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calling Bink pinotmum mrsMaple Tinygang glassofwine earlybird frogs ellbell hallgerda mimsie singergirl and sphil - help with my day dream believer please

(61 Posts)
indignatio Thu 01-Feb-07 14:29:31

I have spent a most enjoyable time on MN today reading about dreamers and laughing out loud.
I have a ds who is now a 4.5 yo in reception and has got over his whirling dervish phase (many thanks for the advice - what worked was a high carb snack and smoothie after school - less playdates and taking him out of school 2 afternoons a week)
However the dreaminess continues. After my initial concern over the teacher's attitude, we have got to know each other (I help 2 mornings a week in class). She has moved positions from being exasperated to accepting (well that's just xxx) and now to concerned.
The teacher informed me on Tuesday that she was trying to find out what ds knew and what he had problems with. She mentioned testing his sequencing ability. She said that we would have a meeting at the end of her assessment.
I would like to be forwarned as to possible suggestions (dx too stong a word) that she might come up with. I have today been looking at:
1.dyspraxia
2.pdd - including autism and aspergers - I did JimJams test and he came out with 44 - so no real worries there (I do appreciate the limiations of such an online test)
3.hearing problems
4.sight problems

Personally I consider him to be a geek in training (doesn't help that he comes from a long line of geeks on both sides of the family).

He is smart, clever, a fidgit, a loner (not really made any real friends yet), unmotivated by tasks such as dressing (consequently slow and poor at them), a visual learner, subtle thinker (thanks bink for that one) and a boy who is more interested in where his mind takes him (wildly off tangent) than day to day stuff

I have found out from my sil that her eldest is still the same at 13

I will try the black towel as suggested - also something to pull him back to the real world (not sure letter in pocket would work just yet) - but any other suggestions for both me and the teacher would be most appreciated

Many thanks

singersgirl Thu 01-Feb-07 15:39:17

Wow, a thread with my name on! He sounds very like DS1 (now 8) in lots of ways, though with him it wasn't until Y1 that the teacher raised concerns. I'm glad he's calmed down after school.

DS1 had an OT assessment at 5.5, which didn't find anything to be seriously concerned about. I guess I have always been most worried about ADHD and dyspraxia. Like your DS, he is not motivated by dressing (though he is now, at 8, fine), he finds eating neatly a struggle (still pretty feral), handwriting did not come easily to him. His performance at school never seems to tally with how people perceive him and he is definitely quirky.

He's never had friendship problems, though he tends to choose one best friend to be very close to, and he is not in the centre of the pack.

The only thing I can really say with any confidence is that he has got better with age. He can now do things he's not interested in, he can get dressed, he can just about eat with a knife and fork, etc. He is still highly volatile, but copes with this at school by being the class clown and charming all the teachers, who think he is adorable (their words).

In Y3 (age 7) the teacher motivated him to get down to work with sticker charts leading up to merits, and he was old enough to co-operate. Don't know if this would work for your son.

Bink has given excellent advice on this topic before.

Look forward to reading other suggestions and hearing how you get on!

singersgirl Thu 01-Feb-07 15:39:32

Sorry, that wasn't meant to be an essay!

indignatio Thu 01-Feb-07 15:54:24

thanks singers girl
Did your ds have a friend that started at the same school at the same time as him - or did he just make a "best" friend quickly ?

Bink Thu 01-Feb-07 16:05:59

Hello!!
Well, I think it's only honest to say that we've just taken my ds out of mainstream and he's now in a specialist little supported learning school (both the m/s school and the new school are independent ones) because his attention & organisation seemed to be getting worse rather than better, and after two friends he'd had for a while left the school he seemed unable to adapt to find others so was becoming quite badly socially isolated, which was leading to even more profound zoning out & non-conforming behaviour (I think partly as a defence mechanism). So not sure how much I can confidently advice-give any more ...

However will have a think and come back.

indignatio Thu 01-Feb-07 16:10:44

Thanks Bink - I look forward to hearing from you later
How is your ds getting on at the new school ?

kittylette Thu 01-Feb-07 16:11:42

that title made me go dizzy, lol

singersgirl Thu 01-Feb-07 16:19:50

Quickly coz have to go and pick boys up. No, he didn't know anyone at either of the 2 schools he's started (we moved at the end of Y1). He took 2 terms in Reception to pal up with one boy, and a few weeks in Y2 - he became friends with the boy he was put next to! He is generally popular, but the others say call him crazy and mad, to me as well as to him.

