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5 year old son in Kinder
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5 year old son in Kinder

Hello all,

My wife and I are seeking guidance regarding our son who recently started Kinder.  Several issues were raised to our attention.  Our son has gotten lost in school twice.  He does not always respond when being called, and does not follow directions most of the time (he prefers to draw).  Having said, that...we went to a Dr.  She is a pediatric behavioral specialist and have our son recently started behavior therapy.  Our initial purpose was to see if perhaps he had a form of autism.  We were very confused...because we don't have these issues at home.  He responds to his name most often than not.  He can follow directions..and we have no issues at home getting him to do his homework beyond the initial complaint.

So after seeing the Dr and Therapist...they saw no signs of Autism, AD/HD, etc...their take was that he was having difficulty adapting and possible had anxiety.  One thing to mention is that my wife and I are guilty of being over protective of our son...and we are truly working on that now.  The problem still remains though that he still does not respond well in school.  The school, I believe is now trying to suggest that my son has mental retardation.

My wife and I are very confused.  Dr and Therapist tell he seems fine after their evaluation...school is trying to insinuate another thing.  From our perspective we see a boy who gets very nervous, gets bored with the curriculum, and does not have much self confidence.  Our problem is what we do now.  Thanks in advance for all the advise

Two loving and worried parents
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Have you presented the doctor and therapist evaluations to your son's school to prove that he's not autistic or diagnosed with any other behavioral disorder or mental retardation?
I'd suggest going to your son's school to monitor him (without him knowing you're there), if you have the time to do that. Ask if the school can arrange something of this sort so you can see first hand how he's acting in school.
As a last resort, I'd look into placing him in a different school if the teaching staff at this current school cannot handle a kindergartener. To me, what you describe of your son sounds like a typical four to five year old boy who has just been introduced into the school setting, and especially if he is an only child. Going to kindergarten is a major transition in the life of a child, where they go from a comfortable home setting or preschool setting to a structured, academically demanding environment with at least 15 or more other kids their age.
If he's getting lost in the school building, why is he left unattended for enough time to get lost? If he's not responding, maybe it's because he's not used to all the background noise and does not hear his name being called. And of course a child that age is going to want to color and do whatever they want to do instead of what they're told to do, like grouping patterns and learning to write legibly.
I'm skeptical of the school's efforts with your son because my younger sister had almost the exact same situation back when she was in kindergarten. The school wanted to make arrangements to put her in special education classes because she didn't want to color the pictures the proper colors; she wanted to color them rainbow colors. She didn't want to write, she wanted to draw pictures. She didn't want to learn to read, so she refused to try because she knew her teacher would read it for her. So when they were asking our mom to consider putting her in special education classes because they thought she might be autistic or something of the like, my mom said they should try a week of taking away her recess time if she refused to cooperate and follow directions.
Less than two weeks later, she was compliant and excelling to the top of her class.
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757137_tn?1347200053
Leave the poor kiddie alone and let him adjust and grow up by himself. He is in a new situation so it will take a while for him to fit in. There is such a thing as too much attention. For instance, he obviously does not need a therapist, and having one, when he doesn't need one, is not the greatest idea.
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13167_tn?1327197724
I agree with AHP,  and have some thoughts.  Your child sounds like mine,  worriedparents.  My son who is now 22 just absolutely zoned out in Kinder.  I never noticed a problem with him - he was a little scattered,  but totally within the normal range.

At school,  his teacher kept reporting that he was zoned out.  He sometimes appeared to not know where he even was,  didn't know what the class was supposed to be doing,  didn't hear the teachers calling the kids in from recess,  didn't hear the music teacher telling the kids to line up it was time to go,  didn't respond when the lunch count was called,  etc.  

I couldn't believe it.  They have art closets in each Kinder classroom,  with a one way window - you could sit in there and observe without the children knowing.  

The teacher was reporting exactly what it was happening.  

At home,  he wasn't forced to sit for half hour or more and work on something deadly boring to him - he was simply going somewhere else in his imagination.  

So we put him on low dose ritalin all his elementary school years.  In secret.  I didn't tell the teachers - didn't want him labeled.  If he accidentally forgot to take it one morning,  I'd get a call from a teacher asking if something was wrong with him,  it was that obvious.  

He took himself off ritalin after 5th grade,  his choice,  he insisted he wanted to make it on his own - which he did.  He graduated from college in May and is doing great.

I think your son will turn out great too,  but I also think the boring makework of elementary school will be hard for him to focus on.

Best wishes.
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535822_tn?1417529476
I agree with allmymarbles why is he left alone so he can get lost ?As your Doctor has told you no disorder was found then go by what he has said ..I would try to change the school ...
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello all, just to update everyone.

My wife took my son earlier today to the Pediatric Behavioral specialist and my wife explained and asked very directly if there was a learning disability with out son.  She said he absolutely fine and it was more an issue of anxiety.

