Educational Psychologist(19 Posts)
I've posted before about problems with my DS (5) at school. For background, we moved over the summer so its a new school for him and his DBs, and he also has ongoing problems with hearing with a build of wax but is being seen by ENT. Having lots of tears and tantrums at school, called the teacher fat, says he hates her, hates school, hates everything........had several meetings already and he came out of school again on Friday sobbing his heart out with no sign or explanation from teacher. I asked her today about something at school drop off and she then informed me that they are now logging all of his behaviour and will be making a referral to an Educational Psychologist. Can anyone share their experience of what EP do, what they could be looking for etc? I am worrying all the time about him, as he was so well behaved at his old nursery and generally at home too.
When he came out crying on Friday, did you not go into the school and ask what was going on?
I'm sorry that you found out in this way. If it was me, I would have expected to have been invited in for a meeting.
Could you speak to the school tomorrow? Ask to speak to the person responsible for SENCO. Ask them what exactly the issues are and how they are dealing with it.
If his hearing is poor, how is his speech?
Thanks for replying Jilted. I asked for a Speech and Language referral a couple of years ago but nothing came of it as he was deemed too young. His current teacher also made one in Autumn last year but he was immediately discharged, no problems.......his speech isn't as crystal clear as his DBs but it's ok, just struggles with his 'r's a bit.
On Friday I didn't go in as just as I was trying to establish what was wrong I got called in to my other DSs classroom by his teacher to discuss another matter. Pick up time is always so chaotic as I have my youngest DS (4) with me and have to collect the other two at virtually the same time. I had actually spent most of the day in school for their Mother's Day celebrations which made it all the more frustrating as he had been so happy when I left him....
We were supposed to be having a parents evening appointment this Wednesday which my DH was attending too so I was planning on having yet another thorough discussion then only the online system apparently "got the booking slots wrong" so his teacher can't actually see us.........I will be rearranging this asap.
As for the SENCO, as far as I know she has had no real contact with him as yet. She is actually the Year 1 teacher and other DS (6) is currently in her class. DS (5) will therefore be in her class from September.
You need a proper meeting with the teacher and like jilted said the SENCO. An EP is invited in to assess how a child is working in school, how they are accessing the work and classroom and to make recommendations for ways to support the child. EPs are also needed to write reports that can then be used to apply for what used to be called a statement (of educational need) but is now an EHCP.
I think you need to have a very open conversation with the teacher about why your son is being seen by the EP. It sounds like it will be to support with behaviour strategies but to be honest in our school the EPs time is only for the children with the more severe needs. This isn't to say at all that your ds has severe needs, the school may have a very low Sen caseload so the EP time can be used for a wider net of children. However I would want to know what the school are thinking and equally as a teacher I would want parents to have total transparency on what our plans for their child are in terms of support needed.
Make sure you get a parents evening slot. It's not good enough for bookings to get messed up. You may need to be pushy. You are also entitled to see the log they keep of his behaviour, again all information should be shared with parents.
Spoke to teacher today and we have rearranged our appointment for next Wednesday. My DH wants to attend too so it took a bit of sorting but at least we're not limited to the ten minutes we'd get for our proper parents evening slot.......I am compiling everything I want to say and ask as I tend to get flustered when the time comes. Hopefully I can find out what has actually been going on that's so terrible as when I informed her that I would be requiring a copy of this behaviour log I was told that I could have it but it would make "distressing reading"!
It's good that you've got a meeting but is it tomorrow or next Wednesday? Have you said that you would like to speak to the person responsible for SENCO as well as this appointment?
As for his speech, do you think it may be worth getting him assessed privately, if funds allow?
It's next Wednesday as the parents evening slot we had originally booked was for tomorrow......as long as she doesn't cancel that one I am prepared to wait as it's important my DH is there too (not easy with his work) and also as she can do it at the start of school, all 3 of our DC will be occupied.
Will definitely ask about the SENCO being present too as there is no way that would just happen otherwise.
I'd never thought about getting a private assessment for his speech. He has come on so much over the last 2 years I think he's ok 90% of the time but maybe I'm biased......
Yes, let's hope she doesn't cancel. If she does, I'd be tempted Togo and talk to the head.
When's he due to be seen by ENT again?
Brite I'm glad you have a meeting. I'm aghast that the teacher told you the behaviour log would be distressing reading. If things are that bad then you should have been told before now after each incident. As a rule not every act of misbehaviour is passed onto the patent but if it's serious enough to be logged then you need to be told. Good luck.
I would indeed be speaking to the head if she cancels although I did get her to confirm today that next Wednesday is definitely ok for the meeting.
I don't know exactly when he will be seen by ENT again. My DH took him to his last appointment and is a bit vague on the details (helpful!).
Thank you both for advice and replies. It is appreciated.
Well we had our meeting this morning....SENCO was present which we were glad about. I asked exactly what the distressing behaviour was and why a referral to an EP was deemed necessary. Teacher backtracked slightly saying they wouldn't necessarily be doing the referral, only with our consent, it was just a possibility etc.
