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  • Kiddie advice needed!!

    This is probably going to end up a rant, I'm so bloody fed up!

    I would love it if anyone had any good advice to help me help my youngest. He's 3, 4 in April. He's a fussy eater (he has a thing about texture and touching food) he now only eats fish fingers and oven chips. And he's behind with his talking.

    The problem is that I've been busy with my daughter, who is currently being bombarded with tests to try and find out whether she has some sort of learning difficultly (dyslexia or something to do with reading and writing) that I've neglected Tom.

    The kids start school at 3 here and he's been fulltime since September. He says he likes it, hugs all the teachers, and stuff 3 yr olds do. But when we had the parents evening (God, do I HATE parents evenings!) his teacher told me that they had major concerns about Tom because he hadn't spoken at all since he got there. She said that he'd actually spoke for the first time (to her) a couple of days before the parents eve., and she thought she'd misheard, asked him to repeat what he said, and he did.

    She even had the special needs teacher have a look at him. Which was news to me!

    Remember, he's only 3.

    He's had speech therapy (refused to speak to the therapist or play the games) and is due another block of sessions in Febuary.

    We forced him to speak a lot more over Christmas and he learnt his colours properly and is starting to write his name, so I'm happy that he's trying. I even told the teachers that they had to force him to talk or he wouldn't. So I AM trying my best.

    But when I asked his teacher if he was trying to talk more (I wasn't expecting miricles, honest!) Her reply was
    "Yes but I still can't understand a word he says" Which has pi**ed me off because it was so negative.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I can badly see now that he just wasn't ready for school, there's way too much pressure on him now and I just don't know what to do. I can't take him out of school because he likes it and is in a routine that he's happy with.

    My thoughts are to carry on doing what I can and ignore the teachers because I'm fairly sure that Tom and the curriculium of the school aren't going to work out, at least not this year, anyway.

    If anyone has got any advice on stuff that I can do with him, to help him along, I would be REALLY, REALLY grateful. If anyone found a game that helped their kids out, please tell me. I'm using what interests him, so we use a lot of cars and trains!


  • #2
    I'm sorry to hear things are tough for you. Sounds like you have a lot to deal with. Its brilliant he is starting to write his own name, my dd didn't even want to try until she started school in September aged 4. It sounds like he is starting to trust his teacher a little if he has spoken to her, so maybe his speech will improve as time goes on, he is still very young.

    Is there any way your son can do half days at his school? Then he gets some time at school which you say he enjoys. Sometimes its very tiring for little ones to be at school all day. My dd is 4 and a half and she only does half days.

    Does he like books because a quite 5 minutes reading session may help him to talk. My children both love some time out with a book even if its just talking about the pictures in it.

    I hope it works out for you as you and him, it sound like you are doing a great job with him.


    • #3
      Debbie, there isn't really any advice I can offer on this but I just wanted you to know that I'm sure you are doing a fantastic job with your kids and nobody knows them better than you... especially not a negative teacher who's stuck in a classroom with 20+ children every day.

      All I can suggest is making sure that you have some time just for you and Tom to do the things that he enjoys, whether it be playing with cars, reading a book, drawing or encouraging him to write his name - all of these things encourage communication and build confidence so I'm sure that in time, everything will sort itself out.

      As for his teacher who clearly has no patience or encouragement, I would be tempted to speak to them (and/or the school headmaster) to discuss your concerns.

      Love Laura xxx


      • #4

        It sounds to me that a lot is being expected of your three year old, My eldest only just started speaking at 3 and is now doing A level maths, Physics and engineering!

        My next 3 children were also slower than others to read and write to expected standards but are all doing just fine!

        My youngest is amazing at speech (I did use sign with her as a baby and wonder if this had an impact?) and reading but has the same food fads as you mention, ie liquidy foods, one food touching another and point blank refusal to try certain foods etc, I just keep offering her the same foods and prepare her plate as she likes it, encouraging her to try new things for Happy faces on her reward chart. The school (she is 5 and in reception) have been great and they do cookery with her once a week to help her bond better with food! She is making, albeit slow, progress and I do not feel this will continue to be an issue for her.

