Pre-School Teacher's Laundry List of Concerns - Any advice? — The Bump
Pre-School

Pre-School Teacher's Laundry List of Concerns - Any advice?

 DS will turn 3 at the end of Oct. Missed the cut-off, so he's in a 2 year old room. He goes 3 days a week for 4 hours, including lunch. He's been 4 full weeks now- just missed the 1st day when we both struggled with severe allergies.

 They had an opening last year in late Feb. for a 2 day, 2.5 hr. program. They overlooked his birthday, so he was in with older kids that time. It's at the same place, just with new teachers. Things seemed to be going o.k. - some clinginess on occasion when I left, not wanting to walk in on his own, etc. But, I'm working around that. (If I mention that his favorite music teacher might be downstairs to greet, he'll walk down the stairs on his own.)

 The lead teacher that he has now, had seen him on the playground and knew he had been in the 2 year old room. She took me aside during the preview day and asked if he had been held back for any reason. I explained that he had been placed in the opening despite not fitting the age criteria. I said that now he's with the kids who are his age.

 On Friday at pick-up the lead teacher mentioned that she had some concerns. We discussed there in front of DS. (Maybe a bad idea?)
 (1) He had a sore above his lip that she noticed him rubbing with his bottom tooth. I said that I noticed the sore, but didn't know how he got it- if he caused it by rubbing, or if he was playing with it. He had some allergy-related drainage that day and the previous day (no fever), so could have been trying to prevent snot from dripping into his mouth. (With the way she continued on with things, I'm not sure if she thought he had a nervous tic or something.)
 (2) He says "Spencer does this" to her. I know at one point, he used to talk like that, but he had mostly started saying "I." So, I said interesting. Later I thought maybe I've done him some harm because I got into the habit of saying, "Mommy will do xyz" vs. "I will do xyz." So, that has been noted.
 But, later that night while playing he said "I'm using the drill" and I caught him saying "I" several more times over the weekend.
 (3) He doesn't seem to be listening to her. She wondered if he had a hearing problem. I said that he's passed all his hearing screenings, and he's never had an ear infection. So, that shouldn't be it. I did mention that we're doing construction (drywall + mud) at our house, and we've had some congestion. But, I didn't think that should cause a problem.
 I was trying to think of possible causes, so I mentioned that I know my neice was taken to a Sensory Solutions place to help with eating. I'm not sure if she has an official diagnosis, but I don't think so. But, I have heard that it runs in families. So, I mentioned it- not knowing a whole lot about it.
 I've checked out websites, and DS doesn't seem to stand out for anything major- no problems with tags, etc. The only one that would seem to fit in this situation would be not listening to his teacher.
 (4) She was concerned that he didn't climb on the playground equipment. She tried to lead/drag him up and over. DS had said that the slide was hot (had had 90+ degree weather days), but she told him it was not hot. So, it looks like she's looking for a gross motor delay or something. I told her that we have a climber at home and he does climb on it. He's been on the big equipment at various parks that goes up over my head.
 (5) While talking about the playground I mentioned how he talked about the bikes at school. She replied that, "Well, he doesn't really pedal on it." I'm wondering if that's more of an opportunity issue though. We don't really use his 3-in-1 trike, and even though he's really tall, his Big Wheels still seem to long of a reach for him. I was going to buy him a Strider style, but hadn't picked up a tricycle. (Bad mommy?)
 I said that the only concern that I had at this point, was that I noticed that he wasn't alternating his feet on the stairs yet. I said that I'd bring that up with the pedi at his 3 year exam.

 Over the weekend, I made the observation about DS' use of "I" vs "Spencer." He said "I" all the time except for Saturday. We had traveled with SIL and niece for apple picking. My niece is older and the day went late. There was no nap for DS, other than 5 minutes in the car before it was time to get out again. Right before he fell asleep he said "Spencer does this." So, I wondered if it could be related to being overtired, and reverting to an earlier stage.

 On Monday morning, I mentioned it to the teacher at drop-off. (We were the 1st ones there, and no one else had showed up yet.) I didn't say it to be defensive about her concerns, but perhaps she took it that way. I just wanted to share another observation. She cut me off rather snappily (my nice way of saying bitchy) and said he's like that ("Spencer does") all the time there unless she prompts him. She pretty much cut me off and moved on, didn't want to discuss it.

 At pick up she told me that DS had his 1st bad day. He dumped out a pile of blocks out of a bin on the floor. And, at lunch time he kicked the table. She said, "You know, sensory things." I'm thinking, "Hmmm, and we don't even have a diagnosis." My son's been in other people's care and most people are quite taken with him. He's pretty easy-going almost all the time.

 I had an appointment with the doctor this morning to discuss these concerns. He didn't seem to think too much of it- as she's seen him all of 3-4 weeks. He said that it could very likely be that he just doesn't want to pay attention to her- especially if she's trying to get him to do something he doesn't want to do (climb the equipment, i.e.) He recommended keeping up with our P.A.T. lady (who we've seen since birth). But, he mentioned that if she's never noticed anything, that he doubts there's anything going on. Even though DS was shy with the doctor, the doctor did comment on his vocabulary and speech, but said even now saying "Spencer does" on occasion is no biggie. He was not concerned at all that he's not alternating feet on the stairs- as he is running just fine, and is not lagging in other milestones.

