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7 year old boy social skills
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7 year old boy social skills

My 7 year old son is one of the youngest kids in his second grade class (late May birthday.) He is older brother to siblings aged 5 and 2.  He is very bright and does very well in school -- only issues are poor handwriting and problems with talking in class/disturbing others around him.  His teacher told me that his reading and math skills were at a 4th grade level.  Socially though, he seems very immature.  He has a heart of gold and is almost always happy.  He is very friendly and outgoing, but he is often sillier and goofier than his peers.  He has a very hard time sitting still.  He constantly rocks in his seat, swings his arms, rocks his head from side to side, makes silly faces, blinks his eyes.  He's learned that he has to be quiet in school/church, but he continues with this silent movement.  When standing in a line with other kids, he may hug or pick up the kids in front of him or get in the kid's face and make silly faces or noises.  If the other kid laughs, he keeps doing it.  If the other kid acts annoyed, he moves on to someone else.  I've also noticed that he rarely walks from one place to another...he skips, spins, hops, dances, etc...almost like he has energy that he can't contain.

I am annoyed by this behavior and I'm noticing that more and more of his peers are too.  He has 3-4 close friends at school, mainly other boys who display behaviors a lot like his.  Other boys, the more "sophisticated" and mature ones have begun to avoid him and have even started being mean to him, calling him a loser and a dork.  This doesn't seem to bother my son.  He seems to have a very thick skin and just moves on.  

I should add that his 1st and 2nd grade teachers both love him and said he is one of the most creative, imaginative kids they ever met.  They both said he just needs to learn to better control his impulses and learn to not talk during class, to not call out answers,  to stand patiently in line, etc.

Because of all his energy, we've enrolled him in a variety of sports (all at his request, but only one sport at a time) and he had a very difficult time.  Even though he is one of the stronger, faster kids, he has a hard time staying focused.  He seems much more interested in wrestling/roughhousing with the other boys, dancing around, acting silly, than actually playing the sport.  (Even though he can do very well when he sets his mind to it.)

Is this behavior within the range of "normal" for a 7 year old boy or should I be concerned?  Do you have suggestions for how we might teach him to better control himself?  I am constantly reminding him to stand still, to settle down, to stop flopping around, but he'll straighten up for 5 minutes and then revert back to the same behavior.  I'm really worried that the other boys in his class are "growing up" much faster than he is and he's going to be left behind, but my son doesn't seem to care.

Thanks,

Sharon
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Seve-year-olds are active by nature, but your son's behavior can accurately be characterized as hyperactive. Now, when such behavior is very minor, it can be brought under control in the classroom, for example, and in other structured situations. But when true (i.e., neurologically-based) hyperactivity is of more than minor intensity, it cannot be adequately controlled for sustained periods. And it becomes a source of negative interactions with parents, peers and others. It would be reasonable to consider that your son's condition may warrant a diagnosis of Hyperactive/Impulsive-Type Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. If so, he may well respond favorably to stimulant medication.  This could make a dramatic difference for the better, both in his classroom behavior and in his social interactions.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Oh my gosh! Your son is just the exact same as my son. My son is six and he is very, very bright. His school can't believe at how creative he is. However, he is lacking socially. The things you wrote about your son, are the same for us.

You need to get your hands on this book right away...The Out of Sync Child OR The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.

ADD/ADHD may be part of it, but let me tell you that sensory integration has a BIG part of it as well and really needs to be addressed! Reading these books has really put me on the right path to understanding my son.

You may email me if you wish to talk more...

***@****

Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I read this and immediately thought of my 5 yr old daughter.  She has high functioning autism.  She is very smart, but struggles with social skills, fine motor skills (penmanship in particular), transitions and any kind of change (ie making a left instead of the right turn she expected....causes a major blow up).  She also has sensory intergration issues, the book the last writer wrote is excellent!  I learned alot from this.

I advise you to request that your child be evaluated by his school for any disabilities.  Its free, and they have to provide an evaluation & any subsequent services (speech, occupational therapy, etc) if it is determined that he has a disability.  They even have to provide services & evaluations to children as young as 2 1/2.  This is a federal law.

From my experience this is the best place to start, or talk to your doctor.  Evaluations are very difficult, so any examples of work, documentation of incidents are very helpful.  

Good luck and email me if you would like more info.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks very much for the comments/support.  I will read the book.

I have had some problems with the school taking me seriously.  I think that the school feels that since he gets good grades and doesn't cause them too many problems (e.g. he doesn't start fights, he's respectful of the teachers) that there's no reason to do an evaluation.

Also, he goes to a parochial school, so I don't know how the rules differ if he's not in public school.

I'm just curious, what is the treatment that your children have received and has it helped?

Thanks again,

Sharon
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Avatar_n_tn
You are describing many of the same characteristics that my son had when he was 5.  He is now 11 and has just been diagnosed as having ADHD.  He is very smart (off the charts in math) but lack social skills and is very active at home.

I suggest you get your child tested BUT do not rely on one opinion. Also, make a list of your child's behavior and present it to the psychologist when you meet with him and talk about your child.  

Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I could have been reading my own description of my own daughter.  She is in a public school.  She is very immature, I was told that it may be developmental.  She is 8 years old in 3rd grade now.  The only difference with my daughter is that the social issues bother her so much.  She is very sensitive.  The school had evaluated her, and I had her evaluated also.  The school Psyc. came up with ADD.  According to them and my ped. everything else had been ruled out.  We tried that for about a year.  It was a misdiagnosis, I am sure of it now.  Please read the book that was mentioned earlier.  "The Out of Sync Child" by Carol Kranowitz.  You will be so glad you did!  I just recently took my daughter to a screening at an abilities center.  I am reading these posts trying to find help/ideas with what is going on with my daughter.  I am currently still trying to find out what is going on with my daughter.  I may post my own question about my daughter,,but I have so many.  My daughter is going to have an OT/sensory evaluation, a Psyc. evaluation(a child psy. this time), and has an appt. for the pediatric neurology in June!
Sorry, this is so long.  Your posting was just so familiar to me and I have been searching to find an answer and I hope that it can help you to stress reading this book.  It's probably one of the best decisions I have made.
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