        On the speech issue, I was sent on a course rather than the children, I was taught to encourage them to ask for things, it is easy to know what your child means and respond without them really expressing themselves verbaly, especialy if they are not the first born.
        Speak on their level ie kneel down to speak with them ensuring you hold eye contact and they see your mouth shapes as you speak.
        Lots of role playing and instigating speech by asking questions during play ie "What colour is the dolls dress? where do you think the doll would sleep?" etc
        Reading regularly and again asking questions.

        To be totally honest with you debbie, I am only saying all the things you are doing! You should be pleased with all his progress and keep at it, as should the teachers, unfortunately they are not as considerate as you.

        I hope you are feeling pleased with his progress and don't allow teachers need for good stats put you off.
        You do know your son best and are the most important factor.

        ~Buffy x x
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        Buffys Charms Website


        • #5
          This may sound silly but may help - can you get the 'cars and trains' to talk to each other and him? I used to be a teacher and this helped with a child who I had who really didn't like talking. But it wasn't him talking it was the cars and we got through to him that way. I hope you understand what I mean by this - basically he pretends to be the car and talks as if he is the car and you respond as if you are a different car whilst playing cars with him! Also have you had his ears checked - again I taught a little boy who had a problem with his hearing, he couldn't hear you speaking properly and then pronounced his words incorrectly because he couldn't hear how they should be pronounced.

          I hope that helps and as an ex teacher I really wouldn't worry too much at this stage as he is only 3 and is doing well to be at school already.
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          • #6
            Hi, I think all of the above are great advice. My daughter is only 15 months and just learning to talk, but I noticed that I was starting to speak for her a lot. I would point at things and say what they were, without giving her the opportunity to tell me what they were.

            I've started to ask her what things are, to try and encourage her language - you may of course be doing this already!

            I know alot of children that have been slower with speech development, and it always seems to catch up by about 5 years old - at least he is enjoying school!



            • #7
              All kids learn at different rates and I can honestly say that by the sound of it you are doing a brilliant job!!

              Carry on with what you are doing and try to engage in conversation too!

              Meals are a great time to talk too and it is really important that you eat away from the tv etc at a dinner table with no other distractions. I have a chat with my kids every eve about school and stuff at the dinner table.
              Also, don't make food an issue, just plate it up and try to encourage eating. Cooking together is a fab way of making them happy to try new stuff.

              Remember that bringing up kids is the hardest job going and to me it sounds like you are doing great!!!
              All the best!!



              • #8
                First of all I'm no expert but I do have 3 kid who are all very different.

                This is what I would do.

                Try something that looks like fish fingers (chic stick, veg sticks etc) and tell him they are special fish fingers. give him one normal fish finger and one special one. If he only takes one mouthful praise him. Slowly add other food, and take the fish fingers away, so he has say half a fish finger and what ever meal the rest of the family is having. I think this will take time.

                As far as school (don't even get me going lol) no school system can work for all children. My eldest (15) has always found school too easy and boring, my son (11) has always found school hard. I have know he was dyslexic since he was 3 and pushed for funding which he has only just got and he goes to high school in september.My youngest (3) is very bright and I think she's going to be a handful at school cause she learn too quick.

                I tell my Kids they are perfect because they are who they are. If they do all they can then thats good enough for me, they can't be good at everything.

                I think your son is shy, if you know he can talk I wouldn't force him. when you drop him off at school tell him your looking forward to him telling you about his day. When you pick him up ask him what he did, if he tells you anything praise him. The next day when you drop him off tell him again how much you liked it when he told you the day before. His teacher could help by saying thing like "you can tell Mummy about ... when she picks you up", so he's not having to think of thing to tell you.

