 children and only 2 adults.

coffeemaker5 Mon 03-Oct-16 19:43:27

there is a lot of research about bi/multilingual upbringing and speech/language development and the consensus is now that bringing up a child with more than one language does not delay speech and language development.

MeeWhoo Mon 03-Oct-16 20:26:38

Hi Coffee, I wasn't aware of that. It' true that her older brother is and was actually advanced with his language, even though he's bilingual.

In any case I don't even think she is that far behind with language. Pronunciation wise, she is not very clear, but she is tongue tied. She does understand instructions and questions in both languages and, as per my Op, she asks questions, makes demands and uses descriptive language (look, it's a dog!). So even though a lot of children would be able to say more -indeed her brother could hold conversations perfectly at her age- I don't think she us that unusual either (other than in choosing the non-natural and not geographically native language as her first language).

I was more interested in knowing whether other people think that the behaviours the nursery is concerned about are normal toddler stuff or something worrying.

thecatsclinkers Mon 03-Oct-16 20:31:58

My DD was so speech delayed she didn't speak until 3 so I wouldn't expect nursery to pull me up on that. However the hands on ears with some of the other symptoms is very sensory related...could this be the case?

MeeWhoo Mon 03-Oct-16 20:40:24

I honestly think the hands on ears is not a response to sensory overload, it's just her way of saying she doesn't want to do what you are telling her. She has always been very good at ignoring you if you are telling her to not do something she wants to do, or something she doesn't want to do, she is very headstrong.

I have spoken to Dh and we think we should have her assessed just for peace of mind, even though we (and both sets of grandparents) don't think there is a problem, and I'll talk nursery further tomorrow, but we will most likely take her out because, whether or not she has Sn, it seems clear they don't have enough staff to give her the support she needs and AFAIK, they won't even get extra staff on a daily basis if she dies have Sn.

LivininaBox Mon 03-Oct-16 20:51:47

My son has some of the behaviours you describe, he is now 4 and I am pretty confident he has no SN. He doesn't like large groups of noisy children, especially if he doesn't know them. He had very little interest in playing with other children before he turned 3, and even now he is content to play alone much of the time. He also covers his ears with his hands - mainly when he us being asked not to do something, sometimes when he is overstimulated. His nursery raised it with us as a concern, along with his perceived lack of social skills.

His speech was delayed due to a hearing problem and I am sure that was part of his slow social development - it must be hard mixing in a big group if you don't have much language.

But he is getting on just fine now, still not hugely sociable but well within the normal range.

ohdearme1958 Mon 03-Oct-16 21:15:50

My children and grandchildren are all bi-lingual. They also have a third language to hand as well but are not fluent in it. I think way too much is made of the supposed difficulties associated with being brought up as bi-lingual. It needn't pose any problems.

Op, I'm sorry, but there are things In your post that would have me concerned. Plus, The staff have picked up on a lot after only few weeks with your wee girl. I suspect the things you explain away so easily are more obvious than you think and people used to being around children can see them differently to you.

BackforGood Mon 03-Oct-16 21:28:57

I dividually, all the things you describe in your op are things many toddlers do, but its when you put a,l of them together that it does become something i would be mentioning to a parent, yes. Obviously they aren't / can't diagnose anything, but they are right to have the conversation with you to start asking you more about what she is like at home, etc, and doing some focused observations of your dd.

MeeWhoo Mon 03-Oct-16 22:00:43

Thank you all for your comments, I am talking them all on board.

I think the best course of action then is to have dd assessed and go from there.

ohdearme1958 Mon 03-Oct-16 22:03:19

I think you'll be told you're wee one is too young for much of an assessment just yet but you will at least be flagging concerns for now.

BackforGood Mon 03-Oct-16 22:11:57

Wouldn't be too young here, but obviously i don't know how the system works where you are.

MeeWhoo Tue 04-Oct-16 09:25:40

Thanks again.

I'll take her to her paediatrician and relay the nursery's concerns (and have her hearing checked as her dad had speech problems due to vegetations), but we will also take her privately to a psychologist to ask about assesment and see what they think.

user1474026214 Tue 04-Oct-16 22:06:00

Some children just aren't suited to the Nursery environment and thrive in a more quiet and intimate setting, such as a childminder. Perhaps it's all just a bit overwhelming for your dd.
You sound like you have good instincts and seem to know your daughter well. Do what yout instincts tell you. I have personal experience of this and it turned out that there was nothing wrong with my DC, his key worker just didn't understand him and it was the wrong place for him. Best of luck x

MeeWhoo Wed 05-Oct-16 07:57:26

Thank you for your kind words user1474026214,flowers.

I completely agree with you that this nursery setting does not suit dd. I think she would have probably been fine in a UK nursery (with one carer to 4 children, rather than 2 carers for 18 children), or a childminder.

The more I think about it, the calmer I am. Although I do agree that some of her behaviours might be raising alarm bells (such as the covering her ears, rejecting cuddles when upset), outside of the nursery setting, I really do see no overall signs of problems in the sense of her having social difficulties, difficulties understanding emotions, lacking empathy or having trouble if going off routines, being particular about the way things are done, etc.

However, as I am aware that I am not always in possession of the Universal Truth, I will listen to all the nursery's concerns (I have a meeting on Thursday), and also talk to the psychologist and have her assess dd.

It looks like my 4 hours a day child-free dream will not be materialising soon, though! <sigh>[smilesmile

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