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How far behind is my 4 year old?

(39 Posts)
elliejjtiny Tue 20-Feb-18 21:59:37

He's in reception, aged 4y 8m. Teachers and senco use positive vague phrases when I ask how far behind he is. "Doing really well", " making progress" etc which is good or "30-50 months secure" which is a huge rannge, but I just want to know how far behind the expected level he is and if he will cope with year 1 when there is less playing and more reading/writing. He can't read at all. He can write a couple of very wobbly letters if someone writes the letters first so he can copy. He knows about 5 basic colours and 4 shapes. He can count to 5 and he recognises most of those numbers written down. He is still in nappies but can dress himself in T-shirt and jogging trousers, he can't do socks, shoes, zips, buttons or tuck a shirt in trousers. He can use a knife and fork a bit haphazardly but can't cut up his food. He can't put on or take off his coat. He can wash and dry his hands. Can anyone tell me how far behind he is? And if he will cope with the lessons in year 1? He gets 1-1 help at lunchtime and playtime at the moment and all reading and writing is done either 1-1 or very small groups anyway at the moment.

ferriswheel Tue 20-Feb-18 22:19:29

To say 'how far behind' is a difficult question to answer.

Id like to help you so you dont feel so worried. Do you want to know what to practise at home?

AJPTaylor Tue 20-Feb-18 22:39:26

I have 2 dds 10 years apart with additional needs
What i learned from the first and applied to the second is not to compare to peer group unless you absolutely have to.
He will work at his own pace and learn at his own pace. Focus on what he needs to do, what he needs to learn next. Celebrate his sucess. Keep his self confidence intact

Pineapplebelongsonpizza Tue 20-Feb-18 22:39:56

It is quite difficult to say how far behind he is, he is chronologically 50 months old so technically within the age bracket. But from what you have said, there does seem to be some delay from the typical development of a reception child. If you google development matters eyfs you can find the early years curriculum which they are using.
It's difficult to know how he will cope in year 1, but as he still has another 7 months so I wouldn't worry about that too much at this stage. Lots of his difficulties seem to be around fine motor control so I would suggest a focus on that at home. If he isn't ready for reading, focus on telling stories using picture cards, and listening to you read.
1-1 support at playtime sounds interesting - what's the purpose or reason for that?
I would suggest a meeting with school to find out about support/ interventions in place and targets. Does he have an iep? From about may half term may be good to discuss transition to year 1. It depends on school for how formal year 1 is but definately worth discussing.

Mistoffelees Tue 20-Feb-18 22:45:25

Agree with Ferris, there is a humongous range of abilities in reception and it sounds like he's getting support so trying to put a measure on 'how far behind' he is probably isn't helpful.
With regards to his coat have you tried the flip method?

TiffanyDoggett Tue 20-Feb-18 22:54:20

I'm no expert in this subject but I'd echo people's advice of looking at his own goals and personal development.

I have a 4.8 year old who is currently not up to speed with each development marker but I've seen massive development in the last 6 months, compared to how he was doing when he started reception.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Tue 20-Feb-18 22:57:43

Well surely he’s 56 months pineapple?

ViceAdmiralAmilynHoldo Tue 20-Feb-18 22:58:09

There's a huge range and children change very fast. Are you concerned that your child has some unidentified issues?

One of my kids couldn't read by this time in reception, and by Easter was ahead of average (autumn born child) as he just suddenly got it. He couldn't do his own coat for many years.

Marcine Tue 20-Feb-18 23:00:31

30-50 months secure is the expected levels towards the end of the pre-school year, if he was a September birthday and, 4.5 in nursery now he probably wouldn't seem very far 'behind' except with toileting.

Nyetimber Tue 20-Feb-18 23:06:19

Actually I think you’re right to be concerned and to want clearer answers. Of course, all,p children are different and we love them regardless of ability but as a parent you want them to be supported and challenged to reach their potential.
Have you had an assessment by a paediatrician at a developmental centre? Have they tested hearing, vision etc? Are you being supported re toilet training? If not get a referral through your GP.
Does he have SLT? You might want to push for it.
Has he got a formally recorded support plan in place? Has he been assessed by an Ed Psych? You know he’s lagging and the sooner it’s taken seriously and addressed with more than platitudes the better off he’ll be.

