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1183485 tn?1307563714

Could my Child Have a Condition?

My son is 4.5 and can be a bright, helpfull and loving child. Other days however, he is unresponsive, cant seem to process info, does.nt listen and sometimes lies. I usually assume this is part of growing up and normal. His behaviour is worse in school though. Some days he just doesn't respond to the teacher, join in with the class, or is naughty then lies or laughs or cries uncontrollably over it.

The teacher says it's like having a new child every day and she hasto go over the usual routine again and again. Other days though, he's completley normal, happy and responsive. He is keeping up with his school work despite being one of the youngest in hos class.

Now the teacher has asked me if i wand him assessed. He has been observed by a speciallist at school before but she trew no light on the problem. His teacher and I communicate every day and when he's naughty I take his privalages away (TV, treats etc). When he's been good he sometimes gets a special treat like a small toy.

His behavour seems to be related to the atmosphere at home. If he gets a row in the morning because i'm in a rush and he's not listening he's often bad in school. But we cant always be happy with unlimited patience all of the time. I'm trying to chill a bit but he seems far too sensitive to me. Life can't always be perfect for him, and he has a good life generally. I do talk to him and listen to his thaughts which helps but his bad days carry on.

Is it possible he can have a condition like ADHD that only effects him half of the time?
17 Responses
189897 tn?1441130118
   ADHD pretty well effects you all of the time.  He sounds more like he has not gotten enough sleep at night.  Sleep deprivation will have exactly those kinds of effects on a child.
   His age could be a factor.  If most of the other kids are older, he may be feeling frustrated.  I would ask his teacher to show you a list of the ages of the other kids in his class and see where he really is age wise.  Typically, there should be a few kids close to a year older then him.  A few kids at his age and the majority spread out over the 6 months inbetween.  If most of the kids are almost a year older and several are more than that - that's not good.
   Finally he is too young to have privileges taken away at home for what he does at school.  I know you are trying to help.  But at his age, consequences have to be immediate.    Therefore, only the school should deal with his behavior at school.  As he gets older, that can change somewhere around 9 or 10.  
   Oh, and I do think that you have a good point about his morning routine affecting him.  The little guy is not even 5 yet.  He needs a bit more of a break here.  I think both of your days will go a lot better if you can figure out a way to make the mornings go easier.  Perhaps something as simple as getting up just 20 min earlier might do it.
973741 tn?1342346373
Look up sensory integration disorder.  What you describe are symptoms of sensory integration disorder and while this is a developmental delay -------- it can be seen predominantly outside of the home.  My son was worse in school than at home, for example, and he has sensory integration disorder.  

Sensory can look like adhd as both affect the nervous system.  But no medication works on sensory.  Instead, a child with sensory integration disorder is diagnosed by an occupational therapist and treated by them through games that work on the nervous system, something they call "heavy work" which is just games involving muscle work and deep pressure, and behavioral techniques that can really help a child.  

If you google sensory integration disorder and "heavy work" you will get a list of things you can do at home and at places like your local park that really help calm a child's nervous system.  These are basic things like climbing up a play structure, swinging from a rope, hanging from a monkey bar, swinging in general, jumping on anything from a mattress on the floor to a trampline, rolling down a hill and running up it, setting up an obstacle course with a portion that he is crawling across the floor, jumping and running, using a bop bag as a punching bag, making a pillow pile and climbing in and through it, etc.  Tight squeezes and holds also are calming.  He needs lots of these activities every single day to keep his nervous system nice and calm.  Try to take him swimming too, sign him up for karate, soccer, etc.  All good for the nervous system.

For school, choices will help a lot.  His teacher needs to give him choices for most things in school.  This bit of control over things may make him able to comply.  For when he does meltdown and gets upset, have a plan for him.  Sometimes having a cool down spot such as a pop up tent, a bean bag chair in a corner, under a table, etc. is a good thing and as he is getting upset saying "X, you look like you are getting upset, would you like to go to your cool down spot?"  Then he can go calm himself down.  You work on things he can do at home to carry over to school. Things such as "pizza breaths" (breath the pizza smell in -- big breath in throught he nose--- and then blow out through the mouth), counting to 10, opening and closing his fists, etc.  

Also talking about himself as an engine is helpful.  Kids really get this.  When he is wired, hyper, not listening or mad-------- his engine is "too high".  When he is listening, doing as he should, happy and calm--------- his engine is "just right".  When he is sleepy, floppy, distracted --------- his engine is "too low".  Help him understand that he wants his engine to be "just right" for school.  Give him ways as stated abobe to make his engine just right.

