My son is 5 years old. For the last few years we have noticed an array of different behavior problems. They have ranged from inability to focus, hyperactivity, aggression, preference of being around adults instead of children and so on. The first thought was ADHD...but after two years of working hard with him...ADHD does not seem to fit. I have researched anxiety disorders, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, autism and so on. Nothing seems to fit just right.
So here is what we are currently facing...
At home my son has improved tremendously. His hyperactivity has died down and he seems more like a typical 5 year old boy. He generally listens on the first try or at least by the second. If he is tired...it could take five times or more. He is sweet...caring...affectionate...thoughtful...very attentive...overall a fun loving kid. As long as he is around adults...this is the behavior he shows. Most the comments we receive are...what a well behaved lovable boy. He shows little to no aggression...never uses bad words...is clear on what is right from wrong.
At school...he seems to be a completely different child. Since day one we have had issues. What started as a concern with him sitting quietly or participating with other children quickly developed into much more serious concerns. According to his teacher and the staff at the school my son show's aggression (hitting, kicking), he says bad words, treats kids poorly (name calling, destroying their papers), isolates himself, wont participate...it goes on and on.
We have met with the school many times...my son has been sent to the principals office countless times...he has been suspended once. We have a big meeting coming up soon to evaluate him for special ed. The teacher is stating she feels my son will fail Kindergarten because he is not academically up to standards. However, I work with my son twice a day on homework and he is academically "average" in reading/writing and advanced in mathematics and language/communication. He can relate to and understand adult concepts. His memory is outstanding...he remembers things from when he was two that even I forgot. He asks lots of questions and unlike typical children doesnt accept the basic answer...he digs deeper. My son is very aware that he is treated different at school and on the bus...he states this makes him sad. When asked if he likes school...he states he likes/misses his teacher but not the other children. The moment he walks to the school bus...his whole demeanor changes.
What I know to be true is this...my son acts very differently at home vs at school...he has always preferred adults/older children over children his own age...I have witnessed this "poor" behavior the school speaks of when he is around children of his own age or children who are more active/unruly and he does require more focused attention to stay on track and behave (not an independent worker). One last thing...I have noticed that school has greatly influenced his self confidence/worth...he has come home saying he is stupid or ugly and wants a new face. Things he heard at school.
Oh...one more thing...he does know right from wrong...he shows accurate emotions when he has done something wrong...shows remorse...guilt...sadness...
Sorry this was so long...but I am desperate for some answers. For years everyone has "guessed" at what could be the problem...we have tried hundreds of things with him...I want something concrete. I refuse to let my son fail kindergarten...he is smart...gifted I believe...socially/emotionally maybe immature...but too smart to be held back.
Have you ever looked into sensory integratrion disorder? This involves the nervous system and my son suffers from it. Well, I say suffer . . . but through occupational therapy that really isn't the case. He was just like your boy at school (preschool) and we had him evaluated by an occupational therapist and began occupational therapy (which is like play therapy which my kid LOVES). He is like a different kid all together now. Things were always worse at school because that is an enviroment in which he had less control (and controlling things is a coping mechanism) as well as the enviroment was stimulating to the nervous system---- his processing slowed and got jumbled. We do lots of activities at home that have helped beyond belief and I'd be happy to give you some ideas if you think sensory might fit. Social problems were one of the areas that broke my heart for my son. He is MUCH better now.
You are wise and smart to try to find out what is going on. Self esteem in these years is critical and sets the tone for life. Being in trouble every day in school will take its toll on his self esteem, for sure. Finding the root cause of the behavior can head that off. My son has only had one bad day since starting kindergarten this year which is a miracle based on the past. I feel blessed to have found out what the issue was. Let me know if I can help in anyway!
Well, there is aspergers and emotional/psychiatric issues . . . I would suggest going ahead and allowing the school to evaluate him for speech, psychiatric and occupational therapist evals. A parent can request this. The information is confidential and meant to help. If he needs some extra things in place to help in the classroom enviroment----- this is how you get it.
I wish sensory integration was the problem as we've seen so much improvement with our son. He is like a different kid now and doing so well.
Does your son require movement to stay focased? Some kids do. Does he sit better after playground time, for example?
How are his fine motor skills? Any trouble writing that could frustrate him?
Is he always young for the group he is in . . . as he is 5. When is his birthday? Is he on the young side of his class? (like as in a summer birthday?)
My son has great fine and large motor skills. He is very coordinated.
He is more of a hands on learner. He requires a lot of positive reinforcement and like I mentioned one on one attention to stay focused.
He was five in April...he may be a bit younger...but he looks older...he communicates on a 2nd or 3rd grade level...
He does struggle with reading/writing...it takes a lot of repetition...his writing is O.K. as long as he is being observed closely and reminded to write nicely. We have noticed he writes some things backwards...E and 3...S and 2...6 and 9...6 and 8...S and 5...these are all I can think of now. But shows no other signs of dyslexia.
They are starting an evaluation...like you mentioned...I dont want my son in Special Ed...I fear if I keep him in K they will fail him...that are already stating he will fail. Even though I know he academically is on track with reading/writing...and ahead in mathematics. But the school doesnt see this...they just see his poor behavior.
It is like he has a mixture of ADD and Anxiety...but both would be mild...
I really wonder if there isnt something else...underlying...that sets him off in a school environment...and with children of the same age. Something small...that we are all missing.
I have asked to observe him at school...the school wont allow it...they say he is to dependent on adults and my being there would only add to this. Who knows my son better then me? No one! If I observe him...I might be able to catch something they dont. They admit they dont have the staff to provide the direct attention he needs. 23 kids with 1 teacher...she cant see it all.
The school counselor has tried implementing strategies in the classroom...none have been successful. BUT I implement similar strategies at home...and he is great...only difference...I can give my son more one on one direct attention.
What if a child is academically above average? Bored in the classroom? My son states he is bored constantly. Does that make him special ed? He already feels very different from other kids.
He is fine in small groups of children...accept if their is a child who is overly active, loud, disruptive, aggressive....then suddenly my son has issues.
I would love love love to consider a homeschool network like you describe...accept I have twins due in April...and cant fathom how I could homeschool my son...get to small group gatherings...and care for twins.
My son is in kindergarten as well----- a portion of his report card is behaviorally oriented. I think because developement is important in those years . . . to learning. If his behavior is not condusive to learning, how will he learn, right? This will only get worse and worse as he gets older and more is expected out of him. So the evaluation sounds very necessary.
I think I would think about the words the teacher has used. He is not academically where the other kids are. The other portions of my child's report card were on the things kindergartners focas on---- letters, numbers, writing, emerging reading, etc. My son does a little better at home with that stuff because his sensory gets in the way a bit at school. If he were falling behind though, I would make sure I was addressing it. Your child is falling behind, it appears.
He may be struggling more than you know. For example, you say he has "great" fine motor skills but has a little trouble writing. That is a contradiciton. FYI---- my son is super coordinated as well. He is an awesome athlete and always has been. He also does pretty well with fine motor. But fine motor is slightly off. It makes writing a little harder for him. He is on target with his class, but has to put much thought into it. He has sensory and some fine motor issues but they are slight. Even a slight issue can cause a problem and make it a little more frustrating for a child. His hand writing is of no concern to his teacher as it is on target as I said, but it is harder for him than other kids. My son's gross motor skills have always been noticably good as well . . . except that sometimes things are a little hard for him. My son is a very strong swimmer (you should see this kids muscles). He swims all year long and has a new instuctor that is a stickler for correct stroke. He can do freestyle pretty well, but doesn't have the perfect stroke. He really fought her at changing it. I realize this is because it is harder for him to coordinate it. His motor planning is ever so slightly off. My son is only 4 months older than your son. My point being that even a slight issue can make things harder and more frustrating.
As he is a good communicator----- what does he say is happening. Why is having focasing issues, aggressive issues, etc. What are his words for this? And I was also wondering if you have ever volunteered in class to see for yourself what is going on. I would definatly do this.
A teacher can not insert her opinions torwards your son as testing even in kindergarten has some standards to it----- I believe that is law. I'm sure they compare his work to his classmates . . . right? And no child left behind means that each school compares standards of an individual school to what happens in the state and the US. So I'm confused as to why you think behavior is the only reason he is having trouble. It sounds more involved than that and I think legally it has to be. I don't know for sure, of course.
I am NOT being unsympathetic in any way. It is heart breaking when our child is suffering. It sounds like a complicated situation, for sure. And there are bad teachers out there that might let their bias enter into the picture . . . hope that is not the case and everyone wants to get to the bottom of this to help your son.
In our state, we have inclusion. Meaning that unless it is a severe situation, kids stay in mainstream classroom. An IEP must be in place and that will be important for your son. The evaluation helps determine the IEP. Maybe an aide will be suggested that helps your son more one on one. Aides are confidential as well. They are in a classroom without designating which child they are there for. Sometimes it is obvious if a physical issue is present, but otherwise, no one knows for sure and the aide works with everyone with a special eye on their subject. I don't know. My son doesn't require an aide but does work better one on one (as really most kids do)---- so I don't know what the standards of assigning these would be. Certainly if he can't attend to class without great disruption to everyone in the room and himself, then an aide would probalby help!
I can tell you are searching for answers and I obviously don't have any. I wish you the best as you sort this out. Good luck.
Please don't take offense to this question . . .Why do you feel your son is above average academically? I'm just wondering. Remember---- what they do at home is different than school---- and at school is compared to his peers and where they are at academically.
I would NOT be happy if a school said I couldn't observe. I think I would talk to the counselor. I'm not suggesting that you sit and help him through but that you watch and see what is happening.
I guess I have not paid close enough attention to if he has slight problems with motor skills (fine or gross). The only one I can think of is the writing. It takes extreme focus for him to be able to write accurately.
I have asked for them to put an aide in the classroom...I am confident this would help. I was allowed to volunteer once in the classroom...and made an effort to help all the children...not just my son...but my presence there...and my ability to keep him directed...worked...his teacher commented on how well behaved he was. Now they wont allow me to volunteer...like I mentioned before...stating my son is to dependent on adults. The school states they do not have the staff for an aide...ummm...I thought the state was required to provide one if that is what is required for my son to be successful?
I just went and re-read a recent letter his teacher sent... her exact words...my son knows the material but will not do it or say he doesnt know it...to seek attention from an adult...then once he receives the attention... he needs no direction to complete the work. He is a smart boy...
The reality is my son is wrong for his behavior...hands down...but we dont see that behavior at home...only at school or with children who are unruly/loud/aggressive themselves.
My son has tested above grade level in Mathematics...his school knows this...THEY tested him...they also agree that his verbal communication in very advanced. In every meeting they state...Anthony is very bright...BUT...
When I have asked my son about school...this is what he tells me...I am summarizing...
He is bored...he doesnt like doing a lot of work at one time...other kids are loud...he is blamed for stuff he doesnt do...kids make fun of him...he feels if he is nice or mean, they treat him the same way (like he is different)...he gets called stupid/told he should be in Special Ed...he admits that sometimes he is following the lead of others (they yell, he yells)...and sometimes he has no clue why he acted badly, he tells me he cant figure it out, it just happened...and so on...you get the point.
By the way I have talked with the counselor...asst principal....principal...his teacher...and a lady that works with special ed kids...I am very involved...I just feel like it isnt getting us anywhere...no answers...problem is only worse.
I think you probably have to have a diagnosis to qualify for an aide. I know here in our school district, if a child has a diagnosis that is appropriate for an aide - for example, profound hearing loss, dyslexia, etc., an aide can be considered.
WIthout a diagnosis all they have here is a child that appears to be of average intelligence but is disruptive.
Do you have a parent advocate in your school or school district? I sense here that they are getting their ducks in a row to legally remove him from the mainstream classroom. There are steps that have to be taken - a certain number of incidents reported, attempts to correct those behaviors through parent conferences, principal interaction, suspensions, etc. And when on paper they can show they've done all they could, they remove him.