Bink, didn't know that about your DS. Hope he's settling in well to his new school!

Bink Thu 01-Feb-07 16:31:50

Oh, thanks for asking - it's early days (only started this Jan) but I think he's found himself a little "team" of three other boys to play with (singersgirl, re. another discussion, whether or not he plays with anyone is one of the things he tells fibs about, because he knows what I want to hear, of course). Anyway, if that's true, it's really the main thing I wanted - for him to get back on his feet friends-wise, as that lay underneath everything going wrong at the other school.

Hallgerda Thu 01-Feb-07 17:09:41

indignatio, I wouldn't worry about what the teacher is doing. It sounds as if she's just trying to find out what your son can't do (if anything) and then will consider what the school could do for him. She's not in a position to diagnose anything medical. Even if your son has a problem with sequencing (I think that's putting jumbled stories into the right order and similar tasks, but someone else here might know more about it) that can just be a maturity issue. Daydreaming at school at 4.5 is quite likely to be a maturity issue, too.

My DS3 who had problems with daydreaming when he was in Year 1 (teacher twittered about special needs but didn't actually do anything as sensible as what your DS's teacher is doing) is now in Year 3 and doing fine - he even got an invitation to a holiday G&T workshop recently. I'm not sure I can advise on what you should do, as I don't think anything I did caused the change, but this may give you hope that some children do just grow out of the problem. We took a firm line on issues such as dressing and answering the question he'd just been asked rather than going off at a tangent, and I suspect that may have helped our sanity in the short term.

Can your son read yet? I'm not asking in a competitive mum way, it's just that knowing how to read can make children rather more settled and happy, and you mentioned him being bright. Are you concerned about what he can or can't do (as opposed to what the school say about him)?

indignatio Thu 01-Feb-07 18:35:15

Thanks Hallgerda - I do think that the teacher is acting in ds' best interests. BUT given (in her words) that she has not come across a child quite like him before she (and I) need help in knowing how best to handle him so that he gets the best he can from school

IMO he will have had no problems sequencing nor describing the plots of star wars 4, 5 & 6 - which he tells me he did on being asked about his favourite program on TV this afternoon by the TA

re- reading - he reads ort stage 5 to himself in bed - although he is on stage 4 for books from school. I have no worry about his academic ability at this stage.

The hope angle is great as my dear nephew is 13 and hasn't grown out of it yet.

I do worry when he says that he asked everyone to play with him today and no-body would. And i have taken such comments with a pinch of salt - but even so.

The firm line approach does fit with my style of parenting - but I am forever being told to lay off him and he will grow out of it !!

TinyGang Fri 02-Feb-07 11:07:50

How did I miss this? My name on a thread - fame at last!

Good replies - My own experience has been more with my older dd with her being a bit dreamy sometimes and blocked ear type problems.

I've come to realise the ears are probably not entirely why my dd can be dreamy - it's not that she can't hear, so much as she just is a dreamer anyway.

The thing is, she's doing well at school which is great (now 8yrs), but when at pre-school we started to get comments about her being dreamy etc which continued well into infant school.

As she was my first child, and I too am inclined to be a bit on the quiet and thoughtful side, I hadn't ever really noticed this as a problem as such. I knew that it was all going on inside and as you so succinctly put it indignatio,'a subtle thinker' 'who is more interested in where his (in our case 'her') mind takes him (wildly off tangent) than day to day stuff.'

Now personally I happen to think that these are wonderful imaginative qualities and ones that I completely relate to myself. I thought they'd be pleased. They were up to a point, but kept banging on about it and 'is she with us?!' which used to worry and annoy me in equal measures. She wasn't totally on planet Jupiter all the time, despite what they thought.

I've come to the conclusion that in a competitive school environment these lovely attributes can be rather drowned out at times by teachers who are looking for a fast (if unconsidered) response and for people who push themselves to the front. Not my dd one bit; or me come to that. As she has got older, she spends a bit less time in dreamland, but still has a fantastic imagination. Good! I never want her to lose that.

During this time, the hearing thing has been monitored and re-investigated again and again. The upshot is her hearing is fine, but her ears are very tiny and block easily which may/may not (I've never had a definitive, answer believe it or not) affect her hearing. I've told her teacher and she now sits dd near the front in class and makes sure she is engaged in what is going on. This has helped I think.

