My son has been in a daycare center since he was 2 1/2 yrs old, with a very structured classroom and did great there. He went to a private kindergarten in a church that only had preschool and 1 kindergarten class, and only 11 students in his class, and he did great there also. This year, I open enrolled him into a school that had very high ratings (the district we live in is really bad). A week into the school year, he was sent home for his behavior and started acting up at home and church also. When I was trying to figure out what was wrong (it was obvious that something was bothering him), he didn't know, but then told me he sometimes thinks about killing himself. There was a suicide early this year that I was not able to keep him from knowing about, so I think he got the idea from that. I called his pediatrician for a referral- was told I had to bring him to Children's ER, so I did. At the hospital, we each talked with a social worker who said that when kids his age say that, it is usually because they feel like it would be easier if they weren't there. She said she saw no indication of him harming himself, and referred us to a play therapist. He has been seeing the therapist for over a month now, and she told me on Tuesday that she is not seeing any signs of any emotional problems with him. Instead, she is very impressed with what she is seeing, and said that when he tries something, he will not give up until he gets it right, and will not cheat either. She said most kids would either give up, or cheat and think she doesn't notice, but he is determined to do his very best until he gets it. I was very happy to hear that- but the problems at school are getting worse every day. Outside of school, it only lasted about a week, and he has been completely back to normal (or even better behaved...) at home, church, and daycare. But nothing is working for school. They are doing sticker charts, and his evenings at home with me are dependent on his day at school. If he had a good day, then he gets to have a fun night at home. If not- then he has everything taken away at home and has to do something that he considers boring until it is bedtime. He has occasional good days- but I would say 75% are bad. Just over a month into the school year, I had to leave work today for the 5th time to get him already. The last 3 times, he has been so worked up when I got there, that he is throwing things and hiding under tables, and even pushing me away from him. I can't calm him down until the principal leaves the room, and then I have to hug him to get him to relax. There was a day last week that his whole body was bright red and he was dripping in sweat from the fighting (and fear that I could clearly see in his eyes- the school insists that the only one to be afraid of there is him). He has been doing completely random and crazy things at school to disrupt the class, and can't handle the results of it.
They had me sit through his class one day a couple weeks ago, and all the kids were out of control, doing the things they tell me he does, while he was sitting quietly next to me. Another parent was the mystery reader the next day and said she had to stop reading at least 10 times because they were all so wild. The current teacher is a long term sub while the regular teacher is on maternity leave, and this is her first time teaching alone. I think a lot of his problem is the chaos in the room, and he is reacting to that. He is a child that will react a lot to what is going on around him, and get excited and then not know when to stop- so would probably take things further than the other kids if he gets to that point. The school won't tell me, but I saw other kids having a lot of the same problems as him, and he is telling me every day about someone else going to the principals office from his class (which is where he spends most of his days...). The teacher is great, very nice, but I think too nice. When they explain to me the things that happened, it always starts with "Well, we were sitting on the floor and he was rolling around and not sitting, but that wasn't a big deal so I let it go". I have told her many times to end it there, because if he is allowed to do that, it will only spiral from there. But every time I still keep hearing about things that "weren't a big deal" to start with so she just let it go. And I am also told she can't stop the class to make him sit. But he has learned now that no one will do anything, so why not do it? Last week they started documenting the things he was doing and suspended him for a day. Today he was suspended again for 2 days, and they had him in a room that is used for occupational therapy because they said if he throws things in there, its all soft, and they also had a video camera on him to document the behavior. The principal sat down with me and went through 2 pages of things she wrote down (she has now been in the class all day for almost a week) and how dangerous he is to the rest of the school. I brought him to the pediatrician, who said if it was something that needed medication, he wouldn't have done so well up until now. She said it sounded like he needs to be in a new class or a new school. That was 2 weeks ago, and I really didn't want to do that, but today it reached a point where I don't think there is any other choice. They are trying to expell him anyway. The principal insists that the school does everything perfectly and the only problem is that he needs to get it into his head that he can't act like that at school. I can guarantee- its already in his head. He never knows why he does any of it. But I bring him every morning in a good mood, and excited and determined to work hard and have a better day. It just doesn't last after I leave. I have not been happy with the way the principal talks to him like he is just bad and needs to change, I can see in his face that it is only making it worse, but she doesn't care what the cause of the problem is or what needs to be done to help him. (At least not from my view- or his Dr's or therapists...) Last week they started special ed assessments, to see if there is anything special ed could help with, even though his academics are great. He loves school- and loves doing his homework. But I think he is giving up now. After the suspension last week, they started having the principal sit in his class to watch him, which I knew would not go well because it is only with her that he gets worked up and can't calm himself down. 4 days of that, and I have left work for him twice. Today she told me that he can't handle being around kids, and thats why its only at school, and has nothing to do with anything at school. But he goes to daycare after school and is doing fine there, went to church tonight (after the horrible day with the video camera) for his Wednesday night class, and they said he was great there. He's always been around other kids and has been fine. He says he likes all the kids, they are all nice, and no one picks on him. No one has hurt him or touched him or anything (that he will admit, but he is usually very open with me and will tell me things that he would get away with otherwise, because he realizes the results of telling me himself will be better than not telling me- and he knows he can talk to me about anything).
I really feel like it is time to go to another school. When we left school today, I did let him know that I wasn't happy about what happened, but then I dropped it and didn't say another word about it. Instead I took him to the school that would have been my next choice, and registered him to start there next week. I requested a teacher that is good at handling a class and experienced, so he is with one that has been there for 24 years and is the lead of. My fear is- what do I do next if he still has problems?
reading your post it does sound as if there was a problem with the school and its good you have enrolled him at another one .Something or someone seems to have frightened him, perhaps some counseling would be good here.what does he say when you ask him what he is upset about will he talk to you ?
I'm so glad you found him another school. Teachers should meet the students where they are. They should be taught techniques on how to calm children down instead of panicking and calling a parent. It's shocking that so many schools are just stupid when it comes to children. I'd freak out too if everyone around me was behaving badly.
I wonder if he has sensory issues? Sometimes children who are otherwise very bright and well behaved in structured or calm situations may have a lot of difficulty in an environment where there is noise or chaos.
It sounds like the new school may be a good idea. If problems emerge there as well, you may want to consider reading about sensory processing disorders- you may see that he has had signs of it in the past. The good thing is that if it is SPD, there are many *non-medication** things that can be done to help.
I agree with tiredbuthappy in that sensory processing (or integration) disorders might be worth looking up. A good site is here - http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/index.html
I also think that he is still a bit too young to punish him at home for what he does at school. Maybe by 9, but not now - its very hard for kids of this age to understand that what happened hours ago is why they are now being punished. It breaks all the laws of behavior modification - which is immediate, consistent reinforcement.
And yes, the new school does sound like a good idea. Try and get a meeting with the teacher with him and you before his first day (probably after her class is out). Then take him on a tour of the school to get him used to it.
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