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kindergartener acting out
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kindergartener acting out

I have a five year old boy. He is a young five for kindergarten with a MAY birthday.

He had a rough start to the kindergarten year, but after a few weeks, did better and this continued on until right before the holidays. Now things have really started to deteriorate. He is acting out everyday adn the last two days they ahve called me and asked me to come and get him and bring him home.  He has been running out of the class and supposedly trying to leave the school.  He spends a lot of time in the principal's office and he actually likes the principal.  The school is setting up a behavioral specialist to come in on Tuesday and evaluate him and come up with a plan.

I am also having him see a therapist and she says he might have ADHD.

His behaviour at home and w/the sitter has been good lately and he does what he is told, he still has his moments, but not like the school. He says he hates his teacher.  He is in karate and listens there.

In the last year he has gone through a divorce, his father is in jail and not available of course, moved to a new home, and started kindergarten and been with multiple childcare providers while I work.  

I am at my wit's end trying to figure out what is going on.  

I think he might be stressed, he has chewed holes in some shirts and he does not do that at home.

Today, apparently he had gas and a student told the teacher and she thought he pooped in his pants and he went to the office and then my babysitter had to pick him up early. His pants were clean.  

I just worry that things will nto get better . I wonder if changing classrooms would help.  

I don't think he's learning like he should either, reading is really hard for him.  I volunteered and noticed a lot of kids were struggling

The teacher is in her late 50s, early 60s and this is her first time to teach kindergarten.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh OUCH,  hadn't read this post when I wrote to you earlier.
As an elementary school principal, I was in awe of my kindergarten/first grade teachers.  It took a very special person to deal with kids of that age.  I would be curious what other grade levels this teacher has taught.  If it was first grade, she's got a chance.  If it was upper grade levels, I feel for her.  So its possible that she is part of the problem.  What you can do to help your son (outside of a transfer) is to very nicely meet with her and explain all that your son has gone through.  Ask her if she can do anything to make him feel more "at home".  If a teacher can be persuaded to take a personal interest in a child, magical things can happen.  Ask her opinion of what you can do at home to help her (really not a lot, but you want her to get personally involved).  Bring her sweets - its worth a try.  By the way, it wouldn't hurt to mention to the principal that even though your son tends to spend a lot of time there, he really likes the principal.  Having a principal take an interest in your son can be extremely helpful.
  If all of this doesn't work because she is just really out of her element.  Definitely pursue the meeting with the behavioral specialist and ask for a study team to meet.
   Finally, your little guy does sound stressed out.  I think that some of the other forum members will be able to add a few suggestions here.  Let us know how the meeting goes with the therapist.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi,  I agree with Sandman.  First, kindergarten is a very sressful time for many kids.  It is the first time real expectations have been placed on them.  They have a lot to do and learn and must be behaved all day (is he half day or full day?)-----  it is hard on a little guy and yours was young for the class at that.  So, I'm sure that plays a role to some extent.  Our school stresses that kids need to be developmentally ready for kindergarten vs academically ready.  Like them more mature vs knowing to read before they get there.  My younger son has a late April birthday----  so I am in the same boat eventually.

My son is also a chewer.  His sleaves can get pretty messed up as well as the collar of his shirts or jacket.  This is a sign of anxiety and stress.  My son also does it to soothe himself.  He has sensory integration disorder which affects his nervous system.  I try to be understanding that he is trying to soothe himself.  In the classroom, they give coffee stirrers to chew.  You can also tie a string with beads on it around his wrist or make a knecklace and he can chew and suck on that.  

Your boy has had a lot of change.  It takes its toll, I'm sure.  I think I'd let the school counselor, teacher AND principal know about it.  It is a key to what is going on with your child (one of them).  There are good and bad teachers out there.  I'd do as Sandman says and approach this teacher very posatively.  If she has been teaching for a long time----  she at least has the knowledge of lots of different types of kids.  The hope is that she knows how to deal with the young ones.  I'd express an interest in the "right" teacher next year.  I'd talk to the counselor torwards the end of the year about which first grade teacher she thinks would be best suited to help your son be successful.  I did that for kindergarten and will do it probably every year.  For the record, the better organized and routine the teacher is----  the better my kid does.  

With sensory, my son does better at home than at school and always has.  He is comfortable in his home enviroment and has more control. He is a pleaser when it comes to me which makes it easier at home too.  Colder months are by far the worst for my child as well.  My son has had only one bad day this year (which is a true miracle) and it was . . . right before the holidays.  That is a tough time for lots of kids.  The reason colder months are tougher on my boy is that he needs lots of activity to regulate the sensory issues.  It is obviously more easy and natural in warm months.  So we swim, go to gyms, do obstacle courses, etc. at home.  I get him running, climbing, crawling, doing animal walks, rolling, skipping, and jumping as much as possible.  It has a direct affect on his behavior.  I think it helps all kids too.  My son also needs activity to focas.  

Lastly, running out of the classroom reminds me of a part of sensory.  It is called the "fight or flight" response.  When things feel so bad----  the brain switches into gear and says "get out of hereeeeeee!!!!!!"  It is like an instinct taking over.  The fight part is a tantrum or angry outburst.  My son has had both of these.  

good luck-----  

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks so much for responding.  He went into the restroom by his classroom aslo yesterday and they have supplies for the preschool in there.  He knows there are noodles in there and he was trying to get one to chew on so he says. I may send him with a bag of noodles to chew on when he needs to.  He likes raw noodles, I know strange!!   Sometimes at school he has eaten paper too.  

