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sensory behavior or disipline issue
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sensory behavior or disipline issue

My grandson is 5 years old. my son was told he may have sensory issues. he flapps his hands when he gets excited and when he was younger about 3 he did not want his hands dirty and he need to always have shoes on. He has always been active, his large motor skills were always advanced for his age, he needed help with the small motor skills and he had a short attention span. He loves to explore looking for frogs. He loves to be active.His behavior has been increasingly disruptive and he is now in school and he is getting in trouble due to is conduct. He is the class clown, does what ever he wants to do and ignores the teacher. he is in a special ed class mainly due to his behavior. This child is smart, he is disrespectful, he answers back using the appropriate verbal responses,he can and knows how to have table manners,but if he is in his mood he will squeeze his food into his hands look you in the eyes and laugh. My son tells me this is all part of the senory issues. I'm afraid this is a disipline issue. I guess i'm old fashion. All the tricks my son tries to use do not work on this child. I'm afraid we are heading for bigger problems if this child does not get the appropriate diagnosis. I do believe there are some sensory issues, however, i don't believe all can be blamed on the senory. How do you know if it is senory or disiplin issue? This child is aware of the wrong he is doing at least he appears that he knows.
Your input is greatly appreciated.
  
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My son has sensory integration disorder and it sounds just like your Grandson.  Sensory integration disorder is a developmental delay (has nothing to do with smart, by the way) that affects the nervous system.  It is real and makes life very difficult for a child that has it.  There are specific things that you do to help with sensory and if you don't do them, you have a child that is not regulated well.  Most certainly, behavior will be disruptive at the least.  I would suggest that you read as much as possible on sensory integration disorder to educate yourself as to what may be going on with your grandson (if you care to know).

To simply get through his day, your grandson deals with twice as much as any other child.  His enviroment can overwhelm his nervous system to the point he can not process things correctly.  If he is a sensory seeker, his brain will ask for "input".  This is when you see wild behavior such as running into something, playing too roughly, craving wrestling, spinning, climbing, jumping, basically running around like a maniac.  Sure, all kids do this--------  but a sensory kid does it with an unmatched passion.  Why?  There brain is sending the signal to do it.  Remember that when you feel like being mad at him for it.  Instead, find ways for him to get the same kind of "input" in a safe way.  Your son is most likely going to begin occupational therapy for him and that will give him all kinds of ideas.  But some ideas are-------  go to a park and do all things there.  He needs a couple of hours of physical activity a day.  Run, jump, swing( very calming), crawl, dig, climb, slide, etc.  are all great for regulating the nervous system.  Swimming is the perfect exercise because it provides deep pressure (which many sensory kids crave) and "heavy work" ( a term I would ask you to google related to sensory integration disorder to get ideas of activities to try).  Soccer is a good sport as kicking that ball, running, and I suspect throwing himself on the ground here and there give good sensory input.  Play games at home like "steam roller" where he lays face down and you roll a ball over his body, pressing (deep pressure and is calming).  You can put the ball between you and he and he can push as hard as he can into it.  Have him do animal walks------------  always including bear, crab, and leap frog. Blow bubbles (orally soothes and calms), eat chewy things, blow cotton balls across the table with a straw.
Fine motor is very tricky for some sensory kids.  Many kids with "motor planning issues" (again, google this so you can understand it) will try to avoid difficult activities.  Well, you can't avoid coloring and hand writing in kindergarten or preschool----------  so can you imagine how frustrating the school day can be?  What about scissors?  YOu see all of the other kids using them fine, but it is super hard for you.  Frustrating.  
Many sensory kids have social skills problems as well.  They need a little extra help fitting in.
Yes, a parent learns the difference between normal issues that need discipline and when sensory integration needs to be taken into account.  But the discipline for a regular kid doesn't work as well for a sensory kid.  I'd leave that up to the parents.  They sound like they are trying to learn about sensory.  
Quick story, when my child was 4 he was doing some unacceptable things in preschool.  I was in a meeting with the teacher, director of the school, the counselor/therapist that deals with school issues, and an occupational therapist.  My sons teacher said----------  I can't tell if he is doing it on purpose because he always smiles and laughs afterwards.  The therapist and OT said "let me stop you right there--------  that is a common reaction for a smart child with sensory issues.  They did the act due to the overwhelming message from their brain to do it and lack of impulse control------  but they are smart enough to know they shouldn't have.  They do not know what to do, so they smile or laugh.  They are trying to make it better without any idea how to.  He doesn't want to do the things he does, but can not stop it at this time.  He is doing the best he can and reacts that way because he doesn't know what else to do."  Does that story help you at all?  I never heard another time that my son was just being bad from his teacher.
Please read up on sensory integration disorder so that you can understand where your son is coming from and know your grandson better.  good luck
PS----------  my son was diagnosed at 4 and is now 6.  He is doing fantastic and has had only about 15 minutes one day in the Fall of questionable behavior.  He has no IEP and is fitting in fine.  He is right on track.  He would not have been if I hadn't embraced his sensory issues as real.
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Is your grandson doing OT ?   My son was just diagnosed with sensory processing d/o too, we have not started OT yet, but will soon, but his behavior too at times has been very bad and also he has had to be moved into a special class at a new school.  So far better at the new school, less students, more teachers, more structured.  My son has difficulty with social stuff too.  I know it's hard to understand all this and it probably seems to you more kids have issues these days, but it's really hard for your son too and the mom of the child.  It's really hard.  But ti sounds like you are a good grandfather and looking out for his best interests!
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Thank you for your reply. My very reason for reaching out for answers is to better understand this disorder because I care very much for my grandson and his future. My grandson is a very smart/intelligent child and by no means was I empling that children with this condition are not smart/intelligent. It was simply a statement. My grandson does not share the same problems you describe. He does not behave wildly or like a maniac. He uses scissors perfectly, his hand writing is not an issue. His social skills as far as fitting in does not pose a problem he makes friends easily. He is involved in swiming, and baseball. My son and his wife are very active with him and when he is visiting me we always have activities going on. I don't get mad at him and never said or implied that feeling and yes i agree discipline is up to the parents. However, when he is in the care of the grandparent for a visit for example the grandparent will have to discipline to a degree.