The fact that they are dismissing your involvement although it was successful - I strongly sense they are biding time before they have gotten all their t's crossed and can remove him.
I think you need a parent advocate, and I also strongly think he needs to be evaluated and put into appropriate behavioral or cognitive therapy.
Nothing hurts as bad as when your child is struggling. I wish you well with all your efforts.
My son was in preschool...he did fine there...a bit of inability to focus. He was also in a Montessori School and did well there...no issues at all. He did Pre-K last year and had a never ending list of problems. Some the same as he is currently having and some different.
By the way I completely agree the school is trying to get their ducks in a row to remove him from his classroom or from the school. I just dont understand why they wont let me volunteer a few times a week...again...not to directly help my son...but to offer a presence.
I volunteer in my son's classroom. But here is the situation . . . my son is functioning really really well now. We didn't know how he would do with his sensory issues when the school year began. Therefore, I am the mom that is on the list pretty infrequently vs. the other mom's. They won't let a parent interfere with classroom things . . . and I guess that I get one part of what they are saying. If your son's functioning changes because you are there, they won't allow it (even if it is better . . . because kids can't take their mom's to school indefinately . . .). But to observe a couple of times to see what you think is triggering the aggressive and disruptive outbursts would help.
What is your school's policy on inclusion? I'd research that. Our public system has parent advocates as well. This may be very valuable for you in understanding the process. As in our state, inclusion is the norm unless a child can not be managed. But they have to go through a whole process of an iep before they know that. Is your son half day or whole day kindergarten, by the way?
Yes, sadly it does feel like the school kind of owns them once they enter kindergarten . . . but remember that you are always his parent and the one who loves and cares for him the most.
I do know how difficult it is when your child suffers and struggles. I've had many a good cry over the same myself. I found it hard to believe that MY beautiful and intelligent boy had such difficulty. He brings me so much joy and I love him so much----- I really wanted the world to see him that same way. It hurts a mother's heart when you feel like that isn't the case. So, I want you to know that I DO understand how you feel.
We were so very blessed to have found the right diagnosis that has resulted in my son doing so much better. I know he will have challenging days ahead---- and try to stay prepared for this. But also feel like it is a true miracle that he's come as far as he has.
One thing that helped my son----- and may help yours regardless of what the root issue is----- is motivation. My son at 4 knew he was different. He wants friends and he wants to fit in and he wants to do well. He is very determined about these things and verbalizes it pretty well for a just a couple days past 6 year old. So we have worked on it and strategized torwards it. He is very willing to do things because he has this inner desire. I'm wondering if you've ever talked to your son in this way to see what he would be motivated to do. For example, my son has personal space issues. I never came out and said that bugs people . . . but we talked about giving people room. We used robot arms (stick arms out and get no closer) for our cue about this. He wanted to be a "good friend" ----- so he worked very hard to back up and give space. He's the kid that pushes into you naturally---- so this was a challenge. But HE was motivated to be a "good friend". So he over came it.
Our occupational therapist has told me that an extremely smart child with any delay or issue is at great advantage because they can figure out the best ways to cope and handle a situation as well as remember steps to get through something tough. Your son is smart----- so he will fair better than if he were otherwise.
And yes, our boys do seem to have things in common. I'm a big believer in finding the posatives in a kid and making a BIG deal about them. Sports help my son stay calm and he excels in them----- so we pursue them. And I think that ONE best friend does wonders for a kid's self esteem. May both our boys adjust to the world they are in . . . and be happy!!
Specialmom asked me to take a look at this. I am usually over on the ADHD forum, and didn't really notice this thread. I've read the whole thread through several times - WOW, do I understand where you are coming from. There is nothing worse than not knowing what you are dealing with!
So - some thoughts.
The school really should have let you observe your child. You need to know how he acts. Trouble is - you need to be the "invisible observer", which is very hard to do. For that to happen, you have to show up almost daily - do absolutely nothing- until your child no longer notices you. The trouble with working as an aide is that you are constantly moving around and reminding your child that you are there. It is possible to observe him at recess without him knowing you are around and that would provide you with some important info. How a child reacts on the playground with this peers is very helpful. I would hope that if the school really worked on it they could find a way to let you in the room to watch. But it really is tricky. I don't think the aide routine would work, unless maybe it was doing clerical stuff where you were in and out. Anyway, out side of looking at recess or lunch - no easy answer. That is really too bad, because I really think you need to see how he is acting.
Why is he acting the way he is in school compared to home? OK, I don't normally do this because I want to see the child in action. However, you have included a tremendous amount of information. So best guess is a form of Autism coupled with ADD/ADHD. I have worked with kids that had similar behaviors. The ADD/ADHD will cause him to do things that he doesn't remember doing. The Autism will make any overt behavior by other people very scary/painful to him. This is simplifying things quite a bit, but it is where I would start.
So what do you do? The IEP is very important. The fact that the school is calling for one half way through a child's kindergarten year is unusual. In fact, very unusual. They definitely see something that needs the resources that can be brought together by the IEP. He needs the protection that it can bring. Definitely bring up Autism. I may be wrong, but it needs to be seriously looked at. The people that you have worked with so far are not psychologists, they may never have dealt with some with the conditions your son has. The testing should help this. (thinking positive here). In the IEP, testing should have already been done. You want to ask the psyc if he/she has experience with Autism. Your sons mental ability is not an issue. His ability to function in a public setting is. If they are looking at ADHD you and the teacher should have gotten a questionaire dealing with him. Since you have not mentioned this, I am assuming this has not happened. Not good. However, not unusual since kids normally don't get diagnosed until first grade. But, it would be nice to know because it makes huge differences in how you deal with his education and behavior.
And that is the crux of it all. Autism can be very successfully treated if caught early. The same goes with ADD/ADHD. Its finding out what is going on that is the problem.
That process has certainly started. I think you may want to ask a few more questions of the discovery process. You also might shoot off a quick note here to find out more information about the IEP . - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Parent-IEP-Special-Education-Community/show/624 Definitely google IEP, Autism, ADHD for more info.
In regard to holding him back, its way to early to tell. However, his grade in school is not that big of a deal. At his age, he won't really notice for long. If they really feel that's what is needed go with it. Schools don't like to hold back kids. What is important is that he feels comfortable.
I hope this helps. I have skipped over a lot that all of you have said (believe me I have read it many times) in trying to narrow things down a bit. I will continue to monitor this thread. Please write if you have any questions. Keep us informed.
Thank you thank you thank you. ALL OF YOU! This was my first time reaching out and actually discussing my son with others. I normally just research.
Two years ago...my son displayed "classic" ADHD...I took him to a behavioral doctor...parents, teachers, instructors and friends filled out questionaires. At that point my son was about 3 1/2 and the doctor did feel he had ADHD. Long story short...we researched the crap out of ADHD...implemented ideas/strategies...and with a lot of time (and maturity)...most those "classic" behaviors resolved. I took my son back to the same doctor in August (right before K)...she reevaluated him...and no longer felt the diagnosis was ADHD. She was unsure of what the problem was...told me to get him through a portion of the school year and then everyone can fill out questionaires and reevaluate again. I have chosen not to go back to this behavioral doctor though...because she is quick to issue meds...I am hoping we can avoid meds.
I understand about the aide situation not working because I need to be "invisible"...I will speak with the school to see if I can observe him at recess without him seeing me. Ironically...his first friend at school happened to be an 8 year old boy from a Special Ed class. This is who he is around most of the time during lunch/recess.
I have read about Autism before...it didnt seem to fit him...I know there are a lot of form of Autism...is there one that catches your attention regarding my son? Or could you explain what makes you think my son has Autism. Also, what makes you think ADHD? He is not overly hyperactive...he is active...and used to be "driven by a motor" when he was young...but much more controlled now. Maybe if you can explain what you see...I can understand and read about it...and relay my information to the school or the psychologist who will evaluate him.
By the way I believe the school is calling for an IEP because of the severity of some of the behaviors my son has displayed. Three times since the start of school he has had to be physically restrained by staff. All three incidents seemed to have started from the beginning of the day. Something happened on the bus...or at line up...and then his day just progressively got worse and worse...then it would result in a horrible outburst...such as...flipping out in music (running around, lifting up instruments, acting like it was all a game, calling names)...took a plastic knife from the cafeteria (was showing it to others, one blamed him for saying he would hurt them, teacher reacted, my son felt attacked, he kicked the teacher)...and the last one was he kicked another student (then when confronted, ran from the teacher, through a fit). When asked about all three incidents...he really had no answer to why things got so bad...but once he calmed down and we talked with him at home...we would get little hints to why...such as like I mentioned...being teased on the bus...falsely accused of bad intentions...ect.
These behaviors blow my mind...because I have never ever ever seen him that bad...ever....even years ago at his worst.
I will say he is definitely a child who can not keep his hands to himself...he tends to be very touchy feely...doesnt understand others space...but not in a violent way.
Also, the school has tried implementing ideas in the classroom...example...he works for 10 mins...he gets 5 mins of doing something he enjoys...then he has a chart that is based on half hour intervals...if he behaves during that half hour...he earns a smiley face...at the end of the day he can earn a special surprise...like getting to drink some sprite (he loves sprite, we dont drink soda at home)...then if he has a certain amount of good days...he gets to have a star on the principals wall...and after a certain amount of stars the principal has a surprise for him...like a small toy. They also tried putting him around other calm focused children...that didnt work...they gave him his own desk...didnt work...at this point they have him in his own desk with his own spot on the carpet separate from the other kids. This concerns them..he is isolated from the other kids. At this point...I think they feel the ideas they have tried...are failing.
Lastly, like I have mentioned...he refuses to do work independently and states he doesnt know the work...but once an adult gives him one on one attention...he knows the work with no problems.
I read up again about Autism...and out of the 20 or so symptoms I see consistently listed...only two represent my son. The fact that he often takes things very literally...not seeing the humor or joke. And inability to maintain groups of friends.
I think something you'll have to do when assessing your son is look at him as two seperate beings . . . what he is like at home vs school. When my son was first evaluated through school (he was assessed three times---- twice through school and once privately)--- his teachers fill out questionaires. They looked completely different than mine. I am wondering if you may never get a perfect diagnosis but have to treat as if it were. For example, I had thought about aspergers with your son . . . which he may or may not have. But even if he does not have it per a perfect diagnosis, perhaps the strategies that work for it would work for your son. Sandman has worked in schools for decades and has lots of experience . . . he usually hits the mark.
I will message you with my info----- we do a "stress thermometer" which helps my son identify when something is going wrong and he is escalating torwards a meltdown. We work on it With him now but the goal is for him to understand the emotions changing within himself and being able to take the steps to calm himself in an appropriate way.
I will say this . . . It does sound like your school is making great efforts with your boy even without an IEP. This is awesome as it is a school system compassionate torwards their kids (from the sounds of it). I hope they hit on something that does finally work.
I was just curious about any life changes your son may have had. Is Dad in the picture? I know you are expecting twins (which IS a big change for a kid)---- but didn't know about dad.
At my son's school when you volunteer in the kinder classroom----- you do 80 % clerical in a corner, then you work on an activity in which each kid comes to you one on one to do something and you moniter recess. The interaction is kept pretty minimal. Could you do some clerical on a regular basis so you are there without really being "there"?
Not sure what the answer is, but hopefully something will eventually help.
ADD, anxiety and sensory integration disorder make more sense. The way you speak of your son...the things you are doing with him...they sound like things that would work with my son. The more I hear you speak of your son...the more he reminds me of my son.
I value Sandman's opinion...this is why I am asking him for more details...to better understand.
Your right...it is hard to see my son from the point of view of the school...I try...but because I dont see the extreme behaviors...I can not relate.
My son does have his Father in his life. He is with me four days and his Father three. This is how it has been for years. His Father is working just as hard with my son...but seems to be in more denial then me. He accepts the concerns but keeps saying he will grow out of it with maturity we need to keep working harder with him.
