language and social skills - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-19-2001, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone,

My son just turned 5 and is in a preschool program that we really like. His teachers are concerned because he doesn't yet use the social conventions for entering into a group of kids as well as his peers. We think he does pretty well at home and on the playground, though this is not his forte or his main interest now, and we all can kind of communicate without a lot of extra words at home. He is still very inwardly motivated. He has a different background from many of his classmates too, having never been in day care before he started preschool (1 1/2 years ago), though he did go to a family center, being an only child, having a stay-at-home Dad, not having TV, still nursing, and generally not being left to his own pace of growing up.

Anyway, I appreciate that the teachers are concerned that he may get frustrated and that the other kids won't understand his intentions. He does not seem frustrated at all and is one of the happiest kids I know. He has been "slow" in some other things like walking and learning correct use of pronouns (he called himself "you", for example, this time last year, and his teachers were concerned about that too).

I have agreed to go and talk with the school psychologist tomorrow, but I am afraid that they will want to do some expensive testing or something. I am also concerned about our relationship with the teachers if we don't want to go along with something. And I'm interested if anyone knows about variations in social skills for kids around 5 -- I would guess there is a lot of variation at that age.

Well, that's a lot of questions and all. Any other views or experiences or recommendations would be welcome!

Thanks!
MW
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#2 of 11 Old 11-19-2001, 02:19 PM
 
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Through my years of teaching preschool there is one thing that I find with children this age, they act differently at school then they do at home. He may not show frustration at home b/c as you said, you can communicate well without words. You know what he needs or wants.

As far as testing goes, I think at this age it is usually done thorugh "play". One program in my area has aroom set up like a classroom and several children are observed at once. There is a speech pathologist observing, physical therapist observing....so that all areas of the child can be observed and evalutated at once.

I would hope that the teachers would not hold anything against you. That would be very unprofessional. If you chose not to do anything I would hope they would offer you suggestions on how to help your ds.

Have you tried having classmates come to you house for a couple hours? Itmay be easier for him to engage in play with one child instead of 3 or more.

If he has been "slow" in other areas of development then he could very well be at his own level of developmetn for social interactions.

I hope everything goes well w/ the psychologist. Have any questions you want to ask written down so you won't forget them!

I just reread what I wrote and I dont think I was much help! I'm sorry for all the typos! Take care!
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#3 of 11 Old 11-19-2001, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much -- your reply is very helpful! It gives me confidence to do what we need to do and not worry about what others think about it. It gives me ideas of some questions to ask or things to try or retry. And I have now written down my questions!
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#4 of 11 Old 11-22-2001, 12:37 AM
 
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How did your meeting go?
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#5 of 11 Old 11-22-2001, 08:48 AM
 
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This subject is very interesting for me, My ds is 4 1/4 and he has a speech delay.We are a bilingual family and maybe this didn't help him.
He started to pronounce words when he was a 1 1/2 and very early he knew in both languages the abc, numbers to point and say words (dog,cat,water and so on) but that it, he didn't use the language to communicate and his social skills were not too great either. Around the age of 3 1/2 he actually started to talk. He's been seeing a speech therapist for the last year twice a week and he is doing very well, but still has to catch up.
I have to add that he is extremely bright, he can count till 500 and recognize the numbers, he's very good with puzzles , it's seems that some areas came on the acount of the others.

I would love to here from other with kids that started to talk late.
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#6 of 11 Old 11-23-2001, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Mommy2Max, for asking how the meeting went. I was planning to let you know today! And thanks, stella blue, for joining in as well.

The meeting went pretty well, very cordial. I took the approach of gathering information, not trying to make any big decisions yet or anything. The answer to my main question was reassuring, that our son is not seeming frustrated at school now, but their concern is for "down the road". In chatting toward the end of the meeting, the school psychologist expressed her support of time-outs and consequences, something we do not agree with at this time, so I could tell we were not completely on the same wavelength, though there was some agreement on some other things.

