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Worried about 4y/o's development

(12 Posts)
Goodbyetonsils Sun 14-Oct-12 21:24:14

Ds started reception in September (summer birthday). He has delays in his speech and language and was due for a review with speech and language therapist a few weeks ago, but he was still on half days and teacher had arranged for him to be seen when he wasn't in school so we have to wait another few weeks now.

As well as speech delays, his understanding doesn't seem to be developed to the level of peers. He doesn't know any letters except a, s, e, t, c and k. I have been trying to use fun ways of helping him- alphabet cards, alpha blocks, alphabet cookies, foam letters etc but little improvement.

He can't write letters and he can't write his name. His drawings are still very "babylike". He has no interest in reading/ trying to write letters etc so everything is a battle. I approach it in a fun way as best I can but it's not always possible. I'm really concerned about his development. I know people say not to compare children but I am really worried. I don't want to come across as paranoid/pushy and never really have the chance to speak with his teacher as he attends after school club. It is parents evening on Tuesday, so I will have 10 minutes to speak with her.

Am I over-thinking it? Should I just accept some children are slower/have different strengths (my ds can build the most fantastic and imaginative things from his lego!!). I was very slow, on the learning disability register in primary (now masters level educated so I turned out ok lol) and it really knocked my confidence so I want to help ds not fall behind like I did.

lorisparkle Sun 14-Oct-12 21:33:15

He is still very young and has only been in class a short amount of time and what he is doing does not seem too far behind BUT as his mother you know him best and if your 'gut' is telling you then all is not well then you need to push! I would ask to see the teacher at a different time than just parents evening. My DS1 has a language disorder and when he started school we had much more regular and longer meetings with the class teacher and the SENCO. If he is seeing a Speech Therapist he will already (or should be) on the SEN register at school action plus so they should be putting some extra support in for him. (I think all the SEN stuff is changing though so it might be different)

THe more support he gets now the better - it is much easier to withdrawl extra support than to get support later in the day

Mumtoprem Sun 14-Oct-12 21:43:20


Your DS sounds very much like my daughter who has just started reception. However she has a statement of special educational needs for speech and language issues, delay in fine motor skills (can't write any letters and hasn't progressed much past scribbling, can't dress herself etc) and attention/listening difficulties. However she has been closely followed since birth as born 3 months early.

I think there is a range of abilities in the class and I think most of the class at nursery could write their name but they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. EG our DD is excellent at jigsaws and can easily do a 50-60 piece puzzle etc I would mention it to the teacher at parents evening and see what they have to say as it can't do any harm and they may then focus their attention on the areas of difficulty (if they haven't picked this up already).

You may also want to consider discussing with your GP if you are still concerned as they could refer you to Paed or Occupational Therapist. We see OT to help with the pre-writing skills and they devise exercises to build hand strength etc

It may just be that your son will get there in his own time and only time will tell (I know that doesn't help!)


Goodbyetonsils Sun 14-Oct-12 22:04:56

Thank you for your replies.

Our speech therapist has been terrible, in all honesty. We were not offered speech therapy, just sent on courses ("You make the difference"). She then told me my ds may be taken off their books, I spoke with H/V who said she believed I should push and was horrified they were considering this. He had a review a few months ago which involved multiple choice questions and on the odd occasion ds got something correct- I knew it was because he happened to point at the correct picture without having a clue what he was being asked, IYSWIM. But S/T seemed happy!

When he teacher told me about the appointment she'd made I said "oh so you think he needs speech therapy?" and she said yes. Previously I'd started to doubt myself.

He also has problems with attention- His DF had ADHD so this is at the back of my mind...

stinkymice Sun 14-Oct-12 22:24:15

Gosh, my DS just started too. I don't this he know more that 2 letters!! I don't expect him too. He can't write his name -just first letter. I am fine with this. Wouldn't dream of interfering with school methods of teaching phonics by trying to push stuff at home. He is going to school to learn these things. They can't teach it in a couple of weeks. Don't panic. Yet. Just let them enjoy learning to play and get used to being at school.

VolumeOfACone Sun 14-Oct-12 22:32:49

DD sounds quite similar. She can't write her name, not anything close, and she just scribbles.

