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CONCENTRATION IN 5 YEAR OLD
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CONCENTRATION IN 5 YEAR OLD

Hi , I am a mum to twin boys aged 5.  I have written to you a number of times about DT2  They are in their second year at school and I have just had my parent teacher interview after which I am in a bit of a state.. Last years teacher expressed concern about DT2s concentration span, saying that he needed a lot of encouragement and standing over to complete tasks. The boys are the youngest in the class and if they had been born a month later when due would not have started school until this year. We are in the UK The concerns have obviously remained and this years teacher has also said the same thing. She says that he doesnt process the oral instructions that she gives him and if she gives him a task in a group and she disappears he doesnt complete it. She has given us an education plan where one of his goals is to carry out one verbal instruction and to repeat it back to her. He has been able to carry out 3 part (never tried more than this) instructions at home for what seems like years but it seems in the noisy distractible class setting he doesnt comply. This morning when I was telling him to do something and I knew he was slightly distracted at the time I asked him to repeat it back to me and he did. She says his speech is fine and he has a fantastic vocabulary but says he would benefit from some speech therapy to help him process better. I contacted my doctor to get a referral but the doctor didnt really understand how speech therapy would help if it was an attention problem and if he could speak ok. He indicated that when processing problems are present, appropriate expressive speech would also normally be impacted. He is sending the health visitor out to see him in a couple of weeks just to check to see if she thinks his speech is ok and then he is happy to refer him if not. . My health visitor has always been great and that sounds like a sensible idea to me. He had a recent hearing test at achool and it was fine. I dont have any concerns about his hearing
The teacher also said that she wants to put him on a waiting list to be seen by the educational psychologist as, if the situation doesnt improve by the time he gets to the top of the waiting list he may need extra help.  The waiting list is approx 12 to 18 months When I asked about the process if he did have to be seen she said well maybe the ed psyc would say he was within the normal range and was ok and she then mentioned a statement which I was astounded at. She said a child would have to be 2 years behind to get a statement and she didnt think DT2 was in this category. I was so thrown by the fact that she said she didnt think he was  that I couldn?t speak.
DT2 can read ok. He scored 70% in some test that they did where they had to read a book that they hadnt seen before (DT1 scored 80% but hes always ahead anyway). She told me there were children scoring less than 50% . He can count, do adding and taking away. OK you have to stand over him a bit but he is able to do it very well on a practical level. He can spell some words, He can write (not long sentences but improving all the time) .he can sound words out . He is sociable and very communicative . He is very close to his twin and feels a little lost when he is not there but he has some friends also. He is a very happy inquisitive little boy who is very interested in the world around him . He is well able to concentrate on things like Lego at home and I assume school, its just the rest of it. I suppose I do quite a bit of work with him at home and I think a lot of what he has learnt has been at home but I work pretty much full time so I am not spending that long each day I cant believe she said what she did about the 2 years thing. I think he may be behind a bit in terms of his concentration span but to contemplate thinking he was like a 3 year old was a bit baffling. She also mentioned that his gross motor movements needed a bit more control but I am not too concerned about that. He can run, hop, bounce, throw and catch a ball. He moves quite spontaneously but he doesn?t really bump into things. His fine motor skills are fine, he can write, use scissors well etc . He has definitely improved since the end of last year in terms of his concentration at home so I am hoping it will sort itself. He is also telling me more things that the teacher has said. For example the other day when I was telling him the homework he had to do , I said ? You have to draw a picture of something in your book and copy a sentence in.? he said No Mummy , the teacher said a picture OR a sentence and he was right. I had read it wrong . I know I have spoken about autism before and I know he doesnt have classic autism but I know that processing problems can be indicative of aspergers syndrome as well as other things. My gut feeling is that this is mainly a concentration issue but was wondering what you thought
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Nothing you or the teacher describe would lead in the direction of any condition along the Pervasive Developmental Disorder spectrum.If there is a Speech/Language issue, it will likely involve receptive language (not speech per se). However, it may be that your son's speech and language functions are normal for his age and that the problem (if there is one) is more an attentional deficit than anything else. It's important to remember that he is only five and it's normal for some limitations in sustained attention to occur (particularly re: multi-step directions). relative to the yardstick the teacher used in reference to special supports, jurisdictions all have their guidelines about what degree of difficulty warrants special education intervention. Often these yardsticks are not qualitative, but rather involve some sort of statistical cut-off point. That is what she is likely referring to. At his age, a two-year deficit would be very significant and much less of a deficit deserves intervention. But common sense and bureaucratic guidelines are often two very different things.
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Thank you. There is no way he is behind by 2 years even in terms of his concentration ability. I hope the teacher was merely giving me worst and best scenarios
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