After talking with her and my husband, I feel the the best approach for us right now is to help out with any awkwardness we find in our son's social interactions, to model conversations and things for him more consciously, and to get together a bit more with other kids outside of school. I have been feeling the need to get together with more older Moms like myself, so we can combine the 2. We just don't feel that intervention is appropriate at the moment based on what we've heard and what we know of our son and his past history, including the fact that he is making progress in his social interactions.

One helpful thing from the meeting was that I learned some of the lingo, especially the term "pragmatics", that speech therapists use for the social aspects of language, so I was able to do some research for myself on the Web. Through this I got a better idea of what is expected from 5-yr-old conversations, and that was reassuring. I also got an idea of what standardized and nonstandardized techniques may be used for assessment, what they cost (a definite concern!) and other info about them. (The most useful site was http://depts.washington.edu/soccomm/ from the Univ. of Washington.)

Further comments, questions and suggestions are of course welcome! Thanks for being there!

MW
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#7 of 11 Old 11-24-2001, 11:12 PM
 
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Just for your information, all testing done through your local school district or dept of health is of NO COST to your family (this is the case in most states).

There are programs for Early Intervention (0-3y.o. or 0-5 years) depending on where you live and 5-21years(the local school district). All children suspected of having a disability by the schools or upon their parents' written request can be tested/evaluated for many different reasons. (Speech, Cognitive, Emotional/behavioral, Motor skills, etc)

You have the right as a parent to refuse to participate. The IDEA (individuals w/disabilties education act) is very easy to read and understand and all states have PIC (parent information centers) to assist with any questions or concerns.

As for the child learning two languages...yes, the child will develop in both languages at a slower pace than a monolingual kid...speech therapy isn't necessarily needed or recommended unless the evaluation was done by a bilingual therapist using tools normed for a foreign language. (PS--there are so few of these tools available and most professionals don't even know they exist!!)

The school systems often create kids and families with disbilities, read "when your child needs testing" or access some good websites such as the one mentioned. Another good resource along with the PICs are ILC (Independent Living Centers) and Parent-to-Parent (a nation/statewide organization linking parents).

Good luck!
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#8 of 11 Old 11-26-2001, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Becca's mom! I will check into some of these things. Also thanks for replying about bilingual kids. I was going to say that I have a friend with a bilingual daughter who was also late speaking, and I've heard that this is common and not a problem. But it sounds like Becca's mom has a lot more info and experience than my one bit of experience.

Best wishes to you all,
MW
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#9 of 11 Old 12-10-2001, 06:08 PM
 
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Stella blue,

My older brother didn't start really talking until he was 3. Now, he doesn't stop! (OK, he does stop, but he's really a verbose guy). He is a great conversationalist and a VERY intelligent person.

An aquantance of my mother's had a child who didn't start speaking until he was over 3. When he did, he started speaking in complete sentences.

Everyone is so very different.

wren
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#10 of 11 Old 12-11-2001, 10:59 AM
 
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Thank you Wern,
My son is VERY intelligent too, very bright and in some ereas much above his age group, but in the "language and communication erea" he is taking very slow steps, I would say more in communication then language. He is in a Preschool this year (37 kids) and it's seems that at home he is doing so much better with using the language and with communication and he not communicates at all with the other kids, if a kid will talk to him he or wont say a thing or will repeat or just will talk baby talk, I don't understand why there isn't any progress in the preschool, is it to big for him?too many kids?
I'm having thoughts of moving him to a different preschool with much less kids, I wish I would have the courage to homeschool him, but then he won't see any kids at all and his social skills wont get better:
I love this kid sooooooooo MUCH and I want to do the best for him.

Sigal
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#11 of 11 Old 12-13-2001, 01:09 AM
 
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Stella Blue...When you say that there are 37 children in the preschool, do you mean in the whole school or in your ds class?

If there are 37 in his class, how many teachers are there? Having that many children in a class can be very intimidating to a child having difficulity communicating. If that is the case, then Iwould find a school that has fewer children, say no more than 20; preferably 16 per class.
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