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Early Childhood

My daughter was born in November. She is supposed to enter 1st grade, according to her birth date, but her kindergarten teacher thinks she should stay behind another year because she's not emotionally ready. I'm very undecided and I don't know what I need to do in order to make the right decision.

We recommend that you consult with the kindergarten psychologist and conduct a 1st grade readiness evaluation. This service is offered by the Educational Psychology Services Clinic of the preschools and is free of charge when the teacher refers the family.

We recommend receiving the evaluation results in a face-to-face conversation so that you can ask all of the relevant questions. In conclusion, parents have a significant influence with regard to this decision, since the psychologist receives information also from the parents' reports. In any case, even if it's decided to leave you daughter for another year in kindergarten, this is only a recommendation and the parents have the right to decide, so there's no reason to worry about the results of the evaluation.

My son is 5-years-old. His teacher claims that he has difficulty in certain activities and she recommends that he take an assessment for learning disabilities. I'm not sure this is necessary. What should I do?

We recommend speaking with the teacher and understanding from her which difficulties she's noticed and why she thinks he needs an assessment. Additionally, you should pay attention for a number of signs that are likely to suggest the presence of learning disabilities: does the child have difficulty learning the colors, numbers, shapes, the Aleph-Bet? Is there a problem with understanding and following directions? Does the child have difficulty with or avoid activities such as drawing, coloring, cutting, and/or building puzzles? Does the child have trouble sitting through rikuz (morning meeting time)? How does the child get along with friends and adults who surround him? Does the child have difficulty obeying the rules of games or group activities? And more.

In a case where there are significant difficulties in a portion of these areas, then it's probably a good idea to go for an assessment in which the nature and source of these difficulties will be clarified. Afterwards, it will be possible to treat and to ease the child's entrance into 1st grade and the beginning of school.

My son is in kindergarten in our community's preschool/kindergarten program. I'm interested in taking him for a 1st grade readiness assessment before Pesach. He's being treated by a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.

In fact, it's a good idea to perform an assessment before 1st grade and even to consider the possibility of leaving him for an additional year in kindergarten. In a case like this, a psychological evaluation should be conducted. This can be done at the city's Educational Psychology Services Clinic for free. This should be done in coordination with the preschool's psychologist. Similarly, psychological and didactic assessments, which focus on 1st  grade readiness, treatment methods, and recommendations for preschool and school, can be done at Nitzan.

I'm the mother of a 5-year-old boy who is in a special education preschool. The boy is a twin, and since 8 months of age there have been developmental delays. He is being monitored by the Child Development Center and has been given comprehensive tests in which all of the results were normal. The diagnosis is that there's a developmental delay. Two years ago he was given a psychological assessment and as a result of this he was moved to a special education preschool. My question is how often is it possible to be given a psychological assessment and how is it possible to receive assistance?

A psychological evaluation is usually valid for 3 years; however, in early childhood, assessments can be made after shorter periods of time.

If the child attends a special education preschool, then you can consult with the teacher and receive an up-to-date evaluation from her of his present functioning and his progress. It's customary to perform an additional assessment before the transition to 1st grade to check his maturity and readiness for the transition from kindergarten to grade school.

My son is entering kindergarten. Usually, when he's asked to learn numbers or letters, to build puzzles, or any other task he answers that he's tired or he can't do it. In addition, for example when learning numbers, he learns the number 3 and later on it's as if we didn't teach him the number. These examples we've described frustrate us as parents very much on the one hand, and on the other hand we're not successful progressing with the child.

In light of your words, you should check your son's cognitive development. We recommend consulting with the Educational Psychology Services Clinic in your area of residence, and if necessary to do an assessment. These assessments are given for free until 1st grade.

I have a 6-year-old boy who every time he is sad or bored he comes to hug me (this can be a couple of times an hour)...When there are guests at the home or I'm busy, it's even more. He is a child who likes touch very much; also with friends/siblings he likes to hug. But most of the hugs are directed toward me. He was being treated by an occupational therapist and she said that this doesn't need treatment because this doesn't disturb his functioning (only mine). What should I do?

We recommend that you be attentive to the need your child is expressing. It's probably necessary to dedicate individual, quality time for parent-child activities. From our experience, enwrapping the child with hugs and love can equip him with energies and strengths to cope with the challenges that await him.

I would love to get your opinion about a 5-year-old boy with a problem of language dyspraxia (not motor). He's received treatments since 2.3 years of age with a speech therapist. Today, he speaks wonderfully. My understanding of the situation is that he will have learning disabilities, and the speech therapist also assumes that since his problem was with identifying sounds; therefore, he will probably have a problem identifying letters. I would like to note that he would not be going up next year to school since he's small age wise and we also prefer to give him another year to mature in kindergarten. I noticed that he doesn't remember names of the children in kindergarten. I would like to ask which assessment should I take him for and when? To which type of professional should I take him?

According to your description, there is, in fact, a suspicion of learning disabilities, which is discernible in difficulty associating the sound with the word and also in difficulty naming. Treatment for these difficulties is preventative treatment and preparation for reading and writing in first grade. It's recommended to join programs dealing with literacy and phonological awareness before first grade (strengthening the connection between the sound and the word) as a basis for better integration into first grade. In any case, you should consult with the Educational Psychology Services Clinic regarding an early assessment of difficulties and their treatment.

My son is 5.5 years old. Next year he'll be entering first grade. Currently, he still doesn't recognize the letters of the Aleph-Bet.

As far as we know, children are taught to recognize the letters in preschool. Therefore, the fact that your son still doesn't recognize the letters is worrisome, unless he wasn't taught. Under this assumption, we recommend discussing this problem with his teacher and to request a first grade readiness assessment. Early detection and diagnosis can aid in building an intervention program that will prepare you child to integrate in first grade. This will also save much frustration.

My 5-year-old son was diagnosed at the Child Development Center and receives treatment from a speech therapist and occupational therapist and next week he begins therapeutic horseback riding for emotional treatment. I wanted to check if you do assessments at this age, since the assessment that was done doesn't seem right to me since he didn't cooperate. Also, what types of treatments do you offer for preschool children?

The assessment at this age is conducted by an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. It's recommended to receive the teacher's opinion regarding her recommendation whether to advance the child to first grade. It important that you know that at the Educational Psychology Services Clinic there are first grade readiness assessments whose purpose is to appraise successful integration into first grade. In certain situations, the decision is to leave the child an additional year in kindergarten so that he will come ready to first grade. At The Nitzan Association, we do assessments from the beginning of first grade in order to aid in building a program for advancing the reading and writing.


My son has a problem with a lack of sensory functioning and this year he's entering the first grade. What activities should be performed or emphasized in this area in addition to an assessment and treatment of the problem?

We recommend making an appointment with a pediatrician immediately to receive a referral for occupational therapy treatment.