I wonder if I should have held him back another year. I read though in one book later they all seem to cathc up a few years down the road.

I have heard the holidays make it harder and it's been a cold winter so far.

My son did not know how to read prior, I did not know tht was expected of me to teach him to read.  There are some 6 year olds in the class and she said some already knew how to read prior to coming to school.  

I'm worried about him being "labeled" and then being encouraged to get on a bunch of medications.  I see a therapist myself and she said not to jump into any diagnosis or label and just take our time in diagnosiing him if he does have something, she said he's been through a lot and others need to realize that.  I don't think people always take that into account.

My son seems to respond well to those who are very affectionate and I have never seen this teacher give a hug.  She doesn't seem like the "huggy" type.  I don't think she has ever taught kindergarten before, she taught fourth grade prior.  He goes to a full day program.  At the first of the year she said she was very strict and had raised 4 kids.

He gets frustrated very easily with the work and then he just flies off into a crying fit or something like that. I am concerned he is not learning well.  

The teacher acts like she has never dealt with a student like him.
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973741_tn?1342346373
His teacher does not sound ideal-----  if she's been teaching for awhile, she has, of course, had a student like him-----  they were just older and did slightly different things.

Good idea with the noodles----  if they don't let him do that, ask about the coffee stirers.  Before school, have him chew a really thick piece of bubble gum too.

Our school has a slightly different philosophy than yours------  a sign reads that if your child comes to kindergarten knowing everything they are going to learn there----  they haven't spent enough time in the sandbox!  I loved that!!  Now, there are kids of all varying degrees of knowledge.  There are wide ranges of this in kindergarten.  And I do think things like reading level out in upcoming years.  My son's class is still working on sight words, letter sounds, and sounding out three letter easy words.  

And I agree, if the emotions and behavior gets in the way at school, learning is impeded.  My son's teacher says that this (behavior) has to be under control for kids to learn so to work on behavior first.  But it is so interrelated if your son is getting upset because he is having difficulty with the work.  It can be a viscious circle.

I'm personally not worried about a label for my son because it helps the school understand where he might be different from other kids and needs a little extra help.  It is confidential. But every parent is different about that.  By the way, my son does not take medication (sensory doesn't respond to any).  We do physical things that help.  Try increasing his physical activity and see if it helps at all.  Have him do crab walks before school or do the wheelbarrow walk with him.  

It definately helps a kid out to feel like their teacher likes them and is on their side!
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't think he was expected to be reading, but sometimes it feels like that.  The teacher said he had a little while to learn things and I hate to push things too much.  When prodded he can do things, it's just hard for him and I think it frustrates him where the math is much easier, but I think in general, reading/writing is harder for boys.

He told me tonight he hated the teacher and I told him he still needs to do what she asks even if they don't like each other.  

I got him some spaghetti noodles and he likes to eat those.  I know it's crazy, but he likes it.  Maybe it would relax him some.  I am willing to do anything that works.

Sometimes when he gets frustrated he forgets to use his words and has a meltdown, he starts grunting and groaning, poor guy.  

What characteristics does your son have specialmom??

I heard from one of the EAs at teh school whom I am talking iwth on the outside that they had a boy last year who had a sensory issue and would not listen much, he would roll on the floor sometimes and would not get up.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, sensory can look like many different things.  My son is a sensory seeker----  he craves input into his system.  He'll play intensely.  He bumps into things.  He likes to crash, spin, and jump.  His nervous system tells him to do this stuff.  Before he can do school work ----  doing some of this makes him settle down and be able to focas.  Rolling on the ground is something we do during our playtime to get some sensory input----  that would give him spinning (rolling is side ways spinning), heavy work (pushing his body), and deep pressure (contact with the floor).  My kid also has some tactile defensiveness issues----  things can bug him like tags in his shirts, wet hands (which is weird because he loves to swim and play in sand), high color things, etc.  He was on the go as a little one all the time, he avoided things that were difficult for him, he has trouble visually when lots of stuff is going on-----  like if  a paper has too much stuff on it, it is hard for  him to focas on it, auditory can be an issue-----  things are hard to tune out (outside noise like lawnmower)----- all sound is at the same level), he is impulsive and doesn't always make the best choices.  He has fight or flight when upset.  

Those are some of the things he exhibited.  If sensory is mild, it is sometimes less obvious but still there.  good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
My son LOVES heavy hard work, pushing, shoveling, digging, etc. He can work hours in  a sandbox.  He used to love to push carts, anything around the house.  

My son avoids and shuts down and doesn't do difficult things, like if he does not understand something will not do it and gets upset if you make him try.  

He is so funny about shoes, socks, will only wear elastic knit or nylon pants.  Will not wear jeans or khakis, they bother him.  He only wears certain shoes and putting on socks, sometimes he cries out they hurt him.  I have had to cut tags out on some clothes, a lot of clothes come w/out tags now, which is good.

he's funny about brushing his teeth, he does not like his hair to get washed or you to work on his ears.  I have to cut his nails/toenails when he is sleeping now.

He's on the go a lot.  He can be impulsive too.   My son plays intensely too, like I just got him a dollhouse and it's always going thru some natural disaster or fire or someone stealing and damaging the home. Poor house....  