FridgeCut Tue 20-Feb-18 23:06:52

Have you looked at the EYFS early learning goals? dry as a bone, but it will give you an idea of what they are looking for at the end of EYFS so you can see where your child fits. The important thing is that every child is unique and should be treated as such.

cestlavielife Tue 20-Feb-18 23:13:16

If he has senco involved they will differentiate for him.
There are standardised tests they can do which give a score.
Ask for educational psychologist to come in and run tests this will help with getting echp.
There are motor tests too e.g. ABC movement battery. This gives age scores.

It s about his progress himself.
In primary they can differentiate the curriculum easily.
So it isn't about academics but if he copes socially .
You could also investigate local special schools .

NeepNeepNeep Tue 20-Feb-18 23:28:12

Sounds like he could do with extra help developing his motor control skills. There is a lot you can do at home on that and will help his confidence. Might be worth a talk with GP or HV.

Ivebeenaroundtheblock Wed 21-Feb-18 02:15:15

Has he been diagnosed with SN or global delay? He is receiving some 1-1 assistance, what was the reasoning behind this?

Naty1 Wed 21-Feb-18 14:28:50

How far behind and whether he will cope may depend on the reason for being behind.
Behavioural/delay/immature/lack of concentration/fine motor skills etc.

Could you see about him repeating yr R?
It's hard for summer born children as tiredness and concentration are lower plus it can be blamed on age when it's not that.
A lot clearer picture would be there once the child (like a sept born) is 5.
I imagine its more about whether he is progressing with learning phonics/writing/numbers or if he despite being shown isn't getting it.
For example my dd in yr 1 cant count money. I think she is completely lost on that and times tables. However i managed to get her interested and sorting the change out and recognising the coins. Trying to get her to grasp that 10p =2x5p etc or that different coins can be used to make a larger amount.

I did find i was doing a lot of help at home in yr r with my summer born so she was fine reading but i didnt do writing and that only really clicked from sept yr 1 onwards.

Do you feel he is progressing when you read with him at home for homework? Does he know all phonic sounds/can he blend?

Afreshcuppateaplease Wed 21-Feb-18 14:35:51

I think you should ask school to go through exactly how far behind he is and discuss your concerns. They should be supporting you in understanding.

My dd is in reception and 4.10. She has no issues like your ds so compared to her yes he would be behind.

Has someone shown you things you can work on at home?

BubblesBuddy Wed 21-Feb-18 15:38:29

I think I would be very concerned because there are lots of delays here. If he cannot read anything he clearly cannot blend phonics. I also know that children who are within usual development parameters don’t get this amount of help at school. I think this is where my children were at age 2/3 but I think you know that he has delays op.

You cannot just look at a special school as suggested by a pp. You need to see the SendCo urgently and ask them to give you information in a way you can understand it. They will differentiate in Y1, but at some stage you/school will need to look at a Ehic plan if he does not make progress, even for the toilet training issue. This in itself is a special need. Ask when (not if) he is due to be seen by an Ed Psych. What did his pre school development look like? Often children with additional needs learn more slowly than others. Little steps are to be celebrated. Are P scales still used in early years?

What is his speech like? Is he interested in reading? I think you can only spend a lot of time going over colours, shapes, sounds, counting, etc as much as possible. Read for pleasure and discuss the stories. Count everything. Hopefully he will improve with a lot of effort.

Being behind/tired is not the preserve of summer borns either. He has now started school with these children so it will seem hard to make him go back a year now and dent his self esteem. Probably not useful at the moment.

Naty1 Wed 21-Feb-18 16:12:39

Maybe but i know 2 kids who have repeated yr r. 1 is now in yr 1 and doing ok academically. The other went on to a special school. Neither seemed particularly affected by losing their peers especially because being SB and delayed they likely got on better with the 'year below'. And after all it is no different to 5 year old sept ones losing friends when starting school (as SB are only just turning 5 at the end of the year).

