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4yr old zoning out
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4yr old zoning out

My son exhibits a strange behaviour. He 'zones out' by making his eyes cross, makes a mmmmm noise with his teeth clenched together, closes his hands together in front of him and focuses on his hands or a small object in his hands. Seems to do this either when he is bored/not occupied or at pre-school when he doesn't want to do an activity. It lasts either a few seconds or several minutes and it's very difficult to distract him out of it. I was called into his preschool to discuss this, and his refusal to co-operate with activities he dislikes, which are all tasks involving small hand movements. This is dispite the fact that he has previously shown he can do the tasks.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hm.  Well, I'd ignore the direct situation (eye crossing, making noise, looking at a small object or hands through crossed eyes) until it is over.  It is getting him out of doing things, right?  Mission accomplished.  So, I'd just ignore that and when he comes out of the "trance"---------  I'd say, so would you like to do A or B?  

I'm guessing that your child may have some motor planning difficulty as he is having trouble with fine motor tasks.  Has any suggestion been made for him to see an occupational therapist?  My son sees one and it has helped more than I can tell you.  Often insurance will pay for this evaluation and therapy.  From 3 to 5 as well, if a child is shown to have some type of issue such as this, the public school offers early intevention with occupational therapist services provided.  Something to think about if you have your child evaluated and determine there is an issue.

A classic sign of motor planning difficulty is avoiding the task all together.  And finding wacky ways to do it is not uncommon.  One thing you can do is find out what tasks they are doing and replicate it at home.  Then you show him hand over hand how to do it very slowly and patiently.  This sends the signal to his brain if his brain is not sending the signal itself.  It gets embedded and the child usually can do the task from then on (such as using scissors).  Handwriting takes time and there are many ways to work on this.  Tell me what specific issues with fine motor he is having and I'll see if I can help you.  

Motor planning is part of the sensory system which involves the nervous system and processing.  My son has sensory integration disorder and we have done occupational therapy with great success to solve this.  Let me know if I can help you in any way.  good luck
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hm.  Well, I'd ignore the direct situation (eye crossing, making noise, looking at a small object or hands through crossed eyes) until it is over.  It is getting him out of doing things, right?  Mission accomplished.  So, I'd just ignore that and when he comes out of the "trance"---------  I'd say, so would you like to do A or B?  

I'm guessing that your child may have some motor planning difficulty as he is having trouble with fine motor tasks.  Has any suggestion been made for him to see an occupational therapist?  My son sees one and it has helped more than I can tell you.  Often insurance will pay for this evaluation and therapy.  From 3 to 5 as well, if a child is shown to have some type of issue such as this, the public school offers early intevention with occupational therapist services provided.  Something to think about if you have your child evaluated and determine there is an issue.

A classic sign of motor planning difficulty is avoiding the task all together.  And finding wacky ways to do it is not uncommon.  One thing you can do is find out what tasks they are doing and replicate it at home.  Then you show him hand over hand how to do it very slowly and patiently.  This sends the signal to his brain if his brain is not sending the signal itself.  It gets embedded and the child usually can do the task from then on (such as using scissors).  Handwriting takes time and there are many ways to work on this.  Tell me what specific issues with fine motor he is having and I'll see if I can help you.  

Motor planning is part of the sensory system which involves the nervous system and processing.  My son has sensory integration disorder and we have done occupational therapy with great success to solve this.  Let me know if I can help you in any way.  good luck
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973741_tn?1342346373
Oh, I also thought of this-----------  when a child is difficult in preschool (or later) it is really helpful to give choices. Would you like to try the tongs yourself or would you like me to help you?  Two choices with many things will result in his feeling like he has some control and he will be more apt to comply.  Does he wander the preschool room a lot?  How is his peer interaction?  

And one way to organize the brain and improve processing is physical activity.  He should be running, jumping, climbing, swinging, rolling, sliding as much as possible.  Set up obstacle courses at home.  Have him do funny animal walks including the crab walk, the bear walk, and leap frogs. All organize and calm the nervous system so they can think and respond appropriately.  good luck
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Thank you for your help. We are waiting for an appointment with occupational therapy. We're in the UK and on the NHS that means a long wait. We encourage him to do as much climbing, walking, balancing etc as possible. I have also discovered that he will use a crayon  or colouring pencil if the picture is a cat, a lion or a tiger!  He is always saying he's angry, but not why.
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