He is very scared of the doctor and shots terrify him.  

When he rides his bikes, he looks for challenges like riding over the snow or a bump.  He likes to go over bumps in the car too.

He used to get really scared of loud noises, that is better, like firecrackers ,etc.

Interesting ......  

He tends to have he most trouble at school in the specials classes, art, music. He loves PE.

Melissa
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973741_tn?1342346373
Melissa, your son is my son.  Almost to a tee.  I would consider finding an occupational therapist that has experience with sensory integration disorder (sometimes called sensory processing disorder) and have an evaluation.  Your insurance may cover it-----  it is totally worth it.  If he is diagnosed (or even if you just want ideas)----  we do lots of things that help a lot.  All in the rhealm of easy to do things at home that he thinks are fun . . . but have a direct impact on his nervous system.  It has gotten him from a kid that was falling apart to one who has no issues whatsoever at school.  Like I said----  even if you don't get him evaluated, there are tons of things that you can do that might help.  I'm not a betting person, but your son sounds just like mine so . . . I'm betting he has sensory disorder.  (everyone has sensory issues-----  it is only a disorder if someone can't function.)  

Let me know if I can help.  
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The thing is when he was in the therapist office they said his play was hyperactive, about the norm, would they describe your son like this?  THey felt it was too active, things crashign, etc.  IT's not violent or anything, just active and very intense and imaginative.  But I also think some of that is normal BOY behavior.  I feel like on one can be a kid anymore......

one therapist thinks he has ADHD, another mentioned he might have bipolar b/c dad has bipolar.  Well, he could, but I honestly don't believe he has bipolar, it's usually really bad in kids and not something you would diagnose in a 30 min . session.  Also, a lot of all these illnesses share common characteristics.

Does your son get frustrated easily, mine does nad then he starts to lose it and moans and grunts, etc.  He can't use his words.  Sometimes he will lie on the floor and not get up if he says he is tired, etc.  

Thanks for your insight specialmom, it has helped so MUCH!!

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Oh yes, lots of boys play rough.  I have a son 15 months younger than my sensory kid who does a lot of the same things.  It can be tricky telling what is sensory and what is boy stuff.  The difference with my sensory kid and his little brother is that my sensory kid had issues over and over again at school.  He also had all the issues with socks, shirts, etc. that you mention.  And when he has it in his mind to do something----  he is going to do it . . .period!  I guess that I can't explain to you exactly what is different between my two boys that do a lot of the same things in actuallity . . . but they are different.  

Adhd and sensory are very similar.  They both involve the nervous system.  They can look alike but it is important to differentiate them as they are treated differently. We use no meds (doesn't work on sensory)----  it is all occupational/play therapy.  It is problem solving for various issues and giving tools to cope.  If your socks are really bugging you to the point it kind of hurts----  it is  hard to concentrate.  We've overcome most of the tactile stuff-----  but little things like removing tags and letting him wear the types of pants he would like helps.  

My son is also known for meltdowns that when they are sensory related . . . they are bad.  They also last a long time as he doesn't have the ability to soothe or calm himself.  We've worked really----  REALLY----  hard on this.  We do things like "how does your engine run" . . . which is a way of talking about the body and how a kid is feeling.  The engine is too high when they are feeling hyper or if they are becoming agitated.  If a kid recognizes that himself and has been shown things to do to bring that engine back down/slow it----  they can do it to prevent a meltdown or getting in trouble.  If the engine is too slow as in a kid that just wants to lay on the ground----  then the child has ways to make their engine speed up (my son is usually the opposite of this, this is the other side of sensory----  sensory avoiders).  

What might be happening when your son gets really upset-----  sensory is the brain's messaging system.  If you think of the brain as having all of these little gates holding things back and letting only one thing through at at time---  so thought is organized, words are formed and a question can be answered, for example.  When upset, the brain's system is overloaded and all the gates go up---  so the brain is flooded with input.  It then can't focas to organize thought, form the words and say what is going on.  It is like chaos going on at that moment.  It is better to help him calm down and then let him express himself.  

it is hard work being a mom and figuring it all out----  hang in there.
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Avatar_f_tn
the teacher mentioned to me the other day she caught him putting a paper clip into the door lock on the door.  She wasn';t happy about it.   He likes to play with locks, one day I got him a key lock at a dollar store and he LOVED it, played with it all day.  just loved locking it and unlocking, etc.  

Then she said one day he was cutting the erasers off the tops of pencils, I've never viewed this behavior at home. Usually at home he is not destructive of property, one time he did color on the walls, but what kid has not done this.

Another day he broke some crayons and she was not happy about that.

One time at a babysitter he was really nervous with her and we had ot stop going, they did not connect well, he would chew on books, etc there, I've never viewed that behavior at home or in any other setting.

I worked with him this am with some sight words and he knew some.  It's like he is not very consistent with his performances either, sometimes he will do things so well, like reading and other time not at all, it's like he doesn't know anything.  He used to be like that with numbers, now he knows his numbers up to 20 well.

I just hope he does not have ADHD or ODD or bipolar....

Sometimes he will chew on his papers, mostly at school.

He likes to build things esp with blocks, or legos and he likes to do projects, he's happiest when involved in a project. He also loves animals, they really calm him. His babysitter has a hamster and he loves playing with the hamster.  He has so much fun and he loves them so much.  