My twins are with my current relationship. My son is thrilled to be a big brother...he has wanted a sibling for years. He talks positively about the twins all the time. Telling everyone about them. I will say...in all truth and fairness...that my current relationship is not very healthy. We were suppose to be married in Septemeber (when we conceived) but God had other plans. Since then...it has gone down hill. I try not to let my son see or hear anything negative...but he is smart...I am sure he senses things are different. And no...we do not yell/argue in front of my son...well I dont yell at all...not at anyone...or curse...or hit...ever. If details are needed about my current relationship I can provide them...the biggest issue in my current relationship is a difference in how to raise children (tone of voice, spanking, ect).
However I dont feel my current relationship is what is causing the issues since my son has had problems before my current relationship.
BUT....sorry one more thing...the man I am with handles things very different then my son's Father and I. The man I am with is more likely to yell...act harshly...or quickly punish...
I on the other hand use a firm voice but there is always that undertone of love...I ask my son to explain what he has done...put him in timeout...then have him apologize and again explain what he has done wrong...we talk about why it was wrong...
Well, the psychologist in me thinks that some of this plays at least a small role in the issues. Life is life, but to a child------ things can be hard. Anxiety that you speak of could be from some of the family life. While it is wonderful his dad is in his life----- really it is and, of course, he has you----- it is still hard for a young boy to go back and forth between homes. I'd try to keep everything as consistent as possible to provide that feeling of stability.
And the issues with your current relationship will cause an internal tension. Why is your current man disciplining your boy? As a therapist---- I always advocated that the current boyfriend/step dad or whatever should take a back seat to the mother. If she asks him to help and both are on the exact same page----then so be it. But if there is a disagreement------ mom wins. And your approach IS better---- especially for a boy showing aggression. Yelling and hitting (spanking) are what he is getting in trouble for at school . . . hard to ask a child to control himself if the grown ups can't.
So, this is just food for thought. While I don't think it is causing the issues at school, it certainly isn't helping. He needs to be treated calmly, routinely, etc. And one last thing----- anxiety in your mother brining someone into your life that seems hostile torwards you is real. Make sure that hasn't happened. Okay? Not beating up on you---- this is the stuff that happens in real life. But you have to look at it through his eyes too. Whatever happens with your current relationship----- and now you have twins on the way too----- you will have to get this sorted out. If you stay together, maybe some counseling would help or at least, some proacive discussions about working as a team. And "hands off" your boy.
As far as sensory, you could always have your child evaluated/assessed by an occupational therapist that specializes in sensory. I just want you to know that I take a variety of strategies from different disorders and delays and apply them. I read about autism and add/adhd and strategies they use for those children as some of it may help with mine. That is what I meant by even if you don't get a definitive diagnosis---- I would try things they do with these types of kids to see if anything does actually help. Even ODD (oppositional defiant disorder)--- I read about it to gain any little insight that I might be able to apply. I have LOTS of sensory ideas to offer you . . . for sure. It is what I do most of the day . . .
What I think Sandman can really help you with is that he has seen thousands of kids in the school enviroment----- and has the knowledge of what helped them and what didn't. He's seen every kind of IEP there is and has knowledge of what schools are doing to help our kids. I value his opinion on all things school related and he always has a kid's best interest at heart. So, do keep him in the loop of what is going on with your son----- he'll have insight for you. And of course, me too as I am here to offer you support along the way.
ANS, I'm kind of surprised you didn't mention this family dynamic in your description of your son, first thing. This bad relationship he has with your boyfriend, and you having new babies (although he expresses feelings of joy, kind children often refuse to allow themselves to express jealousy, and instead, overdo the happy thing) could be almost his entire problem, literally. The way you describe your son going from a well adjusted preschooler, who succeeded in Montessori school to this child who is doing very poorly now - this seems to very clearly point to a change in his life, not an underlying personality problem within him. He is reacting fairly normally for a child who lives with a man who doesn't treat him well, he goes back and forth between two homes, and now his mother is carrying two babies that from your posts will occupy the time you could have spent home schooling him.
I'm not trying to be ugly, just realistic. I don't think you are giving enough weight to this boy's losses and chaos in his life when you consider what is causing him to fail K.
Ahhh, the trouble with trying to diagnose online is that you never have quite enough facts. Your final comments do add a bit more to the puzzle. Probably not quite as much as RockRose suggests, but she brings up some relevant points.
First things first. I also thought ADD/sensory integration disorder made the most sense. But I felt that sensory would also be noticeable as much at home as school
(SpecialMom could correct me on this). If the autistic child is comfortable with his surroundings (as at home), the behaviors are not as pronounced. So thats why I went the Autism route. There are many forms or behaviors linked with Autism. Being uncomfortable around people and acting out have been fairly common amongst the kids I have worked with in school. Having said that a lot of his behaviors are also very common to ADHD/ADD.
You said, "They also tried putting him around other calm focused children...that didnt work...they gave him his own desk...didnt work...at this point they have him in his own desk with his own spot on the carpet separate from the other kids." Really important question here is WHY didn't it work. Did he bother the other kids or did he shut down completely and pull withing himself? Did he become so unfocused/distracted he couldn't work or become agitated and could not work? One action is typical of ADHD and one more so of Autistic behaviors. How he relates with his peers is so important. I think I focused a bit too much on when you said, "He is fine in small groups of children...accept if their is a child who is overly active, loud, disruptive, aggressive....then suddenly my son has issues." I should have asked you HOW he reacted. So its still hard to exactly put a finger on the cause. This I do know.
I think your school is doing a good job in trying to accommodate him. The methods they are trying are all good ones and also time consuming for them. I really like how the Principal is also involved. I think that they are going above and beyond what many schools might try. I feel for him being separated. Hopefully, this can be something where he is moved back and forth as the condition warrants. If the reasons why are explained to him in a loving matter - " it's not his fault, just need some seperation, for a while till he calms down, etc." it can work. So really try and work with the school. It will take some trial and error.
If he does have ADHD (and I am going more and more this route), your significant other needs to understand how to work with kids like this. Its a whole different discipline system. The usual way not only will not work, it will make things even worse.
RockRose raises some good concerns. But kids who are under a lot of stress at home will many times see school as the refuge. Sure they may act out, but not all the time. So I think that while the home adds stress, there is more going on.
Keep in touch. I think I missed some points I wanted to add, but gotta run. Also need to go back and reread everything again. Good Luck
I honestly did not think his home life was that big of a deal. He has ALWAYS gone between homes...this is nothing new. He does tend to need one day to transition from one home to another. But his Father and I are on the same page...we talk constantly.
My son displayed the behavior problems prior to my current relationship. As I mentioned...he had a ton of problems in Pre-K...before my relationship was serious. However, I did express that my son has always wanted his Father and I together...and in the past his Father and I did not get along. Ideally, if life was perfect...my son's Father and I would have been able to stay together...but that environment probably would have been worse...lol...his Father and I definitely know how to get on each others nerves after 12 years...rarely see eye to eye. As for my current relationship...I have tried time and time and time again to explain that I do not feel comfortable with his way of discipline...in the nicest way I suggest better forms of discipline...explain how his way of handling things comes off to my son...and more then that...if we cant be on the same page I dont want him disciplining my son at all. I dont think he understands my son is not just any child...he is all about the "old fashioned" way of discipline...beat the crap out of your child and put fear in them. I feel disciplining with aggression only teaches aggression. And since my son is easily influenced...he picks up on everything. The relationship between the two of them started off great...but over the last six months has progressively gotten worse. They rarely spend time together and what little time that is spent together tends to be negative. I guess the man I am with lacks the patience and understanding to deal with my son. But how can you expect respect from a child when you dont show it. He feels my son should just show him respect...on demand...that is that...but respect is earned both ways. Children respond when they know they are loved, respected, safe and cared for. Anyways...sorry I am going off on a tangent here...but YES RockRose I am very aware of how this might bother my son...and wish I could change it. However, I do not think it is the root cause of his issues.
As for the twins...I am sure I will face some jealousy...most parents do...and I try very hard to prepare him for their arrival and we talk about how he will get to help. I tell him about special jobs he can do (getting diapers, helping feed, rocking them, playing with them).He loves helping and feeling important.
SandMan my son's reaction to being isolated is one of frustration I think. Knowing he is different. He does not tend to ever retract to himself...instead I think he seeks attention...by misbehaving. When around children who are active/loud/disruptive...he reacts with the same behavior...he will become more loud and aggressive...and if left to continue will erupt with a bad behavior (hitting, bad words).
My son thrives on positive reinforcement...being lifted up...he likes being the leader...the helper...given special activities that are helpful. He loves to clean the house with me...because he feels like he is this great helper. He likes to go through his stuff and organize and get his room clean...he likes tasks like that. He likes helping me cook...having special tasks he is responsible for...and when he does them...he feels very proud of himself...and he is a happy content child. BUT if he is left to just entertain himself...he is bound to get into plenty of trouble...he looses focus...displays more ADHD behaviors...his ability to listens decreases...and so on. Basically, he has to be engaged at ALL times...and I think at school this is not happening. One teacher...23 students...he doesnt have these special tasks to keep him engaged...and giving him 10 worksheets to do...yah...that doesnt cut it...he gets bored. Not the type of being engaged he seeks.
We talked with the school counselor today (we really like her) and she said that academically our son is doing just fine...ahead in some areas....this would not be the reason he fails Kindergarten. She said that he is extremely detailed and descriptive...she rarely meets children of his age that pay such close attention to details. That he is very fascinating. For instance, right now my son is into skyscrapers...and he loves the Borj Dubai (the tallest skyscraper)...he knows everything about it...and will tell everyone in great detail with passion and excitement about the Borj Dubai.
On a happy note my son has had an excellent week so far...and the counselor was so excited about this. :)
RockRose...it is not my boyfriend...like I mentioned we were suppose to marry in September...we are still engaged...but I cant bring myself to say fiance right now...considering how poor the relationship is.
Specialmom...I have suggested counseling...but he doesnt take it seriously.
The relationship has got to the point where I am almost starting to feel he emotionally/verbally abuses me. But I keep chalking it up to hormones...
I really hope that I am not underplaying the severity of the situation...and in reality not seeing how bad it is...which could be affecting my son. I would give up anything...to make sure my children are successful. No man..no amount of money..possessions...they mean nothing...my children being happy...all I care about.
The other thing...is that my "fiance" constantly complains my son is spoiled...that is why he behaves the way he does...but one of the women at the school (who works with the ED kids) stated that "spoiled" has nothing to do with my son's problems. My son's Father and I are very firm...we have timeout...but we discipline with compassion and love...not like our son is a wild animal. Does that make sense? It is not spoiled...its just we choose not to spank. We also pick and choose our battles...some minor things just are not worth making a big deal about it...sometimes ignoring it works perfect.
YAY...just wanted to share...over the winter break my son's Father and I cracked down like we have never cracked down before. Implementing some new techniques.
HOORAY...my son's teacher just called...she said he is having an EXCELLENT week...he is a totally different child...she said until this last week she never realizes just how intelligent he was. She said in mathematics and critical thinking he is at a 6 or 7 yr old level. And since working with a different teacher a few times a week in a small group...separate from the class...they have realized that he is the highest in that group when it comes to reading/writing. She was so happy...the teacher...just going on and on...about how great he is. How smart he is. How she never saw it before. But she did mention that he doesnt show how smart he is when in a large group.
WOW, that's so great, ANSO4. I hope they are able to offer him more small group interactions rather than very large class teaching situations. It sounds like he really does well in a quieter environment.
Yeah----- happy dance!!! Like I said---we can all celebrate when others see how great our kids are!! I hope this is a trend to come.
I am concerned about your boyfriend . . . twins or not, he sounds like he will be a difficult man to live with. And I would be livid if someone thought they were going to discipline my child in a way I didn't approve of. So often, a step parent does not love the kids from a previous relationship and there is friction. I would nip that in the bud before I walked down the aisle with him.
