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Old 10-29-2006, 08:00 AM
MUgrad1990's Avatar
MUgrad1990 MUgrad1990 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 75
Initiating the dialogue with a parent re:

developmental issues.

How do I approach this? This is my first year teaching 2's, and it can be a bit sticky to bring something up, especially if the parent is oblivious to any problems.

I have a child in my class who will be 3 at the end of March. He does not engage in any activity or with any of the other children. When we try to communicate with him, he does not respond, and there is absolutely no eye contact. I try to engage in conversation with him during diaper changing, and there is NOTHING there. He does not respond to his name, and he runs off and doesn't listen. The only thing that holds him "captive" is music, and then he will stop and sway back and forth, but not look at anyone or anything in particular. He pushes and hits the other children, and shows no remorse or sorrow when we correct him. When Mom picks him up, once I get him past the lock of the door (he has this thing with the lock and continuously pushes the buttons in)he runs right past her and does not stop for a hug like most children do.

This is the short version of my observations. As a professional, I *know* what these signs *could* mean. I just don't know how to bring them up to Mom. How do you approach it gently and suggest having a child evaluated further?

Thanks for any insight!

Old 10-29-2006, 08:28 AM
Aliceacc's Avatar
Aliceacc Aliceacc is offline
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 26,837
Math teacher
I'm in way over my head here, so feel free to disreguard.

I would make no attempt at a diagnosis. I would very consciously avoid saying "autism" or anything close.

But I would come up with a list of symptoms for mom, documented as much as possible, in writing if possible. Tell her it's possible that this is just a facet of his personality but it has you very concerned. Tell her you very strongly suggest a physical, and that she bring your list to the pediatrician to discuss it. Say that you're not a diagnostician or a doctor, but that these behaviors need to be looked into.

Stress the concern and the need to bring the matter up to a doctor. Let him bring up the possiblities.

Good luck!
Old 10-29-2006, 08:32 PM
MUgrad1990's Avatar
MUgrad1990 MUgrad1990 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 75
Thank you, and I agree with you. I would never attempt to "diagnose" this child, even though I know what his characteristics [I]could[/I] mean. It's not my place and I'm certainly not qualified to tell a parent that their child could be autistic.

I think I'm just nervous to begin the dialogue of "this is what we are seeing in his behavior"....You just never know how a parent will react when you are pointing out "issues" or "differences". It's not like I'll be telling them how advanced their child is, you know what I mean?

Thanks for your insight!
Old 10-29-2006, 09:41 PM
Tigers Tigers is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 824
I have had children who were in the autistic spectrum in my class. What resources do you have? does your school have a pyscologist? If you have a specialist in your school who could observe prior to talking to the mother then I would suggest that you do that first. The next step would be explaining the behaviors that you have observed and documented. Tell her that your are inviting a specialist to come and observe. If the specialist agrees that further evaluation and the child needs an IEP then she and you can talk to the mother. There are several other learning differences with behaviors similar that are not autism. Make sure that you explain that you have observed behaviors outside of the "normal development," but this is not a cause for alarm, every child develops at thier own pace. You just want to ensure that all resources are availible to help this child. If this is the first year the student has been at the school and the parents are completely unpredictable, you might want to consider focusing your efforts on building a good relationship with them over the next couple of weeks. Holding off calling in the team for a couple of weeks shouldn't be too much of a problem. During this time you can document, and speak with the parents about the child's day, slowly adding your observations. Also, I would talk with one of the teachers who have been their longer about your schools referral process.
Old 10-30-2006, 10:02 PM
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Joyride Joyride is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 385
I've heard from professors and other professionals that you don't want to make any suggestions. You want to discuss it in a way that evaluating the child is the parents' idea. I'm guessing there wouldn't be as many legal issues with a two-year-old as an elementary student, but if you could spin the conversation that way, try to.

dialogue, initiating, parent

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