He doesn't like time-outs either, has never sat well in them and they are not very effective. I was reading in a book that Time aways are better than time outs and more effective for boys.

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Avatar_n_tn
It amazes me how many of us have little boys going through very similar struggles.

I really can not offer very much advice...you read my thread...I am still battling with my son's school. I do believe that teachers/principles play a vital role...in my situation I really feel the school is doing the bare minimum and would like the easy way out...sticking my son is Special Ed. If you feel the teacher is not a good fit for your son...why not talk to the principle about your concern.

I understand your concern about not wanting a "label" on your child...this is a similar fear I have. BUT the more time elapses and my son continues to struggle...the more I just want him to get the help he needs to be successful.

Sometimes I feel the school system expects children to all act a certain way...but in some cases you just cant fit a square in a circle mold...my son is a young 5 too...April birthday...

Good luck with everything.
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What I would work on with the teacher is that when he is in the position of cutting the erasers off, breaking crayons, etc.----  that a plan be sorted out.  This must be at an unsupervised time----  working quietly or finished with his work.  I would work to give him something to do at those times.  He can go to a reading center, he can erase the chalk/dry erase boards, etc.  Give him alternatives to do at those times.  Talk to him about it too----  how are you feeling when you break the crayons?  (that is when I talk about a too high engine and you need to slow it down)----  and get him in tune with what he is feeling.  So then when he is having those feelings, he will eventually redirect himself.  That has worked with my boy.  

and finding the right discipline I think is very individual to the child.  No one thing works for all kids----  and sensory kids rarely respond as you'd expect them to.
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Avatar_f_tn
Another thing he keeps saying his how much he hates the teacher.  I think just being with her in the classroom upsets him. I keep telling him he will have other teachers he does not like and I had some in the past I did not like as well.  It is really tought being a parent.  It is like he can't handle his feelings about her.

I better go right, right now he needs me and he is TIRED.

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Avatar_f_tn
Right now I feel like I am sticking out like sore thumb. I don't have a  perfect child that the teachers love.  The therapist I go to said the schools are really only designed for about 80% of the school population, the other 20% fall in the cracks.  Also, I don't think teachers get very good if any training in these types of issues. Sometimes my school they act clueless like they have never seen this, they say they have and worse.  They say he is not the worst case student they have seen.

I am praying/hoping the behavioral therapist will be able to do some good or provide some insight.

I'm really afraid he's just going to end up with an ADHD diagnosis and docs want to put him on medications, etc.   I was talking to one lady whose son is on it and she said it took two years to get the right medication combo.  Of course, in two years kid's brains change a lot, so who knows, was it the medication or did the kid change?  

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I do think it is hard if a child's issues are minor.  They still struggle but don't get the same attention if they fall apart completely.  

But we advocate for them and get it done.  

I would stay posative about his teacher to your son.  Don't discuss at length that you didn't like teachers or discuss much about him not liking his teacher.  We were told to stay posative. (kind of like not talking about the other parent when you are divorced-----  better to take the high road.)

Do you try an vitamin supplements or diet things?  
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Yes, I have him on vitamins and Omega three fatty acid supplements. Also, I have cut food dyes out of his diet completely, it's tough and I am sure some food dyes get through, but a LOT less than what he took before.  It's in EVERYTHING!!  He's much better for me and the babysitter than he is for teh school.  

I am trying to stay in communication with teh teacher even though at times I am frustrated and sometimes their stories do not always line up.

I don't want to be in denial that my son might have an issue.

How many of the criteria do they have to meet to get the sensory integration diagnosis?

What was your child like as a baby, toddler.

My son has always been high needs it seems, intense, very busy.  He was colicky as an infant.  Loved to be held all the time.  Did not like to sit in stroller. Had trouble sitting still for long periods of time.
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Here is the list of child behavior problems sensory processing disorders may give rise to:


Excessive Energy And Activity Level: A child may be unable to sit still, constantly on the run, or engage in risky behaviors. (meets this, though has improved as he as aged)

Remarkably Low Energy And Activity Level: A child may appear lethargic, uninterested in engaging in the world or activities, or be sedentary most of the day.

Frequent Impulsiveness: A child may be unable to control impulses to jump out of his seat, control his behavior, may be aggressive, and/or frequently "blurt" things out without thinking first. (apparently at school he has been aggresive (aggressive) with some children, but that's not the typical behavior I see when he plays with other kids, sometimes impulsive and doesn't think thru the consequences)

Short Attention Span And Distractibility: A child may have difficulty concentrating on one activity or task for any length of time and be distracted by every sight, sound, smell, and/or movement he sees. (has short attn span, but it has gotten better, he can watch movies now)

Motor Coordination Difficulties And Problems With Muscle Tone: A child may appear clumsy, or like a "wet noodle", slouch or rest his head on his hands/arm during desk work, exhibit awkward movements, and/or have frequent accidents or injuries.

Motor Planning Difficulties: A child may have difficulty with sports, handwriting, balance, using eating utensils, riding a bike, doing jumping jacks, clapping, or getting dressed.
(he needs to use a special pencil at school to help with handwriting has had to be taught to hold pencil right, speech therapist suggested getting an OT to work with him on handwriting, needs some help with getting dressed, has trouble with jumping jacks)

Frequent Switching Of Hands During "Tool" Use And Manipulation: A child may not have a dominant hand for writing by age 5, may switch hands often while cutting, writing etc, or may throw a ball with both hands at different times.