I agree with you---- while these issues might make him more anxious and stressed out----- there is an underlying problem that results in his behavior.Getting to the root is the answer.
I don't like the isolation too much . . . for what you say. It makes him feel different. If it works, okay. But one of the things I've stressed is that my child needs to feel normal even though he is different. He needs movement breaks----- the whole class is given them so he isn't singled out. On the one bad day he had, I contacted the teacher and talked about how my son will from then on come to her to tell her his engine is too high (when he is hyperish) and that he needs to do something to slow it down. She, the very next day, talked to the whole class about their engines and things to slow them down. We've had such luck with teachers----- but self esteem means fitting in. So, hopefully that will be what eventually happens with your boy.
He sounds so smart and interesting---- and I am so glad he's had a good week!!
I am beyond excited about my son having his first ever excellent week. His teacher was beaming with excitement about my son. It was like she suddenly saw this brilliant child that amazed her.
However, repeating this great behavior is our goal. So I will be speaking with his Father to discuss exactly what we did that worked. One thing we have done is more homework...more reading...more "thinking" games/activities. We also have continually reminded him that it is O.K. to have the wrong answer...we learn from wrong answers. We had noticed (and the teacher had noticed) that he would mouth the right answer (without saying it aloud) and then hesitate...over think...and end up giving some random answer...when we all watched him mouth the right answer in the first place. It was as if he was overly concerned about failing. Lacking the confidence. We also have been using a lot of positive reinforcement...I mean like almost overdoing it...lol...but this works for my son.
Anyways, I know we have a long road ahead of us...but I feel like this week of excellent behavior...sparked some serious interest...and now the teacher and counselor are in awe of my son.
My son's Father was thinking of an idea to offer to the teacher for her class...to help our son. What are all of your thoughts....
He feels that my son thrives on being a helper/leader...being given special tasks that make him feel important. He wants to see if the teacher can use my son as a helper daily (let him pass out papers, be a line leader, erase the board, pick up supplies, take the lunches to the lunch room)...to keep him engaged and feeling confident. I like the idea...only wont the other children feel left out?
In regards to my son being taken into a small group three times a week...I have no problem with this...as long as when he is in the classroom they put him back into the mix of things (back at a table w/ other kids, spot on the rug next to kids).
Everyone agrees that my son lacks confidence in a group setting...I still wonder if some of it is anxiety...I guess time will tell.
Specialmom...do you have any other tips for school? I love the engine is too high so it is time for a movement break. No doubt in my mind this would help my son. I plan to mention this at school.
Sometimes separating my son from the chaos of a classroom does work...my son's Father also thought that maybe giving my son a quiet place to go to...and giving him something to redirect his attention (book on skyscrapers for example)...just separating him wont solve the problem...you have to get him redirected and focused...like switching the brains gears. Thoughts on this?
It is definately cause for celebration when a good week has been had!! And that your son has given a taste of his lovely self is like vindication, isn't it?
As far as your husbands idea . . . my son is the same way. Loves to help and feel important. But I do think that it has to be in rotation with the other kids. Other kids will notice (my sons both always pay attention to that) and want their turn. But a rotation where it happens frequently would be good. And I think this teacher sounds in tune with wanting him to be successful, so she will look for opportunities as well. My son does well with a "job". Carrying something semi heavy is calming for him. And must be for other kids---- because they have a bag of books that a kid will be given the job of carrying it either across the room or down to the office. Erasing chalkboards or dry erase boards is excellent "heavy work". Helping to move chairs is good.
It is also helpful in a classroom to have a "peace spot". This is a place that is set aside and designated as where someone who is upset should go. Your son should be able to go there whenever he feels he is getting upset. It can be a chair with books, bean bag chair with head phones to a cassette player, a pop tent, etc.
I'm guessing your son's fear of saying the wrong answer is part of the self esteem he has lost. Perfectionism is a self esteem and control issue usually. We worked on this at ot as our ot says it can become a big issue. So encouraging him to say his answer and it is okay if he is wrong is the right thing to do.
I know when I was working with my child in the begining----- it was all about doing whatever we could to just get through the day without him having the "bad day". Now that we are beyond that to a certain extent . . . it is about our son not requiring extra thing throughout the day to be successful. He works pretty independently (he's in a class with 24 kids and only one teacher/no aide----- ) but during periods where he needs her help----- he can monopolize his teacher's time. Our goal is to get him to not need her so much. To not need extra things to get through his day. So that is something to be mindful of----- that at some time when you are past the crisis management point, you will want him to be able to manage himself. You have a very willing school which is awesome but the ultimate goal is for him to function as close to how other kids do as possible. At least that has been my goal.
So, keep doing all the things you are doing. One step at a time. When is your IEP meeting?
Interesting article from the LA Times, Jan 15, 2008 - more food for thought. The part on the anxiety disorder is what caught my eye.
"Kaman recalls frustrations of childhood
Gus Ruelas / Associated Press
"I'm using my resources as much as I can to try and help people," Clippers center Chris Kaman said of dealing with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. "I was trying to see if it worked first. I'm on a platform being in the NBA where I can help people."
The Clippers' center started taking medication at 21/2 years old for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. He found out in July the diagnosis was wrong. 'I can't take back time. I wish I could,' h
By Jonathan Abrams, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 15, 2008
Pamela Kaman can recount all the times she struggled with her son, Clippers center Chris Kaman, to get him to take his medication while he was growing up.
It was a hassle. Chris Kaman was an intelligent, but rambunctious, youth.
"There was constant uproar with him," Pamela Kaman said. "You couldn't do normal things. You couldn't go to the movies as a family. It would always turn into a big thing."
Chris Kaman was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder at 2 1/2 and began taking Ritalin and Adderall soon after and through high school.
Kaman, who had trouble remembering plays and concentrating on the court in college and in the pros, disclosed Sunday that he was misdiagnosed.
Kaman actually had an anxiety disorder that caused him to over-analyze situations and scenarios.
"Growing up, I had to take the medication my whole life," said Kaman, who said he grew so frustrated taking the medication that he would come home from school and cry.
"I can't take back time. I wish I could. But I can't. It really bothered me to take the medication every day. I felt I had to take the medication to make me feel like a regular person. It was kind of backward."
His misdiagnosis was discovered in July by Hope139, a 5-year old organization based in Grandville, Mich., that studies the brain. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, between 3% and 5% of children have ADHD, with symptoms that include hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
According to Hope139's research of about 40,000 patients, up to 15% of those on medicine for hyperactivity do not have the affliction.
The medication Kaman took had the opposite effect on him, said Dr. Tim Royer, the organization's chief executive.
Kaman's brain was already working in overdrive, and the medication provided an added stimulus. The dosage was increased to the point that Kaman's mind became overloaded and he became less animated. "He stopped being a behavioral problem, but he got too much medicine and it shut him down," Royer said.
Kaman stopped taking medication once he entered college at Central Michigan because he no longer had to sit in one place for more than a couple of hours.
But his concentration in college, and once he signed with the Clippers, was still lacking. He could focus on the man he was guarding but not on weak-side defense, or as Royer put it, "He could see the tree in front of him, but not the forest."
Said Kaman: "I would come out of a huddle that [Coach] Mike [Dunleavy] just drew [of] two plays and I would literally forget both those plays in a matter of 10 seconds or less."
After discovering the misdiagnosis, Kaman started working with Royer on a system called "neurofeedback," a method of reading brain wave activity to reinforce calm thoughts.
Kaman sits in front of a computer and if his brain waves are at a desired level, the screen will show it. If not, Kaman attempts to calm his thought process. During the off-season, he also worked with a wireless device that allowed him to measure his brain waves while on the court.
"It's a very fast-paced game, and for me to be able to slow it down in my head, it really has been a lot easier and a lot less stressful in the games," Kaman said.
His mind still works fast, the words spilling so quickly out of Kaman's mouth that reporters afterward will argue where one sentence ends and the next begins. His improvement on the court, however, has been drastic, with Kaman showing an uptick in all aspects of his game. It is a combination of getting more touches to make up for the absence of an injured Elton Brand, better conditioning and his mental training.
"He's a pretty bright guy," Dunleavy said. "When you go through your play sets and that becomes tedious, that's when you notice a difference in him drifting or not drifting. That's when you can tell at certain things he is much better. He doesn't make a lot of mental mistakes."
I am still wondering for some ideas about how to work with my son at home. Like keeping him focused and making sure his engine doesn't get to high. Also...keeping his hands to himself and respecting space.
Any ideas about pets and keeping his hands to himself. Number one complaint at home...my son is always touching, hugging, holding, chasing after, ect the dog and cat. If it was up to me I would get rid of the pets...they are such a trigger for my son to get riled up...but they are not my pets.
My "fiance" has a tendency to fall into the negative trap. With kids like my son you can find yourself saying..no, stop, quit, don't do that...well that is all my "fiance" ever seems to say to my son. Its like my son can't do anything right. Years ago I made the choice to try and not constantly be saying those negative words. Instead I redirect...example...Anthony running in the house isn't permitted...someone can get hurt...how about you play with your legos. I have tried time and time again to get my "fiance" to do this...but he won't be bothered with it. Do you think his constant negative words towards my son cause a problem?
Also, my "fiance" has this need to be the "man". He expects everyone and everything to respect him...no questions asked. In the process of being "the man" he tends to treat those around him (myself and my son) like we are below him. I often say I feel like a knocked up maid and nothing more. My son witnesses this behavior by my "fiance"...could it be affectng him? Like he feels the need to be "the man" and demand the attention? To be fair...my son's Father also is a pretty dominant male...could this explain any of my son's behaviors?
Lastly, I forgot to mention...my son's Father tested at a Genius level as a child...very intelligent man...he has admitted he thinks he has mild ADD...but it never has affected him...ever. He just coped with it I guess. On my side...my Brother also tested at Genius level as a child...my Brother has severe ADD maybe ADHD...not sure. So all signs would point to my son being gifted with ADD...but could he not be following in family footsteps and have the sensory integration disorder?
Hi---- Here are some things to do in the off school time----- We, first of all, each and every day------ rain, snow, cold----- but most certainly in sunshine---- get lots of physical activity in outside the home. We are very active. We go to parks (indoors or outdoors), gyms, pools, cimbing places, etc. Our musuem center has a jungle room that is all climbing and playground stuff----- we'll go there and play on that for a couple of hours. The idea is for him to run, jump, climb, skip, crawl, roll, swing, etc. as much as possible. We swim about 3 to 4 times a week (I should be much skinnier at this point!! lol), do things like karate, tumbling, indoor soccer (cold where I am at, outdoor is in the spring and fall), etc. We hike preferably a moderate level trail. We jump on trampolines. We My kid loves his scooter---- we go to a skateboard park. We ride bikes. I find a hill and he rolls down and then runs back up. Monkey bars are really great. We do this every day and on the weekends we have some really long sessions. His little brother goes with us and participates as well.
At home, I do lots of stuff that will sound wacky. But it helps. I most certainly do some of it before school. Animal walks are really good. Crab is perfect, bear is good, do the hopping frog, kangeroo, snake etc. Have him carry in groceries for you. Have him push a laundry basket with some things in it across the floor. Have him do a game we call push over---- go up to a wall and put both hads out and try to "push over" the wall. Make a huge pile of pillows (use couch pillows and have him drag them around too, extra "work" for him) and have him crawl through them or hide things in it and have him find it. Have him "crash" into it. put a mattress on the floor and have him jump on it. If you have wood floors, they run across them and slide on their knees. Crawl on all fours and push something. Make an obstacle course. Etc. Play tug of war. Take an exercise ball and put it between you and have you both push against it torward one another (you are pregnant--- so this is a good one with his dad).
You get the idea. It is all pretty physical. And yes, it is riled up kind of behavior in the home. But it has an affect afterwards that is very calming to my boy. He becomes very focased. You weren't given a kid that can sit and be nice and quiet at home----- he needs some activity.
