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Old 02-09-2021, 09:56 AM
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Default How to Get Parents to Help Support Delays Without "Insulting" Them/Their Child

I've been a registered early childhood educator for over a decade.

I just had a new 18 month DCK start with me a couple weeks ago. We've had some pretty big issues that we've been working with from the beginning (intense separation anxiety, EXTREME clinginess with me during the day and a refusal to participate in any aspect of the day). While trying to find solutions without traumatizing the poor child, I tried to encourage the parents to work with me since they know the child best. While they did seem sympathetic to their child's distress, I felt like they were getting defensive and acting like I was insinuating their child had some shortcomings. I tried to word my concerns so that it was clear that I was asking for their advice or suggestions on tactics that work for them but instead I felt like I got a bunch of excuses about why the issues existed (it's no one's fault!) and then a quick topic-change into how great the child is and how smart and cute they are etc. Anyway, I took the hint and just mostly dealt with things on my own.

So now. During our orientation, both DCM and DCD expressed that they believed their child to be "gifted". They had the child demonstrate some animal sounds, pick out a certain colored toy from a bin of toys and clarified for me that when the child kept repeating a babbled sound (sounding kinda like "agga agga") that she was saying one thing and then later another. They said she did art at home, played independently and was just overall very bright.

Now that we're a few weeks in and I mostly have the day running smoothly, I've been able to complete some observations. The issue is that it seems that the few animal sounds that were demonstrated are the only ones this child knows. The color they knew is the only color they know (and they label everything - colors/shapes/numbers/animals) with this word. And the "agga agga" is repeated constantly throughout the day with seemingly no pattern (she wails it when she's screaming, happily sing-songs it while running to a toy, mumbles it to herself while looking at books etc).

I do a preliminary developmental screening checklist on my new kids (for me only - just to get an idea of where they are and what our next steps should be) and I even waited a couple weeks with her because we had such a rough start. However, even now she seems to be meeting very few of the milestones and while I can attribute a lot of the social-emotional delays to things like covid and the child having been quarantined with only mom and dad around for most of her life, the language is just nowhere near where it should be.

It's not just the lack of expressive language either (which I've dealt with a lot in my line of work!) but the receptive language is what is majorly concerning me. The child doesn't seem to be able to point out objects in our books, body parts or even toys laying out infront of the group. If I give her a one-step instruction, she just stands and stares at me. Even when guided over and the instruction repeated when we do hand-over-hand, she just turns to look at my face with no expression on her's. We played a game with a bunch of shapes taped up on the wall and when I called out the shape name, the children got to run over and high-five the shape. This DCG watched everyone else for a while and then once guided over to the wall, she happily slapped the pictures but while everyone else was trying out the shape names, she kept repeating "ka" as she ran around, slapping each picture. She is the oldest in the group.

My first step is obviously just to create a more language-rich environment. More labelling, stories, songs and just as much verbal communication as I can squeeze in. However, from my experience I also know that it is imperative that this same process is repeated at home.

Usually in the past I've had no problem pulling the parents aside and flat out suggesting bedtime stories, singing together and just plain old talking with their kids (narrating what parents are doing, what the kids are doing - just keep talking!). But with this family I'm worried that I may have already established a bit of "reality check" where I'm willing to say that the child isn't a perfect prodigy and may have some areas to work on. If they are actually having trouble with this, they won't be willing to get on board with what I'm suggesting and might become more weary of anything I say in the future.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I just work on the issues here as best I can or should I suck it up and let the parents know that with all my experience, I'm seeing something that might require additional support so that it doesn't become a bigger issue in the future? And if I tell them... How do I word it so it's not taken as "Your child isn't gifted, they're actually the opposite so here's some extra work for you to do"?
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Old 02-09-2021, 12:39 PM
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Michael Michael is online now
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My wife and I had a son that was truly gifted. Gifted children are considered handicapped children because the “don’t” fit in in normal child environments. They need extra care which will be expensive.

All parents believe their child is special but the only way to find out if they are gifted is with a professional evaluation. Both you and the parents are not qualified to make that evaluation which can be life changing for the child and family.

