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4yo Reception DD struggling with behaviour of another child (with special needs). Advice please! (Long, sorry)

(18 Posts)
PoppyScarer Wed 10-Oct-12 10:06:03

Sorry this is going to be long, I want to give the whole story.

I also want to apologise in advance if I word anything incorrectly with regards to Special Needs. I don't know much about that area but suspect I have Asperger's myself (so am quite sensitive to wording and what others think, as well as being very awkward with such things) and so I do my best and would love to learn more about the area in general.

My DD is 4yo (birthday was only a couple of months ago) so she is one of the youngest children in her Reception class of 30 children.

She is struggling to deal with the behaviour of one other girl, M, and has been crying in the mornings when leaving the house and going into school. M has special needs, but I don't know what and my DD doesn't know either.

My DD is tired from school, physically, mentally and emotionally, I know she is, but says that she enjoys everything else about school other than the time she spends with M. Incidents have included multiple (accidental, I'm sure) knocks, bumps and scrapes (many, not all, blamed on M) but also having her ponytail pulled out a few times, and the latest thing was having her ponytail band thrown over a fence by M so that DD couldn't get it back. She was really upset about this one as it was a "special" ponytail band (cheap one from Tesco, but DD liked it). We had huge tears going into school the next morning.

I know from seeing the class list that M's last name is before our last name in the alphabet, and I guess this is why she usually sits next to my DD, lines up next to her in the playground, and why they do things like register duty together.

The thing is, for me, this is history repeating itself on two levels.

Firstly, I myself had issues with a boy at primary school when I was a bit older than my DD. I still remember how bad it made me feel at the time. I don't want to project my feelings onto my DD, but I don't want her to hate school, because I loved it (other than this one time). I feel like this is ruining her first weeks at school, what should be a happy time for her, making lots of other new friends (which she is).

Secondly, my DD has just been through this at nursery with another child. For the past year she was put into a group with two or three boys with various special needs (hearing and behavioural issues, possibly autism in one case, I'm not sure) and every day she came home, often upset, with stories about one boy in particular, J, saying he had pushed her, taken her hairband, called her stupid, or whatever. 95% of the time she and J played together beautifully and were best of friends, but it made her cry on a few occasions, and in the end she said she was pleased he wasn't going to be at school with her.

And now this.

I'm sorry if this sounds awful, but I feel like my DD has "done her bit" in terms of being the one paired with the special needs children and I now just want her to experience the fun of being at school without these incidents. (She was chosen for that group at nursery because she is patient and kind.)

This is making her upset (yes she is very sensitive - it has crossed my mind that maybe she has Asperger's herself?) and she is soooo very young, and small physically too, so any pushing or whatever really upsets her. She's been to the office for first aid countless times sad.

I have tried so hard not to be "that parent", I have dropped DD off at school as briskly as possible, left her sobbing and crying at the door many times, I have not spoken to the teacher once after class (so far), but it's now so bad I'm going to talk to her teacher as soon as I can - Parent's Evening is coming up so that might be the best chance.

But, if anyone has read this far, I would really appreciate any opinions. Has anyone else experienced this? If you are the parent of a child with special needs, what do you think? Can anyone please give me any advice on what to say to my DD other than lots of cuddles and "M doesn't mean to do it, it's just because she wants to be your friend"? Are there any books that might help?

Thank you!

PoppyScarer Wed 10-Oct-12 10:15:20

Ok, I had a moment of rare clarity (tired from dealing with poorly DC2) and called the school to ask to see the teacher tonight. The lady in the office was very perceptive and asked if my DD has a problem with another child, so I explained and she said they will notify the break time monitors and keep a watch on things.

I feel a bit better already that I have done something!

fatfloosie Wed 10-Oct-12 11:19:42

Hi OP. I hope you get this resolved. FWIW I think I would probably feel the same in your shoes; so I don't think you sound awful, just honest.

I asked at my DD's school what I should say to DD when she is telling lurid tales about the behaviour of children who sound like they may have special needs, as saying 'oh dear how naughty etc' didn't seem right. They said they focus on 'doing the right thing' ie explain to DD that some children find it harder to do the right thing but she must always do the right thing herself and that in turn will help those children to learn to do the right thing - something like that anyway - I'm not expressing it as well as it was expressed to me!

saintlyjimjams Wed 10-Oct-12 11:24:48

Well I was with you until this bit:

I'm sorry if this sounds awful, but I feel like my DD has "done her bit" in terms of being the one paired with the special needs children and I now just want her to experience the fun of being at school without these incidents. (She was chosen for that group at nursery because she is patient and kind.)

But anyhow, if your child has a problem with a particular child the go in and talk to the teacher. It doesn't matter whether the child has SN or not, that's not relevant. The teacher may have a different perspective than you, and may see things differently from your daughter. She or he may not have noticed if your dd doesn't show upset at school.

Once the teacher is aware they can start to sort it out.

noramum Wed 10-Oct-12 12:59:16

Send a letter to the teacher and ask for an appointment to discuss the situation.