 I've discussed with DH, and will talk with the director. (She's the one who gave me a tour, and I feel quite comfortable with her.) I feel that the teacher is being overly picky and seems to be looking for things. I'm not especially thrilled with the teacher's approach.
 I know that they have cameras in the room, so I wonder if I'll be able to observe the class- and see how DS compares to the other kids.
 There aren't too many other rooms, but I wonder about switching to another classroom. (We just received the buzz book. There's 1 other MWF extended day, and 1 TTh for his age group. One looked kind of full, but may be worth a shot.) I'm not thrilled about that, but it is something running in the back of my mind already. If on observation, or further evaluation, and the problem's not with DS, I'm not a fan of him being in an environment where I feel like she's constantly critiquing him and looking for bad vs. mentioning good things.

 Thoughts? Any other advice for working with the teacher, who doesn't seem to receptive to discussing this? Should I just schedule a check up with an occupational therapist to clear DS- even though the pedi didn't think he needed it? Or, 1st just, hopefully observe DS in the setting myself?

 (Might edit/add more. DS woke early.)  
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Re: Pre-School Teacher's Laundry List of Concerns - Any advice?

  • In my non-profressional opinion, your DS sounds totally normal.  If no one else sees a problem, it sounds like the teacher, not the kiddo.  As far as not listening to her, maybe left over congestion from the allergies or maybe he just doesn't like her/the way she talks to him.  Personally, I've worked in daycares before and if I were you, I would switch classes if you can.  Sounds like the teacher is not making it a very fun place for your son.
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  • I agree, you have a teacher problem and not a DS problem.  It may be just a bad fit, but as a preschool teacher she should know better than to jump to premature labeling and identifying "issues" because that can affect the child's behavior as well and become a vicious circle.
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  • I agree with pps.  Normal.  In my twins' 3/4s group there are 3-4 kids kicking the table.  There are 3-4 kids not staying in circle at different points.  There is always a kid (usually mine) blurting off-topic stuff.  She is not qualified to diagnose neurological differences.   It doesn't sound like she has a realistic understanding of the age-group.  My bet over the summer she went to a sensory processing disorder conference and is enjoying using the badge on her boob to espouse her knowledge on the topic.  That is my professional opinion.

    My very personal opinion is it sounds like she doesn't like him and it would hurt my feelings to not be greeted with one genuine nice thing about my kid when presenting such a list.

     

    I think a truly attuned teacher would be able to speak to his strengths as well as weaknesses and come armed with some suggestions on how you can help at home, or even ask if you see the same at home. 

     

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

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  • Also your child might be reverting to Spencer says... Because she makes him nervous or uncomfortable. Sounds like a bad fit, I'd change classes. There are times when a kids HAS to learn to deal with uncomfortable authority figures. Age 3 is not it. She will just create negative associations with school or self image.
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  • It seems to me the teacher has taken too many psych classes and is trying to get her money's worth out of them. Your DS sounds perfectly normal. I agree with the pp who suggested the teacher makes him uncomfortable. I think she has a preconceived judgment of him for "repeating" the age group and is trying to stick to it. If she can't even say ONE good thing about him, she's not worthy of being his teacher.
    LoveEeyoreMNgirl326
  • -auntie- Thanks for such a thorough reply! I had glanced at the Special Needs board and was searching for SPD related posts and a few others. I was going to post there, too, and reference this with more info., until the worker came earlier than anticipated causing the dogs to bark and end nap. (Such is life!)

     There was not one positive comment. Not one. Not this time, nor has there ever been.

     My only previous discussion with this teacher was related to Spencer's lunch bag. The 1st one I sent him with had one pouch and zipper. I picked up a Lightning one that he liked at a rummage sale. It has a front pouch, and a bottom pouch with 2 zippers. As I drove home that day, I wondered if I should call back and mention that to make sure they opened that up, too. But, I figured they've seen several types of lunch sacks over the years, and hoped they'd figure it out. On pick up, she said that he didn't eat much for lunch, and there wasn't much there. I asked if she had seen the bottom pouch, and sure enough, she hadn't. Lesson learned on my end.

     It would be interesting to hear if other moms have had discussions with her. My mom suggested checking that out.

     It does sound like the teachers have their hands full. One of the little boys had been crying (about 3 weeks in) for an hour after drop-off. On preview day and at drop-off day I saw and observed this teacher talking to another little boy about throwing toys. The mom and he seem nice, but well he's a kid still learning how to behave in social settings. So, there's also the fact that my son is around some kiddos with behavioral issues. I hadn't observed anything like that in last year's class.

     Yes, he loves stories and can sit through many long books. (think several story books in a row, Berenstein Bears, "Steam Train, Dream Train", etc.) We've also sat and read daddy's "Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" book that's listed at 69 pages long. Oh, how I hate that book sometimes when I want to get a move on! :-)

     He is very social and friendly otherwise. There hasn't been anything to suspect autism when looking over checklists with the pediatrician or P.A.T. lady.

