Assessment for 3 year old?(7 Posts)
I'm new to the world of SEN (or possible SEN) so could really do with some advice please. I'll try to keep it brief but don't want to leave out anything important so bear with me!
My three year old (3y 3m) was always a high needs baby. Traumatic birth, silent reflux, feeding issues, difficult to wean, non sleeper, on medication for unrelated issue for first year of life. We never got out to baby groups as a result however I didn't take her to weekly stay and play sessions when she was about 2. Her sleep sorted itself out around 9m and she's been a great sleeper ever since (in own cot/bed etc). Her development was always fine though except for she was a late speaker. Couldn't speak until age 2 except for a few baby words. Then she started, then when her sibling arrived at age 2.5 the words really came and she now is on the very advanced side of speech/vocab/context etc. The speech also coincided with her getting glasses because we discovers that one of her eyes was damaged at birth and that her vision in it was/is terrible as a result.
So no real development issues. She's very advanced (according to playgroup, she's my first so I don't know what's 'normal') in what you'd call academic areas. Since around the age of 3 she's been able to count to 30, add simple sums in her head, draw people accurately (as in all features in the right place), knows her alphabet, can recognise and almost legibly write familiar words like her own name. She's known all her colours, shapes etc from tiny even before she could speak she could point them all out. Her memory shocks me, this child forgets nothing. I don't teach her exactly but I'm a sahm so I've got lots of time and we read a lot (I read, she listens she can't read!) and do lots of activities where she learns if that that makes sense. I mean I don't hot house her.
However, she's really really struggled settling into playgroup. It's a small setting of around 20 children with six teachers. I expected her to have a few weeks where she was upset because she'd never been left with anyone except grandparents before. And she did the first few weeks she cried when I left but then soon stopped. So far, so normal really. She was doing mornings only and then 3 full days (9-2) when her age 3 funding kicked in.
She is really struggling still though six months later. Not at drop off, she's happy to go and waves me off. But they're saying she needs constant 1-1 attention and finding transitions really hard. Apparently if she is not 1-1 she gets really upset, and if they change activity she gets really upset. Also she says she doesn't like the children being noisy so she wants to go outside a lot when it all gets a bit full on.
They've also picked up on the fact that she sometimes tip toe walks and doesn't really play with other children. In fact she likes to play alone or 1-1 with a teacher and gets upset when other children try to play with her. She constantly tells them she 'misses her family' when she's there and upset. They say she's usually quite anxious.
I have to collect her earlier than scheduled because they say she can't cope with full days. I've been going at 1 instead of 2 for a few weeks. My feeling was that it was because she'd dropped her final nap - she loved the nap! - when she went to full days but it needed to go anyway because it was interfering with bedtime.
She does have some good days where she doesn't cry much but she does cry at some point every single session. I feel awful. But I feel like removing her would be counter productive, she starts school next year and she does need to get used to this sort of environment (which is why I sent her in the first place).
Anyway, today they called me lunchtime and asked me to collect her because she'd been upset on and off all morning. They'd tried to jolly her out of it and distract her like usual but she kept crying and they don't like to leave them upset there (fine by me I don't want her sobbing either). The manager spoke to me and said they want to get their SENCO in to observe her because they'd never had a child like it six months on (she's very experienced has been there 15 years) and they also want the SENCO to come and observe her at home to see what she suggests. She said they feel there's a big gap between her cognitive abilities and her social development and that we've only got a year until she starts school so we need to get ahead of any SENs as soon as possible.
I'm happy for her to be observed etc and will help wherever I can. I've asked if I can go in and observe her (hiding so she can't see me) too because she isn't like this at home so it's hard for me to understand why she's like this and what's triggering it.
At home, she's generally a confident and happy child. We're a settled household, both parents at home, no rows etc. We don't yell or smack for discipline. She probably has two tantrums a week but nothing that I'd call out of the ordinary for a three year old. Usually at being told no, or to stop doing something etc. I'm racking my brains to see if there's anything that she does that is particularly unusual but really can't think of anything. She's a bit of a fussy eater, but again, not outside the realms of what you'd expect for a small child. The only strange thing that she's started doing lately is when she's tired at the end of the day sometimes she'll take her favourite teddy (that she sleeps with), hide it and say it's gone forever and that she wants it. Then when I saw 'that's ok, I'll help you find it' she screams at me no, that it's gone and gone forever. This can go round in a loop until bedtime.
Can anyone offer me some insight/advice/thoughts? Does this sound like she has SEN? I don't know what to do for the best!
Hopeful bump for the evening crowd....
Firstly I have to say don't expect teachers to help, they are not trained and cannot spit a child with autism etc, u need to reach out and demand the best for ur child so get a paediatrician referral from go or HV an I mean demand it!! She sounds just like my daughter who is 8 now but went through same thing as a child and diagnosed at age 3, girls hide it so well that's why it's hard to diagnose, do a diary or everything and ur own report at home, if u need any help pm me, she should have an assessment now because it can take years to diagnose.
It may be the type of nursery too. My child had that behaviour at a Montessori nursery, in hindsight I should have changed to a more structured nursery. The nursery place was a big room with a lot of echo and very loud which did not help. The child was just left to 'choose' the activities (which may work for some 3 year olds but not for many others) or play for hours with one friend without guidance, so they would get into their own baby talk etc which was not very educational either. She grew out of the adult dependency gradually though, they are so little when they are three, so without knowing much about your situation, you should also consider it is just nothing.... especially if she is smart and happy at home otherwise.
With the anxiety, lack of social skills and being unable to cope with noise, change and transitions, I'd get her assessed for ASD too.
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