My 5 year old daughter is in Pre-K. She is doing well academically but is having problems socially and the teacher feels that she does not focus well. The teacher is constantly having to tell Emily to pay attention to her and to remind her to get started on her work (though when she does her work it is always done correctly). Emily will also not make any effort to make friends besides the one friend that she has in her class who is also our next door neighbor (they have know each other since toddler age). If another child tries to talk to her she will ignore them or turn her back to them. The teacher feels that Emily might have A.D.D.
Emily is not at all hyper, she focuses well (at home) on the things that interest her, but it is hard to get her to do the things that do not interest her (but isn't this normal?). We agree that there is a social issue. Emily will not talk to anyone that she does not see on a regular basis. Emily developed on the average for most things. She was early with her punctuation and vocabulary.
We have requested to have Emily evaluated, but this will take several months before they can give us an appointment. In the mean time, we are constantly receiving complaints from Emily's teacher.
Does this sound like A.D.D. to you or something else? Is there something we could be doing now to help Emily Socially? She is in Tap dance classes, but does not talk to the other children.
To be frank, if your daughter were struggling academically, I might recommend following up on the possibility of attentional problems. But, she is only 5 and is doing well from an academic standpoint, so there really is no nned to pursue the attentional issue right now. It's something to monitor as she proceeds and as the curriculum requirements become more complicated. But, for now, it does not seem to be impeding her progress in school.
On the social front, the most important thing to do is to keep her'in the mix', so to speak. Some children are more at the reticent end of the spectrum when engaging with peers, but she is not isolated. As long as she's engaging in activities with her peers, and not isolating herself, I wouldn't worry. She's still very young.
When my daughter was is preschool, she was very shy and refused to interact with any kids in her class. Any new situations were frightening to her. She was my first child and I was very concerned. A psychologist suggested I contact one or two other moms and set up ongoing SHORT playdates--maybe an hour or so after school. The playdates were very structured--maybe an art project, a hike, planting seeds in the garden, making cookies, etc. When she was 5, two moms and I began a dance class playdate; we would trade off taking the 3 girls to dance class and lunch. I found that my daughter needed to feel comfortable with just two or three other kids. Also, if you are worried about you daughter focusing, having short, structured play activities will help--especially if she knows in advance and is excited about what activities are planned. I also always made sure my daughter arrived at school a little early. It was very difficult for her to join in with other kids already playing. If she is there first and playing, other kids may join her. My daughter is now 13 and, while still relatively shy, has a group of very nice friends--two from our pre-school days! Good Luck! Lynette
Thanks for your comments. I also try to get her to school and activities early so that she does not have to approach an existing group. I was very shy when I was young, so I'm always trying to remember what might have helped with me. Though when I was young, if another child approached me I would have responded whereas Emily will just ignore them. I ask her why she will not talk to the child and she tells me it's because she does not know them. I've tried to tell her that she needs to talk to them to get to know them but I don't seem to be getting through to her.
There are speech and language pathologists (speech therapists)that specialize in "social skills and pragmatic language" groups for all age kids. These are usually very small groups of 2-3 kids the same age. They teach kids what to say (pragmatic or "practical" language) and do in specific social situations through role playing, games, stories, etc. All of this is age appropriate for the group. It may be something of interest to you for your daughter. Good luck. Lynette
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