Her ongoing ear saga seem to have come full circle now in that we finally had them un-blocked under a general anaethsetic in the Summer. They promptly blocked up again. She seems hardly concerned about it though and the whole monitoring thing rumbles on. The last hearing test said she could hear perfectly well despite her left ear being bunged up solid. I can't figure that one myself.

If your ds does have this they may offer something called 'micro-suctioning' which can be uncomfortable and I have to say, in our own experience, not a total answer.

Your ds is still only 4.5 - my own younger dd (I have also 5 yr old twins too) in reception hasn't made any firm friends herself yet. Often she tells me she spends playtimes alone. Surprisingly she seems unpeturbed about this and is happy and settled. I think some people just do take longer to suss everyone out and may never make a huge number of friends - me again, I'm afraid.

I understand totally that if there is a problem with your ds - be it hearing, aspegers or whatever - you would wish to know so that the correct support is provided at school. No-one would want their child to struggle on un-necessarily of course.

If nothing is found though, he is what he is and that should be celebrated. Two things matter imho - that he is happy himself and that he is not forced into a mould just because he is showing different qualities at a young age.

I sometimes wonder if teachers who are unsure of their ground start looking for problems that aren't there just because x isn't doing abc on cue. There seems so little time to allow for a real individual character to develop these days. Not always the fault of teachers I hasten to add, who have to get things taught in a tight timeframe.

Good luck though. Sorry to have burbled on!

indignatio Fri 02-Feb-07 12:59:37

Thank you so much TinyGang

In ds' case, I don't think that ears are a problem but will try some subtle tests over the next few days to see.

I do understand what you mean about not being on jupiter the whole time. Ds can look like he is away with the fairies but on being asked to repeat what has just been said can do so verbatim.

The front of the class may help with ds as he would then be less likely to be distracted (perhaps)

thanks for the reassurance re friends. ds is concerned about having no-one to play with and I hope this does resolve itself naturally. I am interferring to the extent of inviting potential friends round for playdates to see if any hit it off with ds - he is an aquired taste !


Having spoken to the teacher today (after several nights of not sleeping - me not ds) she is wondering whether or not he may be dyspraxic - does anyone know of an online test (other than DORE) that I, Dh and the teacher could do independantly - as we all have our own bias.

Again thanks for your help and kind words

singersgirl Fri 02-Feb-07 13:01:52

Afraid I don't know of a test other than DORE, though if you google dyspraxia, some of the sites have checklists. I did the DORE test on DS1 and (surprise, surprise) he came out as having dyspraxic traits; DH did it on DS1 and he came out as completely normal. So perception makes a big difference.

indignatio Fri 02-Feb-07 13:26:59

Thanks singergirl - can't seem to find tests or checklists - however all that I have read on the sites, does not make me think that this applies to my ds

Hallgerda Fri 02-Feb-07 16:21:41

A few more reassuring thoughts...

It's worth remembering that summer-born boys are a well-known "problem" group, to the extent that schools collect statistics on their performance.

Any real problem will be showing itself at home as well as at school.

Bright children often switch off if school work isn't very challenging or doesn't interest them. They can also display "odd" behaviour. If you're considering all angles on what might be going on, don't ignore that possibility.

Very few children have real friendships at that age. If you think not having friends is bad, take a look at some of the little-girl-with-the-wrong-friends threads on here - now they're scary.

You say your nephew hasn't grown out of dreaminess yet, but how badly is it actually affecting him? I don't think it's an unusual trait among teenage boys.

And how wide is the experience of the teacher who's never seen anyone like your son? Some people lead very sheltered lives...

CatBert Fri 02-Feb-07 21:21:31

Bumping for evening viewers...

Hallgerda Sat 03-Feb-07 17:26:30

Another thought - is the school SENCO involved, indignatio? She/he will know more about any possible problems, and, indeed, non-problems, than the class teacher. If you are concerned about your son's social skills, perhaps the school may run a social skills group that may help him in a fairly low-key non-labelling sort of way.

indignatio Sun 04-Feb-07 10:17:51

Thanks Hallgerda
The senco has been approached by the teacher to observe ds (in his first term) and apparently just laughed at him. I did not take offence at this statement - you had to be there to know that it wasn't meant in an offensive way at all.
The teacher has made reference to the nurse looking at him next time she is in school. The nurse has already seen/met the older children in ds' class

I am trying to puzzle out the question of social skills in my head at the mo. ds has loads of friends outside school, but they tend to be those with whom he has grown up rather than those he has chosen. At pre school he did make friends with another little boy (6months younger) whom we still see ocassionally.