Hands to self. Well, I keep things really simple. That is all I say---- hands to self. If I give my child enough appropriate ways to get the needs of his nervous system met, he is more apt to listen to that. The very hands on physical stuff we do meets the needs. He loves to pet a dog though. I'm wondering what is wrong with that? Frankly, your fiance sounds incredibly uptight. I must say that his personality and mine would NOT mix well. I'm an equal partner to my husband and expect to be treated that way. I feel bad for you as I think you have grave reservations about this man, and I think they are completely valid. If you weren't carrying twins . . . I would tell you to consider leaving him. Does he have an affect on your son---- well sure. Your son is also learning how a man can treat a woman. Men can be dominant without being 'lords of their castle', disrespectful, inflexible and grumpy about it. Just my opinion, but I would definately be worried. This will possibly get worse when the new kids (his) arrive. Your son will really fall down the list in his eyes. As the years go on, there may be a growing resentment there that will be very difficult in your home. I am not sure what to tell you to do----- but yes, this will all have an affect on your child emotionally. I don't think it would all together create the situations going on at school with your boy----- but it could be contributing and that will get worse. He could end up an angry young man. So, to recap---- I don't think that he is imitating your husband now in school---- but has learned aggression from him and it may be contributing to his overall anxiety.
So, try to talk to him about the approriate way to handle an animal. Get some books at the library. Make some rules and use reminders with him.
You can blow bubbles, blow a cotton ball across the table for a game, and give him a thick piece of chewing gum to chew on before school.
I want to tell you that one thing sounds very aspergers to me about your son. There is something in aspergers called "the little professor" way of speaking. They pick a topic (like skyscrapers) and get really into it and learn eveything they can about it and then that becomes a preferred topic of conversation. Aspergers kids are often smart with limited social skills. And they prefer adults to kids. They have these topics they love but they will change for time to time. You describe your son in this way. Something to think about. Look up the "little professor" for aspergers.
Lots of good ideas by specialmom. You might want to pick up Sandra Rief’s "How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD". Its probably one of the best, most practical and up-to-date books out there.
I would imagine that sometime during the IEP process, some type of formalized testing will be done for ADHD. Since you (and the school) needs a (hopefully) definitive cause of his actions so that the correct processes can be started to help him, this testing is very important. When it is completed, and the results are given, I would make sure that your fiance is involved. Mostly because the doctor should (and, if not, ask) information on how to work with/help your son. I am hoping that if your fiance hears from a medical professional how to work with kids with your sons problems, that his views of discipline will change. What your fiance believes in for discipline is not that unusual. I have worked with lots of parents who had to completely turn their discipline practices around. In fact, at my age (65), I was brought up by "spare the rod, spoil the child" type of discipline. My first teaching years, I used a similar approach until I realized that it was not working with certain kids. That was when I began to get involved with working with special needs kids, and realized the need to radically change my discipline approach. In short the approach needs to match the child. If he can be convinced of this - well, life could be a little simpler for all of you. Anyway, good luck! Let us know if you have any IEP questions.
Sandman---- as always, such good advice. Your approach to his future step father is practical and keeps all emotion out of it.
One last thing----- I did a social skills camp with another mother this past summer was actually a special education in our school system. I was talking to her about how my son had sensory and NOT add/adhd and they are different and I was afraid that they would lump sensory under add/adhd and what would that mean. She told me that sensory is kind of newer and that my goal would be to just fit it under an umbrella no matter where it fits as the point is to get services. If his IEP heading says add/adhd so that my son gets to visit the sensory room----- then I shouldn't be as concerned about the heading. I don't know what Sandman thinks of that and I haven't been through an IEP process yet. But services and accomodations are what you are after to help your son better cope in the classroom enviroment. Again, I'm impressed with all the school is doing even without an IEP.
I'll also check out the above mentioned book as I always look for something new to add to the mix! As for me, let me know if you would like any other ideas . . .
I am definitely going to read about the "little professor" thing and love your ideas for the household. My son and I are very active...lol...that's how I stay so tiny...keeping up with him. But I run out of ideas when its only 17 degrees outside.
Both of you make great points about the school...its hard to have my son diagnosed...I fear it will follow him all through school...but he does need the help. And I pray they offer help to the family...so my "fiance" can better understand my son. Sandman....your right...my "fiance's" way of disciplining is common...my Grandma swears by it...but it doesn't work for all children and isn't always right.
Being in "special ed", is not the stigma it once was. A lot of parents actually try to get their kids in for the extra testing time and even because it can make college admission easier. At any rate it can be dropped at any time by the parent. Usually, if a child starts showing improvement (and they usually have to reach a certain level of maturity - say about 4th grade), we simply put them on a "watch" basis, so that if they start to slide (Algebra, can do that to a lot of kids), they can still get the extra help they need.
There is a tremendous amount that can be done without medication (as the book I recommended will point out and show how), but sometimes the medication is needed till the child learns to compensate for themselves. Really good article on the Olympic swimming champion, Michael Phelps which points this out. It is really worth reading. Here is the link.
Copy and paste the whole link into your browser. enjoy it!
I think you may be right about your son possibly being gifted and too bored in school. I have the same problem with my son. I noticed around the time he was 18 months (after the birth of his brother) that he was a little behind..as far as communication, above average with everything else. He never displayed any type of angry behavior, but he was very frustrated because he wasnt sure how to communicate to people. Although, he was very smart I decided to have him tested by the county school board when he was 4. (Before that time his pediatrician kept telling me repeatedly..."give it 6 months and he will be fine. He was convinved the birth of his brother had something to do with the delay.) SO after haveing him tested, I was told that he had a communication delay that would probably affect him until his high-school years, along with a lot of other scary stuff, such as this problem causing suicidal thoughts in children, etc. So I informed his pre-k after getting all the paperwork from the county and they put him on an IEP. I was told that it didnt matter what the size of the school is, it is your parental right and the responsibility of the school board to provide help for your child. I didnt want my son in special-ed either and as a matter of fact I was told by the evaluators who tested my son, that he should NOT be pulled out of the classroom to go to special-ed classes,especially since it could cause him to get behind in the areas where he was above grade level. So what they did was bring the special-ed teacher to him in class. He is in 2nd grade now, has been on the IEP and working with the special-ed teachers since pre-k and he has finally tested out of the qualifications needed for the IEP. He is doing wonderfully and we beat the odds of having this be a problem until highschool.
So with all that said, maybe somewhere along the line, your son is just frustrated, just like mine was and you might want to even check into the communication delay. There are several types, and may not be so noticeable to adults. But keep on the school, if they dont help you, go to the county and so on. It is your and your sons right to get the help needed from the school board. But like I said, he just sounds frustrated, about what is the question?!
I have my first meeting today...not IEP...just counselor today...but tomorrow is the IEP.
Anyways, wanted to share something with you all. To give an example of what happens with my son. This just happened yesterday. Sandman and Specialmom what are your thoughts on this?
Yesterday, I decided to attend a church that I have occasionally attended but not the church my son is "used" to. He wanted to attend the church we normally go to but I explained we were going to the other church. He has been to the other church...just not as often.
So I check him into the class...he seems ok...starts playing...but my gut new it wouldnt last. Ofcourse...it didnt. I got paged. Apparently, my son did not want to wear his name tag...he took it off and ripped it up...so they put another one...he then took it off and ripped it up...when the teachers tried to handle the situation my son ran from them. So...I ask my son...why dont you want to wear the name tag...he tells me because they dont know him and he doesnt know them...and he doesnt want them knowing/saying his name. I probed further...so you were uncomfortable I asked...he said yes...I dont like it in that classroom...they dont know me...I dont want them calling my name or knowing my name. I said but at the other church they know your name and you wear your name tag...he said yes because they know me and I know them.
This is a classic example of what happens...he gets uncomfortable...behaves badly (ripping up the name tag and running from the teachers)...instead of communicating.
I ofcourse explained to him that his choice of handling the situation was not a good one...and explained better ways of handling a situation where he feels uncomfortable or awkward or shy.
By the way...by the time I got to him...he was hysterically crying...curled into a ball away from everyone...he was upset about two things...that he really didnt know them or want them to know him and because he knew he had behaved in a way that wouldnt make me happy.
Oh, I am sorry. The simple things become so complex. I think your son has "fight or flight" responses. My son does as well. My son has problems with modulation/regulation of moods due to sensory. Something that wouldn't upset someone else will upset my son---- he over reacts and then he can't calm down. He has immature skills for soothing and calming himself. There is a fight (tearing up the name tag, becoming angry) and flight (running from the teachers). It is a base level response to being uncomfortable. Perhaps his anxiety plays a hand as well and then the inability to calm himself makes it all escalate.
I would consider a few things for him. First, the how does your engine run program will be very helpful. He needs to understand what he himself is doing---- in kid terms. And he then needs to have a way of expressing it. So help him with the words on both ends. Because he does have trouble with regulation (assuming here)--- I would strategize ahead of time. Now you know. He is uncomfortable when he thinks people don't know him. Talk ahead of time about that and how he can handle it. Talk to the teacher before leaving him explaining that he is uncomfortable. Is there anyone he can be paired up with. . . . and truthfully, although the name tag is needed in the class. I think if I saw a child was having an issue with it---- I'd say to myself, okay. I can remember his name, move on. Giving him a choice at that point would have been better than forcing the new name tag to an already agitated child. Anyway, I would set up ahead of time with HIM---- what he can do if he gets upset. If you are feeling bad son, say this to your teacher. Then have some things mapped out-- a place to go to to calm down that he knows is okay. A watch to tell him how much time he is there. ETc. And if he is more comfortable at the other church---- just go there. Kids like mine like routine routine routine. Small changes can spell disaster.
The physical activity that we do with my son keeps him better regulated emotionally. He is less apt to become agitated. So we run around a little before church and he has that piece of bubble gum on the way. When he is upset, having the words to use is key both for him to understand and to get others to understand what is happening. It slows down the process too. Talk ahead of time worst case scenario with him---- so he knows what to do if his insides aren't feeling right. I also think that you will have to communicate with the adults in situations so they know what to expect and to help them accomadate your son. And try to keep routines that he can count on.
This works pretty well for us. That regulation piece for sensory is the hardest to deal with. It is the most noticable in terms of "behavior" issues with my son. We've worked really hard on it---- and it helps for me to remember how awful he feels when it happens. His outward behavior is indicative of the turmoil inside.
And not wanting to disappoint you is so true. My son is so afraid of that. We are really close---- and he doesn't want me upset. I try not to be and reassure him that we just have to work on the problem. I make sure that I don't show him anger because it compounds the problem. I am at times---- of course---- flabergasted by things and yes, I am angry. But it doesn't help during sensory issues to feel this way. So I do better trying to understand where he is coming from. (I do seperate out what is sensory and what is just kid stuff and he is discplined for the naughty kid stuff like fighting with his brother, etc.)
I just want to tell you that after two years of working on things with my son----- things are so much better. I say that to you to give you hope. I think you are on your way to getting the right formula for him to help him along. Have faith it will happen. And since you were at church, I feel comfortable saying---- keep praying. It has helped me immensly. good luck at your meeting.
After the meeting today...the final decision was that my son does not need to go through the IEP screening and does not show any signs of a disability requiring IEP or Special Ed.
However, they are changing his BIP (behavioral intervention plan) and will be implementing new strategies to help him. Ultimately, the psychologist felt that my son has difficulties with impulsivity, respecting others space, comprehending emotions, and is seeking attention w/ negative behavior. She felt that he needs to be taught how to recognize his internal feelings/emotions...and taught the correct expected behaviors...the goal is to help him make up for the areas he is deficit in.
We will meet again...the whole team...in 6 weeks to see how things are progressing. But I will be meeting with the school counselor weekly to discuss what is being worked on.