She doesn't know all the letters of the alphabet yet either.

I didn't realise that was a problem! Now I'm worrying! sad

BertieBotts Sun 14-Oct-12 22:36:18

I think they definitely develop at different rates. DS has just turned 4 and he's great with letters, numbers, anything like that but show him an unstructured toy like lego or even something like playmobil which doesn't have specific characters in, and he doesn't know what to do with it. He'll do lego with me if it has instructions for building every step and he likes that but he can't or won't think up new things to make with it by himself. I'm slightly disappointed about this TBH grin I'm sure he'll get there though, and your DS will too smile

kiwidreamer Sun 14-Oct-12 22:37:51

To be honest your DS sounds very much like my DS, also late summer born, no additional needs just not interested in writing etc.

He is enjoying Reception very much, happy to practice his reading books, he has an ok memory but I'm not convinced how much is sticking but its early days so I'm too not worried just yet. DS knows about 70% of his letters, refuses to draw a picture but I've seen evidence he can draw a person and a tree lol also not interested in writing, can write an H for start of his name but nothing else. I figure he's barely 4 and could do with polishing his social skills and the academic stuff may come along a bit slower but I'll give it some time before I worry too much.

If your instincts are telling you he is falling behind to a worrying level then it's worth putting a 'gentle' plan in place with his teacher to monitor the situation and if he really doesnt show acceptable levels of improvement then you can work together to help him.

Goodbyetonsils Mon 15-Oct-12 09:27:40

Thank you for your replies! I have relaxed a little now. I think Tuesday parent's evening will reveal whether I am over thinking it or not.

I am trying to think what he CAN do, the amazing structures he builds, his fantastic confidence- not once have I seen him hesitate in a busy play area/park when climbing an extra scary/high climbing frame or whatever, he has no fear (broken bones imminent i think lol)!

I'll update tomorrow after speaking to his teacher, and sorry for making anyone else worry that certainly wasn't my intention smile

rrbrigi Mon 15-Oct-12 09:50:15


You know you can move him back to nursery if you wish? Sometimes it is not a back step for them and 1 year can make a huge difference. He will like letters and reading a lot more. And he can still improve his fine motor skill in the nursery. I think nothing wrong with your DS, he is only probably not ready for learning. It does not mean that he won't be ready and good learner later time (in a year time). I just think nursery probably would be better for him, because if he misses a good foundation (purely just because he is not interested), it will be harder for him to build on the "weak" foundation later on.
I am not saying he is clever or not, just he does not interested about learning reading, math etc. And should not blame him; just remember in other countries children start school at the age of 6. I think he just need a bit of time and he will be ok.

Goodbyetonsils Mon 15-Oct-12 10:22:59

rrbrigi- I wish I had kept him in nursery for an extra year and was really upset about him starting when I knew he wasn't ready. However I would now feel cruel taking him out when he has made friends and is enjoying school. I should have made sure he started when he was 5. And I regret not having done so.

As I said ds is very similar to myself at his age- born in late July and really struggled, I couldn't read until I was 8! And it really destroyed my confidence. As an adult, I never feel "as good" as peers in university/co-workers. I worked very, very hard and caught up. Yet I still feel like everyone else is better than me academically. I don't want this for my ds sad Don't want his confidence knocked the way mine was.

rrbrigi Mon 15-Oct-12 11:36:19

Why do not you speak with his nursery teacher? She might can tell you any experience when a child moved back from school to nursery? It might be would not be as bad for your child as you think. He probably still have his old friends in the nursery and the school only started one and a half months ago. You do not even need to put him back into this school if you or him won't wish. I would imagine he won't even remember next summer that he went into the school for this short priod (sept to Oct). As I said you should not see this as a backward step for him, because in a long term it might will help him a lot. Or another things that you can discuss with his school if you do not mind himto do the Reception twice? I think that is why the mixed class is good. My son is in Reception now, and he will be in a mixed class Reception/Year 1 next year.

Probably I would speak to his nursery teacher, because he knows your child better than the school teacher and listen to her.

Hope evrything will be ok.

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