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Is this a common level of school based anxiety for a 5 year old (year 1)?

(7 Posts)
sazale Wed 26-Sep-12 12:40:49

My DS 5 has hypermobility which is extreme in his hands and is making learning to write very difficult. The OT has said that he has to use his own style of pencil grip as tripod grip causes his thumb joint to pop in and out and will need IT support as soon as he can write. He also has a phonological speech disorder and is experiencing difficulty in learning to read (barely any progress in 12 months). On top of this he also experiences social anxiety which manifests as extreme shyness birding on selective mutism at times. He is due to be assessed by CDC to figure out if standalone social anxiety or if it's HFA (I have a teen dd dx with HFA).

He finds separating from me at school very difficult (always has) but this is getting worse and from the minute he wakes up he says he doesn't want to go. He hides under the covers. I get him to school as he is a very placid, over compliant child and will do what I ask him to do but to hear him say it and physically see the change in him when we enter the gates is heart breaking. He barely speaks once inside the school gates. He clings to me when I pass him to the teacher to tak but he doesn't make a sound.

School insist there is no problems and he's fine once I've gone. They told me has no probs with reading but after finally getting an iep (after a year of asking) I can see that he is 12 months behind. I'm aware that his speech disorder can impact on learning to read. They also haven't taken any advice from any professionals, even the OT. As far as im aware he gets no extra support, the IEP is rubbish. The SENCO said that it's normal for a year 1 child to be anxious about parting from Mum and being in school. I told her he's been like this for 3 years but is getting worse, she brushed it off! Is it me being over protective? Am I expecting too much from school?

I do know that something's not right, just like I did my dd, but am I now paranoid as so many people told me she was fine. My dd and my other DS were never like this over school. My DS 5 is highly intelligent as well which must make it even more frustrating that he struggles to communicate verbally and can barely read or write.

Sorry for the essay. I've got a meeting with the SENCO and class teacher this afternoon and I just wondered if, in your lovely ladies experience, think this is a normal level of anxiety and I need to back off from school. Thanks

zzzzz Wed 26-Sep-12 13:24:20

My ds has a severe language disorder, and very hypermobile hands and is 7 and we started HE this term.

I am teaching so can't answer properly but,
Writing, white board and a big pen covered in foam made a huge difference. Hardness of pen was an issue as was radius of pen ans how hard you have to press.

Montessori type letters to spell out words rather than write, iPad or interactive white board a school. Gloves in cold weather. Prewriten words on cards to make sentences.

Reading, phonic books, lists and notes computer based stuff.

My dd3 is selective mute, triggered by meds for her epilepsy. I find drop off dreadful as she shuts down and clings to me. She says she finds it boring.

If your ds is verbalising how much he dislikes school, it's important to listen. There is no point in him talking if he is ignored. Video it and take it in, ask school wha hey can do to support.

bialystockandbloom Wed 26-Sep-12 13:41:57

Poor little chap. I don't think this is a 'normal' level of anxiety, though it's not wholly uncommon. But either way, it is not enough for the school to dismiss your concerns as over-anxious parenting. They need to be telling you what they are going to do to help. It could well be linked to the difficulties he's having with writing/reading - the work goes up a gear from reception to Y1, and if he's struggling with little/no support it's not surprising he'd have such dread and worry about going to school. Imo this needs to be listed as a specific target in his IEP.

Is he on SA+? Have you considered requesting statutory assessment with a view to getting a statement?

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 26-Sep-12 13:45:09

I would find another school, this one is failing him by failing to recogise his additional needs. Many schools do not have skilled or trained staff to recognise such additional needs in the first instance.

I would also apply for a Statement if there is no such document in place.

sazale Wed 26-Sep-12 15:36:03

Thanks everyone.

My DS is on SA+ but I am considering applying for a statutory assessment for him. I managed to get a statement for my dd in July (she's just started special school) so I know how they work here and the lea were really cooperative (gave us everything we asked for). I've started gathering evidence and got an independent SALT assessing him.

Just got back from meeting at school and the SENCO has suddenly had a complete turnaround! Just got to wait and see if the vast level of support she's offering materialises. I'm going to monitor till Christmas as she's requesting assessments from specialist teaching services amongst other things so I need to allow some time to see if it all happens but I'm not going to wait too long!

I have thought of moving him school but he has made good friends so that has to be the last resort and I would prob only do that after applying for a statement as I'd be worried about moving him and then having the same difficulties!

Ineedalife Wed 26-Sep-12 17:30:53

Hi sazale, I just wanted to say that my Dd3 suffered from awful anxiety at her first school, it was totally unrecognised and she was often dragged from me in the playground screaming. She was often sick at lunchtime which was also due to anxiety.

The school kept saying she was fine when I left her but then would ring me to fetch her as she had been sickhmm

She has HFA/Aspergers so was totally unable to tell me what was upsetting her but I thought I shouldnt move her because of her friends. anyway to cut a long story short we were eventually forced into a situation where we felt we had to move her [lying SENCO/HT] It was the best thing ever. She is so happy now in an inclusive school where people get her and she can be who she is.

Please dont get bogged down with the thought that you cant move him because he has friends, he might be much happier somewhere else and if the friends are really good ones they will stay friends at the weekend or in the holidays.

Good lucksmile

sazale Wed 26-Sep-12 18:01:33

Thanks ineedalife, I know you're right and I'm so pleased that you found a more inclusive school. I've got a lot of thinking to do, that's for sure!

He worries me so much as he finds it all so difficult. He is exceptionally bright but unable to read, write or speak clearly. It must be so frustrating for him. He's made no progress on reading since the end of F1. School finally admitted this to me today and they are now bringing in specialist teaching services to see if he needs a different method other than phonics. I'm annoyed they've left it so long since I expressed my concerns several times since tarting F2.

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