A lot more children are being taught out of cohort by starting at CSA of 5.

BubblesBuddy Wed 21-Feb-18 18:31:03

I know. Not all children like the idea though. They do know they are being kept down. It is not always the answer, either. What happens if the playing in YR continues and the DS still makes little progress? Down another year? The best strategy is to get DS to see an Ed Psych who can advise on teaching strategies.

I think we need to get away from the idea that children have delay because they are summer born. It can be all children of all ages who have delayed development. The assumption that all a delayed child needs is to go down a year and repeat is not the answer if there are global delays which are not age related. This is why experts need to be involved.

I would be interested to know what the pre school checks revealed though. School can hardly make up for a two year delay in 6 months.

Momo18 Wed 21-Feb-18 18:37:10

Bit of hope here. My DS a year ago was 4 and similar, he wasn't in nappies and knew his colours but he couldn't even hold a pen properly. I was scared for year one, it turned out year one was the best thing ever for him.

I think the lack of routine and the chaos of reception can mean some kids don't thrive till they settle into a classroom setting. My DS is now 5, he can read and write, he's good at maths and counting Be he's pretty much caught up with his peers. My first DS was exactly the same, if not worse and he's now working a year above the expected standard in most areas. Try not to panic at this stage, keep an open mind that he may need extra help but most do suddenly catch up in year one

RainbowGlitterFairy Wed 21-Feb-18 19:19:26

He is quite far behind on most of that. Eating and dressing aren't far off the other children but the rest of it is really behind. All children are different and there is a massive range but this is quite below even the normal range for reception, has DS got any diagnosed SN/do the school suspect any?

Nappies - is he starting to use the toilet? Despite trying literally everything with my youngest we really struggled with toilet training and it suddenly just clicked for her about 2 months before her 5th birthday.

Playtime and lunch - what is the 1:1 for? are there also some social issues or problems with his behaviour? none of what you have mentioned would generally warrant 1:1 support outside the classroom.

Naty1 Wed 21-Feb-18 19:24:12

Of course all month born can have delay. And clearly in this case it is more than just summer born as most are PT before school at 4. As with colours etc i imagine many know these between 2.5 and 4yo.
However SB clearly can be just behind due to age, otherwise so many of them wouldnt make so much progress later and many more of them do badly in eyfs. Also if this was not the case the gov wouldnt recently be allowing children to start at CSA - this is because being youngest can affect your achievement right up to gcse/alevel and fewer even go to uni.

Some kids would i guess still struggle even if kept back 2 years.
However i imagine having an extra yr R can help getting 1-2-1 etc in place, get further along in assessments.

hopsalong Wed 21-Feb-18 19:37:35

How is his speech? I can’t say how far behind he is, or whether that’s even a really useful phrase — it sounds to me as if his motor skills must be quite good if he can write a couple of even wobbly letters. For reference, my 3 year 0 month son who seems fairly average to me has no capacity to do that at all, but he can count sets of objects past ten and knows all the letters. And cutting up food is hard! I think I would be less worried about the nappies/ dressing and more concerned about conceptual things. Eg with the colours — is it that he only knows the words for a small number of colours or can he not distinguish colour differences?

RainbowGlitterFairy Wed 21-Feb-18 19:37:52

The assumption that all a delayed child needs is to go down a year and repeat is not the answer if there are global delays which are not age related.

Actually, in some cases it is still the answer. I'm an SEN teaching assistant in EYFS, with global delays it is sometimes better to repeat the year or part of the year rather than sending a child to year 1 who isn't ready and isn't going to cope. A child with specific bits they are struggling with is generally better going to year 1 with extra support, a child that is massively behind across the board may be better in reception with extra support.

Dougthepug Wed 21-Feb-18 19:46:09

Hi op, if I was in your position I would ask the school if the reception year can be repeated. It'll give your son more time to catch up and to get out of nappies. If you're on Facebook join 'Flexible school admissions for summerborns' for advice and support. There's lots of really knowledgeable people on there.

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