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A fairly disastrous parents evening

(25 Posts)
theQuibbler Tue 09-Nov-10 19:01:56

Ds is 4, nearly 5.

We've had our first parents evening, where it was made clear, in a very nice way, that he was struggling and behind the other children in his class.

He tries hard, but finds it difficult to understand what he is meant to do when (for example), they are playing games with numbers or letters. Needs to watch the other children to work out what is going on and even then it's a bit hit and miss. Still can't reliably recognise his numbers or where to put them on a number line. He needs a lot of one to one support for his 'work', such as it is.

His teacher said that they are concerned that he has auditory processing difficulties - the way that he understands information. I've looked up APD and a lot of it seems to apply to older children, or at least it seems a bit tricky to diagnose it quite so early on.

She also said that we should spend more time with him on number recognition and games, but I do that, already. He just doesn't seem to get it, but I do keep trying.

She dropped in casually that although she knows that I work, it's really important that this gets done, which made me feel really guilty and as though I've failed him by not staying at home.

He's going to have speech therapy. I don't know what to do to help my boy. The whole thing has just really upset me - I feel shocked.

noteventhebestdrummer Tue 09-Nov-10 19:07:22

Don't panic, he's only little. Lots of other kids will be in the same stage with their learning at this age.

Play games with him in a fun way, be positive about school, do the speech therapy. It will work out!

The teacher is doing well in letting you know where he is at but I bet by the end of the year he will be fine and will have figured out how most of the classroom stuff works.

nameymcnamechange Tue 09-Nov-10 19:12:11

Don't be upset! This is actually really encouraging. Lots of children are left to drift, the teacher sounds very switched on. She is not criticising you for working, that would be silly as presumably loads of the parents in the class work, so don't take it like that.

piscesmoon Tue 09-Nov-10 19:24:46

He is only little and has plenty of time. I agree that it is encouraging that it has been picked up early. He should be getting special help-did she mention the SENCO?

tutu100 Tue 09-Nov-10 19:30:47

I don't think that sounds disasterous at all. The fact it has been picked up that your ds is struggling is good, and they have a plan in place to try to help him which is great.

At the moment he is very young so it may be there is nothing wrong and he will eventually catch up with his peers. My ds1 is in Yr1, but at the end of last year there was concern by both the school and myself that he may have some form of ASD. The school had already implimented some routines to hepl him and they were montioring his progress with a veiw to involving the SENCO more if he was making no progress by October half term. Since restarting school this september he has come on in leaps and bounds. He is still being monitored to see if he could have ASD, but it is looking more and more like he was just a slower starter.

Please don't feel bad, I think everything you have said in your post sounds positive.

anotherbrickinthewall Tue 09-Nov-10 19:36:48

it's very scary thinking your child may have any difficulties of this nature, and am sure that it feels little consolation atm us all saying it's good the teacher has been on the ball in reacting so quickly as of course you don't want to be in this position at all! hopefully the speech therapist will give you plenty of ideas about how best to work with your DS to bring him on. btw it's very common for kids to have some difficulty at some point their school career - a few years down the line it may be a completely different picture.

might also be worth getting a hearing test arranged, just to rule out something like glue ear affecting his understanding of rules etc.

theQuibbler Tue 09-Nov-10 19:38:00

She didn't mention SENCO - that's special needs provision?

I was going to ask her, but we only had 10 minutes and it was all a bit rushed. I asked her about assessment (continuous and formal at end of terms) and will try to get another update after Xmas.

I'm trying to see it as a good thing. I am. The school are very switched on and it is well funded with a lot of capacity to do things. They did say some lovely things about him, all social, not academic, though.

But I think I need a little bit of time to let it sink in, as it feels, I don't know, it just makes me feel really sad that my bright, funny little lad is struggling so much and could have special needs. How could I missed that?

Whitenapteen Tue 09-Nov-10 19:38:00

OP It is good that the teacher is involving you so that school and home can work together to help DS. Could DS have a problem with his hearing? My DS had a number of subtle strategies for trying to keep up with what was going on in class because he had limited hearing. As well as struggling to hear he was very tired as he had to work harder just to keep up. Just a thought.

piscesmoon Tue 09-Nov-10 19:43:39

Ask to see the SENCO and ask what they are going to do. If it is any help my brother was similar-speech therapy-hopeless number recognition etc-failed 11+ but then passed at 12 and at 13 was in the high flyers stream of the grammar school and went to university. Do not write him off at 4 yrs old-they take their own time.
My DS2 had an IEP all through school and speech therapy-while he isn't academic- he has all his GCSE's at C or B -except French.(he is dyslexic and has enough problems with English!) Do not despair.

mafog Tue 09-Nov-10 19:44:31

You could always ask to meet with her again, say in a few weeks, when you have had chance to think about it all, and ask her any questions that you've thought off. You're likely to be able to see her for a bit longer than the 10 mins you get at parents evening, so to go through the next best steps.

IndigoBell Tue 09-Nov-10 19:56:14

You need to go to an Audiologist to get him tested for Auditory Processing Disorder. It definatley does not only apply to older children. What it is, is when you can hear perfectly well, but find it hard to understand what you heard.

The specialists in this if you live in London is GOSH. Otherwise your local Audilogist will have to test him.

Sounds like he has a brilliant teacher, and he is very lucky.

Go to your GP and ask for a referral to an Audiologist.

