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Serious Child


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Hi everyone. This may sound silly but does anyone else have a very serious child in their setting. This child is 4yrs old but does not play with the other children and just sits or stands and watchs the others. He will take part in group activities but does not appear to enjoy them, he just does what he needs to do and goes. He never smiles or laughs but is extremely articulate and clever. He is also obsessed with one of the other children and will just stand next to her and stare at her or watch what she is doing. I worry about him especially today as he seemed very sad and didn't want to talk. Tomorrow I am going to take half an hour to just observe him and see what happens. Any other ideas?

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Hi Kaybee,

 

This isn't actually anything I've come across a lot before! it seems really interesting, how long has he been in your setting, what sort of setting is it? When you say he 'does what he needs to and goes' and that he watches the others but doesn't really join in, coupled with being articulate and clever, what's his background? Maybe he has mostly had adult company before and needs helping to relax and join in? Are the activities likely to motivate him if he is, as you say, clever? Please don't get me wrong, no criticism intended, just a few ideas!

 

Please let us know how you go on with this. I think some observations are a good idea, too. And have a little play with him..? (or try to :o )

 

Sue :D

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We had a child like this for a few months last term. He would talk to adults but rarely if ever played with other children. The only thing he ever wanted to talk about was horror films, Freddie kruger was a favourite, he used to describe how people were stabbed or hanged and use slashing motions. I spoke to mom who said she didnt know he was watching them and would hide them. We tried loads of distractions to change the subject and even gave him paper to draw what he was talking about, we explained that they werent nice films and talked about our favourites, toystory, nemo, all the lovely ones, nothing worked. We tried loads of different activities to get him engaged in something else but his talk was still of horror films. I've since spoken to the TA at school and he's still watchiing them and still doesnt interact. Sorry to ramble I know that doesnt help you. :oxD:D

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Quite difficult cold, kaybee, but definitely a good idea to observe. I have had elctive mutes before who I suppose presented like this in many ways and the answer was lots of TLC. I think you could probably alert your SENCo and talking to the parents might also help. If you are in a school, what did the previous setting say? Could you go and talk to them?

 

Good luck and as Sue says do keep us posted!

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there is one in our setting, cant speak very much, cant pronounce words very well, hates change, will cry silently, wont join in, sits and looks at what the others are doing. has one favorite book, which he has to have, squeels out if anybody else has it. but.. when asked to point out numbers one to twelve he knows them all, never gets them mixed up, you get a slight smile when you ask him to do this. these numbers are always asked random, never in sequene. he is only 3 and we know there are no hearing probs. such a sad little child, looks like he has the whole world lying on his tiny shoulders. we have give him one to one, and he did start to come out of himself slightly, but after the half term came back as he was when he first started.

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Hi everyone, thank you for all your replies. I run my own preschool and this child has been with me since March. I think when he first started it wasn't so noticeable as you expect children to go through the stages of solitary play and then usually build up to parallel and co-operative etc. He normally appears comfortable with talking but if he initiates a conversation it is something like "teacher, you are sitting on my left." or "I built this tower with rectangle blocks". He hates role play, music, circle time and will sit there rigidly. I think my main worry is that he expresses no emotion. I'm probably waffling now and will report back after today's observation.

ps have spoken to the mum who says that his dad was quite quiet as a youngster. i have encouraged her to invite some children to tea and she is going to try this.

Kaybee

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  • 4 weeks later...

Kaybee, several things occurred to me when I read your post. It may be that although this little boy appears to be 'sad', he is quite happy, but is operating in his own way. Some children are simply different to the norm, and are happy being so. However, there can be underlying causes for unusual behaviour that may well influence other areas of development.

 

There are a few books that I'd recommend that may shed some light for you (and are excellent reading anyway!) These books address the issue children who fall outside of the expected norm in different ways, and I believe should be essential reading for all of us. Having read these books fairly recently, I realise that I could have been more enlightened about various children who I dealt with in the past, had I read them before.

 

The Highly Sensitive Child - Elaine N. Aron - My instinct is that this book will be relevant to your situation.

 

The Out of Sync Child - Carol Stock Kranowitz - This is an excellent book that addresses the relatively new issue of 'Sensory Integration Disfunction.' It sounds to me that some of the things you describe - not liking circle time, group activities, etc - are possible indicators of sensory difficulties. (I'm not attempting to diagnose here, but they can be symptoms.) Some children simply do not like the proximity to others, which is addressed in Highly Sensitive Child, whilst Kranowitz suggests that this can actually be a part of the specific disorder of SID. The book is very readable, and offers practical solutions, such as offering a rich 'sensory diet'.

 

Raising your Spirited Child - Mary Sheedy Kurcinka - This is an interesting book that has a huge 'following' here in the USA as parents and practitioners feel that someone understands their task of dealing with children who are much more intense than their peers. This is a very readable, useful book, although from what you say about this little boy it may not fully address his issues.

 

Interestingly, you say that he is very bright. Some children who are diagnosed as 'gifted' are known as 'twice exceptional'. It is not uncommon for gifted children to be reluctant to join group activities due to being highly sensitive or having sensory issues, for example. (although many gifted children do not have this problem, and many others are sensitive or have sensory issues without being gifted, of course). Again, I am not attempting to diagnose, but trying to throw some ideas out for you to consider.

 

If his dad was similar, it may be that he will simply outgrow it. But there are probably many things that you can do to help him to overcome this and to ensure that he is not miserable during activities that are not comfortable for him. For example, being overly encouraged - or forced - to participate in something like circle time can be torture for children with sensory difficulties or for those who are extremely sensitive or introverted. Patience is the key - if he is rigid, he is telling you that he is not comfortable with the situation. The situation may then need adaptation to suit his needs as he gradually becomes more comfortable.

 

Hope this helps and that you find ways to make things easier for this little boy.

 

Nicola

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Hi Nicola,

Thank you for your reply. I will see if I can get hold of the books that you have suggested. When I observed this child a few weeks ago he spent the whole time in the book corner (half an hour) just watching the other children. When the other children tried to involve him in their games, he blanked them. I'll just keep trying to involve him as much as possible, but obviously only what he is comfortable with.

Kaybee

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