I agree that a 4.5 year old is much too young to get in trouble AFTER school.  Not helpful.  I'd also always remain calm with this kind of child---------- no yelling or spanking.  

Often kids in elementary school and beyond can have a really bad day as triggered by something that happened in the morning.  A child with sensory does not deal well with changes.  Helping his overall nervous system stay regulated helps him be more flexible.  Learning coping skills as taught by occupational therapists is so very helpful.

I wish you luck.  
1183485 tn?1307563714
Im supprized at hearing I should'nt punish him after school as his teacher actually advised me to take away his privalages if he's had a bad day! His age does concern me as many of the children are 6-12 months older than him. He only got one year of nursery before he started full time when he was bareley 4. And nursery was a complete nightmare with all the same problems plus he sometimes had violent outbursts. He has thankfully outgrown this (partly i think because he has a much nicer teacher now). The other children around his age seem to be coping ok though.

He sleeps 12 hours every night so i don't thin that is the problem. The sensory integration disorder sounds like a big possibility to me. Your description does ring bells - he does love jumping alot and crawling through tight spaces - he's the oposite of chlaustraphobic! i will look into it further, thanks.

I am trying to give him a little slack - and yesterday he had a better day in school because of it. I also have a 19m old who is hard work and into everything which makes it difficult to stay clam. I know i sometimes overreact because im stressed - thats what im trying to curb. He does need solid dicipline which why i think he is better at home. I can give him more 121 time and stay on top of him.

Thanks all
973741 tn?1342346373
Yes, sensory kids love to be "squeezed".  My son has this thing called a "body sock" which is made of tight knit lycra.  He gets his whole self, head and all in there and it squeezes him.  He used to ask to have it all the time.  They also make things like weighted vests, belts, or lap pads that soothe a child that likes pressure.  You can buy something called "under armour" at a sporting goods store and get the t shirt style.  It would squeeze him ever so slightly which may calm him at school.

I'm afraid your teacher may not be trained in child development.  That is a very bad recommendation on her part.  Punishment needs to be immediate.  And to be honest, as my son struggled at 4 (he was diagnosed at 4.5) in preschool---------  they only punished if he did something totally unacceptable.  Otherwise, they introduced calming and regulating activities.  If in trouble all the time, a child will develop low self esteem.  Not good at 4.  And if your child does have something else going on . . . isn't it insult upon injury to punish him once he arrives home.  School can be challenging to some kids and I found being patient and empathetic worked so much better.  Believe me, some days I was just really mad at my son!  How he could do some of the things he did just really aggrevated me.  Then I started to realize that he was actually trying even if it did not seem that way.  I felt terrible for having been upset with him.  This not to say that I did not dicipline my boy, I did.  But not AFTER school.  Your son's teacher is wrong in this regard!  This makes me worry about her overall approach on other things.  Perhaps she does not understand child development.

When it comes time for his next class, I'd consider keeping him at the grade or spot he is in now.  Then he will be one of the oldest and this is often a better position for some kids than the youngest.  Gives them better chance of success.  

Again, google sensory integration disorder and see what you think.  good luck
189897 tn?1441130118
    As a retired elementary school principal, I agree with everything specialmom said.  Great advice.
   In California, you have to be 5 by Dec. (changing to Sept) to enter kindergarten.  So yes he is very young.  
  And I am sure that your 19m old complicates things in the morning as you are probably trying to get them both going and out of the house.  Maybe some of are other members have some ideas on ways to make that easier or more efficient.   Best wishes.
973741 tn?1342346373
I just read something last night---------------  they talked about some kids in the morning needing a bit of comfort time.  If you got up a few minutes early and sat your son on your lap and gave him a cuddle (tight squeezes), read him a story, etc.-----------  that it starts the day off in a soothing way.  Often we are like maniacs just trying to get out of the house (well, I can be!).  So taking just a few minutes to be loving and calm with our child can set their internal feelings to a warm spot and make the day better.  
1183485 tn?1307563714
Yes i do believe he is trying. When i lecture him he gets upset and says "but how do i be good?" it breaks my heart. He also comes out with things like "my brains telling me the wrong thing" when he's trying to complete a familiar task, which worries me. maybee i should only dicipline him for misbehaviour that has just ocurred?