Another situation occurred today...my son was in art...he had scissors...he was snapping the scissors in another childs face...the other child firmly told my son to stop...my son continued and then ended up cutting the child. The principal stated my son should have been suspended...according to her he used the scissors as a weapon. I dont think he purposely meant to use the scissors as a weapon or to hurt the child. But he did not respect the child's space and did not respect that child when he told him to stop. Any thoughts on this behavior? This is why they believe he is seeking attention with negative/bad behavior. The teacher states my son will annoy another child...when that child states they are going to tell the teacher...my son will tell them he is going to do something bad to them if they tell. However, the teacher did state that he only shows bad behavior when he is in transitions..or in a less controlled situation...not being watched closely...or after work is completed and he has nothing to do...
Just a quick reply because I need to do a little research into IDEA 2004 and what constitutes a disability. I like what the school is doing and what they have done. I'm not sure I like what the psyc has recommended, and I certainly want to look up if this is a "final decision".
Was there any talk at all about ADHD in the meeting? Was any testing of your son done by the psyc? Were there any questionnaires sent out to parents and teachers? Did the psyc observe your son - if so how many times and at what time of the day? In other words - what did the psyc use to base his/her opinion of your child?
And, just because I have been in the principal role - where was the other child cut? In the face, or fingers/hand. Did the other child bleed? And frankly your last two sentences does indicate a form of disability.
Yes questionaires were filled out. By both parents...the counselor and the teacher. Two different members (one being the psychologist) at the meeting observed my son during class time. They both saw the same thing and described the same thing. This is a list of what they saw...bright child, required extra attention to stay focused, worked fine in a small group with other children, did get distracted once work was complete and nothing further to do. They used this form...where you go across...and based off of the questionaires and the observations they write in if my son had a strength or a weakness or was average. At the end they looked at the form to determine if there was a sign of a disability. The psychologist felt there was not but that he clearly had certain areas of concern...all relating to impulse, focus, organization and social skills...all behavioral. This is why she wants to implement a new program for my son. For instance...my son gets into trouble during transitions or periods of having nothing to do...she suggested that instead of free time....he have stations he goes to and keeps busy at. If more behavior problems are noticed in other classrooms (art, music, computer lab)...then he may need extra structure when in these classrooms. Then she also plans to focus in on teaching my son correct behaviors and getting him to recognize his feelings and when he is getting off track. I guess it is a combo of things. However, both the counselor and psychologist feel this is not an overnight fix...it will take time...maybe a lot of time...to fill in the areas he is deficit in. In regards to the child who got cut...it was on his finger...I dont believe it was severe...but the art teacher felt my son should have known better...he knows the rules with scissors.
Sandman...truth be known...I am not necessarily looking for a diagnosis for my son...I just want to find a program that helps him...I have thought about getting him evaluated outside the school...at this place called the TLC Learning Center...they do this in depth evaluation...5 different professionals would evaluate my son on everything...over the course of a month. Only thing...it costs 1800...insurance wont cover it.
Something the principal said to me really got me thinking...if my son is seeking attention through bad behavior...acting out...she felt I might have something to worry about with twins on the way. They will take all my attention...will he act badly towards them? He seems so excited about them...and knows they require a lot of time/attention.
Incidents like what happened with the scissors make me so sad. Because he is not a mean child...he is not an aggressive child. He really is sweet as pie and has a huge heart. So why is he acting up? Even if he didnt mean to hurt the child with the scissors...he should have listened with the child told him to stop. And when the teacher said that when children say they will tell on my son he pretty much threatens them....what??? How come she never told me this?? I was shocked at that comment!
Oh and yes ADHD was talked about. However since my son has been evaluated four time in the last 2 1/2 year...the most recent being days before he started Kindergarten...and the behavioral doctor felt at his last visit he did not have ADHD...the psychologist decided to move on from the issue. However, she did state that ADHD still seems like it could be involved...mostly because my son is impulsive....not the hyperactive part...no one felt he was hyperactive. I will say that the behavioral doctor at the last visit talked a lot about my son learning he is responsible for himself...for his actions...for his choices. Not mommy..not daddy...no he is responsible. Where do you think she was going with that?
Hi, I feel a little stunned, to be honest. While on one hand---- I really like the willingness to help your son that the school shows and they are really making lots of accomadations for him . . . are they getting to the root of your son's problem? The issues that your son have difficulty of are indicative of various delays. My son's delay mainly showed itself through behavior. Behaviors such as you mention, by the way. I understand that looking for a specific diagnosis is proving difficult and who cares what it is if you find how to deal with this to make it better. But often times to make it better---- you DO have to know what it is. I understand that your child is smart---- and I've always wondered if that doesn't hinder a process. My boy is very smart as well----- and this intelligence gets a lot of focas. Honestly, I don't care about that (okay, maybe I'm taking it for granted but . . .)---- I want to understand why he is different from every other kid he was in preschool with. It isn't just because he is smart and bored. These are just my thoughts on my boy here------- Anyway, I think I would see what happens in the next 6 weeks. If things escalate at all or if there is no improvement--- I would formally request a full evaluation----- by a district psychologist, an occupational therapist, and a speech pathologist (just because you are doing the full evaluation and you might as well do everything). By law, they have to do it. And yes, I would stronly consider paying out of pocket for the Learning Center evaluation. We've paid for many of my sons things out of pocket----- and every penny has been worth it. The more info you have, the better able to advocate for him. (and add is the other side adhd---- being hyper isn't involved with add).
The comments about the boy being responsible is . . . well, I don't know. They are telling you these are just his bad actions and not caused by anything but attention seeking. (which I don't agree with). They are perhaps trying to get you to see that. I would be worried that they are setting up dismissal from the school down the road, to be honest. I think too, there is a lot of involvement on your part with your child. I'm the same way, don't get me wrong. But I know that schools want a child to be independent from their parents. By the way, how do you handle it with your son when he has cut someone with scissors at school?
And this is one of the most painful things . . . we love our children dearly. But think of the parents of that other boy. They are going to be livid and . . . rightly so. Every parent has to feel like their child is going to school in a safe enviroment. These other kids are 'threatening' to tell on him----- well, you leave out what he is doing that they threaten to tell. But regardless, his reaction is extreme. I am sure you are very worried about his peer interaction overall. We had a little girl's family complain about my son to the preschool director. I was so upset! My son wasn't doing physically aggressive things to her but they didn't get along and my son really bothered her. So, I know what it is like to have another family upset with your child. It stinks---- and it is to be taken seriously. Know I feel your pain on that---- when my son did a knucklehead thing---- I would be flabergasted. It seemed out of character and so over the top.
And I go back to saying that these issues with my son are in the past . . . because we addressed the underlying problem. That is why I am so surprised they are just saying it is all for attention. I do think that is food for thought about the babies coming. You are going to have to be very vigilent about not letting him along with them until issues are under control. You hope that he wouldn't act out torwards them---- but you can't risk it.
I really feel for you------ I don't know if you are relieved or upset at the meeting. Probably a mixture of both. No one wants to hear that their child has a suspected disorder. Maybe their ideas will work and he will mature out of this. I don't know. My kid would not have. I just feel for you as this is so hard to handle---- you love your kid and want the best for him.
I am torn about the meeting.
Relieved that they did not find he had a learning disability but left feeling the underlying problem has not been resolved. It is very concerning to hear of these extreme behaviors toward other children. I would be livid if I was the parent of the child who got hurt. The behaviors are unacceptable!
But in a way...he does have a learning disability...let me put it in these terms...my son showed strengths in almost every area of academics...however his teacher still does not know if he will pass Kindergarten...because his behaviors bring him down...he is not learning at his full potential or showing his full potential. Its like he could be way up top...but his behavior is way down low...so he sits at "average".
I believe that the Special Ed program they have at this particular school is geared toward children who fall extremely behind academically. And since my son is not behind...he would not do well in this class. The counselor expressed concern that my son would regress. Now if they had a class geared toward children who are academically bright but have certain behavior problems...this might be a better place for my son.
If I had the means of finding 1800 dollars without sacrificing paying important bills...I would definitely have my son evaluated at the learning center. I really want to better understand why he displays the specific behaviors and then work to fix them.
The principal at the school does not like my son...and I mean this honestly...she picks at him...is very judgmental of him...and I respect her position...that she gets the bad end of the stick...listening to parents complain about my son's aggressive behavior...BUT she only focuses on the negative. A lot of positive things were said about my son. I truly get the feeling that she would rather my son not be at the school or be forced into the Special Ed program...even it does cause him to regress. Because this would make her life easier. It wont help my son though...cause we are not addressing the root problem. Just shuffling him around. I believe the school does not have the staff or proper resources to deal with a child like my son. They only deal with two extremes...the child who has severe learning disabilities or the child who is "normal"....there is no in between.
Difficult spot to be in when your child doesn't fit the perfect mold for either. I agree that you son does not belong in special education classes. Every school and state is so different. When I was talking about special education inclusion before---- I wasn't sure if you knew what I was talking about. Our district is large with about 7 elementary schools in it. One has special education classes and the rest have inclusion. Inclusion means that the kids are in mainstream classrooms with services provided to them there. Kids with varying disabilities are in our kids classrooms. That is when the need of an aide is decided, speech is provided, etc. They leave the classroom for some things like occupational therapy but then they have other things that come to them in the classroom. Another poster had mentioned something that would be one idea for your son---- to bring gifted education to him in the classroom.
I understand completely what you mean that although he doesn't have a learning disability---- whatever his issue is will hinder him from learning. That is scary when you are the parent of a smart child.
That is too bad you think the principle does not like your child. That would hurt my feelings. That was my number one desire when my son went to kindergarten and I wasn't sure how it would go. We had to fill out a sheet on what we wanted--- my number one thing was for his teacher to see what a great kid he is. That is always the dilemma---- we know our kid and they ARE great. But they don't come off that way at times. We want the world to see how great they are too. Having the professionals involved at least try to see this is so much better.
Does your son verbalize his emotions very well? That was really key for my boy. To have words to say when he recognized he was getting upset was really helpful to him. I'd try the "how does your engine run " program at home and see if it helps.
The school does not like the "how does my engine run" program...they prefer a different approach. I did mention it multiple times...and was shot down.
Special Education Inclusion would be ideal!!! This is exactly what I am talking about. My brother received this when he was in elementary and middle school. It took him from problem child to complete success. How can we bring gifted education to my son in the classroom? I am tired of sitting back being quiet...I wont do it anymore...I am going to start demanding they accomodate my son.
My son does not verbalize his emotions...I bought a chart with emotion faces on it...and we will look at the chart through out the day...and talk about what emotion we are feeling. He will verbalize when he is bored...lol.
The teacher and counselor love my son. The counselor told me that my son stole her heart...she has a real fondness for him. She said he is so intriguing and genuine. The teacher told me she thinks my son is adorable and fun loving. Neither are negative...they both just want to help him move past his behavior problems and be successful. It is the principle who is very negative towards my son. She constantly says the brain controls the actions...and since my son has aggressive actions...he must have something wrong in his brain.
And yes specialmom...I wish everyone could see how great my son is...but I also can accept the reality that what he is showing them is very discouraging...
I feel so stuck...with no way to go...I just want to help him...I want answers...
I hear you, and it is very frustrating! But take a step back and look at where you are now compared to two months ago.
You have a plan drawn up for your child based on his needs. It is a good plan and should produce some results. You have a guaranteed meeting again in 6 weeks. If these things are not producing results, then a 504 Assessment should be done. Or did a 504 come out of this meeting?
As I said, I really like their plan of action. What is important is that it is implemented in his other classes and continues for next year. That's why a 504 is important. Looking at the "Summary of Eligibility Criteria IDEA 2004", it essentially looks like your child's disability is not severe enough now to qualify for special ed. It could be later if there is not improvement, or they find a discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement.
What you will be getting from the school is essentially what any child with an IEP would be getting, although with out some of the legal safeguards. I know it is hard to wait for 6 more weeks - but, it is very proactive waiting. Even if you were working with a psychologist, he/she would be making recommendations which you would be following and then reporting back the results.
