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Should my child be classed as being SEN for getting changed slowly at school?

(15 Posts)
MamasitaKt Sun 14-Dec-14 14:08:46

Hi there everyone, this is my first post on Mumsnet smile
I just wanted some advice if anyone could offer me some. I have a six year old DS (August boy, year two). He's doing great academically, top sets for everything, reading age is 10.5. He is a lovely sensitive boy, not very sporty though he does trysmile The thing is, he is very slow at things like getting ready for PE etc. He seems to have no urgency about his character at all. He is quite cautious, he likes to do things properly. He eats slowly, likes to chat a lot during lunchtimes, always likes to finish his meals. Last parents evening his teachers said they were very concerned about his slow pace and suggested I see the SENCO. I'm not sure if I should go down this route as I don't see what can be done to correct this trait and don't want him to be misdiagnosed (which has happened previously at his school). Has anyone else experienced this kind of slow behaviour? Could there be an underlying condition for this? Many thanks in advance smile x

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 14-Dec-14 14:23:04

Why would you not want them to simply check into it? It might be something that with a little bit of assistance he can overcome, it might be something more complicated. Wouldn't you want to know and to have them provide him with some support with it? Just curious.

Basically, if it's affecting him in school, it can fall under SEN. I'd be glad they are looking into it, personally. So many school ignore issues unless they are extreme, to a child's detriment.

MamasitaKt Sun 14-Dec-14 14:36:53

Thanks AliceinWinterWonderland, unfortunately the SENCO at DS's school is quite incompetent. I will not go into it on here, but she is rarely at the school and according to many others tends to readily over diagnose children without even spending much time with them (the school has a very large percentage of SEN). I have however been to seen my GP (paediatrician) and stated the schools concerns, she seemed quite puzzled and said she is not sure where to refer for this issue and perhaps he's tired. The slow issue is not affecting his work or behaviour. Just his eating and changing for PE. I have searched and searched and cannot find any condition that includes this slowness. I may try and see a private psychologist.

3littlefrogs Sun 14-Dec-14 14:46:49

Before you do any of that, I would suggest you think of ways you can teach him to speed up a bit.
I have 2 DS, and when they were that age they would dawdle over everything, unless it involved a reward of some sort. For example - they could get their coats and shoes on at lightening speed if we were going to the park or the sweetshop, but it would take ages if we were going to school.

If you devised a game or something, with a timer and a reward, or a race, do you think he could learn to go a bit quicker?

Is it distractability or poor motor skill that cause the slowness?

chocismydrug Sun 14-Dec-14 14:48:15

Sencos do not diagnose. they are not doctors - I would not worry about that.

3littlefrogs Sun 14-Dec-14 14:49:14

I meant to say - he is only 6, and an August baby. Most of the other children will be older than him. Maybe he just needs a bit more practice.

Does he get himself dressed in the mornings?
Does he eat very slowly at home?

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 14-Dec-14 16:03:37

Being classed as having a SEN doesn't mean he's "labelled" if that's your concern. It's not a diagnosis. It's simply a way of indicating that he's struggling with something (in this case the slow speed he is moving in certain things) that is affecting him at school.

It really just allows them to take a look at specific situations where this is an issue, watching to see if there is a specific reason for it, and then thinking of methods to encourage him to speed up a bit.

It doesn't mean that they've diagnosed him with special needs. There is a vast difference. Schools do not diagnose.

mummytime Sun 14-Dec-14 17:37:09

Just to repeat : a SENCO cannot diagnose anything!
If she tries ask her qualifications. But if she can get something like a TA in the class to help with getting ready for PE, or him and a small group being the "first" to start getting ready.

However the one thing that does worry me is that you seem to have had experience of a previous school suggesting an issue, and you are very defensive. Children with SEN and SN can be very intelligent, in fact the most gifted boy at Maths I know (GCSE at 8 level) also has SN.

