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Avatar universal

School Issues- Kindergarten

My son is 5 years old. For the last few years we have noticed an array of different behavior problems. They have ranged from inability to focus, hyperactivity, aggression, preference of being around adults instead of children and so on. The first thought was ADHD...but after two years of working hard with him...ADHD does not seem to fit. I have researched anxiety disorders, dyslexia, oppositional defiant disorder, autism and so on. Nothing seems to fit just right.
So here is what we are currently facing...
At home my son has improved tremendously. His hyperactivity has died down and he seems more like a typical 5 year old boy. He generally listens on the first try or at least by the second. If he is tired...it could take five times or more. He is sweet...caring...affectionate...thoughtful...very attentive...overall a fun loving kid. As long as he is around adults...this is the behavior he shows. Most the comments we receive are...what a well behaved lovable boy. He shows little to no aggression...never uses bad words...is clear on what is right from wrong.
At school...he seems to be a completely different child. Since day one we have had issues. What started as a concern with him sitting quietly or participating with other children quickly developed into much more serious concerns. According to his teacher and the staff at the school my son show's aggression (hitting, kicking), he says bad words, treats kids poorly (name calling, destroying their papers), isolates himself, wont participate...it goes on and on.
We have met with the school many times...my son has been sent to the principals office countless times...he has been suspended once. We have a big meeting coming up soon to evaluate him for special ed. The teacher is stating she feels my son will fail Kindergarten because he is not academically up to standards. However, I work with my son twice a day on homework and he is academically "average" in reading/writing and advanced in mathematics and language/communication. He can relate to and understand adult concepts. His memory is outstanding...he remembers things from when he was two that even I forgot. He asks lots of questions and unlike typical children doesnt accept the basic answer...he digs deeper. My son is very aware that he is treated different at school and on the bus...he states this makes him sad. When asked if he likes school...he states he likes/misses his teacher but not the other children. The moment he walks to the school bus...his whole demeanor changes.
What I know to be true is this...my son acts very differently at home vs at school...he has always preferred adults/older children over children his own age...I have witnessed this "poor" behavior the school speaks of when he is around children of his own age or children who are more active/unruly and he does require more focused attention to stay on track and behave (not an independent worker). One last thing...I have noticed that school has greatly influenced his self confidence/worth...he has come home saying he is stupid or ugly and wants a new face. Things he heard at school.
Oh...one more thing...he does know right from wrong...he shows accurate emotions when he has done something wrong...shows remorse...guilt...sadness...
Sorry this was so long...but I am desperate for some answers. For years everyone has "guessed" at what could be the problem...we have tried hundreds of things with him...I want something concrete. I refuse to let my son fail kindergarten...he is smart...gifted I believe...socially/emotionally maybe immature...but too smart to be held back.
Help anyone...ideas....please!
102 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Have you ever looked into sensory integratrion disorder?  This involves the nervous system and my son suffers from it.  Well, I say suffer . . . but through occupational therapy that really isn't the case.  He was just like your boy at school (preschool) and we had him evaluated by an occupational therapist and began occupational therapy (which is like play therapy which my  kid LOVES).  He is like a different kid all together now.  Things were always worse at school because that is an enviroment in which he had less control (and controlling things is a coping mechanism) as well as the enviroment was stimulating to the nervous system----  his processing slowed and got jumbled.  We do lots of activities at home that have helped beyond belief and I'd be happy to give you some ideas if you think sensory might fit.  Social problems were one of the areas that broke my heart for my son.  He is MUCH better now.  

You are wise and smart to try to find out what is going on.  Self esteem in these years is critical and sets the tone for life.  Being in trouble every day in school will take its toll on his self esteem, for sure.  Finding the root cause of the behavior can head that off.  My son has only had one bad day since starting kindergarten this year which is a miracle based on the  past.  I feel blessed to have found out what the issue was.  Let me know if I can help in anyway!
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding. After reading about sensory integration disorder...I do not feel this fits my son...at all.

Any other ideas?
973741 tn?1342346373
Well, there is aspergers and emotional/psychiatric issues . . .  I would suggest going ahead and allowing the school to evaluate him for speech, psychiatric and occupational therapist evals.  A parent can request this.  The information is confidential and meant to help.  If he needs some extra things in place to help in the classroom enviroment-----  this is how you get it.

