Has anyone out there done the 4 year old check? I have a quirky four year old and I have put him forward for the check (which does sound a bit Big Brother). It sounds very much like the promised vetting of behaviour problems in children, among other useful things (hearing checks etc).
I’m thinking I sent another child off to have an assessment for behaviour which eventuated on finding out that they were gifted, with behaviour problems arising from it. Of course there were no B4school checks then (if there had been who knows where we would have ended up).
I would be keen to hear of any experiences, around “different” and bright children and how it is reacted too….
After reading the questionnaire I chose not to have my 'quirky' 4 yr old 'checked'. I really couldn't see any benefit from it and thought it would put him in a possibly negative situation.(ie questions on why he won't socialise, is so clinghy etc).
I only know 4 people who have done it and none of them found it of a huge benefit (but no issues with it either).
In saying this we already had seen a psychologist and he had already been iq tested and found to be gifted (so we knew where the 'quirks' were coming from).
I'm guessing it would also depend a lot on the person taking the check as to how beneficial it would be.
Plunket can also give you an alternative place for the hearing check.
We opted to have my "quirky" grandson assessed by Lynn Berresford - someone who knows and understands the families differences and whom we trust the judgement of.
I wouldnt regard him as being in the least "challenging" behaviourally - at least not at this stage (who knows later on if he has unmet learning needs?) unless you count the "intent focus on what interests him" that most of us here will have a great deal of exposure to LOL - but even so - there are few people that I would trust to be able to give an appropriately qualified and experienced opinion on his current level of development.
He isnt yet 4 but, since he has already been assessed it would at best be a waste of everyones time.
We put our 4 yr old through the B4 school check and didn't have any idea what it would be like. However, I was there through it and my impression is that they are trying to capture the social, behavioural issues. Being the third gifted son in our house meant that he is no different to the others at home, but when we do these things in the wider community, I get a reminder of the fact that he is different. Thankfully he is pretty good on the behaviour side- more sensitive than the norm, but manageable. He has not been formally assessed for GT either- but mother has seen it all before!
He was bored by the whole thing ( understandably) and it was not in the least challenging. He was quite chatty on the day though so thankfully it went quickly. For us, there was no real value in doing it. But I can imagine there are people out there for whom it would be an eye opener. Interested to know what they actually do with the information they collect....
Yes in reply to your 4 year old check, I did it with my gifted 4 year old boy. I answered all the questions on the form as honestly as possible, noting that he gets bored very easily (unless he is playing chess or playing with numbers!), much prefers older children to play with and so did not easily relate to kids of his own age, cannot sit still etc etc. He was rated as having possibly major social and behavioural problems. My son's kindy teacher said that the result was highly inaccurate and she had seen these inaccuracies in the check before. She refused to fill out her part of the form as she strongly disagreed with it. She felt the process was wasting valuable resources looking for more problems when she had at least 6 kids desperately waiting for funding and Special Ed support. The doctor's clinic nurse who was processing the check said that he would need to be referred. At that point I withdrew my boy's 4 year old check from the system. I asked the nurse if I could have the forms I had filled in back. I have decided to trust my own instincts and his kindy teacher's views about my son. I am not happy to have written information out in the public arena about my boy that ends up with an inaccurate result.
It kind of makes me wonder how many others will not be withdrawn in the same circumstance because their parent/s do not have sufficient access to accurate information.
Much like my allowing my daughter to be treated for and as "adhd" until such time as I had sufficient information to say "No thats not right".
And how many will TRUST in the "authority of others" even in the face of a "inaccurate result".
For us the assessment was in part a "pre-emptive strike" - having him assessed by someone who doesnt just know the family history but also understands.
Of course it is true that anyone who is different and is treated poorly because of it is at risk of developing social and behavioural issues .... but unless that is viewed in context the information is likely to be very unhelpful.
I took my daughter for her b4 school check but fortunately we had a sympathetic nurse. Many of the things I wrote down could have easily mis-labelled her as ADHD or anti-social. I may have seemed like a neurotic Mum as I had to pull her out of preschool.