Poor Eye-Hand Coordination: A child may have sloppy handwriting, difficulty cutting/drawing a straight line, catching a ball, or tying his shoes.  (can't tie his shoes yet and doesn't catch a ball well, btu he's five)

Significant Resistance To The Unfamiliar: A child may experience anxiety or refuse to try new foods, meet new people, participate in new activities or sleep in a different environment. (very anxious with new people and will often hide his head and not talk to them)

Difficulty Making Transitions From One Activity Or Situation To Another: A child may throw a tantrum, be uncooperative, or experience severe anxiety when stopping one activity and starting another. He may have a difficult time leaving a particular place or going to the next task of the day (ie, bath, bedtime, dinner)
(definitely needs time to transition and warning).

Low Frustration Tolerance: A child may become upset, yell or throw a tantrum at the slightest thing that does not go his way or that he is having difficulty learning. He will give up on tasks easily if they are difficult for him.  (yes, he gets frustrated VERY easy adn just gives up or starts to cry and moan)

Difficulties With Self-Regulation: A child may have difficulty with mood stability and maintaining an optimal level of arousal. He may be unable to calm himself down after an activity or get himself going for an activity. His arousal level may fluctuate minute to minute or day to day, which can be one of the most challenging behavior problems of all!
(A psychologist noted one time has poor self regulation. Yes, he can be very moody and sometims it's like walking on egg shells)

"Academic" Difficulties: A child may have mild to severe learning disabilities as he has a difficult time learning and generalizing new concepts and skills.

Significant Social Skill Behavior Problems: A child may have a difficult time relating to other children and sharing. He may isolate, be overpowering, aggressive, or bossy to help him regulate and control his sensory environment.
(sometimes does not like to share, teacher mentioned he was bossing other kids, I've never seen this behavior before)
Emotional Behavior Problems: A child may have significant self-esteem issues (one of THE BIGGEST indicators of sensory processing dysfunction), be overly sensitive to criticism, transitions, and stressful situations. He may have difficulty relating to others or understanding his own actions, motivation, and behaviors.

Significantly Irritated By And Uncooperative With Activities Of Daily Living: A child may have difficulty getting dressed, going to bed, brushing his teeth, eating, participating in certain activities, or taking a shower.
(does not like having hair washed, washing hands, teeth brushed, you have to be careful to use a comb, not a brush, sensitive about clothing, etc).

There are so many child behavior problems which accompany sensory processing disorders. Whether your child has this disorder or not, the resources below are invaluable to parents, teachers, families and professionals when dealing with any child behavior problems.

I WENT THRU AND JUST put comments on teh ones he has.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, what do you think?  I will tell you that my son has some but not all and to varying degrees.  There is no absolute to sensory.  For example, he has some motor planning issues that made handwriting dificult for him and yet he is a very coordinated athletic kid.  He can throw a baseball with precision, bat just about anything thrown to him (skipped t ball and went straight to coach's pitch) and catches (which is the hardest part for him, but does fine).  Baseball is one of many sports he does----  soccer, basketball, swimming, etc.  And he really excels at it.  Personally I think his fearlessness helps him which is sensory related.  Anyway, my point is that there can be contradictions within sensory.

Most people have these things listed from one time to another and some of it falls within normal----  but if it is hindering a child on a regular basis----  that is when it switches to a disorder.  An occupational therapist evaluation is good because they pick up on things that you don't-----  visual tracking, auditory issues, etc.  

My son had most everything listed and was falling apart at 4.  We just got report from his teacher----  not one complaint.  All things behavioral----  listening, interacting with peers, attitude, focas, working independently . . . as well as all things academic are on point.  There are no concerns whatsoever.  The reason why I am telling you this is that if sensory is truly the issue------ and you do the right things to address it-----  it changes everything for a kid.  

I don't know if your child has it or not-----  I'm guessing he does.  Things to help sensory are surprisingly easy.  I'd be happy to give you ideas if you would like.

And yes, my son is MUCH better  at home.  He is in control of and comfortable with the enviroment----  thus functions better.  This is common with sensory.

My son as a baby was medium needy.  I held him a lot because I was just so thrilled to finally have him.  He was gassy but not terribly collicky.  He was active---- walked at 9 to 10 months and started running right away.  He gagged on solid food for a long time (chewing problems). But he was pretty happy overall. It wasn't until he was 2 and a half and in crowded places that we saw anything.  (in retrospect there may have been minor signs, but he was my first born----  so I didn't realize). He didn't like to color at all.  He didn't sit for long periods of time.  ETc.  

My son started down the road of low self esteem------  one of the reasons I acted so quickly to help him.  He is so much happier now and has confidence.  I think that is why he is so self motivated to be a "normal" kid.  

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This is interesting...talking about how the boys were as infants...my son was colicky...never slept...probably the most "high need" baby I have ever met or heard of. He didnt sleep through the night until he was 2 years old. He was active as a toddler and still is an active 5 year old...just not off the charts active.

Hmmm...I hear talk of changing the diet...I have read about this...but does it really make a difference?

My concern has always been my son getting a "label" and the quick fix is always meds. I am anti meds...even for myself (not looking for a debate on this). I will say that I tried Adderall (adderrall) for 1 month about a year ago...and absolutely hated it! My poor son...it was awful! Never again!

