My son just turned 5 a month ago. We live in a tiny town with no opportunities for group activities. Since birth, he's pretty much only played with his cousins who are 10 years older than he is. They always played rough and we didn't think much about it until he got around kids his own age and wanted to play the same way. We put a stop to the rough play, but it didn't seem to sink in for him. He has a baby sister who is 2. When she started walking, around age 1, he would push her down. But, now, they get along pretty well besides the occassional sibling spat.
I can take them both shopping with me with no issues for the day. My son is easy to reason with, easy to compromise with, and generally an easy going guy. You could probably count on both hands how many tantrums he has had in his life.
He's always been handsy and invading of other's space. He doesn't know a stranger and will talk to anyone, go up to anyone, and with kids his own age will get handsy. He doesn't get handsy with older kids or adults. But he will talk everyone's leg off!!
We enrolled him in preschool in August of 2007. After just a few days, the teacher said that he had autsim, sensory integration, and other behavioral issues. She said that he was hitting, pushing, shoving, tripping, leaning, rolling on, stepping on, grabbing, touching, etc the other kids. So I observed in the classroom and the behavior stopped, according to the teacher. I didn't shadow or hover over him, I just kept a ear open in his direction and if he got bored, I would simply redirect him. The preschool was not structured at all... with 2 hours of free roam time. (School was 3 hours long). The teacher felt the kids should work out their own problems. This was just not a good fit for my son, so we pulled him out.
We did have him evaluated for those concerns of the teacher, of which nothing was found. He is above average academically.
We then enrolled him into taekwondo classes and he did great. Even at game time with kids running everywhere and pretty much being "chaos", he would do fine. Not one single issue or problem. Not handsy, not touching, hitting, etc. He listened well, focused, caught on well, played the games nice, waited in line, was patient, took turns, made friends, etc. GREAT experience for him. He was earning his new belts and the instructor felt he was a star student.
This summer, at the end of May, we enrolled him in a summer kindergarten program. As good as he was doing at taekwondo (and everywhere else that we went around kids), we thought this summer program would be good for him and he would have fun. It was full days, 5 days a week. His first day was awful. It was preschool all over again with him pushing, grabbing, hitting, etc. But this classroom is more structured than the preschool. He spent a lot of time in time out and sitting out while the other's played. He did have a few good days, but for the most part, he was a challenge for the teacher. I went along on the field trip and he was great. Again, I didn't follow him, but just redirected him a few times. He had fun and did great with the kids.
Since starting the summer school program, he's behavior at his taekwondo class has suffered. We have seen some big changes in his attitude, his behavior (everywhere) and just his over all personality. He's pushing the kids there and we are all constantly correcting him, but it doesn't make a difference. But it was only with the kids his size or smaller.
Summer school is almost over, ending on the 27th of June. We do not plan to send him to kindergarten in the fall. We had found a preschool that is 3 hours a day, 3 days a week.
He does not have any problems with noise, clothing textures, food, allergies, etc.
So my question is, what do we do? Does he need professional help? Why does he act this way just around kids his own size? How can he do so well and then fall back? He had some great days in summer school, so what is the trigger? We thought maybe it was too much, but this behavior can start first thing of the morning at school. Some days he can have a great day at school, great class of taekwondo, and even play a baseball game after all that and do perfect! Other days, he can start off at school with bad behvior, and the afternoon can get better. Other times, the whole day is awful. There is just no rhyme or reason. It's only with kids his own age and then not always. Sometimes when I'm around, sometimes when I'm not.
We have tried different diets. We have tried having him exercise first thing of the morning. We have tried threats, rewards, etc. He thinks his behavior is funny... like it's a game.
Any suggestions? I hope I have given enough information.