                In a nut shell Praise what you like and ignore what you don't (unless naughty, but that a whole new thread!!)

                It sound like your a great Mum with a couple of minor hicups.

                Hope this helps



                • #9
                  I've been there and done that! And my son is now 17 and has just astounded everyone with his gcse results.

                  Cildren will all do things in their own way and in their own time.

                  big tips: set aside time for each child on their own even if it is 5 minutes. They are the special ones in that time and it must not be interupted by anyone else.
                  Eat meals together at the table with no distractions make eating a pleasure and encourage him to help prepare the food even if he doesn't eat it.
                  Don't let the stress you are feeling be felt or heard infront of the children. Make rules about how you deal with situations and stick to them.
                  Ask for help if you feel you need it.
                  Reward charts with small achievable goals.
                  Celebrate all achievements.
                  positivly deal with behaviour. ie. tell him "that was really good, i am so proud of you" if he does things.

                  My sons story
                  When Joe was little he lived in his own world. He didn't want to interact and played very independantly with his Thomas the tank engines and toy cars. His eating as a baby was great. i made him all home cooked baby food and he ate really well until I introduced lumps and thfrom that time his eating became apauling. We saw dieticians and they admitted defeat with him and said he'll get there in his own time. keep up with family meals and just encourage him, but his diet consisted of penut butter sandwiches, weetabix and ham (we called every meet ham and it woked) but he refused all other food (including sweets and crisps etc.)
                  He started speach therapy at 3 years old as he could only say two words and he also started playgroup. At the playgroup he lived in his own world. every day was a battle, I had to physically carry him there and dump him in the door (I know it sounds awful, but as a mother at the end of her witts i just needed the break) I had worked extensivly with children had an NNEB qualification and nurse etc. I couldn't cope with it at all. Once joe was at playschool he was calm and played quietly and was well behaved.
                  At the start of school I was still fighting battles with doctors, health visitors and the school who all said he was fine, but I knew he wasn't and I eventually got him into see a spe******t who said, "quite clearly he has problems" That was the day that changed our lives. We had him tested for dyslexia and the ed psych said it was an extremeley rare form and that joe also had semantic prgmatic disorder and aspergers. We still fought battles with the school who said they'd keep him in the infants. We moved up to Yorkshire and found so much help. On his first day at the new school they alloted a one to one helper for him, got him a statement and refered him to a spe******t who in turn got him occupation therapy etc. He was delayed in many things and finally stopped wetting the bed at 14.

                  Joe's learning has been slow. When he entered the senior school he could barely write and his reading was poor. He had help, inlessons, scribes, computer programmes, assistance, speech therapy and last summer took his gcse's. We didn't really expect too much, but the day we collected his results was amazing. He came out of the school and said "What did I get?" we looked and found 2 X D,6 x C, 2 XB. We were bouncing. He is now in the sixth form studying applied science and IT and really loves it.
                  full time mum and very very part time crafter.


                  • #10
                    I would get every book you can about trains and cars you can find. My son who granted is younger then your son he will be 2 in March has come on leaps and bounds with the words that he says since getting into Roary the racing car books. We don't just read the books I ask him to find me the characters. He points to them. Now I point to them and say who is this and he tells me.. Also when he says words and I know I would only understand them I say that is right that is a ________ showing him I understand him but giving him the chance to hear the words correctly.

                    You maybe doing all of these things I am just telling you what I've found worked for me.
                    Last edited by debsjeans; 12-01-2009, 04:05 PM. Reason: left out a bit.
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                    • #11
                      I think everyone else has given some great advise. My son has ADHD and was very slow at talking, the other son was slow as well as he has high frequency hearing loss like me but although I kept mentioning it when he had his hearing tests they just didn't pick it up - it was also masked by having 'glue ear'.

