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Advice required - Child with autism in ds1 nursery class

9 replies

deegward · 01/10/2004 14:47

Hoping for some mn advice here. DS1 is at school nursery (4.5), a little boy started at the beginning of term, and at the end of the day was always let out just before (but separate)to the other children. Today we were walking up from school and they were behind us, ds1 turned to him and asked " why don't you talk to me?" his mummy then said that he didn't speak and had autism. I apologised for ds1 and chatted to her, she said that he did talk upto when he was about 18 months and then just stopped, but his communication skills meant that he really didn't need to talk.

My question is, I take it the children will have be told something in school, but I always talk things through with ds1, what can I say so that he will understand. I want him to know that X isn't stupid, a baby, but is just different, as he can't talk. I know that he has just been statemented, so will this mean additional resources for the school. Any information about this gratefully received.

OP posts:
deegward · 01/10/2004 15:20


OP posts:
Dingle · 01/10/2004 16:30

deegward-no help at all from me, my dd has DS and is soom starting mainstream nursery.
I just hope that the other mums there will think like you have and give my dd the time & understanding to find a bit more about her before casting her to one side as stupid.

crunchie · 01/10/2004 16:50

Well my dd has a boy with DS in her class. It is amazing what they accept as the norm and she is always telling me about 'x' who is 9, and he is still in her class (she is reception). She has just been told that x is different and needs a bit of extra help here and there.

I would go along this route, use it as an opportunity to tell him that all people are different and sometimes his brain has trouble 'communicating' with others. I explaied DS and Autisim this way to my kids (another friend of dd's has an autistic brother) and she asked questions. I explained some people have brown faces, some pink, some have brown hair, some can't speak, other can't see etc. This way of treating everything as totally normal (which it is) seems to work and DD knows people are different but she doesn't think of herself as better (IYKWIM) Is there something unique about your son? It he the tallest/smallest in class or have big feet etc - I ask that beacause I use a unique trait as another way to explain how everyone is different. DD is the smallest in her class (she was prem) so it made sense to her this way too.

heartinthecountry · 01/10/2004 17:02

No advice from me either deegward but I would also, as the mother of a child with SN (not autism) like to thank you for taking the time to explain things like this to your son. It means so much when people are open-minded and understanding .

deegward · 01/10/2004 18:31

I phoned the Head at his school to find out what they had been told. Just that x was different and that they were all to be patient and kind to him. So ds1 and I sat downthis afternoon and we talked about what it would belike to have autism. He wears glasses and his cousin is deaf so we went along those kind of lines. Saying it must be hard for x that his body and head don't do what he wants them to do when he wants them to do it, but that just because he doesn't smile doesn't mean he doesn't like ds.

DS1 said that he often tried to make him smile by doing a funny dance or tell him his ONE joke, but it hadn't worked. I just said that x appreciated him being nice to him, and just to carry on being a good boy. The head said that he may learn Makaton or some other method, and that the children then would be able to learn with him so that they will be able to communicate with him. All to the good as far as I (and ds) are concerned. I am glad I know why x is different, and glad that ds and his class mates are being taught with children of differing abilities about them. Sorry a bit long, but I feel I want my child to embrace these things.

OP posts:
dinosaur · 01/10/2004 18:39

deegward, as the mother of an high-functioning autistic five year old I just want to say a quick thank you

My DS1 does communicate verbally but interestingly enough his best friend at school (he's in mainstream) is a little lad who is selectively mute! But they seem to communicate and get along just fine...

coppertop · 01/10/2004 18:47

It's only just occurred to me that I have absolutely no idea whether or not ds1's classmates know anything about his autism. Some of them went to the same pre-school as ds1 so I would imagine they're probably used to some of his more eccentric ways.

It's lovely to hear that another parent is actually interested in knowing/explaining this kind of thing. I've had a few odd looks from other parents but then I suppose that might just be me rather than ds1.

Dingle · 01/10/2004 19:00

At least I won't have to worry about the parents not knowing about dd(nearly 3) having Down Syndrome!! Mind you plenty of them just look on in amazement,as I quite happily hold conversations with her in signalong while out in the playground when we are taking ds to school.
It is very reassuring to know that there are mums like you out there and not just the type who seem to hide in the embarrassment of what they don't know. I don't mean that in a bad way-it's understandable that the mums of NT children don't necessarily have any knowledge of SN, but some turn the other way as if you don't even exist (perhaps that's a bit of paranoia too) and others like you, deegward, go out of your way to learn how they can help them.

zebra · 01/10/2004 19:08

Could you just say that X can't talk, not everyone can talk in spoken words, so he communicates in other ways? Do you need 2 say more? I wonder if it's useful to apply a label like autism, at this age.

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