I am a bit surprised the Anxiety issue did not come up. I would ask his teacher, and the counselor to watch for this and record it any time they see a problem with this.
Ya, the principal seems to be a bit of a jerk. Hopefully, the principal will be pretty much out of the picture with what is going on.
I can understand your concern with the scissors incident. The reason I asked where the child was cut - was because "on the hand" indicates to me the possibility of the other child trying to knock (or take away) the scissors and accidentally got cut in the process. As the old saying goes, "it takes two hands to clap". I have found out that there are many sides to this type of thing. It may be that the child your child was across from just don't get along very well, or your child was being teased, or ....
So on the basis of this I wouldn't get too worried. It could show a lack of impassivity control, or something else entirely.
I would still get the book I recommended. There are very good measures in there that will help your child.
If you can, I would wait the 6 weeks. Really work on time with your child. With the twins approaching, that time is going to become very precious. Maybe flip over to the ADHD forum and see what other parents are going through and doing.
Finally, I know from personal experience what a teacher can do for a child once she/he has taken a personal interest in the child. I think that alone is going to make a huge difference. Until that happened, he was just a face in the crowd that got sent to the office when he screwed up. I'm pretty sure that has now changed! Keep working with her. Send her Starbucks cards or sweets or something. She is the best thing your son has got going now (although, the counselor sounds pretty good). In fact, if there are any discipline problems see if your child can be sent to the counselor, not the principal. And see it the teacher/counselor will talk to recess aides for the same reason.
Hope some of this helps!
Great ideas! I will definitely make sure to send Starbucks cards as a thank you to the teacher and counselor. The counselor spends a lot of time with my son. She goes out of her way to get to him when she hears he might be having a behavior problem. She spends a half an hour with him at least three times a week...just building up his confidence and such. Nine times out of ten...she is the one addressing my son when he has a behavior problem/concerns...not the yucky principal.
I definitely plan to pick up that book...I dont have much time to read...are there specific chapters that are really important/good?
There is a ton of stuff in the book! Fortunately the chapters in the table of contents have a lot of detail. Some that caught my eye: 1.7 ADHD and social skills interventions; 1.8 ADHD in preschool and kindergarten; 2.1 Common triggers or antecedents to misbehavior.
I also just got the ADD&ADHD Answer Book by Susan Ashley. It also was highly recommended and I can see why. It is shorter and a bit more direct. Its probably aimed more at the parents. While Rief's book is "How to reach and teach" and is aimed more at the classroom.
The school informed me that the only change they made to my son's behavior intervention plan was regarding personal space. The counselor and psychologist will each meet with my son once a week (separate days) to work on respecting the personal space of other children/adults.
Huh??? That's it?? Are you kidding?? I dont get it...what about everything else? I mean I guess they picked the one they thought was most crucial...
You know, I'm really sorry. I would be frustrated too. Have you told them that you are frustrated at this point? Not in a way that makes them defensive----- but I think you as his advocate can say after week one---- hold up, not working. (if it doesn't work, that is). There are laws protecting your child's education. I would inquire about a parent advocate---- I really would. We have them here and they help navigate the system. I was told that school's may appear to be doing things to help your child but are doing the minimal that they can. So say they offer one service a week (an occupational therapist comes and does some work with your child), but he would really benefit from two visits a week. A parent advocate helps make that happen.
I would also read the material Sandman has suggested as well as anything else you can about add/adhd and sensory---- and just start implementing things at home. Animal walks before school, thick bubble gum, specific discipline strategies that those books recommend, etc. See if you can make a dent yourself. Then you can tell them what works for your son by your own experience.
Getting along with the school is important for success--- but you are in the last half of the year now and in 6 weeks you will be working your way into spring . . . I'd want to iron some of this out this year vs waiting until next. That is just me.
But I feel for you. That is difficult and maybe Sandman can shed some more light on this----- but I think I would be frustrated too.
Specialmom...I sent a long email describing the strategies I have implemented at home to the school counselor...she then responded with the information about working with Anthony on personal space. This is why I was so shocked...not a single word about all the other strategies I suggested.
Regardless I will continue to work with him at home...and plan on getting at least one of the books this weekend.
I so badly want to pull him out of that school (which is in his Father's district) and put him into the school in my district. The school in my district is smaller and more personal. I feel like they would be more likely to work with him. They also dont have a predisposed idea about him and neither do the kids. I am afraid if I sit back any longer...they will fail my son...
I am just sooooo frustrated....feeling like they are not doing enough....they might mean well....but I just feel like they are doing the bare minimum....or what they feel is sufficient.
I would really advise against pulling him out this year (if that's what you mean). He (and you) are finally starting to build a relationship with his teacher and counselor. To have to start that all over again would be very difficult. The advantage of keeping him in the same school for next year is that his new teacher could communicate with his old teacher and the counselor would probably be the same.
If you do make the change, see if there is any kind of a summer school where he would get a chance to meet kids that he would be with the following year. Typically, his 504 or IEP will follow him to any new school.
By the way, what did he actually wind up with a 540 (I'm guessing) or an IEP?
My son complains of kids calling him stupid and ugly. What is funny is I think they do this from jealousy. My son is above average academically and probably one of the cutest boys ever...very outgoing and funloving. However, my son doesnt tattle...and so I think they take advantage.
While being in the classroom might make it to where your son will not be his "normal self" and act out when you're there, I cannot imagine a school's ability to deny you the option of observing him. I think that is a problem.
"All he has is a BIP (behavioral intervention plan)...that is it."
I wasn't exactly sure how a BIP fits into all of this so I started researching - Lots of really good stuff out there. I do know that a PIP is done by the IEP team (I think). I don't think it counts as an IEP or a 504, but it is very legally binding. In short, I have still got a lot of reading to do. Think I will talk to one of my special ed friends.
Anyway, here are several excellent resources on BIP's. I would highly recommend you start going through them. Most also have excellent ideas for helping kids.
Most of the reading I have done, lists the BIP as a part of an IEP. But, it doesn't sound like that here. You really need to know his status for followup. I would ask the principal or counselor for clarification. Just say that you like his BIP (it is a good starting point and well written), but you are wondering if that means he qualifies for special ed (is it a IEP) or is it like a 504? And if it is not either one - then why not?
If you ever decided to change schools, this could be very important. IEP's and 504's, by law, follow you. A plan (no matter how good it is) that is simply put into effect by a school, can be easily ignored by another school.
First of all....my son definitely does not have an IEP...just the BIP...nothing more.
Second...I took cupcakes to my son's school yesterday (it was a surprise to make my son feel special)...I am talking with his teacher...asking how my son is doing...she tells me he is doing fine in the classroom and she is working with him on transitions. I ask how things are going meeting with the counselor and psychologist...she says what do you mean...I explained I was told they would each be meeting with him once a week...she said noone has met with him at all...what??? I am far too pregnant and hormonal...I almost lost it...not with the teacher...but just with the situation...I asked her what am I suppose to do...I know my son needs better resources then what he is receiving...she said your right...but with a bad economy and budget cutbacks...there are no resources available. UGH AHHHHH GRRRRR!!! Are you kidding? No wonder the principle kept pushing for my son to be in special ed...that was her easy quick fix.
I was so mad yesterday...thought I would go into labor...then I just got sad...for my son. My fiance is fed up...he really wants to put my son in Montessori or Private school...I fear the monthly cost of these schools...but he said he doesnt care anymore...we have to do what is best for my son.
Please any other suggestions? Should we look into Montessori or Private schools? Do you think this would benefit my son?
Well, first there was good news in your post . . . his teacher says he is doing fine in the classroom . .. That IS Good!!!! So, I would be pleased to hear that part anyway. I think I would call the principal about it . . . and you've discovered the problem of not having an IEP. They are required to follow everything in an IEP by law . . . if you don't have one, then they just do what they can. I guess we all need to vote for our school levies, right? We voted for our most recent one but it didn't pass---- hence there were cuts. I think who your Govenor is matters too---- I've written ours as he cut funding to such programs in our state. Anyway, that is reality. I guess I would just continue to be the squeaky wheel looking to get that oil. But dont lose sight of the fact that she said he was doing fine.
As far as private schools---- well, they are not great for kids way far out of the average. They don't have to abide by "no child left behind" and hence, do not accomadate high maintence students. I had a really good friend that is a teacher that I was discussing things about my son with---- It was at a time in which I was struggling with it all and I spoke of putting him in private schools--- anyway, she said NO. You need any child with behavior issues in a public school as that is where they are handled the best. The private school may do some extra things if they feel like it, but don't have to. Puts you in a much weaker position to deal with things. And those schools have tighter budgets than the public schools . . . and less resources to pull from. I like the Montessori concept . . . but my son does much better with routine and structure.
I would follow up on the info Sandman gave you and call the principal. The principal is a pill to deal with it sounds--------- but you need them to take the committments they make to you seriously. If you don't want to call the principal, at least call the school counselor. Good luck---------- hoping for the best for you and your son.
You said, "No wonder the principle kept pushing for my son to be in special ed...that was her easy quick fix." Its not a quick and easy fix - all the other things are quick, probably none of them easy. Its too bad that he didn't qualify for special ed. However, kids with ADHD and other behavioral issues usually don't (which I think is stupid).
Next thought is that it has only been about one week since you gave us the update on Jan. 12. and I couldn't find a place where weekly visits to counselor by your son were mentioned. You did say in that post that you would have weekly meetings with the counselor. Makes me wonder if you ever got a written plan from them? This is why a 504 is important - because it is a written plan with legal implications.
The point is that he should be qualifying for a 504. The following is from - http://www.ldonline.org/article/6108 .
Its a great article and well worth reading.
"Although it is impossible to specify all situations in which children should be referred for Section 504 and ADA services, there are several situations that should result in automatic consideration of a student for Section 504 and ADA services. These include the following (Council of Administrators of Special Education, n.d.):
* when a student is referred for IDEA services but the decision is to not evaluate;
* when a student is evaluated for IDEA services but is determined to be not eligible;
* when a student is suspected of having any disability;
* when a student continues to display behavior problems;
* when a student has a major health problem;
* when a student is expelled or suspended;
* when a student seems to be having problems that cannot be explained;
* When a parent requests consideration for Section 504 and the ADA services"
I am not sure that his teacher is exactly aware of what is doing on. So I think his counselor is the best place to start. What you want to do is ask if the BIP is a 504 and if not why? Based on the above he should qualify. Tell her you want that process started!
And yes, I think that there is and recently has been a lot of good news about your son. It sounds like there are communication problems about what is going to happen. Outside of the fact that these things take time, I think that if you know exactly what is going to happen - you will be able to make better decisions.
I agree with Specialmom completely. Private schools usually don't have the resources to work (and many times won't even touch) with special needs kids. Your money could be much more wisely spent on your child.
I have an e-mail from the school counselor stating that the counselor and psychologist would each be meeting weekly with my son. In addition, the teacher stated the psychologist was suppose to come last Friday but did not show up. I am clear on what they told me...it is in writing...in my email box. They are not following through with it.
I am going to e-mail his counselor and ask about the 504.
I will say that YES good things have happened for my son...however...his teacher just told me Tuesday she had to pretty much fail him in reading/writing because he would not demonstrate that he knew the necessary information...even though at home he easily knows the required information. She herself told me that my son needs more resources and is not getting them. So the teacher is trying to find alternatives...I just feel the whole thing is ridiculous.
That is where I am confused . . . I thought that they said he was being failed for behavior and that academically he was fine. I thought they said he was above his grade level for academics . . . that is confusing. Even one on one, he is refusing to show them his performance level? That would be very frustrating to me.
I just don't understand where they are coming from suggesting that nothing is wrong but his desire for attention. Does not make sense to me.
I think you are doing the right thing in asking for the 504. If they hold him back for a year---- would it give him a better start? Sometimes it can be a good thing. (remind me when his birthday is . . . I can't recall). But I can see where you are distrustful of the whole situation. Hard to know where to turn------ have you asked about the parent advocate? Arrrggg. sounds very stressful.