                      One thing that may not be helping is the comment by his teacher about him trying to talk "Yes but I still can't understand a word he says" if every time he says something she makes him repeat it or doesn't understand he may feel that he is saying it wrong and so he is embarrassed and feeling awkward at saying anything because he feels he is getting it wrong. My eldest went off writing completely because the teacher was always making him write it again because his writing was so untidy, then, if he wrote it neatly she would tell him he had not written enough, in the end he just gave up.



                      • #12
                        Debbie, don't beat yourself up over all this, you are doing all you can. As everybody else has said each child develops at their own pace.

                        I have a special needs daughter ( she has high level no specific learning difficulties ) who is 20 this year as well as 4 other children. When she was little it was very difficult to give her the time she needed plus give quality time to my other children.She had very little interest in anything but food, she doesn't know when she is full and she slept very little plus she didn't talk until she was 5.
                        2 of my sons plus my daughter had to have speech therapy and I was openly told by them that I didn't do enough!!. I read to my children every night and spent every minute of my waking day constantly talking to them.
                        We used alot of flash cards and did alot of speech play with dolls,cars,dinosaurs and bath toys.

                        I was constantly told my daughter would reach a "magic" age where everything would click into place and she would be able to read,write etc. Well the magic age ( 8 ) came and went and nothing changed till a teacher at her school told me on a parents evening it probably won't and maybe never will ( nobody till then had told me this despite her having difficulties since she was 18mths old ). I realised then I had hid my head and the sand and been ignoring what was obvious.
                        Her statement started when she was 8 and took a year, she went to a fairly local special needs school and made steady progress. She now has a reading age of 8 and a very sensible head on her shoulders but will not be able to attain what we call a "normal" life. She is very happy most of the time and now in her last year of schooling.

                        I used to use and swear by star charts ....I used them for everything from eating meals to one of my sons behaviour, we have had them for bed wetting and homework.

                        A star for everytime he eats somthing new or asks verbally for somthing , a week of stars = 1 treat at the end of the week , maybe a new car or colouring pens etc

                        if anytime you feel like letting off steam , I'm a good listener
                        hope all goes well for you
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                        • #13
                          Oh, I do sympathise. When my eldest was at nursery school (she's 28 now) she refused to speak to anyone outside of our home. I had to record her voice to prove that she actually could speak! She can (and does) talk the hind legs off a donkey now! You've had some great advice, so try not to let it worry you too much. Sometimes, people just expect too much too soon.
                          Gail x

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                          • #14
                            Ive just been on placement with the health visitors and soooooo many parents have this problem with food! I know this sounds realy cruel but have you tried giving him his dinner and making him sit at the table until everyone else has finished. Just talk to him as you usually would and ignore the fact hes not eating, becasue its probably an attention thing, as you say you have to spend a lot of time with your daughter at the moment. If he realsises hes not getting any attention this way he might stop.

                            With the speaking thing, I know its not something you want to hear, and she probably could have put it better, but if teachers etc. cant understand him, it does have to be said. You will be able to so much better becasue you know him best and thats great. Kids are funny little things and theres so many things they do which worries parents to the point of getting mental health services involved, and 9 times out of 10, the week before the appointment, they stop it! Hope this is the case for you
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                            • #15
                              I know how you feel. My eldest son wouldn't eat anything, just drunk water and juice all the time. He would eat fish fingers but only the crispy outer coating! He is now 18, over 6' tall and he eats everything and looks for more - don't worry it will all fall into place. My youngest son was slow to talk, was very quiet and when he did speak it was in his own language, I knew what he was saying but no one else did. I took him to speech therapy at the age of 3 1/2 and he wouldn't speak to her for nearly 4 sessions. At the end of the course of speech therapy she told me that it was probably immaturity which looking back now I think it was and he talked just fine but it was when he was ready. I am a classroom assistant in Primary 1 (4 - 5 year olds) in my class there have been children who have been reluctant to speak but you generally find once they are comfortable and trust people they will. Children have a lot of new things to learn and some just take longer than others, the teacher should not be criticising but offering ways to help him and to be constructive.