We are planning an observation tomorrow as you folks suggested and my wife intended to deliver a copy of the diagnosis to the school.
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535822_tn?1417529476
Thats good news please let us know the outcome ...good luck
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worriedparentsin texas:  

Your entire posting screams of anxiety.  Most people think "being nervous" is a sign of anxiety; it is not.  Anxiety will appear as in your son's behaviour - unable to concentrate and think and perhaps even frozen in posture (this is why he got lost and was unable to follow instructions - he was unable to learn or take in the information in the first place).  Anxiety has what is sometimes called "the hesitation factor" which may show itself as a child being somewhat obstinate at school, when in fact, he is very "scared" and it takes time for him to do what is required.  These fears are irrational - due to miscues and misinformation being transmitted in the brain.  Many children with anxiety will colour or draw instead of doing classwork because they are incapable of handling any tasks which require thinking (their brains are busy with irrational thoughts of fear and emotions).  I'll bet your son also has trouble eating at school and using the washroom (both signs of anxiety).  Does he play with other children at recess or is he mostly alone?  Is he able to converse to the teacher and/or the children in the classroom?  Does he have sleeping issues at home?

Please do not wait for your son to "outgrow" this.  If anxiety is the issue (and I strongly suspect so), then the sooner you get help, the sooner your son will be able to function at school.  Begin by talking to your family doctor.  If he/she is unable to help you, then ask for a referral to a medial mental health specialist with experience in anxiety disorders.  Proper treatment should be multi-modal with the parents taking a key role.

It might be wise to educate yourselves on this issue by googling phrases as "anxiety and children" or "school and anxiety" or "anxiety disorders in children" or similar words/phrases.  Our child was diagnosed with severe anxiety at six years of age - prior the teachers thought of mental disability, autism or simple stubborness.   Today, she is doing better but as anxiety is an "invisible learning disorder", school is still a struggle for her.  

Oh - I just read your latest posting - looks like I agree with your specialist although many children who suffer from anxiety do have trouble learning at school.  Hopefully, your son will not be in the "severe" category and will be able to learn easier than our child.  If you have any questions re anxiety, please do not hesitate to contact me.  We have been on this path for several years.  All the best ...
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Avatar_m_tn
    Really agree with jdtm.  
Another thing to try is that there are several sets of books aimed at the 4 to 7 year old child that is meant to be read aloud to them.  They help with a lot of social skills etc.  A good example would be, 'Talk and work it out" - found here - http://www.amazon.com/Talk-Work-Out-Learning-Along/dp/1575421763/ref=pd_sim_b5
       As you click on the books listed underneath, you can see other good choices.
     And, hopefully, once a teacher becomes concerned about a child - they will start showing some extra attention.  Sometimes that is all it takes.  Also does he have any good friends at school?  If not - that is something to work on and the teacher can also help with that.  best wishes!
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as an experienced teacher of young children, I just wanted to chime in and say I agree with jdtm and sandman.
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757137_tn?1347200053
We are all unique in some way. It is this very diversity that makes for a lively intellectual climate. More and more, as time goes by, we try to fit people into a "norm" of our own manufacture.

We need introverts and extroverts, the passionate and the stogy, the tender and the tough, the nit picker and the dreamer, iconoclasts and those who live by rules.  And, yes, we need people like me to fight those who would smother the very essence of who we are. No child in my family will ever be hammered into someone's notion of "normal."

And for those of you ready to jump all over me, I am not speaking of the rare child who has an obvious disability. I am addressing the intolerance of normal traits.
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535822_tn?1417529476
i wont jump all over you at least you are not perpetrating the use of  mind altering drugs with horrific side effects... as so many do ...
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171768_tn?1324233699
While you are correct that we are all different temperaments, there is a change happening. Educators are beginning to recognize not that all children have the same needs because of these temperamental differences. It's not that teachers are trying to fit a child into a mold of "normal", but rather recognizing the different needs of children and fostering their growth. It is very evident that children who are not "normal" who are tossed into classrooms with old-school teachers who do not make any modifications or accommodations for children struggle greatly and have a negative school experience that influences the rest of their school career. Put in with a patient and supportive teacher, that same child can flourish and make huge strides. Are you implying that we should apply a "survival of the fittest" mentality at such a young age? Isn't it better to pinpoint what is causing this child to not function in order to help him adjust?

Also, I didn't see anyone suggest drugs, or even that he has a disability. However, anxiety can be debilitating. Take it from someone who has recently developed an anxiety disorder. And when it started to interfere with my functioning, I asked for help. A child cannot recognize this or ask for help directly. Their way of asking for help are behavioral challenges.
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Avatar_m_tn
i have to say that my son is having trouble with kinder as well. i think kinder nowadays is too boring, too structured for kids 5 years old. my son is very active and sitting down for long periods of time and working with papers is definately not good for him and any kid this age. Kinder needs to be more interactive and fun. thats the main problem i see with kinder. i myself feel bad that i have to leave him in such a boring place every day :(
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi, in all honesty, my two kids absolutely loved kindergarten.  I don't know if it is your school, but the majority of kindergarten programs break the day into small time frames and keep them moving.  Many use a station format.  Structure is important to introduce though starting in kindergarten to help get a child prepared for the more serious demands of first grade, etc.  

It IS hard for a lot of kids for sure.  Lots of things go into that transition including age, maturity level, experience prior to school.

Hope it gets better.
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535822_tn?1417529476
I agree with you , I have heard about this problem many times and I would say Kinder kids do get bored and the programs should be made more interesting I really agree children should be active and interactive  and thats part of the problem the schools should deal with..
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Avatar_m_tn
    I agree with you on what a good kindergarten should be.  Have you actually visited your sons classes to see what is going on?  
    And, unfortunately, first grade, etc.  could also be "boring" to him.  Some teacher are great - some are not.  So its always a good idea to scout out next years teacher.   Anyway, if you haven't done so - do visit his class.  Its really important to do so.  Best wishes.
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