Been Referred, Desperately Needing Advice

I'm new to the board but could really do with some advice/support. 

I'll try to be concise, basically my four year old daughter has been referred to a paediatrician after being assessed by SALT. She's always been quiet but it really only became more obvious when she started nursery at three. She will talk at home (but not so much conversationally) and play happily with her older brother and sister. But at nursery she doesn't speak much at all, doesn't have good eye contact and doesn't play with other children but does play alongside quite happily. Two of my husband's nephews have been diagnosed as autistic so it is in the family. 

We will need to wait another few weeks for this appointment to come through and I am feeling so anxious about it. I suppose what I'm asking for is the benefit of others' experiences and knowledge, and maybe some ideas on how I can improve her social communication skills? She's supposed to start school in August and I am stressed at the thought of it. 

  • Hi there,

    I am brand new to this forum as well. You wrote the post I would have written! It's a bit disappointing to see that no one has popped up to advise. I can't offer you any because I am in the exact same boat as you. My little boy will be 4 in May. He's very similar to your description of your daughter. I am incredibly worried about mainstream school at the age of 4 in September. Our paediatrician indicated that I was over-reacting but I don't feel I am at all. I've got two older neuro-typical children and I worried when they started school at 4. This is taking that worry to a whole other level. 

    Just hand holding and letting you know that I understand your worries. I feel so sad these days and I sincerely hope that this doesn't become my permanent state of mind. It's such a worrying time. My son's paediatrician told me something reassuring: That he will develop strategies and systems to cope with socialisation at school. He will be able, in time, to accommodate his needs- in other words, he will learn to cope. I suppose we all learn to cope with socialisation in the big, wide world but for those on the spectrum, it's a bit more challenging. 

    I feel so unprepared and out of my depth. 

    Hugs.

  • And hugs to you too, it's such a worry isn't it? I've been scouring the Internet looking fit strategies that we can use to improve A's speech and communication skills, I found this page to be helpful 

    http://mtbt.fpg.unc.edu/more-baby-talk/10-ways-promote-language-and-communication-skills-infants-and-toddlers

    A fellow member of a Facebook group I'm in who used to work as a SENCO also gave me this advice:

    A running commentary on everything. When you're expecting an answer, wait for 15 seconds to give her time to answer, if she doesn't then just carry on. Don't ask her to repeat things ( as in 'say dog, it's a dog, say dog) it could make her anxious.
    Scaffold language, so repeat back what has been said and add a word e.g. 'It's a dog' 'yes, it's a big dog'
    Use lots of verbs, she'll need them to structure sentences.
    Play lots of turn taking games. E.g. Take turns rolling a ball to each other, pushing cars down a track, whatever interests her.
    Speak to the SENCO in the nursery she's in and ask her to think about using a peer mentor...a child who is very able but not overbearing to play these sorts of turn taking games with her, with adult support.

    Sing songs, look at books, use 'I wonder' questions so there's Less pressure to answer.

    Also, make friends with the SENCO at the school that she's going to. Make sure they know her needs, your worries and what you want to happen. Get it written down in a learning plan.

    Hope this helps!