I have a meeting set up with school administrators for Tuesday morning and was wondering if anyone had any experience or advice to share.
My older daughter, who just turned 7, was an outgoing and chatty toddler. A few months after she turned three, she suddenly stopped speaking in public. I am not sure exactly why... I know I was a *very* quiet child. My mother was also staying with us at the time and often shared her very loving view that my daughter "talked too much." In any case, my daughter fell completely silent in public until about 2/3 of the way through preschool (at about 4.5) to start speaking to her teacher, and then it was only whispers in her ear.
Over the last few years, she has gradually started speaking more, but her quietness/shyness/silence still impairs her ability to function normally in any kind of social setting. She is comfortable only at home or around close friends. She is a highly sensitive and perceptive person, with no cognitive impairments that would prevent her from understanding material at school. The actual school material has never posed any challenge for her.
When I registered her for kindergarten, I answered the question about languages spoken at home truthfully. Her dad speaks another language, which we speak at home, but I am a native English speaker. I didn't know at the time that our daughter would be required to undergo ESL testing every year because of this. To make a long story short, she "failed" the ESL test because she wouldn't speak to the tester.
In the years since, she has made progress, but is still exceedingly quiet. For example, she will not utter even a single word to most of our neighbors, even some of the children. She is silent at the bus stop. On the playground, if a child approaches her, she will usually not even turn her head to look at the child. She has continued to do poorly on the ESL tests that are administered once a year, despite the fact that she has a very good reading and spoken English skills (at home).
She behaves very differently in public than at home. If she receives sudden attention in public, she will start laughing strangely and hang on me or hide behind me - behaviors that don't seem normal for a seven year old.
Since school started this year, she has been complaining non-stop about ESL, so I wrote the school a letter to express my frustration that she is receiving services she clearly does not need, while I feel that she very much does need help with the social anxiety. The school contacted me immediately to set up an "intervention," for which I am grateful. I would like to make the most of this opportunity.
Has anybody else been in a similar position? Does anyone have advice or suggestions for ways I can ask for and get useful help for my daughter? Thanks in advance!