Does anyone else have a child who has been referred to SENCO/Speech & Language for being under confident?

(35 Posts)
MontyBowJangles Sun 21-Jul-19 10:36:08

My Reception child has (he's 5.5). The school have picked up he is still very shy and quiet at school and struggles with his confidence a lot. So they're going to do an IEP and a referral to speech and language to help him.

I think it's great, just wondered if anyone else had experience of this and if it worked? He is doing amazingly academically, just behind on his social & emotional skills.

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MontyBowJangles Sun 21-Jul-19 11:52:14


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Broken11Girl Sun 21-Jul-19 13:35:59

Poor kid. The way to help a child who is lacking in confidence is not to single them out and tell them they're not normal and their personality is wrong. So he's quiet and shy fgs, there's nothing wrong with that and society needs to stop devaluing introverts and trying to force them to become slick confident people who are YouTubers and salespeople because you are only worth anything if you're loud angry

Patchworksack Sun 21-Jul-19 13:43:32

I'd be amazed if he is seen by SALT for this reason. Round here I know children who are still non-verbal at that age that have had pathetically low levels of SALT interventions. Surely school can put measures in place to enable him to build confidence?

MontyBowJangles Sun 21-Jul-19 14:33:42

Ah I dunno. There's introverted then there's not being able to make eye contact with your teacher and talking so quietly they can't hear him (I suspect; he's like that outside of school).

He still cries at drop off sometimes, and is very anti-social outside of school, despite the rest of us being social butterflies and attending parties and things all the time. I took him to baby and toddler groups when he was younger but as soon as he could talk he'd voice that he didn't like it and wanted to go home.

I think being that shy and struggling to make friends will actually hold him back in life, so think it's lovely they are putting in extra support to help him come out of his shell. Just don't know the first thing about IEP's and how effective they are.

The Lead SENCO at our (Infants) School is known to be amazing.

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BrokenLink Sun 21-Jul-19 14:37:58

Speech and language therapists are sometimes asked to see children who struggle with social skills in order to assess if the difficulties are part of a more complex social/ communication disorder such as autism.

TotheletterofthelawTHELETTER Sun 21-Jul-19 14:40:54

DD was when she was year 1. She was lacking in confidence and has separation anxiety. Initially I was confused why the Senco was recommending SALT for her as she talks really well. But it was for language processing and processing emotional thoughts into words and how to express all of that. Not the typical issues you tend to think of for Speech & language.

The sessions DD has did really help with that. She only had the sessions throughout year 1 & 2, they did make a big difference.


Patchworksack Sun 21-Jul-19 14:42:35

I hope he does get the level of support you are anticipating. I'm just pointing out that with austerity and funding cuts, the provision is simply not there, even for children with very complex language needs.

Paddingtonthebear Sun 21-Jul-19 14:49:22

They have nuture groups at our infants school for this sort of thing, shyness and lack of confidence talking to others etc. There were a fair few in reception year that went to the groups and a fair few who went to SLT for speech development. DD’s friend saw SLT for communication/emotional skills, there was no actual issue with her speech as such or her academic ability, she struggled to communicate at school, struggles with the social aspect of it and was withdrawn, crying at drop off etc. It was the start of an ASD diagnosis

havinganothertry Sun 21-Jul-19 14:51:57

@Patchworksack you echo my experience. I cannot get SALT in my area to review my 3 year who still talks in single words and only says parts of words. Basically it seems they only want to see children with issues that are physical, like muscle issues causing speech. Maybe at school age they take it more seriously? It would be lovely to think everyone can get the help they need.

MontyBowJangles Sun 21-Jul-19 15:28:26

Thanks to those sharing their experiences, it's really helpful.

I hope he gets something out of the additional emotional support going into Yr1. His teacher was concerned he may struggle to adjust and it may knock his confidence.

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Needcoffeeimmediatley Sun 21-Jul-19 15:47:30

My son is autistic and has severely disordered speech, he receives 16 hours SALT a year hmm

MontyBowJangles Sun 21-Jul-19 16:43:31

@Needcoffeeimmediatley that's not much at all is it? sad Do you have the option of paying one privately if you could afford it? I'm new to all this as you can tell.

There's nothing wrong with his speech as such, tho he's a tad lispy. His vocabulary is great. I think it's just he doesn't talk much at school so they've yet to discover this themselves?

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Needcoffeeimmediatley Sun 21-Jul-19 17:10:34

No unfortunately it is not. Very unfair, but yes we do top it up with private SALT and do lots of work at home with him.

I hope your LO gets the support he needs.

OhNoIDontLikeIt Sun 21-Jul-19 18:04:41

My dc was referred to salt, and it did opened up doors. He had referral to community paed and portage because of it, because his problem wasn't really speech, his speech at home was fine, just didn't speak to other children. So, if they offer you anything, I would take it.
Some of the sessions he had at the speech therapy did help a lot. And best thing was to get in touch with people who have experience with children with difficulty.

Juniorwarriors Sun 21-Jul-19 20:01:19

My youngest did not have SALT, but he did do Fun Fit to help with his confidence. He loved it because he got to play instead of doing class work. I am not sure how the other children who were in the group to help with things like coordination felt about it though.

His teacher also put in lots of little things to help him such as letting him do a high five to answer the register.

