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Aggressive behavior in 9yr old with Down Syndrome
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Aggressive behavior in 9yr old with Down Syndrome

My son is 9yr old and he has down Syndrome. He started school at the age of 3. He was in the same classroom with basically the same teachers until this school year. He is at a new campus with new faces and a very young tacher. We have started receiving phone calls at least one to two a week aout him hitting, spitting, screaming and just being aggressive. We have gone to the school numerous times to talk to him and they even sent him home last week. Not much of a punishment if you ask me. He is not like this with my husband and myself. He acts like this with his older siblings sometimes. I have noticed that it is usually with a transition with his siblings but I'm not sure about about school. I'm at my wits end and I don't want him to become unmanagable. Does anyone have any advive?  
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You need to talk to him and maybe look into counselling with someone who has delt with patients with special needs. it could be the environment at the school is unfamilliar and that's why he's acting out.

my lil man is 20 months old and hitting terrible twos already
Howdy Missy. My son has Downs also. He is 13 now. But at 9 his behavior(that caused trouble at school was)  dropping down to the floor laughing uncontrollably. He has a contagious laugh and it made other children laugh with was a big problem for the REALLY grouchy rincipal LDS.  Well I finally found out what was going on was he was bored stiff. They would put him in a room with other kids much more severely disabled. I couldnt be with those kids 5 hours a day or even one. They were about 6 mos of age mentally. And made horrible trek noises and yelling. He was so happy every time they took him out of there he was rolling on the floor laughing. I got him out of that room. Which wasnt easy. But he stopped the behavior within 2 weeks. Can you take time to observe at school ? I have seen people hired as para educators that hated thier job. Our kids are very sensitive. they pick up on feelings of others that are caring for them. Have you heard of a POSITIVE BEHAVIOR support plan?
Hello Missy, (And anyone else struggling with behaviour or aggression issues)

My advice is simply an alternative suggestion for the aggression.  Sometimes as we know there are many reasons for aggression and behaviour that we do not like.  Sometimes it's unusual or random and sometimes it's what I call person or location specific.  Since my son (who has Ds) is only 8.5 months old I can not give you advice based on my own child.  But I have experience in a few fields like Policing and Martial Arts so I was wondering if you might consider this.

I have heard many times from a few mothers who have children with special needs such as Down syndrome, Autism and ADHD, that behaviour sometimes specifically aggression has become an issue for them.  (I also run a YMCA group for children with special needs.)  

Knowing their concerns I tell them this:  I am a second degree black belt Tae-Kwon Do instructor.  I have been teaching this martial art as a Black Belt instructor for around 15 years, and my class mainly consisted of children between the ages of 4-18.  (The adult classes were fewer).  Since I was/have been always involved with special needs events, on occasion I offered to teach children who had special needs and also typical children with behaviour issues.  Because my major focus in teaching this art was to promote healthy activities and self discipline, many of the families continued to return and re-en-roll their children when they noticed major changes in attitudes and behaviours.  I know from taking on the challenge of trying and successfully eventually changing children's behaviours of some who were getting into serious trouble with the law (I am an active Police Officer of 13 years) that this kind of activity makes remarkable changes due to working with motivating self image, self esteem and of course as I mentioned discipline.  It works in ways that are fun, healthy and also useful (for self defence).  

Now, I am no longer teaching Tae-Kwon Do in the school/ "Do-Jang" setting because of my severe back injuries, but I still promote it's advantages for youth and adults.  You do not have to find a class that specifically teaches children who have special needs, (although it certainly is nice if the club or teacher provide it) but most of us who are certified instructors know that every child learns uniquely, and independently so most times segregated classes are not necessary.  I personally worked with each child individually when they required it.  I also wanted children to learn by helping each other, and the principles of being in large group settings for martial arts are structured so that the novice learner, no matter what their skill level, are placed strategically so that they can see higher levels and that those higher levels assist when necessary.  It is part of the martial art philosophy to help one another learn, and that is only a small part of earning a new belt (advancement).

As I said, my only source of proof is that I have taught children with Down syndrome, Autism and ADHD, and there were wonderful results.  Not only did the children all learn new skills, better behaviours, increased self esteem and ultimately self defence, they made friends and were getting exercise.  It taught the other students awareness as well.  Since one of our top focuses are discipline, misbehaviours were not tolerated and were dealt with using exercise and common sense.  Aggression specifically is not tolerated because it can be dangerous, so we aim to educate why this is so important to each and every student.  This is why it was so successful in curbing aggressive behaviours in the children we taught, no matter who they were.

Now, not all Tae-Kwon Do centres have the type of philosophy that my Master instructors had taught me, and I have passed on.  Some are strictly all about the money, so if you do decide to research any of the martial arts further, I suggest you make sure you speak directly to the club owners or head instuctors, ask questions and ask to watch or participate in a class for free.  Many of the clubs allow a free or trial class so that you and your child can see if it is something you like.  If they don't offer such a thing, be very careful.  Some clubs are expensive, and some are extremely cheap.  This too should be a warning to you.  Overly expensive ones are just looking to make/take your money, and may not have your child's best interests in mind.  Recreational programs while usually really affordable may not have the same goals in mind that I spoke of.  It can be tough.  When I started out wanting to learn I was around 16 years old.  I must have gone to about 20 different locations just to see what they could tell me.  If they were willing to explain everything to me, I gave them my attention.  School run programs are a starting ground - as when I was around 8 years old, my mother enrolled me in an after-school Judo class, run by the school.  (I don't think those types of programs are flourishing these days though, with low funding.)  I did eventually pick one Martial Arts (Tae-kwon Do) school and it was around $900.00 for a lifetime membership.  I was able to achieve my black belt by the time I was 22 years old, and was actually Olympic bound.  Unfortunately injuries prevented that, I am sorry to say.

I gave back to the community by volunteering and teaching for the same club, 6 days a week.  

I know this post is now extremely lengthy, but I don't like to leave anything out.  It does work when aggression and behaviour issues exist.  I know I have saved a few boys from ending up in Juvenile Detention and subsequently jail.  More importantly, I have helped to shape minds and bodies with healthy activity and I suggest anyone learn a martial art - any age.  While my youngest student was only 3 years old, my oldest was 68 (in classes).  I hope that you will consider it.  If you have any questions about the Tae-Kwon Do or about this post, please feel free to PM me.  I have lots of answers that you may have specific questions to.  

If nothing else, perhaps this post gave you an alternative thought to your query, other than trying to get your school to change or letting it make you and your child crazy trying to sort it all out.

Sandi (Dragon1973)
Down syndrome Group Forum Founder/Moderator
I would talk to the teacher.
What is she doing or the assistants in the room that has made him this way?
If your child is not like this normally, it sounds to me that he is either ignored or not attended to at all in class. Talk to your child too. Try to find out what is going on in the classroom.
Did he have a good relationship with his previous teacher?
Maybe, he just doesn't like this one. And the new teacher might be showing her frustration.
Get together with the teacher and go through how your child is.
What he likes. What he doesn't like. What to do when he's not cooperating/or if he doesn't like something etc.
In my case, whenever my son has not been cooperating, it has been the adults that haven't been behaving professionally. They have been raising their voices. Pulled him left right and centre.
A child who notices a teacher's frustration or even belief that they cannot amount to something will immediately have a negative impact. And that's with any child whether they have one more chromosome or not.
Best of luck!
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