My son is almost 4 years old. He's always been a very very easy baby and toddler--little to no tantrums, always slept well, wasn't the type to "get into everything". Very well behaved at home and in other people's homes. The problems are at preschool. He is restless during circle time, needs to be repeatedly redirected by the teachers. And, he seems socially immature. He does GREAT with other kids one-on-one.... But what he learns "works" with one kid, he applies to the kids at school, and they don't always like it. For example, he and his one buddy love to roar like dinasours. Then he gets to school and gets right up in other kids faces and roars like a dinasour... the other kids dislike it, the teachers tell him to stop, but he doesn't. Or his cousin, who likes to tickle... they tickle each other and have great fun, then he gets to preschool and tries to tickle the other kids, and they don't like it.... He doesn't seem to GET that what works in one situation is not appropriate in another situation. I switched preschools after the teachers said they suspected ADD. I can't imagine he has ADD, since he is so calm, concentrated, and easy at home and in general. His behavior problems were isolated to the preschool classroom which was pretty large--22 kids. I put him in a smaller class with more structure--8 boys. The new teachers say he is very polite and a pretty good listener, except for his social issues--he does the dinasour roaring and tickling there too. It is very clear that he wants to engage teh other kids in play, but he doesn't know how. Other things of note: he is VERY bright and talented in several areas--he has an amazing ear and can play songs on the piano after hearing them a few times. He is also very good at drawing, he's way above his age level in this area, although he will only scribble at school...weird. He is also excellent at building things, the more complicated the better, which is why I cannot believe ADD...he's so concentrated! He loves LOVES numbers, but that is a new thing since he was introduced to the calendar at his new school. He doesn't perseverate on any one thing--loves all the things little boys love, trains, cars, tv, etc. He speaks very well, always has. He does run around in circles sometimes when he gets excited, like when he arrives at his sport's class. He is not clutzy at all. He is very good at pretend play, loves his stuffed animals, can make a doll out of anything. My friends who know him think I am crazy for being concerned about his behavior, however, two different preschools pointed out his social problems. His first preschool suggested I get him evaluated. My pediatrician said that the school was simply not a good fit. The new teachers are much more laid back but they did note that he is annoying the other kids. Would you suggest an evaluation?
No, I don't believe an evaluation is warranted. Overall he seems to be doing pretty well for a child his age. Yes, he is not as developed in his group social skills as he is in other areas of development, but that is not unusual. Almost all children show some unevenness in their development; things don't proceed at the precise same pace in all arenas. I do think the teachers should set very firm limits on his inappropriate behavior (such as the roaring and tickling). If, after having been told such behavior is not allowed, he displays the behavior, he should be placed in time out for five minutes. In other wrods, it's often not sufficient to simply tell a four-year-old what is and is not permitted. There should be consequences for exhibiting inappropriate behavior that has been identified as such.
Thank you. I think at this point, they are just telling him it is unacceptable. What I did not mention was at the first preschool, they said he was very "unfocused" and he seemed very disobedient--didn't care about getting in trouble. He seemed like a completely different child at that school compared to at home. The new school is more low-key, so far it seems better but there still are the social issues. Do you have any sense of when I might see an improvement? The old school was so convinced something was "wrong" with him, they made me really anxious. Mostly, I think what was "wrong" was the class was too big and unstructured for him.... But I can't help but worry now....
No, I really cannot indicate any time frame to you. Change in this regard (i.e., ease of social interaction) occurs gradually over time. Certainly you should be thinking in terms of months, not days or weeks.
To make you feel better, it took my preschooler 6 months to adjust to the large group settings and the rather military type communication you can find when teachers try to shuffle the kids from one activity to another. From a teachers point of view he would als have looked like an unsettled ADD candidate
but it took only ONE teacher to see his true self and abilities
to ease him into the routines. All is well now. By temperament he is a so-called spirited child who is just all over the place mentally and physically. Maybe your son is too. Don`t ever listen to this ADD c..p - we have to protect our kids from medications for as long as we can. And get the overall perspective right: your son roars and tickles. Isn`t that cute compared to other preschoolers acting up by knocking their class mates over the head scratching their faces? Maybe you can talk him into using a cat purring at school and save the roaring for home. Either way, you will look back with a big smile one day.
