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5 yr old ds not engaging in class - should I be concerned and if so what do I do?

(16 Posts)
MollieO Sun 04-Oct-09 23:16:22

Posted a similar thread in Primary education and was recommended to post here.

Ds is well behaved in class but is completely unable to answer anything asked by his teacher as he doesn't seem to be listening or able to see what is on the board, despite sitting at the front of the class. His eyesight has been tested and is fine. I think his hearing is okay too but we are off to the GP to check this week.

Ds's teacher has suggested doing an Aston Index assessment but ds is too young for this at the moment.

His reading and writing are fine albeit he is incredibly reluctant to do either. His teacher has said that she has never had a child like him and wonders if he has a processing issue. He understands what I say and follows detailed commands. He doesn't always appear to be listening though and it was a point raised in his reception school report - Ds must work on his listener/speaker exchange.

Ds's teacher thinks he is intelligent. He has an exceptional vocabulary and is very curious, always asking questions. He is sociable and confident although doesn't have a particular group of friends that he plays with at school. He seems (at least to me) like any other 5 yr old boy although the adjective 'lively' seems to be increasingly applied to him by others.

We are seeing our GP early this week and I was wondering what I should be asking for (other than a hearing test). Can a GP refer to an Ed Psych? Ds is at pre-prep so I've been warned by others on MN that the LEA will not take an interest.

paddingtonbear1 Sun 04-Oct-09 23:37:56

Mollie my dd sounds similar to your ds, although she is definitely behind in all subjects apart from science and tech. She doesn't listen or concentrate well in class - what's your ds's concentration like? dd's teacher is not sure if she doesn't understand the instructions, or is just not listening to them! She always has to be told 2 or 3 times before doing something.
Dd has just been given an IEP at school, has more help from the class TA, and goes to the resource centre for 'skills training' (concentration mainly). If this doesn't work and nothing improves she may go on SA+ and be assessed. This would come from school though, not the GP. dd is at a local state school.

paddingtonbear1 Sun 04-Oct-09 23:41:46

meant to add, dd is 6 and in yr 2 - so must be older than your ds. We've had the same problems since reception.

MollieO Sun 04-Oct-09 23:55:06

Ds's concentration is fine provided he is interested in the first place. If he isn't then there is practically nothing you can do to get him to concentrate, which I assume is one of the issues at school.

Have just read the school's SEN policy and it seems that they do liase with the LEA for SA and SA+. Ds can't have the Aston Index assessment until he is 5.6 so that will be next term. Probably not long to wait but I feel that if there is a problem I'd rather know now so a plan can be put in place sooner rather than later.

I've always been told that ds is very bright so to discover that he is now struggling is something of a shock. Reception and nursery teachers weren't concerned at all with ds's learning. I do wonder if there was an element of assuming he'd grow out of it with regard to the lack of listening. He does talk a lot.

paddingtonbear1 Mon 05-Oct-09 10:43:15

hi, dd does sound similar. I haven't got a clue what to do about it now tbh, school are trying to help but I'm not sure how much difference it will make. dd has been the same since nursery! She did have some glue ear in reception but even when that cleared up, things haven't improved. Half the time she doesn't listen/understand what she's meant to be doing in school, but she could tell me in great detail about their discipline system - so she must have listened to that!
Is the SENCO involved at your school? My GP once said that if they need to be assessed it should come from the school first. It can take some time though.

MollieO Mon 05-Oct-09 10:52:40

We have a SENCO at the school so she is involved although she said she can't do anything regarding assessment until he is 5.6, seems a bit odd to me.

Called the LEA educational psychologist service and they said that they won't have anything to do with a child at a private school hmm.

I will see if I can access a private service via the GP (and my health insurance). If not then I will have to stump up £575 to have him assessed.

paddingtonbear1 your dd sounds very similar to my ds although we haven't had any phyiscal issues (like glue ear). I wonder if ds struggles to hear in a noisy classroom. In a way I'd rather there was a physical cause rather than a psychological cause as I think that a physical cause would be easier to treat/deal with.