I have read of a lot of alternative therapy...occupational therapy...cognitive therapy...even dogs being used as therapy. I am very interested in more information about dogs as therapy...

You will have to let me know if the school your son attends actually steps up and offers more help...
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I am going to be honest . . . diet never changed anything with my child.  In autism, I've heard that a gluten free diet can make a difference.  I've tried some supplements but it is the occupational therapy that helps.

I think that legally, dog therapy is difficult in schools.  Our school does not allow it.  
I'm obviously a big fan of occupational therapy but behavioral therapy is excellent too.  

The only thing I will say again about labels . . . is it is a label which helped me know what direction to go with my child.  I guess we are lucky that we got the right diagnosis and what is in place for it has helped.  I just wish I knew how to get your children the right diagnosis. . .


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I have taken food dyes out of my son's diet. There are studies that link food dyes to hyperactivity and in the UK they are slowley getting food manufactureres to take artificial dyes out and replace them with natural dyes.  Look up Feingold diet and it talks about it.  It's interesting.  

The big thing with my son is lack of consistency, sometimes he will do everything they ask, other times not one thing. He's had behavioral issues on/off in the past, but this is the worst.  In other situations they would be more shortlived.  

ANSO04. what happened when you tried the Adderall (adderrall)?  one lady who thinks my son has ADHD, she is an educational ***'t at the school and she said her son was bad in all areas, very defiant, he now has ADHD and ODD.  She said it took about 2 years to get the medications right.  Not very encouraging...

Everyone is always puzzled about how he can do so well one time and not the next.  It's like he can read sometimes and sometimes you ask him and he just breaks down and gets frustrated.  I can remember them telling met hat in preschool, he was never very consistent, could do it one day, but not always the next.  LIke counting, etc.

One day my son was poking others with a pencil, he does not do that at home and has never done that in a social setting that I've observed.  

There's also a boy who is always coming up and saying will you be my friend, and he will tell on Benji a lot.  Kind of like he invades personal spaces and boundaries.

I wonder too if my son is the only child who gets into trouble.
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just hope he does not have ADHD or ODD or bipolar....

I don't think your son has either of the above.  You have described my granddaughter - she was diagnosed with severe social anxiety - co-mobid with sensory processing issues and depression.  I might suggest you google the phrase "behaviors of children with anxiety" or "anxiety disorders in children" or similar words/phrases.  By the way, I know of several children suffering from severe anxiety who have been misdiagnosed with ADHD and one child suffering from social anxiety who was misdiagnosed with ODD (there is tremendous overlap in behaviour of these conditions and anxiety).  Have you had your son see a mental medical health specialist as a child neurologist or a child psychiatrist?  Many pediatricians are not well versed in this area, and yet anxiety in children is very common and highly treatable.  I wish you the best ....
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This is a good point...and I think Specialmom has been stressing that one particular diagnosis does not always fit perfectly with each individual child.

This is why Specialmom has told me that she has implemented a lot of different strategies taken from different disorders.

Benjimom...I have tried reading about anxiety...I found it hard to find descriptions of situations...symptoms dont always match...but situations can be matched.

My son behaves well at home but his issues are at school. Not to say he is perfect at home but the severe behavior problems we see are at school.
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thanks to you for hte above info. I will look into the diagnoses of anxiety.  

Jdtm, did your child just have his worst behaviors in the school setting?

My son seems to do okay with babysitters and at school, granted he has his moments.

He is also very impateint in general.

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did your child just have his worst behaviors in the school setting?

Any social setting in which she felt comfortable, she was unable to "behave".  By the way, if anxiety is the issue and your son is acting out, this is one step above shutting down - our granddaughter shut down for four years before she began acting out (and this contined for several years.  Today her parents are going through a messy divorce and she has began "shutting down" again.  So sad ...
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what do you mean "shutting down" just not doing anything or being withdrawn?

Sorry abotu the divorce, that's really tough and esp if it's messy!

My son has his worst behaviors in the schol settings.  He does things there that I dont' see at home.
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Ditto....my son displays behaviors I cant even fathom...always at school. However, I see milder versions of the behaviors at church, The Little Gym and the such.
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For the record, that is the same with my son too.  School was a whole different story for him.  If a child is overwhelmed or anxious by their enviroment----  that is when it is worse.  However, the modulation/regulation issues happen at home a bit.  Not like school though.   But when I saw my son's face on the playground at his preschool . . . it was a face I didn't know.  
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By the way, if anxiety is the issue and your son is acting out, this is one step above shutting down (my words)

My statement above was a bit too condensed - the spectrum of behaviour tends to be normal, overly noisey/silly, overly quiet/withdrawn and then shutting down - the noisey/silly behaviour is the reason children who are suffering from anxiety are often misdiagnosed with ADHD.  The main difference between the two disorders (ADHD and anxiety) is that overactive, hyper and silly behaviours are constant with those children suffering from ADHD while these behaviours only occur in settings and situations very uncomfortable for children suffering from anxiety (and of course, school will be at the top of the list).