Fortunately, my first child had been assessed and we knew all her quirks and how she likes to be stretched! Miss #2 is the same in that respect. Once the nurse got asking her the questions and told her she could answer in other languages ( to keep her interested) and realized that many answers she was given were indeed hilarious, as miss4 is quite the clown, the nurse realized that there was no actual problem.
However, if we had had a different nurse, things may have gone very differently.
I personally opted out of the test. It is great the nurse was understanding Nikki. it would be good to hear of others experiences because if you don't do the behavioural stuff they won't do the medical stuff it seems, AND they offered a home visit for the behavioural but I was told I would have to attend a clinic for the health checks?
Had to laugh at a piece on Cambell Live a couple of nights ago, which said that the Before School tests had identified behavoural issues in something like 25% of those children tested, including such antisocial behaviours as aggression, being introverted...
Since when did being an introvert become an behavioural problem? I've always considered myself an introvert and am proud of it!
I was going to get the B4 School Check done for my son, but I didn't understand the procedure, and didn't know that I need to enroll for it many months before he actually started school. He has a January birthday, so he started school at the beginning of term 1 (2010). I phoned in December 2009 to try to make an appointment during January but was told that they were closed during the whole of January and were fully booked during December and that I should have contacted them about 6 months before his birthday, so that he was on their database. I was a bit relieved actually, as I thought they might say he had behavioural problems, and that their file would be passed on to the school.
Wow, have just found this interesting thread. My son is now six but when he turned 4 the b4 school checks had just begun. The kindy teachers showed me the survey that they had to fill out (I think the same one that parents do about social and behavioural issues) and I really didn't like the negative language and the fact that it could easily make my 'quirky' son sound like he had behavioural problems, when he was actually 'just'(!!) gifted. I also didn't like the thought that a survey like this could hang around in my son's 'file' for years, labelling him for years and years to come. So I asked the kindy teachers not to fill it out and I rang the B4 school check co-ordinator to pull out of that part of the check. However, I still wanted to get the hearing and vision tests done...well, the reaction from the co-ordinator was very angry and she advised me somewhat triumphantly that if I wouldn't consent to the behavioural survey then my son wouldn't be getting his hearing or vision tested until 'well after' he had started school. I think I hung up on her at this point and in the end arranged the hearing and vision test through Plunket who were lovely! The funny thing is, my daughter is now close to starting school and I haven't heard a thing from the B4 school check people...and the kindy teachers say that they haven't had a behavioural survey to fill out for at least a term. I don't know whether they've decided to flag the whole thing or whether we just have a black mark next to our name!?
Just as an aside, we were referred by Plunket to the Group Special Education team in the MOE for assessment. We had been to my son's 3yr check and the Plunket nurse was observing his thing for numbers, which lead to a discussion just generally about some of the challenges we were having with him i.e. his frustration with perfectionism, being quite different socially from his peers, enjoying older children more, lack of independence in some areas, quirks etc. We had recently moved city and during that transition, he was quite a handful too, but to be expected.
We received the forms and both my husband and I were concerned about the negative language of the forms. I discussed my hesitations with the Plunket nurse before I returned them and I think her intentions were good in that she said to write that I didn't feel like he had behavioural issues but was just challenging to parent in some ways. I think she also thought that they might have ideas on how to extend him. I then met with an educational psychologist from GSE but opted not to have him IQ tested because he had only just turned 3. I thought it would be more relevant closer to school but she in turn referred me to another agency for a generic parenting course.
I met with them but opted out of it because, again, all the language and process to get to that point seemed negative and I didn't feel like it was the right fit for us. The forms were focussed on whether your child had violent outbursts and if they damaged furniture, hurt others etc, which was definitely not our child. I thought it would be a waste of our time and their resources.
The thing that strikes me about the 'problems' they are looking for in these checks is that they are basically all completely normal behaviours in pre-schoolers...unless they are being expressed to an extreme degree.
How anyone is meant to assess a child for any of this in one meeting, I don't know.
