Hi there mamas...
I considered posting this in the main forum, but then I thought that you all might have some helpful advice or insight. I don't know if my DD could be considered SN, but she's definitely high needs...
My DD is six years old. She's always been emotionally sensitive for as long as I can recall. As a toddler, she cried when I left the room. She was one of those kids who literally hung around your leg. She was fearful of people she didn't know, didn't like new situations, I couldn't leave her with a babysitter (which happened to be an auntie she saw all the time, not a stranger) until she was three (and it didn't go well at all).
We tried her in preschool at three years old and had to stop after two weeks. She cried the entire first week. The teachers called me to pick her up: it was disruptive to class. Then I came with her for the next few classes, but it was apparent that she would just cry without stopping if I left, so we quit. We did do preschool at four years old, and she did fare better, but her transition the first month was a lot harder on her than other students. Her classmates had settled in just fine, but she would still cry when I dropped her off in the mornings. But then she would cry at the drop of a hat if something set her off. For example, for the longest time, she was afraid of firemen and fire drills, and one of the photos I have from preschool is (you guessed it) a fireman who came to visit the class for careers day and there's all the happy smiling kids and my DD in hysterics, crying, in the front row.
After she turned five, she started school full-time here in Australia and predictably, the first month was an endurance test. The other kids had transitioned well, but she'd still be in tears every morning. And we'd talk, talk, talk about it after school, on weekends..."Okay, on Monday, when we drop you off, it'll be okay, right? Because now you know your teachers and all the kids, so there's nothing to be worried about..." but nope, it never worked. And after term breaks, it would be the same again for a few days.
Aside from having a tough time with transitions, she just tends to wear her emotions really close to the surface. When she's chided or disciplined, she's in tears immediately and I often have to wait for her to stop crying and calm down so we can talk about what I need her to hear and understand. Personality-wise, she's a perfectionist, gets frustrated easily when she can't master things immediately (again, more tears)...her teachers have not said that it's interfering with school or disruptive to the class or anything. It's also not a constant...there may be days or even weeks where she seems more on an even keel and able to handle whatever comes up, but then it can be the opposite for a while. Academically, her teachers said she's at least one to two grade levels above her classmates (she came into the Aussie version of Kindergarten already knowing how to read and reading books to her peers from the start of the year), but from what I can see, with the exception of one other child, no one seems to be having the tough time emotionally that she is.
I did one of those online tests for "Do you have a highly sensitive child?" http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test_child.htm and she's a 19/23. The ones that stuck out at me were trouble with surprises and change, perfectionist, notices little subtle changes (I can move a small ornament on the bookshelf and she notices right away and asks me why I did that), asks deep questions (and a LOT of questions...it's exhausting), and performs best when strangers not present (she won't even relate a funny story from school to my neighbor and asks me to tell the neighbor instead). I also looked at a lot of the SPD info out there and it doesn't seem to fit her.
It's just getting to the point that we're wondering what else we can do for her. Does she need extra help with this? A lot of the time, we feel like we're walking on eggshells...she recently spent weeks rehearsing in the school choir for the Christmas concert, then the night of it, she refused to go on stage with her buddies, started crying, and sat with us instead. At orientation for her new school, when the teacher asked if she'd like to come with the other new kids and see her new classroom, she burst into tears. And she was the only one to do so in the gathering...while dry-eyed four year olds walked to their classes without a backward glance. Today when I dropped her off, she was fine but then I didn't leave immediately like I usually do (I was talking to another parent) and I see her running over crying and she's stopped her reading lesson with the teacher and has come running to say goodbye to me for a fourth time...the teacher today was a sub and asked me, "Um, is she always like that?"
I was hoping for the longest time that she'd grow out of this, but no sign of that so far. I'm dreading the new school year here in February. Does anyone have any advice, books, websites whatever that they can recommend? It seems we spend so much time some days trying to smooth out transitions, changes etc. and yet sometimes it doesn't seem to be making a difference from her behavior. By contrast, her younger brother is so easy-going, adaptable, and unflappable that I also feel like he's getting a raw deal because we have to focus on her so much.