Not asking for a diagnosis, but.....

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by skittleroo, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Oct 2, 2010

    a lead
    I have a kindergartener in my class who often seems to be in her own little world. She doesn't attend to what we are doing, often doesn't hear what I ask them to do. She yells alot - at the other kids if they do something she doesn't like. She has strange, babyish speech. She is not young for kinder. She does not make eye contact (every once in a while but then quickly looks away).

    Here is the kicker. She is really smart with letters, sounds, and can even begin to read. However, she cannot write or barely even hold a pen, really low fine motor skills,etc. She often seems content being alone - doing her own thing, however, there are times when she will try to join the group. very socially awkward. MOm sees her as just brillant. She reenacts movies perfectly - for hours on end.

    Some of these things sound like autism spectrum, but some do not. I feel like time is just going to pass this little girl by and it will be 2nd grade and then everyone else will "get" that something is wrong here. She will not do well academically (even though she is smart) because her responses to your questions are completely random - make no sense with the question asked.

    I feel like I am drowning trying to help her. I am documented my head off, but I feel like I need some suggestions in order to give the admin a path to go down to try to figure out what is wrong.

    I even thought maybe she is ADHD inattentive, but her symptoms seem too severe for that - I mean down to not understand what you say - she looks at you confused. There is no hearing loss so that is not it. :dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 2, 2010

    Have you asked the school psychologist, special education teacher, or social worker to observe? I would start there because they may be able to help lead to a diagnosis or even provide some support in the classroom.

    Keep documenting what is occurring so that you have that data. Maybe have mom observe in the classroom to see the social side of her daughter. This may open some eyes to the behaviors.

    You have started the process by documenting. What is your school's next step in a case study?
     
  4. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I agree......document everything. She sounds like she might be on the autism spectrum a bit.

    Does she thrive on routines? Do out of the ordinary things make it difficult for her?
     
  5. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Did she attend preschool or a daycare before K? If not, it could be possible that the child has never socialized with peers her age. Some kids are just a little different... I hate that everytime a child is different, it seems people want to jump on the Autism bandwagon. I think everything odd is being labeled as Autism. There are a variety of other disorders out there that have a lot of similar characteristics.
     
  6. amaran20

    amaran20 Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2010

    I totally know what UVAgrl is saying, but having taught preschoolers with autism, I think it's worth having a school psychologist or special education teacher at least observe this girl. Another resource could be a speech language pathologist, because perhaps she is Language Impaired.
     
  7. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    It's just a pet peeve of mine... I worked with an early intervention program for infants and toddlers and we felt like a lot of kids were getting labeled with Autism that really were not Autistic. It has become this somewhat "chic" label. Some children that actually have another behavioral disorder are being labeled with Autism because mom and dad don't like them being labeled as BD/ED because of the negative connotation. I definitely think it's worth testing, I'm totally for getting the child extra services ASAP. However, please make sure that you document all the behaviors (not just the ones that fall under the Autism characteristics). A lot coincide with many different disorders. It seems like she has a variety of behaviors that could be a number of things... and some just could be her being a young child. I would get the intervention team to look into different behavioral disorders (including Autism or Aspergers) , as well as at her processing.

    I would also talk to mom and see what behaviors she is demonstrating at home. You said mom thinks she is brilliant, but is she seeing the same things at home? She may be very bright, but that does not mean that she couldn't have something going on. This should help you figure out if the behaviors are exclusive to the school setting, or across all environments.
     
  8. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Children do tend to get labeled a lot with things on the spectrum. It seems like stuff on the spectrum is the ADHD of the 2000s in terms of... popularity.
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Oct 3, 2010

    first of all I am not jumping on the "autism bandwagon" however, I am a teacher who wants to prevent things going uncheck for years.

    I want things to be checked out so that we know one way or another. I know as a parent myself, I want a teacher that is cautious and has my child's best interest at heart - not a "I've only got her for one year" mentality. If there is something really wrong with this little girl my duty is to aid in finding out so she can get the help she needs. If however, I am wrong then I'm wrong. Either way I want to help her.

    I am documenting all behaviors - even ones that point in the direction oposite autism.

    As a kinder teacher a pet peeve on mine is when people simply say wait a couple more years. Those couple of years are precious and I don't intend to sit by and allow a child with a problem to lose those couple of year - if I can help it.
     
  10. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I think the previous poster was talking about me jumping on the autism bandwagon. But, having taught preschoolers and kindergartners who have aspergers, she sounds very similar.

    I totally agree. That's just wasted time for that child when s/he could be getting the help s/he needs.
     
  11. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    I'm definitely not saying to wait... I think that is a mistake that is made all too often. I have a 2nd grader that doesn't know all of his letters and letter sounds, but has been in school since K. I don't understand how he made it this far without red flags going up. Obviously, working with infants and toddlers, I am a firm believer in catching a delay as soon as possible. I was a child with special needs, and received services beginning at age 2. I don't know where I would be without the interventions I received.

    Do you have an intervention or child study team? I think that the easiest thing to do would be to contact someone on the team, and go from there. They should be able to give you some guidance on what to do next.
     