We had a bumpy start with DD last year, more towards bullying but not fully, and the school was very fast sitting together with us and trying to get to the bottom line of the story.

They got all TAs and lunch staff on playtime duty together and DD and her "tormentor" were observed without knowing it. They quickly found out what was going on and the teacher then took appropriate steps to solve the issue.

I am sure, SN or not, no school tolerate that one child upsets another on a regular basis. A small change in the class structure may already be enough and if a child has SN then the school will already have a policy how to deal with inappropriate behaviour.

PoppyScarer Wed 10-Oct-12 18:01:36

Thanks for your comments.

I had a brief word with the teacher today and the plot thickens. It seems that my DD is seeking out the SN teaching assistant in class, because she likes her (she gave DD a sticker or something) and that is bringing her into more contact with the other child. I have explained to DD that she shouldn't be interrupting their time and needs to stay with her assigned activity.

My DD is also very keen to do the "helper" tasks and so is the other child, which is bringing them into conflict. And of course the other children also need a turn!

They kept an eye on things today and they didn't spend much time together, but DD has another tale to tell...I have given my DD a bit of a lecture about the importance of telling the truth.

The other incidents have also been happening to other children and they are aware and working on it.

I don't really know what to believe anymore. And I think I need to do some reading on how Asperger's manifests itself in young girls.

lionheart Wed 10-Oct-12 18:39:59

Poppy, you will find plenty of good advice on the SEN board but on this issue, I would echo what others have said here. Let the school know (it's already helped, from what you say in your update) and whether the child has SEN or not is really beside the point.

saintlyjimjams Wed 10-Oct-12 19:44:23

oh ha ha - last year ds3's best friend was a boy with ASD in his class (ds3 didn't notice he had ASD, and the only reason he's no longer his best friend is because he's moved countries). The friendship started when they had to work in pairs for a project - ds3 worked out that if he paired with X then he would also have his 1:1 TA helping so he was straight in there.

ladyintheradiator Wed 10-Oct-12 19:47:42

"I'm sorry if this sounds awful, but I feel like my DD has "done her bit" in terms of being the one paired with the special needs children and I now just want her to experience the fun of being at school without these incidents. (She was chosen for that group at nursery because she is patient and kind.)"

It does sound awful - actually, it makes you sound vile.

lljkk Wed 10-Oct-12 19:48:08

Sorry you're feeling stressed out, but if it's any comfort... I think what your DD is going thru is a valuable learning experience. She has to learn to set boundaries, and how to avoid situations or people that upset her. She has to learn to tell adults when she has a problem, and you need to learn how to help her do all those things too. She needs to make friends with many adults & other children, not just a few favourites.

I know it's unpleasant, which sucks, but it's a learning opportunity, too.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Wed 10-Oct-12 19:52:46

Lady - come on, that's a bit harsh. The OP is really upset about her child's vulnerability and asking for help. Telling her she's vile is not going to help anybody here is it?

Op - you need to talk to the teacher about this. Approach her directly and see how she feels things are. Go in with an open mind, knowing these situations are seldom as the very young children describe them.

desertgirl Wed 10-Oct-12 20:00:23

poppy - reading because you think your DD has Aspergers? Is that related to how she has been behaving in this situation or are there other reasons for thinking that? (sorry I don't know a lot about it) because the behaving in this situation sounds fairly normal for a four year old to me

ladyintheradiator Wed 10-Oct-12 20:05:22

I don't suppose I was trying to be helpful, Northern - though until I read that bit I felt for the OP. But when someone thinks their precious DC is above being in the company of children with SN - well, that is vile, whether it makes anyone feel better or not.

Let's just shove them all in a special school out of sight so that the DD can play with the naice normal children instead.

Actual advice: er perhaps a word with the teacher - which is what I'd advise anyone having an ongoing problem with a child, SN or otherwise.

Northernlurkerisbehindyouboo Wed 10-Oct-12 20:30:38

lady - did you read the bit where the OP wonders if her dd shares her own aspergers? I don't think is about keeping SEN kids away from her dd. She wants her child to be happy and safe at school - which is surely what all parents want? It's not much to ask.

ladyintheradiator Wed 10-Oct-12 20:36:29

No, it's not too much to ask, I am not disputing that.

cansu Wed 10-Oct-12 20:39:15

I think you did the right thing in talking to the teacher. I also think you might need to be aware that your dd may not be telling the whole story, not deliberately. I am a bit puzzled as to why you think being sensitive might mean your dd has aspergers. Having aspergers would involve many more symptoms than just being a bit sensitive or socially awkward. I hope you get this sorted out.

FangsGoForTheMaidensThroat Wed 10-Oct-12 20:50:48

ASD doesn't equate to bullying behaviour Nd throwing peope's things away to be mean..far more likely for a child with ASD to be bullied than to bully IME, thisall sounds a bit odd to me

FangsGoForTheMaidensThroat Wed 10-Oct-12 20:52:15

Seriously tired and cannot type..apologies

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