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We have a little girl who turned 2 in july and would like some advice on how we can support her.

She has no speech just babbles and also doesn't understand things we say to her even using single words.

Also, when we call her name she does not respond at all, even if we are right next to her and say it loudly/quietly.

Her mum is also concerned and has taken her to the doctors but they said she is still young and to start her at a

pre-school, which is why she came to us. I have spoken with our area senco and her advice was to observe her until

christmas and she would contact me after the holidays to discuss the findings.

We are just worried this is a bit too long to wait as she has been with us 6 weeks now and we are seeing no improvement

at all. We are finding it difficult as we only have 2 staff each day (we only have 5 children) and one of us is having to spend

most of the morning with this little one because she does things like painting the walls, painting her clothes, tipping sand on

the floor. She also walks into things/people as she tends to see what she wants but doesn't see whats in between and so knocks

over children etc. that get in the way.

We have tried getting down to her level and gaining eye contact before telling her 'no' but it has no effect and now

the other children are beginning to copy her.


Sorry for the long post.


Any advice would be brilliant! :o

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Hi i would certainly be asking questions like has she had her hearing/sight checked.

Was she born prematurely, was it a difficult birth, when did she walk etc.

I know it sounds along time to wait until after Christmas but the child does need to settle with you and she is still quite young..

Keep making lots of observations of her during her time with you, as this would be your evidence of any concerns and may help with any additional support needed whilst with you and from any outside agencies.

Has she already had her two year check with a health visitor? If yes what were the findings.?

Agree with Susan, to suggest mum goes back to her doctor with her concerns and to ask for a second opinion.

Please keep us updated on her progress.

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does she work visually...could you use a flash card type system to support what you say. Has she had her hearing checked? ask Mum if not then ask her to get the health visitor to check this ...if this comes up clear then the health visitor is already on board and may help to progress things quickly! Sorry to say that at the moment i would be supporting her 1-1 and letting the other member of staff support the other 4 children then you are setting the rules out all the time and the others will understand what is acceptable.

...just looked at bridgers really good advice...ob ob ob then you will be able to answer questions quickly!


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  • 3 months later...

Just to update you all and gain some much needed advice!


This child is still not talking or responding to us. The other day she tried climbing into the windowsill (obviously we were near enough to stop her). We are making some progress she has an appointment with SALT in March and we have been in touch with our local children's centre outreach worker who contacted the health visitor (who had no concerns!) and they are arranging for a hearing test- mum said she hadn't thought of hearing and came back the next day and said she thinks we may be right! We also referred the little girl to a group at the children's centre to encourage communication and mum was really keen and attended the first session last week.


We are still struggling with how we can support this child in the best way to help her. We are building numbers so are finding it hard to be with her on a 1-1 basis. We have tried using visual clues but seem to have no effect. At snack time or when we need to change her nappy we often have to pick her up and carry her to the area before she realises what we want her to do, other times she will take our hand and follow. If we need to get her attention we have to get down on our knees and tap her on the arm before she will notice we are there.


Also, all visitors to the setting comment on something 'not being right' with this little girl and other parents have also commented. The other children are starting to shy away from her as she can be quite physical towards them and also she often squeals very loudly to show delight and some of the children don't like that either!


Oh and our area senco cannot come out until 12th March (since september) and has said she can't give us individual advice for this child or observe her etc. We are hoping she will see her during the session and give some ideas.


Any advice please we don't know what else to do??

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you must be feeling very isolated, such a shame that your area senco is providing so little support for you, I don't understand why she cannot give individual advice, surely that is her job! Hopefully SALT will be able to support you with actions to support her language development. In the meantime, we have a couple of children with similar issues and both responded well to somerset total communication techniques which use a combination of makaton type signing and visual symbols and signs. One very useful resource I made was several laminated photographs of actual activities and routines at preschool, each member of staff had a set on their belt on one of those keyrings on a stretchy cord so that they could instantly show the child a photo of, for example, snack time, changing area, garden, construction area etc. Using this plus simple verbalisations and a big smile helped them to begin to engage with the setting. One of our children is also a squealer and was diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss as well as having difficulties with processing information and is EAL and he is responding very well to this multi level approach and is entering mainstream school in Sept so please hang in there.

Edited by max321
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How difficult for you all xD


Is there a special school locally that you could approach for advice and support? One of the parents I childmind for is a special needs teacher who also does outreach support for local nurseries if they have concerns about children in their settings.... it may be a way of getting a second opinion and some intervention.


Alternatively, perhaps a CAF? I found that appointment timescales were drastically reduced (as if by magic :o ) when CAF and a Team Around the Child meeting was suggested.



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Thanks nona for your advice.


Now today we had a parent come in and say her little girl (P) didn't want to come to playgroup today, she also cried when mum left on monday and also last monday (she was ill on wednesday). Mum asked if she should stop bringing her and I said it was important to keep bringing her and try and find out why she doesn't want to come. Before half term she started being clingy but we thought it was a phase. So we observed P this morning and noticed that she will not go near the little girl mentioned above (K) and if K goes near her P will come to us and ask us to pick her up. Also if we are holding P and K comes near us she will hold us really tightly as if she is scared of K. She is fine with all the other children. We asked P if she likes coming to playgroup and she said yes and we asked who her friends were at playgroup, she listed everyone except K. So I said what about K is she your friend? and P replied "no I don't like her" I asked why and she said "she shouts and scares me". On Thursdays when K is not there P is still clingy but nowhere near as bad as mondays and wednesdays. What do we do???

I tried to speak to mum at the end of the session but she had to pick her son up from school who was ill, I have said we will need to have a chat in the morning. How can I say to P's mum that she is scared of K and how can we change this??? xD


Advice PLEASE! :o

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You sound so anguished I thought I would reply but not sure I have any answers. If it were me I would organise a meeting with each party and record it, logging any strategies/goals that you will put in place for each child. The parent of Child P needs reassurance that her child will be supported to deal with K, maybe a change of sessions to some that P doesn't attend? Prehaps she could be given a buddy in the form of an older or more confident child who is not worried by K? Putting some assertion strategies in place for K to use might help her gain confidence? Plan some activities to help P and K work together, my favourite is cooking as it seems to be something that all children will cooperate doing? Photos of them doing something friendly together will give her nice memories of her time with K? If the parent sees that you are going to support their child then they might feel happier. As for K, it sounds like she needs some professional help, hope your SENCO can help but in the meanwhile put something in the way of strategies in place so that all staff are using a consistent approach when dealing with inappropriate behaviour, maybe ABCC charts should be used to see if there are triggers or situations which are particularly difficult for her, explaining to the parent of P that you are aware of K issues and that you have put procedures in place will help her to see that you are doing your best for all concerned. Good luck for tomorrow,I am sure you will be fine

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Thanks so much max321. Will try the ABCC charts- don't know how we will explain it. Do you think setting a sticker chart up for P would be good for say if she comes to playgroup without crying in the morning she will get a sticker? She does love getting stickers.

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Not sure I would as she is obviously anxious about K and crying might be her only way of communicating her fear, might not be good for her to suppress that fear any further. Stopping her crying is not getting to the source of the problem. However, stickers for when she plays with K might help, actually stickers for each of them might work. We have used stickers in the past when peers give stickers to each other when they have been a good friend or helped each other.

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