Less than a month in preschool teacher recommends screening for our son

Aimee - posted on 10/15/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My son just turned 3 years old a month ago and he started preschool for the 1st time. Never been in a day care and around other children since he is the 1st grandchild on both sides. 1st day of class we were happy that the strange environment didn't bother him he was more focus on the toys so my husband and I decided to give our hugs and kisses and sneak out. We thought that was a good start but after less than a month in school 18.5 hours to be exact as he goes only twice a week for 2 1/2 the teacher told me that both the assistant teacher and her wanted to recommend our son to be screened because he doesn't talk, doesn't respond, doesn't play with other kids, doesn't know how to take off and put his jacket on, doesn't know how to open his lunch box and the list of negative comments goes on and on. To top it all the teacher said he should be tested because he is not on the same level as his classmates. I tried to explain to the teacher the circumstance that this is our son's 1st time outside our home by himself in a strange place and with all strangers around him, so his reaction is expected as he is trying to establish him comfort zone, who he can trust and he still has to learn his social skills as he doesn't react well with strangers. Also I told the teacher that when he comes home he discuss what he did and he knows everything that was going on in school, so I am not tea worried. I said if he comes home and had no clue what happened in school then I will be worried. We seek advice from his pediatrician and with my professor who has a phD in early childhood education both of them it is too early to have our son screened since he really spend enough time for them to make that recommendations right away. So I informed the teacher about our decision and they were not so happy about it. Now all I feel with my son's teacher is remorse which I really don't want to feel that way but it seems like they made up their mind about our son and all they wanted to hear friend m us is yes we will have him screen to make them happy.

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Aimee - posted on 10/16/2013

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Thanks for your input Rebekah. I am an assistant teacher myself in a montessori, the reason he is not in the montessori where I work because he will be in the class I am co-teaching so it is not healthy for both of us. I ask my co worker to observe my son in her class and see if he is behaving the same way as his teacher told us. Since montessori approach is different from the usual teaching method he seemed responded very well doing his project the teacher asked him to do but he was not talking as usual and she said he gets bored so easy. During lunchtime I sat down with him, the teacher and our director were able to hear him conversing with me and the teacher said now he is talking because he feel comfortable. One recommendation they told me is to consult a speech specialist because even though he converse his words are not that clear yet which they said a little delayed for his age. So we are actually doing a speech consultation just to make sure everything will be smooth sailing before he starts kindergarten. One important input my co worker told me was my son does not react well with a lot of students which maybe one of the factor that he is not doing well in his preschool since there are 19 other students in his class.

Rebekah - posted on 10/15/2013

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You don't have to do anything to make the teachers happy... what you choose to do, you do for the well-being of your son. If they appeared disappointed with your response, hopefully it is only because they are teachers who really care about your little boy.

I'm playing devil's advocate here, but the other side of the coin is that often times you have experienced teachers who have worked with hundreds of children over the years...such that, when something unusual comes along, it simply stands out to them (yes, even in the first few weeks of school). I don't know how much experience your son's teacher has, but keep in mind they are only speaking up (ideally) out of genuine concern and experience. They may have access to recommend early intervention, which is critical for children who really need it (not saying yours, just generally speaking), which may also compel them to speak up rather than wait.

That being said, its good that you are in touch with his pediatrician and are seeking advice about it. Make an informed decision. You can certainly give it time and see how things are when you think he's more comfortable there. Meanwhile, it might be interesting for you to observe his class just to see what the teachers see... not even what your son is doing or not doing, but see what the other kids are doing. I am a mother of one, so when my boy was little, I was often checking with my friends/other parents to see what was typical and what wasn't, since I really didn't have anyone else to compare it to. Also, the school or the pediatrician may have a list of behaviors or skills that each age group generally is able to accomplish (dressing self, manipulating objects, verbal skills, problem solving skills, etc). Of course, every kid is an individual, so there is room for variance, but it may be helpful to see what is typical and how your son is doing in relation to that, and if there's an opportunity to help him practice some things, or if he is right on board. Just some thoughts. Hope all works out well.

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