They dont make any sense this stupid school. One minute they are acting like the world is coming to an end...and things are so severe. The next they are brushing it off like nothing. The teacher evaluated each child individually but in the classroom while the other kids were doing activities. Ummm DUH of course he could careless about his least favorite thing...reading/writing...he just wants to be done and go play. Had she taken him out of the classroom and evaluated in a quiet area...she would have seen he knows everything.
His teacher flat out said...he needs more resources...he needs someone to be working with him...this is how he responds the best...but the resources are not available.
I am so done...I feel like I keep hitting a brick wall!
Very frustrating, but would you say that the things they are doing behaviorally are helping? That at least is a step in the right direction.
I think part of the problem is that he is unable to attend when in the classroom . . . that this is part of the evaluation . . . if he can't do it when the other kids are there----- well, that is school. ALL of the kids want to run off and play . . . but got through the evaluation. Your son needs to be able to do this as well unless there is a documented reason he can not. Then his IEP or 504 plan would have the alternative plan. So Sandman is right, you need to ask for this. I think all kids would like to have a one on one aide to teach them . . . my son started off the school year according to his teacher requesting her attention a lot. He does do better with one on one too. But he has to learn to work in the confines of a classroom and become an independent learner. Aides are helpful but you realize that they are assigned a child but work with all children in the class as well as the teacher does, right? It is my understanding in our school that they will help with a child without declaring which child it is as they are to maintain confidentiality. Unless a child has a physical handicap that everyone sees, there are times in which people are only guessing which student the aide is there for. This is better for the child.
So I totally hear your frustration and understand it, but I think requesting a more formal plan and keeping expectations realistic will help. just my thoughts here---- and I know that you are feeling anger and panic as he might be held back. But if it will ultimately help him, that is something to think about. Schools don't like to hold kids back, there has to be valid reasons.
I hope you get a good response to your request for the 504 plan and please ask about a parent advocate to help you navigate through. good luck
I can understand your feeling. Think how his teacher must be feeling. To her, the wall has got to be even more frustrating. She knows he needs help and can't provide the help he needs - its like watching a child drown in front of you. I've been there. Worse thing is she sees it every single day.
Good thing is that she knows he needs the extra help. Big difference from the teacher that says he is just lazy. The fact she feels this way can lead to good things. One thought I had was that for a child to be in special ed, there must be a discrepancy between achievement and ability. I don't know if she is experienced enough to have figured this out - but its always possible that she is looking for a way to get him more help, and you need test results to do that.
Main thing is that these things don't happen overnight (sad to say). You have done a great job getting things moving. Do find out about the 504, its very important. I think you have a great resource in this teacher. Do try and work with her. Realize she is the messenger, not the person in charge. If you can - and I know its hard with all that is going on around you - try and relax a bit. Enjoy your son. Keep doing those good things at home for him. Something is happening to make the noticeable improvements at school, and home has got to be a part of that. Realize that his teacher is probably also frustrated. Try and support her. Do something for yourself, you deserve it.
I have a 5 year old son who jsut recently started acting up in school as well. He was perfect until xmas break and when he got back he started acting up. He would yell at the other kids when they answered the questions before him. He would kick his chair or throw his papers on the floor if he didnt get his way. I dont know why he acts like this there. I have seen how his behavior changes when we reach school grounds and are about to walk into the gate, its like he gets mad. it is a full kinder class room with 22 kids and he is NOT the only boy who acts up. there is a 7 year old that was held back 2 times becuase of his behavior and he seems to rile up the other kids. they all pick on each other by poking each others heads, faces or hitting each other with their folders and that just sets the kid who got hit off. ive been to the principle and my husband even volunteered in the class a few times but nothing is working. we took him to the dr and she says he is healthy and does not have ADD. he is a sweetheart who doestn say bad words or do those things at home. i dont understand why it is how it is and i dont want him to fail out kinder being there's only one month left. I just got a call from my husband today saying he just picked him up and today was one of the worst days. hitting yelling crying. they took him inot other class rooms and even the principles office. im thinking maybe he needs to change schools. i dont know what to do
My son was having a lot of these same issues at school. Now we have had to move him into a class with others who have issues where he will be more supported. Personaly I think the 7 year old who is in the classroom really needs a LOT of evaluation, why does he keep failing and why is he so disruptive.
to me it sounds like there is poor classroom management going on.
Also, I think once a child gets set into a pattern of negativity, it can be hard to break.
I would set up a mtg with the teacher and if you think it would help bring in the principal.
I took my son also to a child psychiatrist, he does not think my son is ADD/ADHD. I also took my son to see an OT and they say he has sensory processing disorder and will start undergoing OT treatmeents.
Also, if you are picking him up early when they call you, this sets up a bad situation too. The child will act up to get sent home and believe me it will only get worse and worse.
How is your son doing academically?
Good luck, and keep us updated. You might want to post a separate post as this one is really long.
I understand completely what youre going through, I have these exact feelings towards my 7 year old daughter. She drives me crazy, doesnt listen, acts up in school, on the school bus, at relatives homes. She lies constantly about EVERYTHING, urinates/deficates on herself randomly, steals, etc. I'm at my wits end, i've spanked and punished to no avail. I always threaten to withhold presents on birthdays, christmas, but I never follow through. I'll end up throwing her a birthday party and getting her exactly what she wants for Christmas. I dont specifically praise her when shes good, but we randomly go to the store and i'll let her pick out toys, we go to the movies, festivals, museums, chuck e cheese etc. These are things that we dont do when shes really been acting up. At times I also feel like doing the adoption thing because it gets to the point where im SO stressd from her behavior, I feel like its affecting my health and sanity. Life is too short to be stressed out constantly.
HI specialmom, i have read so many of your comments it seems like im going through similar with my 4 year old son. he has showed been diagnosed with add / od / cd. That was from his GP and Specialist. however i am interested to know about the Sensory disorder. I took him to an OT and she seemed to think this is what he had. she is on holidays for a month. What is the disorder and how can i help my son? what did you do to improve things? He starts school next February and my husband and i are very nervous about this?
Hi there. I was here today and caught your post. They've started a sensory integration disorder forum here at med help recently (that I am very excited about!!) and I'd be happy to answer any questions about sensory for you. Look to the right of this page and you will see 'related communities' Open the box and you'll see sensory integration disorder. You can go there and maybe tell me a little about your son! That would be helpful for me to help you.
my own son was diagnosed with sensory when he was 4 and I know full well the worries of impending school. If it helps at all, my son is now 8 and going into the 3rd grade and doing terrific. You can really help a child with sensory.
Hi there and welcome to med help. Wanted to tell you about the sensory integration forum here at med help. My son also has sensory and love to have other people to discuss things with. here is the link:
Children are not in the age of academic until age 7. It is a waste of their precious time. To try and force a child under 6 or 7 before they are ready to sit still and do math, reading, learning a letter, etc and be given something new to learn everyday, as the public school system dictates, is entirely against our human psychological development for learning.
I don't blame these children for acting out and having anxiety about all of this....
I would highly recommend researching other educational systems. I'm a huge follower of Rudolph Steiner and Waldorf education methods, but there are many other methods that might engage your child specifically and fulfill what he is needing: Waldorf, Montessouri, Unschooling, and many others....
I always ask myself with my own child or my students in my preschool: "what am I doing or the parents doing that is not serving this child?"
Kim John Payne, Barbara Schumaker "It's OK Not TO SHare" , and Alfie Kohn are some wonderful authors and experts on child psychology and parenting methods that are so helpful...
peace, actually kids start kindergarten at 5 years with a few 6 year olds. It has been fine for both of my children entering kindergarten at 5. Both learned to read, did math, etc. Math usually includes things like rolling dice and adding up the numbers. Most kindergarten classes aren't set up where there are desks and things like that. It seems like you haven't been in a classroom either in a long time or at all.
By first grade when kids are 6 to 7, most sit just fine at their tables and desks. I have a child with sensory integration disorder and he thrives in a controlled classroom --- much better than the loosey goosey style you see at Montessori schools. Routine is very helpful for some kids and structure is really wonderful as well.
We had issues in preschool-------- but traditional primary school has been fantastic for both of my kids. Both thriving and doing well after a hard preschool experience.
So readers, do not feel because your child has issues in preschool that you have to spend gobs of money for private schools. good luck
I totally disagree that children are not at an "academic learning age" until 7. In the right setting, with brief periods of instruction, young children learn wonderfully. I was truly astounded and amazed at the learning my son did in preschool. Children start learning from birth. My son is eight and I'd say that the majority of the BASIC skills he's learned (math, reading, writing) happened in pre-K and kindergarten.
Also, let's face it, there are good schools and bad schools out there, both public and private. It's important for parents to do THEIR homework about their local schools to choose what THEY feel is best for their child, which is going to vary from child to child tremendously.
I just think it's painting with a broad brush to discount all public schools.
First of all, I am a teacher with experience in grades K-3, and the first thing I have to ask is, why would you want a 504 for a child in Kindergarten? That is way too soon. Furthermore, the teacher is correct: if all students are being assessed and your child does not respond appropriately to the questions, that's a problem. Teachers do NOT like tests at all, and we are forced to administer them by the higher-ups. They are the ones who decide HOW and WHEN these assessments will be administered. Furthermore, I highly doubt that anyone has called your son "stupid," which seems an odd choice of words for a young child; usually that is an unacceptable word at the age of five. However, if he prefers the company of adults, he may have picked up a few terms from them. This does not imply any wrong-doing; it is just a fact that some words adults use are not heard in the everyday vernacular of very young child.
Moreover, we are talking about public school. While everyone is entitled to a free education, you get what you pay for, and special needs are not always handled in the most effective way when the issues are related to UNCOMMON disabilities. Most of the resources are spent on assessments, paperwork, and compliance with laws. And yes, your child is not the only one in the class; there are probably 20 more children at least who are also supposed to meet the expectations, and most do. I would advise you go the private route and pay for top-quality specialists. I gave up trying to secure speech services for my own son; uphill battle for less-than-stellar therapy was my final thought. So I have been on both ends of the deal, as a parent and as a teacher. Good luck
School systems are not in the business of diagnosing. I work in the number one school system in the nation, MCPS, and we are NOT allowed to make diagnoses besides ADHD and Dyslexia. That is what other professionals are for.
I think what sandman is referring to is that a good teacher with lots of experience can recognize when certain issues are going on and what they may be related to. They then can make a recommendation that is often dead on accurate. But of course, no teacher is to diagnose a child EVEN add/adhd and dyslexia. A school psychologist can also observe upon a teacher's request for helping to discern what is going on.
Our school system is rated excellent and is nationally ranked as well. While in my son's first classroom, I hear the teacher call a boy who has special needs an idiot. I reported it. I was so disgusted by that and I heard it with my own two ears. She was reprimanded and moved to a higher grade although I'm not sure ANY child should have a teacher that can reach that level of frustration with a child and especially one who struggles.
I did actually go the private route in seeking occupational therapy for my son with sensory integration disorder. But, my husband and I are well enough off that we could do it at 150 bucks out of pocket a week. There are families that simply can not afford that. My son's 504 plan was placed at the end of 4th grade. I was glad to get it. I wasn't fighting for it but will say that I had asked IN KINDERGARTEN and was told no. So, my son said things like "I'm dumb", "I get in trouble because I can't sit still and the kids hate me", blah blah blah because of his early experience in the classroom with out an 504 plan that made some minor accommodations such as peripheral seating in the room so he could stand when needed, etc. My son actually has tested gifted at this point and has had nothing but A's, so he never was dumb but had some struggles in classroom dynamics. Took a long time to undo this early perception he had of himself.
So, I'm not so sure that kindergarten is too early for a 504 plan.
Kids are all different and teaching isn't an easy job. Lots of dynamics play into scenarios so that no absolutes can be drawn. Luck to all parents who struggle with their kids.