MamasitaKt Sun 14-Dec-14 19:04:43

Thank you 3littlefrogs smile Yes the speed thing can be quite selective! It is worse at school tbh. If we are going somewhere exciting he will get ready in a flash. If he is eating cake, he certainly doesn't hang around but normal healthy dinners can take a while! I have tried using stickers and timers etc and they do work so he is capable but the school refuses to use any as they say he should not need these things in year two. It's a shame as if he had been born two weeks later he would still be in year one and there wouldn't be an issue.

MamasitaKt Sun 14-Dec-14 19:11:19

chocismydrug and mummytime, thanks for your input. I understand that the SENCO can't medically diagnose but in the past (not to do with my children) she has convinced parents that their children had adhd when in fact they didn't. I don't really understand how I am being defensive smile I am just asking for advice and giving a little background info. I have not had a previous school suggest an issue at all, in fact this is the only school DS has been too so don't quite understand where you have that from. And of course I understand that children with special needs can also be intelligent smile

Wait4nothing Sun 14-Dec-14 19:21:54

I would go to the senco and see what they suggest. The class teacher would only suggest if it his/her own methods aren't working (and it may be as you say he/she isn't trying a range of methods). The senco should work along side the teacher to support your child. I personally wouldn't ask for senco involvement in this case unless it was affecting education (eg he had spent so long eating he hasn't had time to socialise with peers at lunchtime - very important in his social education). But it may be that teacher hasn't come across this need before. Just because you meet with the senco doesn't mean anything - if you disagree with what they say you don't take it any further - you've nothing to loose and potentially something to gain (a short period of support to get over a minor need in school).

insanityscratching Sun 14-Dec-14 19:22:20

Well my dd is older than your ds and academically able and also incredibly slow at getting changed and probably would be at eating if she ate anywhere near a full meal.
I can tell you she has processing difficulties and problems with her executive function skills alongside hypotonia and poor core stability all diagnosed by an occupational therapist/SALT/physiotherapist. Dd is given extra time to change and a locker to put her kit in as she is now at secondary school.
It may be that as your ds gets older he speeds up with practice but he may not and having an explanation for why he is so slow means you can demand that provision is put in place so that he isn't disadvantaged.

KittyOSullivanKrauss Sun 14-Dec-14 19:26:42

Gosh, he sounds just like our DS except he's in year one. We're not at all worried about our DS, it's partly personality and partly that he's so much younger but because he's bright & conscientious the slowness shows up more (I'm a psychologist & DH is a paediatrician. I repeat we are not concerned). DS has responded to encouragement and praise, and also when he's realised that being slow has a consequence (e.g. He got less playtime because he ate slowly). Like your DS, he can speed up when he is motivated to! Teacher is just very positive when he's a bit quicker. Get the Eric Carle book 'Slowly slowly slowly' for a non pathologising message.

AliceinWinterWonderland Sun 14-Dec-14 19:27:24

* I understand that the SENCO can't medically diagnose but in the past (not to do with my children) she has convinced parents that their children had adhd when in fact they didn't.*

Well, I do find this a bit questionable - in that these were not your children, and I assume you are not, in fact, their paediatrician. How on earth you can make this judgement call that they do not "in fact" have adhd (or anything else for that matter) is beyond me. hmm

So now that you've wafted into "judgemental" territory on this point alone, I'm out.

ArabellaRockerfella Mon 15-Dec-14 21:20:30

Slow speed in changing for PE, eating, moving from one task to the next, organising equipment for tasks, finishing set work and following instructions can indeed be a pointer for dyspraxia, dyslexia, slow processing etc. as previous poster 'Insanityscratching' mentions from personal experience. So I wouldn't dismiss the SENCO's ideas completely. I'm not sure why some parents believe that a SENCO who will be an experienced teacher and who has taught hundreds of children in their career would flag up difficulties in a child just for fun! They are there to support children and highlight any areas of need that they observe in class. They do not get any points or bonus' for mentioning difficulties to parents so why do parents automatically mistrust their concerns hmm
If I were you I would book a meeting with the teacher and SENCO and agree on a plan to support your child before his 'slowness' becomes a serious barrier to his learning and achievement.

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