It seems to me that people in regular contact with the child, and who have broad experience with young children and their ways would be better placed to comment. (Sounds like many of you have experienced that already in your kindys.)
I had my 4 yr old son tested recently. It was a waste of time. The nurse nearly feel off her chair when my son read to her (he's been reading for almost a year so not a biggie for us) and then wrote that he normal development for a child of is age.
I think it is mean to pick up those kids who are having trouble reaching the 'normal' standards and completely ignores the gifted side.
Next time round I won't bother with the check as it just made me more annoyed than anything else!
the kindy my kids attended was a public kindy but with a very positive/holistic focus on child development-the Emmi Pikkler philosohy. Anyway from what I could tell the teachers there were not too impressed with the before school check at all and I think they opted to leave parts of it out. I am not sure who it is going to help if we end up labelling so many of our kids as problematic. We all know that there are not enough resources to deal with kids who may be "outside the square" anyway-it just ends up being a big stress on the parents to try and work it all out, and pay for any help needed. Thats how I see it.
Emmi Pikkler philosohy is great and I agree with most of that philosohy, and the gerber approach.
I have just recieved in the post the before school checks. I am a little worried about it too, though my 4 year old is a little different from DD who is turning 3. she is the one I am more worried about going though that process.
The public health nurse here in Nelson called me today about the B4 school check and we ended up going to see her - partly because with our moving and Master 5 returning to Aucks to spend some time with his Mum before coming back to start school (just came back last week) we hadnt been able to schedule some necessaries successfully - a filling that had come out - had 'fell through' the gaps for eyes and ears checks etc.
His kindy from here in Nelson had already filled out the 'teacher' section - very kind, gentle, considerate boy - yada yada yada....
The ONLY concern they raised was that he prefers to spend his ENTIRE day just doing one or two activities - kinda sad thats a 'concern' to anyone - the chopping and changing of subjects is based around the idea that young children are UNABLE to sustain their attention on one thing for long durations.
The public health nurse was GREAT in terms of filling in the questionnaire 'honestly' but without misinterpretation - over all, she suggested 'interpreting' the questionnaire from the 'angle' "is this an area where I feel we couldnt benefit from some extra support?" and answer upon that basis - and watch out for terms like "often" in particular.
If something is relatively 'normal' for that age ..... eg its pretty 'normal' for a 4 year old boy (we didnt discuss girls) to try to 'negotiate A LOT' so you only tick 'yes' if you feel its to an extent that requires extra support.
It was just a general rule of thumb there were exceptions - for example, "tends to prefer to play alone" I answered 'most certainly' - which is actually really 'normal' the PHN tells me for only boys or boys with much younger siblings.
I also clarified terms like 'worries' - explaining hes an observant and thoughtful boy with a very strong moral compass and a great deal of compassion who notices things - when its not 'right' or 'fair' in his eyes, it concerns him .... he got a 'not at all' for the 'worries' question (eg he is in an environment where his concerns are recognised and dealt with in a way that is helpful to him - no extra support needed there).
It might pay for me to mention that my grandson reminded the PHN very much of her own son - so that may have had some influence.
I CAN see an advantage to kids getting a 'green light' so to speak - if that is possible .... it shouldnt be (in my opinion) but there is the advantage of knowing that the teachers know the child has been 'screened' and no behavioural/social issues have come to light.
I also got to introduce the PHN to the concept of Visual Spatial and explain how that can result in some atypical characteristics that could easily be misidentified so, it was well worth it for that alone. And of course to explain my objections to the nature and wording of the questioning.
For some kids it is also an opportunity to have someone talk to their mum and dad and explain their child is absolutely FINE but their view of the child may potentially be problematic.
Now, at least, if he does become sad/frustrated/non-compliant/whatever I can as 'well his home environment hasnt changed - so that means its more likely that this behaviour in communicating something about his school experience so lets review his cog assess and consider whether its a 'mismatch' between his cognition and his schooling causing him stress/distress"
I would definitely be inclined to err on the side of caution and carefully screen the 'assessor' though - I would have flagged it if it werent forthat factor.