My 4 year old son has recently started montessori preschool. He's been having a very hard time and I'm looking for ways to help him succeed. He's always been very bright and very social.. will go to anyone and has always played well with other kids, although he is a rough and tumble type. He will not listen to his teachers, does not want to sit for circle time, does not want to participate in classroom activities other than playing outside & trouble focusing. When they try to correct him he runs away, grabs things, tells them no, etc. He's showing some of that behavior at home, talking back and acting up when out..but he doesn't run away or grab items to throw.
Today I met with the director and during our conversation she threw out the word Asperger's as an "example". I looked it up and he does not really show any signs of that disorder other than not wanting to look you in the eye, but that is only when he is being corrected or disciplined, and the classroom social part. He started walking 3 days before his 10th month and is very active and coordinated, always high energy and curious, verbal skills seem fine. I guess my question is, do you think this is somewhat normal for an only child just being introduced into a school setting, or maybe a bigger problem that I should be considering?
Your son's behavior may be understandable, but it would be going too far to describe it as normal. It may well be that the behavior does not signify any underlying emotional disorder (e.g., Disruptive Behavior Disorder, Mood Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder). But it certainly signifies a childhood behavior problem and requires a systematic method of behavior management. Take a look at Lynn Clark's book SOS Help for Parents. If you and the school implement the strategies and techniques detailed in this wonderful book, you'll likely solve the problem.
My 2c - Montessori lacks structure and requires children to be mature and self-directed. Your son is not. My little one has benefited greatly from more structure. Montessori can be great for some children and not too good for others. Work with teachers to implement behavior modification/structure, he may need a schedule to help him to attend to activities.
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