Ds was a prem and had developmental delays and had regular checks with a consultant paed. I've never been told that I should expect any learning issues.

paddingtonbear1 Mon 05-Oct-09 11:14:48

Mollie that could well be the case, re hearing in a noisy classroom. dd is very easily distracted - by anything at all! - and also hates a lot of background noise. Anything a bit louder than normal and she covers her ears! She wasn't prem and has had no issues physically, but she's always been 'young' for her age and was very slow to speak.
We've only just started with 'the system' as dd's old school, while recognising there was a problem, didn't seem prepared to do anything about it. They had no TA in class either and dd just got further behind. Now we're trying to help her catch up, but it's a real struggle.

MollieO Mon 05-Oct-09 11:24:27

I suppose we are lucky that we haven't had to wait until year 2 to start any form of assessment. Has your dd been assessed by and Ed Psych? That is what I will insist on if there is an identified problem with ds. I think that will at least identify what the real issues are and work out a way of dealing with them.

paddingtonbear1 Mon 05-Oct-09 12:57:41

no, not been assessed yet. I'd guess that is further down the line - dd's just got an IEP, which we're going to review at parents evening in a couple of weeks. If no progress at all then I think we'll try and push for an assessment. When are you seeing the GP? I did see mine about dd a while ago as her old school asked me to, but when I got there the GP said any referral had to come from the school! The school did have a SENCO but they didn't even want to involve her! At least this school is better in that respect.

MollieO Mon 05-Oct-09 13:38:53

We are seeing the GP tomorrow evening. He is also a paediatric registrar at the local hospital and has been fab in the past in getting ds whatever referral/support he needs. I think he is going to laugh though when I tell him that d's teacher thinks he has SEN. We are seeing him mainly to sort out whether there is a hearing problem but I will take the opportunity to have a broader chat. For some reason our GP has always taken a special interest in ds's development.

paranoid2 Mon 05-Oct-09 14:01:33

My Dt2 was also premature and a summer baby so started school very young. It was noted that he was a bit slow to achieve some of his milestones when he was a baby and had speech and occ therapy. However at 2.5 he was discharged from the paed.
He had similar issues to your DD in reception and year 1 , inability to listen (processing also mentioned) although a curious and interested child . He continued to struggle, was referred to the EP and eventually seen last year. He was diagnosed with moderate learning difficulties with traits of ADD and dyspraxia although the EP isn’t certain that he does have true learning diffs, ie how much of his inability to do well at the standardized tests was related to his inattention. I have always been led to believe that his early mild delays , whether they were caused by the prematurity or not, could have been an indicator of his learning issues/attention problems today, although he appeared to be fine at 2.5yrs. I was told that the mild delays may resolve themselves and he would catch up but there was a possibility that this would not be the case. Good luck tomorrow

MollieO Mon 05-Oct-09 14:20:16

That's interesting paranoid2. How old is your ds and when do they think his learning difficulties will resolve themselves?

Ds was only 7 weeks prem but was very very poorly. His gross motor skills were delayed - sat up at 10 months, walked at 22 months - but his fine motor skills were advanced for his age. It seems odd that a child who is curious and interested doesn't listen.

You've convinced me that seeing a EP is the way to go as at least that way we will have a good idea of what issues there may be and what are ds's strengths and weaknesses.