Thanks, that makes me feel better... His antics are pretty harmless--he is never hurtful or aggressive to the other kids and the teachers assure me that it is clear he is just trying to play, not trying to be mean. It's just so strange because I would never call him a "spirited" child, he is SO CALM and easy at home! Just at preschool (well, the old school... new preschool hasn't said he was wild yet) and at his sports class. The old preschool teachers said that often ADD or some other "issue" only makes itself apparent in group situations. How convenient. Oh well, I guess I just have to let this go and see how it plays out over time. I am so angry with his old preschool for making me paranoid. Maybe the drs on the board can confirm, but from what I understand, ADD isn't even diagnosable in a 3.5 yo!
My son acted out some of the things you have said in his first year of preschool--he was 2.5 when he went. He still does the roaring and other things at home. His teachers have said that this year he has grown up so much--I think part of it was he was testing waters, his little mind did not understand all the rules in a group setting (ehat is good at school and what you can do at home. The teachers stated he is a joy in the classroom this year--also his classes are smaller 8 kids and the same teachers for all three years.
I would say do not worry you have a normal child--and maybe if he is acting out at school and is so well developed in other things he may be bored and does not know what to do to express himself in school.
Alot of tiimes we as parents contribute to the problem at school by alllowing the problem to occur in other environments...if your son has trouble setting self boundaries and recognizing that roaring in another person's face is unexceptable, then perhps he should be asked not to do it at all. there are some other issues...it is cute to tickle and fun to laugh, but some people feel very uncomfortable with this invasion of their personal space. After all, when my daughters were at home and we were preparing them for school, we prepped them on the importance of our bodies and explained that no one except mommy and daddy and the dr is to touch them unless they are hugging someone or holding hands crossing the street...etc....
did you ever think about that angle. that your son may be making others feel uncomfortable with his assertiveness? Not to sound mean..I too have an assertive daughter, but you have to set and teach boundaries with your son.
Well, the new school had me stay after class to discuss his behavior. I'm a nervous wreck. They wanted me to tell my pediatrician that he is displaying ADHD like characteristics. They didn't SAY he had ADHD, they know he is too young for that label, but it is an easy way to describe his behavior. Apparently, he is very excitable, impossible to settle. During free play, instead of playing with a toy, he runs around the classroom. They tell him to stop, he stops immediately, politely, sweet. But two minutes later, he is running again. They say that they don't even feel they can give him a time out, because they don't feel he is doing it out of disobedience or naughtiness.... They say he just seems to lack self control/impulse control. Like, he blurts out answers in games and ruins the game, even though he is asked to remain silent over and over again. His interest in numbers continues to grow. He talks about numbers all day, and learned how to tell time, which sent his number-love through the roof.... His teachers hinted that he seems a bit obsessive about the numbers.... They also tell me he doesn't make good eye contact, he looks past them when they are talking directly to him. He just went to a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese with his classmates, and he was GREAT, FINE. Social, happy in a calm controlled way.... But at school, he rolls on the floor, can't stop chatting during story time.... I don't know why but I've become increasingly worried about Asperger's Syndrome.... But I may have just become paranoid.... Anyone experience anything like this? He is 100% calm, happy, controlled at home. Number obsessed, but not rigid... He's quite flexible in fact.... No tantrums really....
The behaviors that your son is displaying do not sound like Aspergers to me. I have a nephew who is an Aspie. There are two behaviors typical of Aspie's that I do not detect here. First is the wish to socially interact (typically low in an Aspie). Second is gross motor skills. Most Aspie's have very poor gross motor coordination. Your son does not seem to fit the descriptions at all.
I have a son that has some anxiety and fine motor skills issues. While we think he is mainly just an energetic, high strung kid, it's very hard to avoid reading ASD web sites which all tend to lead you to conclude the worst. Just 6 months ago they had me convinced that my son might also fall into the Aspie category. My sister and her husband just laughed at me when I suggested it. They both said that my son's gross motors are way too good for that and that he is obviously just a smart kid.
My son is now 5 1/2 and it's interesting to look back and see how many of the "troublesome" behaviors that worried us in the past have gone away. While he still has a couple of quirky behaviors, we are pretty sure that he will get through them eventually by himself (and if not then there is help available through OT and even Dev. Psych's). The important thing is that he is a bright kid which should help him cope with whatever residual issues there may be. It sounds like your son also has the same strength in his corner.
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