     I've never seen the lip chewing with a wound before. Although, I guess there has to be a first time for everything. But, really, I think I'd chalk it up to catching snot and playing with a scab. Although, I'll be keeping a lookout for any future things like that, to be sure.

     One other interesting thing though, is that I had a lady across the street babysit several times this summer. She was older (my age) and taking a break from teaching for a year while trying to reduce stress to aid fertility concerns. She worked with young special needs kids. She's quite familiar with autism and writing IEPs. She never mentioned any concerns and just thought that Spencer was quite cute and had a good time with him.
     
     Now, that's not to say that there isn't something else there. I wonder if a quiet environment vs. the loud school environment may be impacting him somehow. So, I'd like to see how he interacts there from behind-the-scenese, if possible. But, I also can't help but wonder how much would be due to the environment. This teacher also isn't coming across as very loving.

     The Aspergers is interesting. I'll have to read up more on that. I did babysit for a family of 3 boys, and the older one had it. He was definitely more into the spectrum, and I understand that there can be ranges. It's been awhile since I've read that parent's books while the kids were in bed. So, I'll have to revisit that.
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  • I am not going to repeat what others already said but please don't let him watch Cailou, that show is horrible for talking in the third person and my DD who is 4 and has no special needs will call herself "Addie" if she watches that freaking show too much!
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • neverblushedneverblushed member
    edited September 2013
    Lurker from school aged kids board here!

    Wow, does your situation with your son remind me of my son at age 3!  Holy cow!

    First, you wouldn't believe how many times I've had to help teachers understand my son's seasonal allergies and hayfever.  I'm not even going to get into my rant on this, because I don't want to hijack your thread.  I have no problem believing that a 3 y/o with allergy snot could chew/suck a sore on his upper lip from trying to deal with snot, especially in a classroom where he might not know how to find the kleenex box!  My son was fully capable of blowing his nose at home, but if the kleenex wasn't visible in his classroom, he would NOT ask for it at that age.  I almost guarantee you anxiety has nothing to do with that.

    The other stuff might just be related to adjustment.  My son went through a really strange phase right around age 3.  In many ways he was growing up so fast, but in others he would regress back to more infantile behaviors.  It's all pretty normal for kids that age.  If they still see similar behaviors at 40 to 42 months old, then it's time to talk again.

    As for referring to himself in the 3rd person, I'd just make a conscious effort to correct him gently.  "You said 'Spencer will do it,' do you mean 'I will do it?'  When you talk about yourself, remember to use 'I'."


    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • neverblushedneverblushed member
    edited September 2013
    Lisadi said:

     Now, that's not to say that there isn't something else there. I wonder if a quiet environment vs. the loud school environment may be impacting him somehow. So, I'd like to see how he interacts there from behind-the-scenese, if possible. But, I also can't help but wonder how much would be due to the environment. This teacher also isn't coming across as very loving.


    Me again.  My son is neuro-typical, but he does tend to have some mild sensory issues that are notable but not enough to send me running for neuro-psych testing.  He is really sensitive to temperatures: potty training took a while because of the cold toilet seat, changing from jeans to shorts in spring and back to jeans in fall always causes grumbling, brushing teeth is agonizing because "it tickles."

    Crowded, noisy situations bother him more than most kids, but not enough that he freaks out and has a meltdown.  He just claps his hands to his ears.  He tends to be more "brittle" when it comes to the senses of touch and hearing. 

    His natural sensitivity combined with the general instability of being 3 often made me wonder whether I should seek professional help.  Maturity tends to even off the rough spots, though.  By age 5, he was coping with sensory overload much better.  By age 7, he was old enough to understand that he literally FEELS things more acutely than many kids, but that he can choose whether to let these sensations control him or whether to take control of his reactions.  That was a big turning point.

    I would just keep an eye on things and keep your pediatrician in the loop in case you do eventually need a referral.  But I suspect that his teacher is just being overly-cautious.

    Like -auntie- said (and she's really knowledgeable about this) all this stuff could be just "being 3" or it could be that there is something more going on, and the teacher is catching the leading edge of it.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  •  Ah, I see there's more here. I was just going to log in to add a P.S. That Monday when the teacher said he had a bad day and did "sensory things" like kick the table during lunch, may also have had to do with his brand new light-up shoes. Just sayin'. Amazon's description didn't include light up, but lo and behold the shoes light up when stomped/kicked.

     I did especially like Caillou for him. For awhile we watched it, but I usually try not to have the T.V. on.

     Allergy-wise I wonder if I shouldn't do more for him. His ears are fine, but the congestion is still ongoing. The allergy medicine from Target didn't seem to help much.

     Noise-wise, he didn't especially care for the drill being used this weekend. That's about the 1st thing I've noticed noise-wise that he didn't like. He seems o.k. otherwise with the lawn mower, motorcycles, fire trucks, etc.

     Touch-wise I've never noticed anything. Toothbrushing's not a problem. He's not potty trained, but he can sit on the potty. We've backed off because he got upset when I introduced that wrapped prizes as rewards. He wanted the reward regardless of a pee, and was quite upset when he didn't get it!
     
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