MontyBowJangles Sun 21-Jul-19 20:13:28

Ah that sounds fab! Ds does really struggle to speak up in front of a crowd so a high-five would definitely suit him more smile

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PantsyMcPantsface Mon 22-Jul-19 09:52:51

I'll be amazed if you get taken on by SALT - DD2 we had to fight tooth and nail for and she was barely intelligible in her speech with huge swathes of her sound system missing.

School did put in a lot of intervention groups just encouraging communication skills in general though which helped a lot (more than the 2 sessions of NHS therapy to be honest).

LoveWine123 Mon 22-Jul-19 09:53:11

Hi OP, can you describe what you mean by under confident? Does it have to do with confidence overall or confidence with speaking? I ask because my son was recently referred to SALT as he does not speak to his teachers and when he does it is one word answers, not full sentences, he sometimes whispers rather than speak in a normal voice and he does not initiate conversation with them, does not say hello, good morning, etc. He has no trouble speaking to other children though. Does your child speak to other children, does he speak to the teachers...if so is it whole sentences or one word answers, how is he outside of school in terms of his speaking habits?

MontyBowJangles Mon 22-Jul-19 10:23:46

@PantsyMcPantsface maybe it depends on where we are in the country re: how much of a budget/capacity there is for SALT referrals? I'm sorry you had to fight for your daughter sad It shouldn't be like this.

@LoveWine123 those are all really good questions and I don't know all the answers! At a guess he'd probably just be talking to the staff with one word answers, and yes when he reads books with them he is probably whispering as that's what he does a lot at home. I'm always saying "I can't hear you darling! Speak up a little please!". He is almost free reading (only has 3 more book bands to do I think) so they must have heard him read properly?

He sometimes says he doesn't have any friends sad I know he struggles socially outside of school, mostly with adults. I get his report later (can't wait!) so will see what they say about his social skills then. I'm pretty sure he talks to other children ok, he certainly does with friends'kids.

Outside of school he is very shy and struggles to make eye contact with adults, even family. Inside the home he's totally different tho! He makes eye contact with me, dh and ds1 (8) no problems and chats away with ease. He is very chatty on our walks to school and back, and has a great vocabulary and understanding of things. He just clams up at school I think (also doesn't say hello or goodbye, but will give a little wave when prompted).

How old is your son if you don't mind me asking?

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LoveWine123 Mon 22-Jul-19 10:42:17

OP my son is 5 and just finished reception year. Based on your responses, I would encourage you to read about a condition called selective mutism. This is when a child is perfectly able and willing to speak in certain environments and with certain people he feel comfortable with (i.e. parents, siblings, close friends), but has an issue in other situations or with other people (school, teachers, other adults). It is described as an anxiety disorder, a phobia that prevents the child from speaking rather than them not wanting to speak. Shy children will warm up with time but children with SM will not make progress so have a closer look at your son and consider if he is indeed shy or if there might be something else.

I don't want to alarm you and not saying that this is what's happening with your son, but definitely worth exploring all options as if it is indeed SM, you need to do something as soon as possible as this does not improve with time. There are ways to help young children and it is "curable" but will take time and effort. Sorry if this is all causing distress, but as I am going through this at the moment, I wouldn't want to keep quiet in case you do need to look for help for your child. There is a facebook group called SMIRA - Selective Mutism Information and Research Association where other parents discuss children with this problem and I found it very helpful just to compare my son and also to find resources for help. Feel free to message me if you think I can help with anything.

LoveWine123 Mon 22-Jul-19 10:44:35

I would advise you (if school is not out yet) to go and speak to his teacher and find out exactly how much he speaks and who he speaks to, how much does he say and how.

cheeseheaven Mon 22-Jul-19 11:01:35

I too will be surprised if SALT take this on. Obviously if they do, grab the opportunity with both hands as they do amazing work. But it’s surprised me - DSis has worked in SALT for almost 40 years and she knows children who pretty much cannot speak but aren’t ‘bad enough’ for a referral and ‘don’t require her services’ sad

MontyBowJangles Mon 22-Jul-19 16:35:08

@LoveWine123 thank you so much for your input, it's much appreciated. I have asked to join the Facebook group as it does sound like ds sometimes. I'm not at all alarmed as the school secretary has mooted selective mutism as a flip remark a long while ago (she's known him since he was 2). Also, due to the lack of eye contact and inability to interact with adults, people have frequently asked if he's going to be assessed for ASD. So it's no shock smile

Although what is a shock is his school report ! He's just finishing Reception too. After what his teacher said and the referral to SALT I was anticipating his speaking, self-confidence and self-awareness and making relationships targets to be "emerging". But she's put him at "expected" ?! confused

He's either expected or exceeding in everything (exceeding at listening and attention, understanding, reading & writing and health & self-care, which doesn't surprise me).

As others on this thread have confirmed, (@cheeseheaven included) SALT services are massively underfunded and stretched. So would only be referred to in the most urgent or severe cases? So I find it hard to believe he's being referred when he's at the expected level?! confused

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MontyBowJangles Mon 22-Jul-19 17:11:27

Oh! And though his teacher starts the report by saying he is a "quiet and thoughtful" member of the class, she goes on to say he has "excellent speaking and listening skills" and will put his hand up to answer questions.

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