We got discharged from the paed at 4 but most of ds's problems were to do with his lungs and walking (ds has hypermobility)rather than anything else. When ds was born the paediatric consultant said that the first 5 years of ds's life would be very trying but once we got through that he didn't envisage any long term issues.

paddingtonbear1 Mon 05-Oct-09 14:58:40

that's interesting paranoid2 - which year is your ds in now? Does he get any extra help in class? dd gets a lot of help from the TA or she probably wouldn't do very much! (which is exactly what happened in her old school).
dd is also young for the year, I've often thought she would have done better just being in the year below. We'd probably still get the same problems though.
Good luck with the GP MollieO - at least it sounds like you won't get fobbed off!

paranoid2 Mon 05-Oct-09 17:49:01

Dt2 is just 8 and in yr4 although should really only be in yr3. He received a statement last year after the Ep report went to the board. We are in NI and maybe I have my head in the sand but I think you dont have to be as far behind here to get a statement as the rest of the UK. At least thats what it seems to me when hearing about how far behind children have to be before getting one in England. DT2 isnt years behind, I would say about a year.He got level 2's in key stage 1 so I was pleased about that. We had the option of keeping him in Mainstream with about 2 hours a day support or moving him to a special unit attached to a local MS school. We opted for the unit as it means he is taught by a specially trained special needs teacher and with only 8 in the class as well as a TA . We felt it would give him a chance to catch up. He is operating at a higher level than the other 2 boys in his year and with those in year 5. At the time the EP felt the unit would offer Dt2 a better chance to access the cirriculum.
Dt2 is also a very well behaved child and interested in nature and science , not very good at sports apart from swimming (not great motor skills). He is a good speller and not a bad reader now. I would say maths is his weakest area. i'm not sure anyone thinks his learning diffs will resolve themselves, well apart from me living in hope. He is on medication for his attention issues and that has helped. We also have the covering ears when there are loud noises so i think the noisy classroom was an issue in MS.Your GP sounds great Mollie , thats a good start

grumpyoldeeyore Wed 07-Oct-09 18:43:50

you don't need to only see an ed psych - you could see a clinical psych (so NHS not education) who specialises in child developmental issues so might be free. They should start with a developmental paed. Does he have any asperger traits eg restrictive interests, literal use of language, precocious use of language - you say he is social but no particular friendships? My son doesn't listen / respond to instructions but he has autism - but still very bright etc. My sisters child has ADD (not ADHD) which includes difficulties in planning and concentrating. Is he understanding - some children can use language well but are not actually comprehending. I am not saying aspergers is what it is - but as you mention social skills I assume you are thinking along these lines. The NAS website has lots of info and also ideas about how you can use visual supports (whether or not its anything autism related they work with lots of children). If he is a visual learner he might respond better to visual instructions eg a written list - rather than a verbal instruction? Many autistic children use visual timetables but in fact when teachers start using them lots of other children in the class find them really helpful. First and then is another tactic - eg first handwriting then (preferred activity) and again you can present this with a visual reminder and use tactics like sand timers for non preferred activities. We realised that my son had problems when his teachers started saying he isn't listening to us, he doesn't answer etc so this just struck a chord with me. However my son lost skills and speech so its quite a different scenario to yours but the underlying problem of understanding language might be similar. Sometimes at home we just know what our kids want so we don't realise that maybe they are picking up on visual cues and not the verbal instruction - sometimes in a busy noisy classroom this becomes more obvious. AFASIC has lots of info on various language issues which you could look at to rule this out. Can you go and observe him in class? He might present quite differently to how he is at home where all is familiar.

MollieO Thu 08-Oct-09 14:27:07

I will have a look at the NAS website. I posted another thread on primary education following ds's teacher's written note (not very nice).

Ds seems to completely understand what I say and we had no issues regarding comprehension in Reception only a comment that he needs to work on his listening skills.

GP has referred to audiologist and then it will be to paediatrician and clinical child psych. GP (who has known and had regular contact with ds since ds's birth) doesn't think there is anything wrong at all. I am happy to go down this route to see if there is anything that needs to be addressed and if there isn't then to have some ammo to tackle his teacher with.

Ds has had a different teacher this week (usual teacher sick) and she said she has no issues at all with ds. May be different style in teaching but if there are real problems with ds I would doubt he can turn them on and off when he is in the same environment, ie at school (I can appreciate that he may not behave the same at home as at school).

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