  12. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    And sorry, my post about the Autism bandwagon wasn't directed at anyone in particular. It's more frustration about a situation with another child. My cousin has Aspergers, and I have had many students somewhere on the spectrum. This was just one of many posts I have seen the past few days that are saying that a child might have Autism. That is just one of the many disorders that the characteristics may fit. I know a child that has been labeled Aspergers by one agency, and ED by another. The criteria and characteristics are very subjective.
     
  13. amaran20

    amaran20 Rookie

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    I agree that autism has become somewhat of a "popular" diagnosis. At my school we joke that the school psychologist would diagnose us (the teachers) with autism if he could. When I taught preschool, it was technically a "Communication/Social Skills" classroom. It was mostly for children with autism, but also with communication or social skills deficit. I saw children who did not have autism who were labelled already, when they really only had a language impairment or a developmental delay.
    The OP's child that was described did sound to have tendencies of someone on the spectrum, so it would be worth looking into as well as other exceptionalities.
     
  14. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    Oct 3, 2010

    Has she had her eyes checked?
    Seriously, I've had kids who acted like this little one who got glasses and totally changed, because they could see!
    If she's had a recent check, then I'd go with the other advice you've been given.
     
  15. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Waiting is very bad. If they had waited with me and just tossed me into gen ed classes in K, I would've been screwed. My self-contained class made it so I could succeed.

    I believe there is a statistic that says with dyslexics, if they don't start getting help by third grade, they will never catch up to their peers in terms of reading level unless they have super-intensive remediation
     
  16. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Oct 4, 2010

    Bros, have you heard of the Matthew Effect in reading? Whatever deficit a child has in reading will only continue throughout their academic career.

    I tutor dyslexic children and have brought their spelling skills up tremendously within 2 years, but their reading skills will only get better with doing more reading. Dyslexic kids are some of the brightest, most clever, intriguiging kids I've ever met. :)
     
  17. alschoolteacher

    alschoolteacher Companion

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    [/QUOTE] I believe there is a statistic that says with dyslexics, if they don't start getting help by third grade, they will never catch up to their peers in terms of reading level unless they have super-intensive remediation[/QUOTE]
    That is scary! I have 3 students this year who were diagnosed "borderline" dyslexic. Basically, they aren't severe enough to receive support. One does well in reading, but the other two are slightly below grade level.
     
  18. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    yes I am documented and plan to take my concerns to them in the next 2 weeks. I did give it a whole 6 weeks (really it will be 8 weeks) before I start talking about something being wrong. Of course it is the beginning of kinder, but she stand out so far from the rest. I don't know what the issue is - but if she is alienated at 5 in the middle of an active kinder class.... I am just worried. Hopefully I am wrong and we will find out she is just a peculiar kid. No one wants to think something is wrong.
     
  19. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    I have to do the case study process to get her eyes checked, but that is definitely (along with hearing) somethign we get checked out. My son wasn't diangnosed with ADHD until first grade (he went to prek and k and teacehrs never mentioned anything wrong ( he isnt' really hyperactive - he chewed on his shirt and anything else he can get in his mouth and does not attend) - By first grade he was really behind. Bless his first grade teacher for talking to me. He is now on meds and is catching up (mainly because as a reading teacher I work with him all the tiime). But thank goodness first grade teacher did not just brush it off as being a quiet, shy kid.

    thank each of you. It is important not to jump to conclusions. That certainly is not what I want. I want to help this little girl. Like I said there are times that seem to lean toward a spectrum disorder, but other things that don't. I document everything.
     
  20. Icare

    Icare Rookie

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    You are a good teacher Skittleroo! This child does have quite a few Red Flags. Just curious though, which of these behaviors do you think are the opposite of spectrum behavior?
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yeah, the Matthew Effect is rather interesting. Learned about it on an advocacy board I frequent.

    Reading getting better with only more reading is a bit of a sucky thing for the kids though, because they have negative feelings associated with reading already and want to avoid it. Like me with handwriting (I am dysgraphic).
     
  22. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    There are times when she will join a group. Showing what little I know of autism and the spectrum of related disorder, but I don't know if children with these disorders ever try to join groups. She doesn't do it often, but it does happen. It is still awkward and she still stands out as odd. For example my class started dancing to one of our little songs (common in kinder:lol:) and I started by singing and holding hands with a couple of kids. Little by little the entire class was in a big circle holding hands. The little girl was just kind of rolling around on the carpet by herself. But by the end of the song she did make some small efforts to join the group. It was like she was thinking about asking to join but didn't know how. Obviously I signaled someone to let her in.

    On the playground most of the time she runs around by herself, but there have been a few times when she tries to join the pack. However when this happen she shortly after winds up by herself - like she loses interest or can't keep up with what they are doing or talking about. I don't know. I think that pretty sums up my feelings - I just don't know.
     
  23. Icare

    Icare Rookie

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    The reason I ask is I have two on the spectrum and people would be surprised how many myths there are out there.

    People assume that children with ASD do not have any interest in others, but thats false. They do like to be around others but they don't know how, or they become overwhelmed.