I wish sensory integration was the problem as we've seen so much improvement with our son.  He is like a different kid now and doing so well.  

Does your son require movement to stay focased?  Some kids do.  Does he sit better after playground time, for example?  

How are his fine motor skills?  Any trouble writing that could frustrate him?  

Is he always young for the group he is in . . . as he is 5.  When is his birthday?  Is he on the young side of his class?  (like as in a summer birthday?)  

Avatar universal
My son has great fine and large motor skills. He is very coordinated.
He is more of a hands on learner. He requires a lot of positive reinforcement and like I mentioned one on one attention to stay focused.
He was five in April...he may be a bit younger...but he looks older...he communicates on a 2nd or 3rd grade level...
He does struggle with reading/writing...it takes a lot of repetition...his writing is O.K. as long as he is being observed closely and reminded to write nicely. We have noticed he writes some things backwards...E and 3...S and 2...6 and 9...6 and 8...S and 5...these are all I can think of now. But shows no other signs of dyslexia.
They are starting an evaluation...like you mentioned...I dont want my son in Special Ed...I fear if I keep him in K they will fail him...that are already stating he will fail. Even though I know he academically is on track with reading/writing...and ahead in mathematics. But the school doesnt see this...they just see his poor behavior.
Avatar universal
It is like he has a mixture of ADD and Anxiety...but both would be mild...

I really wonder if there isnt something else...underlying...that sets him off in a school environment...and with children of the same age. Something small...that we are all missing.

I have asked to observe him at school...the school wont allow it...they say he is to dependent on adults and my being there would only add to this. Who knows my son better then me? No one! If I observe him...I might be able to catch something they dont. They admit they dont have the staff to provide the direct attention he needs. 23 kids with 1 teacher...she cant see it all.

The school counselor has tried implementing strategies in the classroom...none have been successful. BUT I implement similar strategies at home...and he is great...only difference...I can give my son more one on one direct attention.
13167 tn?1327197724
Sometimes schools have no other recourse to return the classroom atmosphere back to normal,  than to remove a child who is academically average but extremely disruptive.

How does he do in groups of children away from school?  i.e,  birthday parties,  groups of children at the McDonalds playground, etc?

Have you considered getting into a homeschool network,  where he can be mostly home schooled but also gather in small groups for additional educational/social activities?
Avatar universal
What if a child is academically above average? Bored in the classroom? My son states he is bored constantly. Does that make him special ed? He already feels very different from other kids.

He is fine in small groups of children...accept if their is a child who is overly active, loud, disruptive, aggressive....then suddenly my son has issues.

I would love love love to consider a homeschool network like you describe...accept I have twins due in April...and cant fathom how I could homeschool my son...get to small group gatherings...and care for twins.
Avatar universal
I am just trying to get a firm understanding of the schools position and my son's options.
973741 tn?1342346373
My son is in kindergarten as well-----  a portion of his report card is behaviorally oriented.  I think because developement is important in those years . . . to learning.  If his behavior is not condusive to learning, how will he learn, right?  This will only get worse and worse as he gets older and more is expected out of him.  So the evaluation sounds very necessary.

I think I would think about the words the teacher has used.  He is not academically where the other kids are.  The other portions of my child's report card were on the things kindergartners focas on----  letters, numbers, writing, emerging reading, etc.  My son does a little better at home with that stuff because his sensory gets in the way a bit at school.  If he were falling behind though, I would make sure I was addressing it.  Your child is falling behind, it appears.  

He may be struggling more than you know.  For example, you say he has "great" fine motor skills but has a little trouble writing.  That is a contradiciton.  FYI----  my son is super coordinated as well.  He is an awesome athlete and always has been.  He also does pretty well with fine motor.  But fine motor is slightly off.  It makes writing a little harder for him.  He is on target with his class, but has to put much thought into it.  He has sensory and some fine motor issues but they are slight.  Even a slight issue can cause a problem and make it a little more frustrating for a child.  His  hand writing is of no concern to his teacher as it is on target as I said, but it is harder for him than other kids.  My son's gross motor skills have always been noticably good as well . . . except that sometimes things are a little hard for him.  My son is a very strong swimmer (you should see this kids muscles).  He swims all year long and has a new instuctor that is a stickler for correct stroke.  He can do freestyle pretty well, but doesn't have the perfect stroke.  He really fought her at changing it.  I realize this is because it is harder for him to coordinate it.  His motor planning is ever so slightly off.  My son is only 4 months older than your son.  My point being that even a slight issue can make things harder and more frustrating.  