However, the distressing behaviour actually is quite distressing . Apparently 2 weeks ago our DS had a pair of scissors and placed them threateningly up to his TA's glasses before telling her when he was a grown up he would come back and kill her. 2 weeks ago. Obviously we asked why we hadn't been told about this at the time and we were told it was because the teacher didn't want to upset us.....wtf?!
I am absolutely gobsmacked by this latest revelation. DH and I will be having an informal chat with the Educational Psychologist after Easter prior to making any formal referral.
And typically, DS has actually been much calmer and better behaved over the last week whilst we have been waiting for this meeting. My head is reeling.
* Britespark* I'm sorry that can't have been easy to hear. I agree that you should have been told this and the reason "to not upset you" is ridiculous. Was the SENCO any help? Are they going to set up any kind of nurture groups to support ds in dealing with his emotions?
A bit of backtracking went on and DS's teacher now says that no referral will be made unless they have our consent, it's what we want etc which definitely ISNT what she said before and I think the Senco must have set her straight on procedural issues there. Senco informed us she has heard DS shouting and being upset on several occasions which surprised me as she didn't mention that the other night.
Feeling a bit lost. He is such a bloody lovely little boy at home and whilst I'd never excuse the behaviour discussed today, I still very much feel like the environment is a bit part of the problem.
Senco's advise was for us to to have an informal chat with the EP after Easter hols and then if we want a referral to go from there. So really until then there's nothing to do, just hope he doesn't say/do anything else.
The EP will give you the chance to talk about how he is at home. I think you should also talk through what it is you think he finds hard about the school environment. The EP if you decide to go ahead will be able to observe him in class and make recommendations. In my experience of EP's from a teacher point of view they will want to know from the school what has been put in place to support him and if the answer is nothing, which from your posts it sounds like, they will start there. Good luck.
Thank you for taking the time to reply. My head is spinning with it all, even more so today after teacher gave me a copy of the behaviour "log". Astounded to read he behaves in such a manner, and so regularly. Had a big cry in the shower afterwards! Let's hope after easter we can try and improve things. Thanks again.
You need to make a note of the conversations you've had and you would be well advised to email a copy to the school to make sure that you have a shared record. Sorry if this sounds negative but you the backtracking you've already encountered is nothing compared to what may be in store.
Make sure that you reinforce positive language around the behaviour your DS is displaying. He is communicating that he is distressed about something and the role of the adults is to work out what that is and manage it. It shouldn't be about criticism and punishment.
A good EP can observe him, listen to what you report and what school reports and come up with some recommendations to reduce his distress and support him where he is currently struggling. He or she might also make referrals for further assessments if appropriate.
Make a list of questions and concerns and be prepared to hand it over. I've often find this helps my views and wishes to be included in any reports.
Ask your DS about school, write down his answers verbatim and give them to the Ed Psych too or the school if you think that would help. It's crucial that his thoughts and feelings are taken seriously. Ask him what he would change about school if he had a magic wand. The answer can be quite illuminating.
Also ask the school to include the events running up to each incident as they are likely to tell you quite a lot about why they are happening.
for your Brite. In the log does it give any mention of what triggers the behaviour or is it just what he does?If not I think school needs to record the triggers because then you and they can look for patterns, for example does it always happen after play when he wants to be outside? Is it at whole class teaching times when he is expected to sit and listen for a sustained period of time?
Also it isn't your responsibility to come up with a plan to solve this. The school need to be thinking of support they can put in place outside of the EP visit as well. Of course you need to support the school but you don't need to know how they can solve this. Especially if he is a different child at home and school. What does ds say about it or is he not able to really talk about it with you?
Cross post with Gold, we both seem to agree.
Sorry for the delay, had to take a few days to calm down! Thank you both for your helpful and thoughtful answers. I have started to write everything down, largely to record and clarify things for myself although it may yet turn into a document for the EP.
R.e. the log they do try and explain the build up to some of the events e.g. He wasn't at the front of the line down to assembly (line leader) and despite being given a pack of stickers to "placate him", he got up and left the hall three times after exclaiming "I hate singing!" He doesn't . He also kicks off when other children try to join in if he is doing a puzzle, doesn't really like to share the sit-on tractor toy, took apparent delight in producing rubbish scribbled work and got upset when the teacher said rubbish belongs in the bin before putting it there.....
Something that worries me about this log is the discrepancy between what we were verbally told regarding the scissors incident and what is written down. On the log is states "threatened to kill ****. "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to get a gun when I'm an adult and shoot you in the eye until you are dead". Nothing afterwards about how they dealt with that. And I don't think I've ever heard him use the term adult although maybe I'm nitpicking.
The last couple of days before breaking up for Easter were quiet afaik.....another parent told me how beautifully DS had sung at the Easter church service so at least he didn't cause a scene there! The term did end on a slightly sour note though as I didn't appreciate the remarks written in DS's reading journal ".....should be able to read these if he cooperates!" It felt snarky and unnecessary.
Can't wait to get the EP involved now as it can surely only be of benefit to DS. And I will be giving them a very full and frank report on "our" side of the story.
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