I have been researching SID and it seems like a really complex contition. His teacher is going to talk to the specialist on monday so hopefully we will get some sort of diagnosis. I will discuss holding him back a year with his teacher as we get closer to years end. If he is still struggling it might be a good idea - he'd be in a class of different kids though so that could unsettle him.
Thanks for your feedback.
973741 tn?1342346373
Interesting------------  my son always said that about his brain too.  I want you to know that while my son has sensory integration disorder and was diagnosed at 4.5-------- he is now 7 and doing fantastic.  Dealing with issues when a child is young can set them up to do so much better as they get older.  I am so happy when I see moms of young kids trying to figure out what is going on with their child----------- addressing a challenge means a child can overcome it!  I use my son as an example all the time!
189897 tn?1441130118
     Coming back to school after a summer vacation makes the process much easier.  More difficult if he was older.  this is definitely the best age to make a change if it is going to be done.  Finding some children over the summer who would be in the same grade level to play with during summer would also be helpful.
1183485 tn?1307563714
specialmom- thats good to know that your son is doing well now. Ive been making some time for him in the mornings this week, having a little cuddle on the sofa before school. the baby makes it hard because he gets jelous and shouts and pulls us but wont come up for a cuddle with us - bu we perevere as i feel it's important we have that time. He has been improving this week which is encouraging.

Thanks for your support
Im amazed with all the encouraging feedback!
973741 tn?1342346373
Try this with your two kids-------------  I had to do this as my boys are 15 months apart in age.  When you are tending to the younger child, say to your older one.  YOu will have to wait a minute, I'm taking care of brother now.  It is his turn.  Then when you are with the older child, say "you will have to wait now, I'm taking care of brother.  Now it is HIS turn".  That way, your younger child will know that he must share mommy and mommy can give time, love and attention to brother when needed . . . and he can wait.  He should grow accustomed to this.  I wonder if this means that you have difficulty for those moments with your older son and he may have some jealousy of his younger sibling.  Just curious.
1183485 tn?1307563714
Ok i'll try, but the baby is so stuborn and has such a temper. I ve been trying to get him to stop throwing toys for ages by saying NO and taking the toy away- im very consistent but he still throws. There is jelousy on both sides but they do get on and my older son is very patient with him considering. THe baby is difficult to play with due to his stuborn nature and bad temper. Ive been trying to spend more time playing with him aswell while my boy spends time with his Dad. He's still hard work though.

The baby was born a few weeks before my son started nursery school. I dont think it helped for him to have so much drastic change in his life at once. If I knew then what i know now, i would have asked to start him at nursery a few months later, then he could have been in the younger class too. Theres too much on his young sholders ;-(
1183485 tn?1307563714
Just and update really...
3 years later, almost to the day, and after a lot of hard work and trusting in my intuition, we've finally been given a diagnosis of aspergers syndrome, which explains the sensory difficulties and all the other challenging behaviours we were/are experiencing.

I'd like to thank you for pointing me in the right direction 3 years ago. I did'nt understand my child at all until I researched sensory processing disorder. The more i read, the more i understood. This completely changed my relationship with my son and the last 3 years have been so much better.

His school have been excellent in understanding his needs and he now spends much of his time in the quieter speech and language class, where he copes so much better than in his regular class.Now he has been diagnosed with aspergers, we are hoping he will get the additional help he deserves.

We are now awaiting assesments for ADHD on recommendation of the doctors who carried out the ASD assesments. But for now we are happy with his diagnosis.
189897 tn?1441130118
    Wow, thanks for the update!  It makes such a huge difference when you can understand or walk in the shoes of your children.
   Can you imagine the damage it would have caused if you had followed his teachers advice to punish him after school?
    I'll message specialmom to make sure she sees your post.  Best wishes.
973741 tn?1342346373
I am just so glad you came back and let us know how things are going!  I'm so glad that it sounds like you are figuring this all out and helping your son.  And I"m thrilled my advice helped in any way.  Kids with challenges often work so hard to keep it together and when mom and dad understand and stand behind them ----  it helps tremendously.  Peace and luck.

Oh, and we now have a sensory forum here!  
480448 tn?1426952138
How great it is to see an update like this!  All too often, we just never see people agina, and never get to know how things ended up.  I'm so glad you got your son evaluated and put into place the things that will help him.  It sounds like he's doing well!

I hope maybe you'll stick around to help others!  It's just SO awesome to see the first hand experience of someone who was pointed in the right direction because of MH and the great people who post here.

Very best to you and your family!
1183485 tn?1307563714
Yes I felt it was important to update you all, even though I didn't think anyone would notice lol. This forum is where it all started to come together for us, I am so grateful for everyone who took the time to post. Had I not come on here for help, thing's could have gone in the completely wrong direction for us. I'd recommend you all to anyone who needs advice, what better resource than real people who have experienced similar problems. I will be visiting again and maybe be able to offer my own advice to someone in a similar situation.
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