As he is a good communicator-----  what does he say is happening.  Why is having focasing issues, aggressive issues, etc.  What are his words for this?  And I was also wondering if you have ever volunteered in class to see for yourself what is going on.  I would definatly do this.

A teacher can not insert her opinions torwards your son as testing even in kindergarten has some standards to it----- I believe that is law.  I'm sure they compare his work to his classmates . . . right?  And no child left behind means that each school compares standards of an individual school to what happens in the state and the US.  So I'm confused as to why you think behavior is the only reason he is having trouble.  It sounds more involved than that and I think legally it has to be.  I don't know for sure, of course.  

I am NOT being unsympathetic in any way.  It is heart breaking when our child is suffering.  It sounds like a complicated situation, for sure.  And there are bad teachers out there that might let their bias enter into the picture . . . hope that is not the case and everyone wants to get to the bottom of this to help your son.

In our state, we have inclusion.  Meaning that unless it is a severe situation, kids stay in mainstream classroom.  An IEP must be in place and that will be important for your son.  The evaluation helps determine the IEP.  Maybe an aide will be suggested that helps your son more one on one.  Aides are confidential as well.  They are in a classroom without designating which child they are there for.  Sometimes it is obvious if a physical issue is present, but otherwise, no one knows for sure and the aide works with everyone with a special eye on their subject.  I don't know.  My son doesn't require an aide but does work better one on one (as really most kids do)----  so I don't know what the standards of assigning these would be.  Certainly if he can't attend to class without great disruption to everyone in the room and himself, then an aide would probalby help!  
I can tell you are searching for answers and I obviously don't have any.  I wish you the best as you sort this out.  Good luck.
973741 tn?1342346373
Please don't take offense to this question . . .Why do you feel your son is above average academically?  I'm just wondering. Remember----  what they do at home is different than school----  and at school is compared to his peers and where they are at academically.

I would NOT be happy if a school said I couldn't observe.  I think I would talk to the counselor.  I'm not suggesting that you sit and help him through but that you watch and see what is happening.
Avatar universal
Thank you again for your thoughts.

I guess I have not paid close enough attention to if he has slight problems with motor skills (fine or gross). The only one I can think of is the writing. It takes extreme focus for him to be able to write accurately.

I have asked for them to put an aide in the classroom...I am confident this would help. I was allowed to volunteer once in the classroom...and made an effort to help all the children...not just my son...but my presence there...and my ability to keep him directed...worked...his teacher commented on how well behaved he was. Now they wont allow me to volunteer...like I mentioned before...stating my son is to dependent on adults. The school states they do not have the staff for an aide...ummm...I thought the state was required to provide one if that is what is required for my son to be successful?

I  just went and re-read a recent letter his teacher sent... her exact words...my son knows the material but will not do it or say he doesnt know it...to seek attention from an adult...then once he receives the attention... he needs no direction to complete the work. He is a smart boy...

The reality is my son is wrong for his behavior...hands down...but we dont see that behavior at home...only at school or with children who are unruly/loud/aggressive themselves.

Avatar universal
My son has tested above grade level in Mathematics...his school knows this...THEY tested him...they also agree that his verbal communication in very advanced. In every meeting they state...Anthony is very bright...BUT...

When I have asked my son about school...this is what he tells me...I am summarizing...

He is bored...he doesnt like doing a lot of work at one time...other kids are loud...he is blamed for stuff he doesnt do...kids make fun of him...he feels if he is nice or mean, they treat him the same way (like he is different)...he gets called stupid/told he should be in Special Ed...he admits that sometimes he is following the lead of others (they yell, he yells)...and sometimes he has no clue why he acted badly, he tells me he cant figure it out, it just happened...and so on...you get the point.
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