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Worried about DD starting school(17 Posts)
My 4 year old starts in September and has some SEN and a speech disorder. She is very intelligent but her communication skills hold her back and she physically can not sit still. She can barely count to ten and not consistently nor can she do any form of phonics or letter recognition. Has anyone started school not having any basic skills like counting or recognising letters and quickly caught up?
My ds1 started reception unable to make himself understood by strangers and it wasn't until year 1 that his speech was sufficient that most people could understand him. We went through many challenges and battles over the years and eventually got all his diagnosis by about year 3. He is now at secondary. His speech is within the normal range with poor grammar and excellent vocabulary, he still has his challenges but is doing really well. He has always been exceptional at maths and ict (although school did not recognise this until he could talk) and is on the gifted and talented programme.
So whilst he was very behind when he started school in many areas it did take a long while to catch up. In some areas he has never caught up and he will have to learn how to deal with that but in other areas he has!
They are not expected to be able to count, read, do phonics orrecognise letters. School. Will teach them all that.
Better to help her in doing up her coat independently, taking turns etc. Many children start school with little understanding in Maths and phonics. Don't worry.
I'd focus on the speech therapy rather than the phonics.
Oh that's reassuring. I have been worrying because her 2 yesr old brother can do it all.
She isn't due another salt block until after she starts because she wasn't quite ready to grasp what was being asked of her so I'm worried she won't be understood without me translating
If her two year old brother can do phonics he's very advanced.
I am a former reception teacher and can assure you I wouldn't expect a child to start school knowing anything about phonics or letters! In fact it's better when children start with no prior knowledge. This is because there are so many different approaches to phonics and if a child has been taught a method that is different to the school's way of doing things it's confusing for the child and harder for the teacher!
You need to relax and stop stressing about academic ability. The first half term (at least) is mainly about settling / building independence/ making friends anyway
When is her birthday OP if she's summer born you could start her the following year once her language will have caught up?
I do think most children can count on starting school but if the school are aware of her SEN they should be able to support her and since there's such an emphasis on play in YR she'll have plenty of time to catch up academically especially as she's bright.
I think there's a difference between not taught and starting school where they have tried to be taught but not grasped it.
The first kid would probably be fine because most seem to pick stuff up quickly. But the second might struggle.
My dc2 (4yo) can count but not do phonics as no interest.
She sounds like a typical child at the beginning of reception
DD2 - still cannot sit still now, started with I'd say below 25% intelligible speech to her family (so much less to a stranger) and also started school with continence difficulties as a result of her set of needs.
Despite her poor speech - she clicked phonics really well and is top group for phonics, reading at greater depth, and more than holding her own academically (expected level for everything else). Although she often looks like she's paying no attention and the world's drifting by - actually it's all going in! Had fully intelligible speech by the end of her first year in the school and now will stand up and speak lines in school plays or assembly in front of the full school without batting an eyelid (in the meantime I'm in the audience bawling my eyes out about how far we've come).
A wobble cushion and fiddle toy help her stay "still" (her arse can be squirming like mad but she stays in place) as well.
I'll be honest - it took the kids in the class a little bit of time to figure out what she was saying but with a little adult scaffolding (her Reception teacher was superb - the best teacher I've ever seen in a classroom) they just tuned into her really really fast.
We ended up getting a private speech therapist to come in once a fortnight and provide a programme for us and school to do - but our experiences with the NHS system were, shall we say, less than stellar (a grunt of "if it's verbal dyspraxia there's nowt much I can do about it - what do ya want me to do" being a notable highlight).
We got limited NHS speech therapy but enough to enable us to work through at home. I did feel sorry for ds1 as in reception we were doing daily speech therapy work at home plus all the stuff he was send home from school to do. He never found phonics easy and reading is a real challenge. The speech therapist told us that 6 years old is the optimum age for working on speech sounds and it was a that age that he made the most progress.
In a way because reception is so play based his challenges were slightly less apparent. He also had an amazing teacher. Year 1 was a different story
Yes. Dd3 had very few recognisable words at start of reception and a stammer. We did private salt with her due to total lack of provision on nhs. At the end of reception she had a speaking part in the play. She has always found school work a challenge but had worked hard every year. She has just done sats and predicted high 3s and 4s. Could not be happier. My mantra has been to praise effort.
Concentrate on her independence and social skills.
If you want to "do" something, teach her some songs and rhymes, encourage her to listen to stories and be creative - cutting, sticking, drawing, music, cooking, dressing up etc. and inquisitive - go for walks, notice the things around you, ask questions out loud and find out the answers together.
Make sure that the class teacher and Senco know about the SALT input and have a copy of her most recent report. School staff will be used to working with children with speech difficulties and SALT should be able suggest strategies specific to her needs, and maybe a programme for school staff to work on with her.
If you haven’t done so recently, get her hearing and eyesight (re)checked - don't rely on her seeming to manage as children with difficulties din't know what they should be able to see or hear.
Try a sit 'n' move/ wobble cushion and see if she sits better on that. Ask the SALT if they think she needs a referral to occupational therapy.
Our nursery consulted our school and they prefer them to come with no prior knowledge.
Does she have any signs or does she use PECS? If so do handover all of that. There are specialist S&L SEN places available but she'd need an EHCP
I do agree with PP that it's not prior knowledge but readiness to learn that's the main issue in reception. It's fine(sometimes even preferable) if they know no phonics or numbers because they haven't been taught it's more of a problem if they're not ready to pick up phonics or numbers.
That said with reading there was a huge spread at the end of reception for my eldest. Some were almost free readers and others hadn't clicked at all and couldn't blend. Now (end of Y2) most of the slower starters have caught up and the differences aren't at all noticeable any more.
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