Benjimom - everything in your first posting - rough start to school with difficulty after a relaxing holiday (and this also includes week-ends), the avoidance or running away, the "hating/blaming" of his teacher, the smelly gas and probably burping, chewing of clothes and papers and probably other items, the not being able to learn as you expected - all these behaviours we saw in our granddaughter.  I volunteered a lot in our granddaughter's school and that really helped her to feel more comfortable.  In your second posting - frustration and anger (temper tantrums) are so common to anxiety that some children with anxiety require "alone time" when they return from school after being so stressed all day.  In your third posting - our granddaughter ate a lot of dry pasta (still does) so there must be something about carbs that brings comfort.  Also, our granddaughter was selectively mute - meaning that she was so anxious in certain settings that she was unable to speak - when I read that your son gets overly frustrated and "forgets his words and starts grunting and groaning", this is a huge indication your child is very, very stressed at his point in time, so overcome with fear that he is unable to speak.  Your fourth posting is all about sensory issues and our granddaughter had them all - clothes, noise, smells, touch - of course the special classes as music and gym are difficult because these are the senses involved and children suffering from anxiety want to just avoid and hide and not perform.  Also, doing school tasks with him at home will remind him of school and bring back those very uncomfortable feelings of school and so he will fight homework time.  In your fifth posting you mentioned that your son was destructive - our granddaughter was very hard on all her supplies, toys and material goods in general - don't know why this trait is part of anxiety, but it seems to be.  In one of your later postings you mentioned your child was a high needs, intense and colicky infant - so was our granddaughter (it took so much energy to care for her and she still is high maintenance).  Also, you mentioned your son performed at an inconsistent level at school - if anxiety is the case, then this would make sense; he performs well when not suffering from fear or stress.  I also suspect your child is immature socially and does not mix well with the other children as well as adults.  One more thing - is your son able to use the washroom at school, eat at school and ask for assistance at school if required?

Our granddaughter was diagnosed by a child psychiatrist and her treatment was mulit-modal - intervention, therapy and medication.  For us, there was no other option if she was to have some sense of a normal life.  Your entire postings scream "anxiety" to me - co-morbid with sensory issues and probably depression issues.  But, I do not know your son or his situation nor do I have any medical expertise.

I hope this has been of some help ....
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Yes, he uses the restroom at school and eats at school from waht I hear, I dont' know how much exactly.  Also, he is very shy about asking for help, instead, he does not.  When he first went ot Computer lab at the school, his teacher wrote he would not participate, after further questioning I figured out he did not know what to do and how to do the computer and she asked an EA to sit with him and help him do it and after that it' sbeen much better for him.

He does not like music, he and the teacher got off on a "bad start" and I don't think they have recovered very well.  


The other day at school they asked him if he had had a BM in his pants, another student reported  he smelled BM and she asked him if he did and he woudl not answer her or others teachers about it.  He did not have a bm thankfully!!  Just gas!!  

I will write more later, but it really helps!!!!!
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Jdtm----  this is excellent information.  I think that anxiety and sensory (and probably add/adhd) are often present together.  My son displays signs of anxiety as well-----  chewing sleeves, for example.  When he is nervous or stressed, his senory is worse.  I would guess that it is a secondary issue to his sensory and as we've treated his sensory it has gotten better.  He also does many of the exact same things these ladies' children do . . . or at least he used too.  He still will if it is a bad day.

There seems to be a huge overlap between anxiety symptoms and sensory symptoms.  For us, treating the sensory has meant that his anxiety issues are better controlled.  We've not needed to pursue further help for this at this time (who knows what the future holds).  

When you are trying to figure out what is going on with a child, it is so difficult.  Each one is so different and unique with their situation even though they often  have similarities to other kids.  I think that is what makes it so tricky-----  something sounds just like my boy . . . but then they've tried what we're doing and it works for us but doesn't for them . . . or vice versa.  Information is king with our kids.  The more the better.  I always broke it down to two things-----  figuring out what was going on for the sake of my child's core happiness and figuring out what was going on for the sake of school/life success.  To me, I was much more interested in the core happiness.  My child didn't like how he felt----  so I needed to help him.  Sounds like you've felt the same way about the people in your life that have struggled.  

Anyway, just sharing here and appreciating the good information you always provide.
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after I wrote this, I was trying to work wiht him on some school review stuff like alphabet stuff, sounds, etc.  He got so frustrated, he started groaning/grunting and saying he could not do it, etc.  He got very worked up.  I think he gets so worked up, he cannot even think straight, he needs more instruction and really one on one. I wonder if this is what is happening at teh school and they don't have many resources, one teacher to 23 students and then 1 EA if they are lucky.  
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I think he gets so worked up, he cannot even think straight, he needs more instruction and really one on one. I wonder if this is what is happening at teh school


Yup - that's what is happening at school.  I belong to a support group for teachers and parents of children suffering from anxiety and from that group we have gleaned a lot of knowledge.  I am a retired teacher and am against retention for most children; however, I do feel that our granddaughter would have benefitted from repeating her kindergarten year.  A couple of parents in our group did "hold back" their child and, for them, it paid off.  I'm not saying that this is the way to go for your son but that school is extremely difficult for childen suffering from anxiety and the educational path they take might not be the conventional one.  Anxiety is an invisitble disorder and does inhibit learning. It may take tutors or one-on-one instruction, or summer assistance (although most of us feel ten months of school stress is enough for both child and parent), or longer than the average length of time to graduate, or even settling for less education than the IQ of the child would suggest.  One thing we did agree on was that homework was often too "painful" for children with severe anxiety and it was best to not do it (and this statement is from a teacher who used to check homework completion daily of students).  After all, if the home is the safe refuge, why turn it into just another scary and fearful place (as the school).  When your son is ready and comfortable enough to complete his homework, I suspect he will - our granddaughter began homework assignments sometime in third or fourth grade - she's now in high school.  She will not complete her high school in four years.  Until then ...  just a suggestion ...