    For example, my oldest when he was little would play with the kids on the block, but what we saw that was unusual was that he would always separate himself from the group after about a half an hour. He would then go do what he wanted to do even if we had a house full of kids playing on the x-box. This wasn't slight, it was obvious. At school it was reported to me that he spent most of his time alone, and he seemed to prefer it that way. If his school right now didn't do things to get him involved with other kids, that had the same interest, he would never care about joining in with them. He would happily sit at lunch and watch the ants. He is also my very mellow, quiet, guy. When he has problems with the world he goes inward and many don't see it except for his quirkiness.

    My younger son is quite different than my oldest. Although you do see the times where he prefers to be alone, he does enjoy being around others more. But his problem is he shows his frustrations more outwardly and can have huge melt downs (thats where the schools get mixed up and think ED) and just can't cope. He shows his anxiety and frustrations outwardly.

    So, really what you described is a red flag. Please know everyone on the spectrum is different. I didn't believe my youngest was on the spectrum for a year because he was so opposite of my older one.

    I hope I helped in some way :)
     
  24. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    yes thank you for your input. I am not knowledgeable about these disorders (although I get to go to a class about it tomorrow - hopefully I will learn more). I did assume that a chid with this would not try to join and assumed that was pointing in an opposite direction.

    When we were dancing she seemed so content not being apart of it. She was tossing around on the floor looking at something tiny on the floor. But by the time we were at the end of the song and she tried to join. I looked at her and she looked so confused about how to join. It nearly broke my heart. She looked like she wanted to be apart, but didn't quite know how to do it, ask for it. I'm going to make an effort to help her join in (as long as she seems to want to/ is comfortable with it) and not assume she doesn't.
     
  25. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    Oct 4, 2010

    Icare,
    do you have any suggestions for me about how to approach mom and dad about what I am observing? I am taking lots of notes. I don't want to overwhelm them, but I do want them to understand my concerns.

    Like I said before, they see her of course as a smart little princess. She knows all her abc, sounds, and can even read some words. In reading she is academically advanced for kinder.

    However, in basic conversation, writing, understanding of language she is behind considerably.

    I know I need to play up her strengths. She is a sweet girl and I can tell she is the apple of mom and dad's eye. But how do I add in my concerns so as to not come off as "your child can't do this, this isn't normal"??? I think alot of times, well meaning teachers, come off this way because we try to get to the point. How do I express my concerns while keeping them on my side? Unfortunately I don't think hints of unusual behavior will be enough to get mom to understand what my concerns are. I mean the little girl is an only child and mom doesn't see her daughter as different. When she was telling me about her re-enacting movies in great details she was so delighted at her daughter's creativity. (and trust me I understand this).
     
  26. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Just say that you are noticing some odd behavior in the classroom, nad you recommend that they ask the school to test her.
     
  27. Icare

    Icare Rookie

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    Well honestly that will be the hard part LOL. Many parents go thru a deniel phase (as I'm sure you know) whenever someone suggests something's different about their child.

    I would start off with her strengths. Everyone likes to hear how smart their child is and just kind of causally say... but sometimes I see she could have some more help with... writing, or social skills or... understanding the other kids.... Just try to be light, but suggest she could "benefit" from some testing the school could do. OR, you could say... "It might just be a good idea, if you take my notes (make sure you put the positive behaviors along with the negative behaviors) to your pediatrician and see what they say".

    If anything is going on, hopefully that parent will have a smart doctor and will know to refer the child on.

    And then make sure you document, so if you have resistant parents, who are in deniel, and finally they get the light (which they usually do later) then it will be in her file so she can get some help.

    But I'm hoping they are open now, because say she is spectrum (and I cannot say, since I am a parent and not a doctor) the most important thing to that child is early intervention. The earlier the better :)
     
  28. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    What is the process for diagnosis in your district? I think that what you tell the parents will be based on that.

    I have been in other districts that require a doctor's diagnosis to get the label, however, my current district requires testing to be done by the school for diagnosis. So if a child comes with a doctor's diagnosis, we do the testing and have to find the child "Autistic". If we don't, we don't accept the label of Autism as provided by the doctor.

    If your school does the testing... I would walk them through the steps of the process, explaining what they would be doing (observations, language testing, etc), and the behaviors they will be looking at.

    If the doctor does the evaluation... I would offer to provide a teacher report for when they visit the doctor. Tell them the types of things you will be writing in that report. Talk to them about what they should share with the doctor.

    I would also emphasize to the parents that a child with special needs is not necessarily going to be placed in a self-contained classroom. I have found that a lot of parents assume that if their child is found to have special needs, this means they will have to be in a different type of classroom. I would explain how services given will depend on the child's needs.

    I would share a document on developmental milestones with them... here is one I found for 4/5 year olds:
    http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/preschool/Pages/Developmental-Milestones-4-to-5-Year-Olds.aspx
    You could then go through the list together and see what milestones she has met, and which she is having difficulty with. On this particular one, it has a list of "developmental health watch" items.
     

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