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Pls help me with DS1 (4). Why won't he speak to adults at school?!!

(13 Posts)
LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 19-Oct-09 12:06:28

DS1 started reception last month, he was 4 in July.
So he has been merrily going to school every day and we had parents evening last week where DH and I found out he is being taken out of class a couple of times a week to go to a 'Communications' group.
Teacher was not sure why as the group is usually a support for children who attend speech therapy. She did not bother to enquire as to why he was taken out for it though. hmm She didn't refer him.

He speaks freely with other children - no speech problems whatsoever btw - and obviously to DH and myself, family members, though not so much my grandparents etc who we only see month to month etc.

An older boy pushed him recently and when I asked him if he told his teacher or dinnerlady he said no.
He has no confidence speaking to adults he doesn't know so if he is hurt or ill, won't tell anyone.

What is narking me is that no letter came home to say 'your child is attending this group, this is what it's about', no one took me aside one morning/afternoon to say 'btw, he is attending this group'. But this is a different thing altogether which I must take up with teacher.

What I would like to know is, has anyone else experienced this with their child?

What did I do wrong then? I have never told him not to speak to adults at school?
More importantly, what do I do to help him?

luciemule Mon 19-Oct-09 12:22:06

Could you invite some other children from his class (say no more than 3) around for tea and ask their mums to stay for a cuppa too? Bless him - he's only a little one if he was only 4 in July and I honestly think, it's still really young to expect them to behave like big children. At the age of 3, they're still not really 'playing' with other children together; more just playing alongside them. It might just take longer for your DS to come out of his shell. Did he attend preschool - what was he like there?

LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 19-Oct-09 13:36:23

Thanks for your reply.
Yes - He attended the pre-school there. One of the women from pre-school started working as his teachers TA in Sept. when he started, she was his favourite, so he knows her and I think he talks to her, but it did say in his second from last pre-school 'report' that he lacked confidence speaking to adults, then in his last one before primary, said his confidence with adults had much improved.

This makes me think he just needs time to get used to the new adults? Think they may have jumped the gun a bit? He is quite shy, even with new children, but would join in with new children after about 20 mins.

luciemule Mon 19-Oct-09 13:43:04

He sounds very similar to my DS (4.8yrs) who was so shy at the beginning of reception, he didn't even say 'good morning' like they were supposed to.
The routine of reception are very different to preschool and I'm sure once he gets the hang of the new set up, he'll find more confidence in using his voice. Perhaps he's assessing things from afar, rather than using his voice.
I'm sure that because teachers usually have a job keeping little ones quiet, that it seems slightly strange to them that he's so quiet. I'm sure it'll all sort itself out

LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 19-Oct-09 15:42:24

I do hope so Lucie because I am a bit worried - more so about the fact he won't speak up if he feels unwell or is hurt.

MunkyNuts Mon 19-Oct-09 16:42:55

Who decided he should go to the Communications Group if it wasn´t the teacher? I think you need to speak to that person or the person who runs the Communications Group. It seems odd that the teacher doesn´t know what is going on, and very unprofessional not to have let you as parents know. I am no expert but have a DD (4) who is being labelled as having selective mutism, she finds it very difficult to talk to adults especially ones in authority like teachers. However, we live in Spain and she is contending with a second language so this is a slightly different case. I´d find out what the Communications Group are doing, it may be beneficial and help him gain confidence. The school really need to give you more information. You haven´t done anything wrong some children are simply too anxious to speak to (all/some) adults and cannot physically find their voice, it doesn´t sound like the worst case scenario if he speaks to other children and is happy enough going into school. It may simply be a question of time esp as he´s only been there a month and he is only 4.

LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 19-Oct-09 20:09:41

He did have hearing problems (nothing major - glue ear) and as a result some days could hear and some days couldnt. He has his last check up on 5th Nov, but the last hearing test he attended his hearing was almost totally back to normal.

This info was passed on to the school, from preschool, with my permission, in case he still had hearing problems and needed support in school if he couldnt hear well.

I am not sure if it has somehow stemmed from this?

All she could tell me about the group was it helped them 'string sentences together' (this was when I nearly choked on my tea) and they were encouraged to play games in which they had to speak out in a group, but as far as I can tell, this is in front of other children and one adult, so at the mo, am struggling to see the benefits for him if it's other adults he has issues with?

I just think he needs to be in his classroom as much as poss, getting used to the adults there.

Forgot - he also won't respond to direct questioning. If they are sat on the carpet and teacher turns round and says 'Mini LOTF - what colour is the bear?' he will not respond. TBH, can't imagine I did at 4 either.

FatFree Mon 19-Oct-09 20:30:14

My daughter was the same and wouldnt speak to any adults at preschool who arranged for a speech therapy session with her. After just that one session the therapist said that there was nothing wrong with her speech and that she was just really shy.

At home she was a real chatterbox but once in school she would clam up. This has kinda stayed with her all through her schooling and every parents evening we had "FF's daughter is doing really well, but just wont talk to me!".

She has had the same 3 friends since preschool and we almost get out the flags if she mentions a new friend. Even now she has gone to secondary school, we get the same old story with her teachers

My other daughter couldnt be more different and can talk the hind legs off a donkey to anyone who will listen grin and my son seems to be going the same way.

Danthe4th Tue 20-Oct-09 13:17:34

I was talking to a friend who works in a pre-school about this, apparantly its called selective mutism and is quite common especially with children who are slightly anxious. As they get more confident it should improve.

littleM Tue 20-Oct-09 13:49:28

sounds a bit like my brother. he would chat at home but preschool were unable to assess his speech as they never heard him talk. He didn't used to speak to me either as he didn't see me often but was happy to interact through play (20 yr age gap so wasn't at home when he was born!)
he then started to speak to me but only when no one else was there to hear.
when his younger sister started talking he realised he was missing out so started talking all the time
he is now surprisingly chatty for a 15 year old

LadyOfTheFlowers Tue 20-Oct-09 16:26:29

Selective Mutism - really? That sounds quite bad.
I will have to Google now. So I guess a communications group is not going to do anything?

This is still worrying me.... as soon as I picked him up he told me his ear is 'killing him' deep inside and it has been since snack time (mid morning) but of course, he hadn't bothered to tell anyone because he won't speak to them. hmm He is in quite a bit of pain so must have had a miserable day.

LadyOfTheFlowers Tue 20-Oct-09 16:34:05


Just read some stuff on Selective Mutism and it's spot on.

The communications group is NOT doing him any favours as expecting him to talk and trying to encourage him too only make the child more anxious so add to the problem.

Have to make Docs appt and ask them to put me in touch with a childrens' mental health specialist to have him assessed before it turns into a habit which he cannot or will not break.

'Triffic. hmm

Thanks Dan for the suggestion and MunkyNuts, you mentioned it too.

LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 26-Oct-09 11:27:35

Have a Docs appt on Friday morn to see what Doc says.
Thanks for all replies.

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