Regarding your short story. Your child knows his actions were not right but doesn't know how to correct it. So how do you (teacher,grandparent who ever) help him learn how to correct it? We have tried the count of three method and that did  not seem to work. We also worked on the reward system and that fizzeld out.You said that you never heard another time your son was being bad in school from the teacher. Let me ask was that because the teacher was more informed or was your child being good? There is a difference.

Well I thank you for the education and appreciate the time you put in to respond. I wish you the best of luck with your son and hope that all works out.



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Sensory can look like a lot of things as it is different in each child.  Your grandson was evaluated in some way and your son was told he has sensory, correct?  My best advice to you is that you do some research on your own and read as much as possible.  Sensory is an issue with the nervous system and processing of information.  I would also talk to your son and find out why sensory was mentioned for your grandson.  It is a fairly new diagnosis and isn't usually given out unless there is some clear cut indication. And behavior problems in school can be because something more is going on with a child.  You may have to dig below the surface to understand how this is affecting your grandchild.
I know you weren't saying that kids with sensory are not intelligent.  I  just state that whenever I use the phrase "developmental delay" because many people become defensive and think that phrase does not fit because their child is smart.  My son is quite bright and has always been above his peers academically.

Also to clarify, my son was diagnosed at 4 and he is now 6.  He is doing terrific and has had only one bad day this year in school.  He has friends, he is above all peers in his class in terms of classwork, we have no impulse control issues,  we have no melt downs.  Seriously, not an issue to be had.  He does not require any intervention at school for his good behavior and work at all.  I attribute this to my understanding his sensory issues and being patient with him.  

It is hard for me to tell you how his parents should discipline your grandson.  I think your first step is to understand sensory and buy into the fact that your grandson may have it.  I use a lot of verbal cues which really work for my son.  He is motivated to "be one of the guys".   If he is squeezing his food (I couldnt' tell what you were talking about)----  do something similar at a different time than at the table.  Get some water and dirt and make mud for him to run his hands in outside.  

I do use positive reinforcement with my son and redirection.  I don't spank or yell.  If you have a sensory kid and you spank and yell---------  it makes it worse.  I do time outs.  But mainly I use natural consequences.  If he were to squeeze food and make a mess.  I'd have him help clean up the mess.  And he would  not get food to replace what he had ruined.  He'd not be as full that evening at dinner because he ruined his food and I wouldn't make more.  (I'll gladly get more or make a little something different if he eats it all or tries something with honest effort.)  If I say something, I always follow through.  If he throws a toy, he loses the toy.   If he won't clean something up and I have to do it-------  it is taken away for a while.  If he shouts while I am driving, I pull over.  If he is crying or screaming, I tell him that I will not speak to him until he stops because I can't understand him.  All of this works for my child.  I've never spanked him once.  

My best advice is to read as much as you can about sensory integration disorder.  Your grandson was having issues that brought your son to the point of thinking he needed evaluated.  And whoever evaluated him saw sensory integration disorder.  Something is going on and I think if you learn more you will be better able to help.  Good luck
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Behavior, due to sensory issues or not, can and should be managed.

It is, however, harder to self-regulate for sensory children, that is why you see more behaviors.




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I agree with your discipline approach. I raised 6 children and spanking was never part of my discipline. I have to admitt I did yell at times, however, I understand that is not the way to go with your son or my grandson.

Thanks again.
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My grandson just started OT about a month ago. He likes it. This disorder does take a toll on the parents and their house hold. It is hard and you have to hang in there. Good luck and hang in. Parenting is tough and when your children are grown and married you still worry. You will be okay. Oh I'm the grandma and thanks for the kind words.
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you are so right.
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Barb--------  all parents are human and all probably yell a time or two! After raising 6 kids, you probably have a handle on discipline.  Sensory kids often do not react the same and hence discipline needs to be tailored to the child.

Natta, I disagree with you a little bit.  When my son was 4-------  he would have an all out meltdown when at preschool when washing his hands.  It bothered him that much and he had an over the top reaction.  It was worse at preschool but happened at home too.  He was in duress and I would not have punitively punished him for that.  I do try to differentiate what is bad behavior and what is sensory related.  I agree that I manage and try to give appropriate reponse to a sensory situation but do not punatively discipline at those times.  I try to help him find ways to COPE when it is sensory related vs. punish.  No, he can't hit someone when he loses it and he'd be in a major time out and have to apologize, etc.  But my son doesn't hit nor is he aggressive because we work on that as family before that ever became an issue.  It is harder for a sensory child to control themselves but I still have the expectation that they do.  Thankfully, I have a child that wants to do the right thing.  He is very self motivated to control himself.  But if it comes to something that he just finds intolerable or a regulation problem, I do not punish for that.  I try to help him feel better.  Just my thoughts about what has been successful for us.
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