Being an only child (with much older cousins) and from observing the behaviour of older boys in his class with older siblings, I think I can conclude that he is very young with a naive attitude. Which,quite frankly is not wrong in a 4.5 yo. I wonder if the teacher expects more from him as he is obviously (and in the teacher's words- as well as biased mummy's !) bright and clever.

Hallgerda Mon 05-Feb-07 10:09:06

Perhaps the teacher is unaware that being bright does not bring instant success at primary school. This table summarises common problems (they're not confined to geniuses). If you haven't done so already, you may like to have a look at the MN G&T section.

I think all children in Reception see the school nurse. She'll do a few basic checks (vision, hearing etc) and may ask a few nosey questions about sweets and telly - it's nothing to worry about.

I'd trust your instincts on this - it doesn't sound to me as if there's anything wrong that a few years of growing up won't sort out.

singersgirl Mon 05-Feb-07 10:37:42

Thanks for that link, Hallgerda.

Bink Mon 05-Feb-07 11:16:54

Oh dear, I had to chuckle at that table - it's all rather close to home

However, I think there's also a line (probably fine & therefore tricky, of course!) to be drawn between seeing issues as "side effects" of giftedness - or where something might actually need intervention. I've come to view that my ds does need the specialist help - but I am not sure that that could have been clearly seen before 7ish - so I guess I am (unhelpfully?) suggesting "wait and see" till about yr3 ...

Ds's new school is having a meeting about strategies for him, so I will come back with anything that might be helpful. In the meantime, the idea is lots of straightforward reinforcers for behaviour, very expressly targeted at his interests. So, while losing "one minute of playtime" works very well for the other children there, it doesn't bother ds: but losing one minute of "puzzle time" seems to.

I've also made him a nice Economist-profit-record-style graph that he can fill in according to how many bits of work he actually finishes per day.

The other thing I've recently noticed about him is that he doesn't really "forward plan" at all - he was such a laidback (almost passive) toddler he never took life into his own hands as more "usual" toddlers do (to their parents' exhaustion). So I told him early last week that I would make a banoffee pie with him this weekend if, without any reminding, he could remember to make a list of the ingredients, ask me to buy them with enough time for that to happen, remind me that we needed to make it, etc. - and this worked. My next idea is to suggest going to the movies if he chooses the movie, finds out when it's on, decides on a day, etc.

singersgirl Mon 05-Feb-07 12:17:55

Though neither of my boys are geniuses at all, one or other of them displays almost everything on that table! DS1 is the hyper, fidgety class clown, DS2 is the bossy pedant correcting his friends' grammar.

Bink, I agree with you about what growing up sorts out and what it reveals - in the case of DS1, it's revealed that he doesn't need any specialist help, but does need repeated 'normal' sanctions to help him. His focusing is better - but he sits right under the teacher's nose. His handwriting is better - but he has frequent 'teacher chats' and specific motivators in place. By the way, I certainly don't think DS1 is gifted, though he's brightish, but he has taken the class clown route to explain away his eccentricities.

indignatio Mon 05-Feb-07 13:11:13

Thanks Bink, singersgirl and Hallgerda. The list was interesting - I definately have the bossy pedantic fidgit type.
According to the list by the dyspraxia foundation he scores a potential 7/18 in their traits for 3 to 5 yo. I am still not convinced that he is at all dyspraxic.

ds was a nightmare this am getting ready for school - wondering around naked for ages not putting on his clothes. It's not that he finds the task difficult, just that he starts to think about other things and forgets to concentrate on the matter in hand. I am afraid that I lost it after he had been reminded about 6 times to get dressed and shouted v loudly - any tips for keeping patience for longer would be greatly appreciated.

One phrase the teacher used was poor short term memory. My view is that he hasn't forgotten what he has been asked to do, just that his brain has gone off on a tangent and it takes prompting (such as What did I just ask you to do xxx?) to get him focused on the task in hand again. Anyone else found this ?

singersgirl Mon 05-Feb-07 13:16:00

That is DS1 to a T (or is it tee?). He's better now at stuff like dressing, but in Y2 he told me he didn't finish his work because his brain was full of much more interesting things than numeracy. Mmm. On asking DS2 (5) why he hadn't finished school work recently, he said "I was thinking, Mummy". So you may be right - he just gets side-tracked.

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