One more thing - research has proven that if the brain has to choose between cognitive (thinking) tasks or emotional (feeling) tasks, it will choose the emotional every single time.  Learning cannot win over emotions, so first, one has to deal and try  to conquer the emotions/fears/feelings.  And this will take time - not weeks or months, but years.  In spite of this gloomy posting, do keep in mind if anxiety is the issue with your son, anxiety is very common and highly treatable and, unlike other issues/disorders, if properly treated, will improve and get better over time.  

to specialmom - thank you for your kind words.  We have learned so much from the problems of our granddaughter - it is not a path I would have chosen for my retirement but one that I was assigned.  It has/is not easy.  

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Hi,

Thanks JDTM,

I appreciate yours and everyone's advice.  I've learned so much from all of you.

Tomorrow a behavioral specialist is coming to observe my son and see if she can come up with a plan for him.  I hope this helps. I am so scared he has a SEVERE problem.  I don't know if this is purposeful or somthing he cannot control.  the teacher says she sits by him in class but he will not always cooperate with her.  

Did your child sometimes not cooperate with teh teachers and assistants?  They view him as defiant to authority.

I am just so nervous, I will keep all of you posted on anything I hear and keep the thread going, I'm learning so much from ALL of you.  So many ideas.  
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the teacher says she sits by him in class but he will not always cooperate with her.  

If anxiety is the issue, this is probably the wrong thing to do.  Ask him where he would like to sit - kids usually know - often a corner with the walls serving as "protection" on two sides or near the door serving as an "escape".  Anyway, he'll probably have an answer for you ...
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Benjimom my son is similar to yours...requiring a lot of one on one attention...however he responds beautifully to a teacher/aide working with him. He actually needs absolutely no help...he just wants someone next to him...or needs someone next to him to remind him to stay on task. Literally...you could sit next to him and just say..."stay focused, move to the next step, keep going" this is all it takes. Absolutely no instruction/help regarding the work is needed. However, when it comes to reading/writing my son does display the frustration you describe with your son. He will make a face..want to give up..get distracted.

Benjimom how did you get so much help....I here you talking about psychologists and behavioral specialist....your so lucky you have these options for your son.
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I went ot the psychologist thru my insurance.  A behavioral specialist has been called in from the school (district). this lady goes from one school tot he next where there are problems and tries to work on things. TOday he had a sub, he did have to go to the office but it was for a bloody nose.  I think he had an okay day, no major events.  I wonder if not having the regular teacher there helped.  

I went to see my therapist and she said me and him we've bene thru an incredible amt of stress.  The divorce went thru in Aug 09.  HIs dad moved out in NOv 08.  In Nov 09, we had to help move his dad out of his apt when he was in jail and his lease was expiring, I will not do that again.  His family should be more helpful.  IN Dec. 09, Dad got out of jail and saw Benji a few times before ending back in jail. Dad is alcoholic and keeps drinking while on probation.  So it's been one thing after another. My family lives far away about 1400 miles away.  I am thinking at this point of moving closer to family when this school year ends.  Still thinking.  

The therapist was concenred that last week he emptied out a pencil can and put the can on his hand and hit other students with it.  I am concerned too. I just hate to think he might have MAJOR issues.
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lastest update, he grabbed the handle to teh fire extinguiser case and it broke the class. He said he wanted to see what was inside.  He has promised not to do it again.  Now they are hiring someone to be with him one on one everyday. I hope this will help.

I'm at a loss. Is there more than sensory and is becomign very deviant?? I'm just so worried about him.
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You are so lucky that the school your son attends is actually bringing in resources. My son is getting nothing...he is getting swept under the rug.

I know your sad for your son but ATLEAST he is getting help. I wish my son could get some help.
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I am sorry your school is not doing anything. It's very frustrating.  Have you sought "outside" help?
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the teacher emailed me last night to tell me he is "hitting more often " at school.  I asked her to give me more details. She just tells me and tells me to talk to him about it.
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I haerd from an EA I am talking to on the outside, he was hitting other kids and threatened to kill the teacher.  
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My son admitted he said this, but hesaid he said it to get out of the class.  B/c two days prior they let him go home when he acted out.  He thinks he will get to go home. I'm thinking staying in this classroom is a bad idea.  I don't think he means he will kill.  When the babysitter picked him up, he said he was sorry and she said okay and walked off.  Then he gave her a letter saing he was sorry.
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Sharp kid there.  We all are not happy with the teacher.  What do you know about the other one and how full is the class?  Do a little homework first.
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I basically have written her a note tonigth that I want better communication and a plan must be implemented.  My son will have consequences at home, this is NOT acceptable to me.  I just need to knwo things more so I can discipline at home.  I'm not happy with her and she needs ot be more professional and not take things to heart.  But mainly above it, it's about my son, what do we need to do?  what can I do to help him.  It's not about how I feel, about how she feels and I shoudl not be learning about his actions from an educational ***'t who gave me her number to be of support to me.  She tells me mroe than the school.  

I hope he does not get kicked out.

I am going to work with him on working thru his feelings and not being aggressive or taking it out on others around him.  If you have any suggestions let me know!!

Thanks all.  
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