LeninGrad Tue 09-Nov-10 20:36:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dikkertjedap Tue 09-Nov-10 21:45:27

Agree with other posters - teacher is on the case, so that is really positive. I think suddenly the penny drops and it is working towards that moment. Maybe it helps to do number songs as well, one two buckle your shoe, the farmer mows a meadow, there are lots of counting songs you can get CDs with them and listen to them at home, in the car etc. Also, in daily life, let him help lay the table - count the number of plates needed, number of forks etc. And most importantly just keep persisting and encouraging him. What about number puzzles so he has to work out where each piece goes and then get a number line? Also, stories with numbers, like thomas the tank engine has books with numbers, Hungry Caterpillar, our dd learnt her numbers funnily enough through thomas the tank engine as all the engines have numbers so whilst playing with them and listening to the thomas CDs she learnt her numbers. Also, numberjacks on TV or computer or the magazine. Good luck.

swill72 Tue 09-Nov-10 23:23:24

I used to put things like numbers and key words on the wall at the breakfast bar where DCs eat breakfast and tea during the week. DS used to sit and chat about what he could see on the wall. I'd move them around every couple of days, so he wasn't just memorising them from their position. I still do it now and again for problem spellings, for example.

theQuibbler Wed 10-Nov-10 10:56:50

Thank you for those ideas - I'm going to get some more games with numbers and have looked up some other online games, and will get some CDs as well.

I've had a rubbish night - couldn't sleep for worrying plus am pregnant, and forever going to the loo. Stupid hormones mean I'm crying as though my heart will break as well - which it well might. I think I need to calm down a bit. sad

Does anyone think a tutor is a good idea? Or should I try myself first? It's not as if I don't do all this stuff anyway, maybe I'm just not doing it right. They said that should just do 5 to 10 minutes a day, how can that be enough?

Kewcumber Wed 10-Nov-10 11:02:54

personally I think tutor is a bad idea at this age. DS is the same age and certianly on the low side of average and yet its obviously he a normally bright boy generally so I suspect its just developmental in his case and he will catch up. On nursery teachers advice last year, we did lots of matching games (like pairs) short term memory games (tryng to spot which item has been removed and did pre-wrting stuff (shaoes etc) and yes I only did 5-10 minutes a day and he certianly imrpoved within weeks. But of course that could be what he was going to do anyway.

Follow teachers advice - she has identified a weakness and has suggested a few actions - follow them and see where that gets you. It sounds like teacher is very observant so I would follow her lead on it.

He's only 4, don;t ignore a possible problme but don;t get so owrked up about it that you start rushing off manically in many different directions. Take a deep breath and do what she's suggested.

piscesmoon Wed 10-Nov-10 11:37:50

Don't get a tutor. Kewcumber has excellent advice.
If you want some online games ICT games are excellent

emkana Wed 10-Nov-10 13:09:29

He's in reception? Please please please don't worry! In Germany for example he wouldn't even be at school yet, and wouldn't be going for the next two years! My nephew in Germany is six and has just started school and they are only just doing number recognition now, and nobody thinks anything of it! Do play games by all means but there is absolutely no need to get stresses, and personally I think the teacher was wrong in worrying you this much.

becaroo Wed 10-Nov-10 14:00:13

hmm....he is very young.

I would not worry too much until he is 6 or so.

I think the teacher may have worried you uneccessarily. The NC is very rigid and this is what teachers and schools work to....is he a summer baby by any chance?

At his age, all his learning should be play based anyway.

There are many ways to help your ds when he is older - I can recommend 2 very good online programmes but he would need to be 5 to begin them.

Literacy; Headsprout.com
Numeracy; Mathswhizz.com

HTH x

skydance Wed 10-Nov-10 17:15:10

At the end of reception year my son was pretty much bottom of the class, he didn't know all his letters, or his numbers, he was not doing very well at all.

Year 1 he had a brilliant year, he all of a sudden seemed ready to learn and came on in leaps and bounds.

I've just had his first Year 2 parents evening, he's now in the top group and doing really well, so I wouldn't worry yet.

BlueberryPancake Wed 10-Nov-10 18:55:05

It's important that you don't feel like a failure because you are working! One thing that really helped my two boys is to do board games like snakes and ladders, where they have to count up and also, do building towers with lego or blocks and see how high you can go by counting the bricks. Boys work generally better with numbers if it's visual, as numbers are a very difficult concept to grasp, it's important to get the base work done first which we often forget. We use the old fashioned Cuisenaire rods with DS2, he loves it, it's just a very visual way of learning what numbers are about. The number recognition will come after.

forehead Wed 10-Nov-10 20:21:23

I know it has already been said, but try not to worry. My nephew was also way behind his peers in Reception. My sister was really concerned as he couldn't recognise any numbers, write his name. However, mid year 1, the light came on and he started reading etc. He has just started the local grammar school and is doing really well.
Just continur to be proactive, your ds will progress and you will be one of the posters giving advice to concerned parents.

Acanthus Wed 10-Nov-10 20:44:45

Definitely no to tutor at this stage - play games at home, read to him, that's all he needs for now. Get him to count out and add up whilst he sets the table or puts his oys away. Make numbers out of playdough. Teacher sounds excellent.

MrsBrollyhook Thu 11-Nov-10 21:04:15

I felt very much like you this time last year after parents evening. When the teacher started with "I'm VERY worried about DD." it was not easy to hear. Probably not the best way to get it across, but like your DS's teacher, my DD's teacher was being proactive rather than letting it drift. Her problems are the other way round, as it's her social development that is behind. But the action the school took and our extra support (which was playdates rather than extra academic work) has made a difference, so looking back I'm glad we had that difficult parents' evening a year ago (the one last night was SO much more positive!).

VivaLeBeaver Thu 11-Nov-10 21:08:02

I do think that children develop at different stages. Its not that long ago that at his age kids wouldn't have been at school.

Can you look at things like Orchard Toys, they have lots of educational toys that may help.

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