We took our son to a gifted school where they gave him an IQ test. Once evaluated, we were told to find a Educational Psychologist who could use their results to find the best school for his needs going forward. https://mirman.org/admission/iq-faq

Here is part of our story;
https://www.daycare.com/story/index2.html

I would suggest that you mention to the family that their child be professionally IQ tested. It will give them the truth on whether their child needs special learning while relieving you of that burden of proof.

Normal Childhood Comprehensive Developmental Milestones
https://www.daycare.com/fastfacts/de...ilestones.html

Last edited by Michael; 02-09-2021 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 02-09-2021, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
My wife and I had a son that was truly gifted. Gifted children are considered handicapped children because the “don’t” fit in in normal child environments. They need extra care which will be expensive.

All parents believe their child is special but the only way to find out if they are gifted is with a professional evaluation. Both you and the parents are not qualified to make that evaluation which can be life changing for the child and family.

We took our son to a gifted school where they gave him an IQ test. Once evaluated, we were told to find a Educational Psychologist who could use their results to find the best school for his needs going forward. https://mirman.org/admission/iq-faq

Here is part of our story;
https://www.daycare.com/story/index2.html

I would suggest that you mention to the family that their child be professionally IQ tested. It will give them the truth on whether their child needs special learning while relieving you of that burden of proof.

Normal Childhood Comprehensive Developmental Milestones
https://www.daycare.com/fastfacts/de...ilestones.html

Thank you for the response and the great resources!

I was rambling a little bit so I don't think this situation needs an actual "gifted" evaluation as I don't think either of the parents believe this child is truly gifted in the high IQ sense, just that they are above the curve in their milestones.

Which, either way, isn't really my concern or my business, really. I'm actually very happy that the child's parents are proud and showing a positive response to their child's abilities! I'm more just looking for some advice on how to suggest some extra supports without making the parents feel like I don't think their child is smart or capable since they seem a little sensitive to anything that could be perceived as criticism.

I have been part of learning interventions in the past but it's always been as a teacher with the support of my director and outside resources like psychologists and social workers. Now that I'm on my own I don't really have anyone to discuss concerns with or easy access to these other professionals - but it also feels uncomfortable to just ignore the signs that a child is struggling. Especially when I know there are people and supports out there that can help!

It's just a matter of conveying that to the parents in a non-confrontational way. They are very nice people and the child is really sweet so I just want to help without hurting anyone's feelings.
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Old 02-09-2021, 04:15 PM
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It is way too early for any kind of evaluation. If the child was speaking in full sentence then maybe but from what I am hearing this child is not gifted or intelligent.

I had parents like this as well and every time I brought anything up they acted in much the same way and told me things that were totally unbelievable from what I observed. I gave them an evaluation, suggested they see someone, it fell on deaf ears and I ended up having to terminate care. The poor child had issues with her eyes, a huge growth on her forehead and was not engaged at all. They have too much ego to ever get her help so I washed my hands of it. Not worth the stress! What you have to understand about people like this is that no matter what you say they will be offended so just be blunt for the child’s sake.
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:13 AM
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I send home ASQ's with each child when they begin care, we have a conference to go over where the child is and where they SHOULD be. I also let them know that if they aren't meeting the 20 words by age 2 guideline, for example, that there is ALREADY a delay, as it means that the majority of kids meet this MINIMUM milestone, and many children exceed it.

Also have a 23 month old that repeats the ugga ugga phrase over and over, and has for MONTHS. Turns out he was saying UGGA MUGGA (Daniel Tiger).

Lots more screen time, and plugged in/inattentive parents. Most of my incoming toddlers I refer to speech. They get a rude awakening when the speech report lays it out, and then they come back like

SERIOUSLY I am working in the best interest of your child. Help ME to help YOU.
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:39 AM
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I have the family complete and return ASQ forms every 3 months. It makes them aware of what they are looking for and who to contact if they are concerned. I keep them on file for 10 years so parents can request copies should a child regress, later.

Complex topic made simple. Just the way I like it.
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Old 02-19-2021, 08:43 AM
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I can email a set if anyone wants them. Just send a pm.
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