New Here: Are we gonna survive 1st grade???

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by --Eleanor--, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. --Eleanor--

    --Eleanor-- New Member

    Hi all:

    I just found this site and am somewhat selfishly reassured that I'm not the only parent dealing with certain types of kid problems day in and day out.

    I'm from a family of hyperlexics (reading by about age 3 without being taught) and my difficult child is a hyperlexic almost-7-year old son with high functioning autism. He was diagnosed at age 2 and has been getting alot of services since then. He is extremely bright, can be utterly charming, and has a great, if really weird, sense of humor. So that's from the parent perspective. Here's the school's perspective: He is noisy, disruptive, given to tantruming whenever he doesn't get what he wants, and has recently developed a tendency to hit out at teachers and aides. Their idea of a solution--stick him into a self-contained classroom for kids with mental retardation despite the fact that his IQ is 111. Our response: Lawsuit under IDEA. We've recently settled the suit and got him what appears to be a really great inclusion program (specially designed for him--not a group thing) with staff that seem really great. But we're already getting reports of continuing behavior problems. I'm pretty worried...Are we going to have to end up home schooling him? Is he never going to be able to function in a classroom? Are we ever going to be able to spend money on anything other than speech therapy, occupational therapy and lawyer bills?

    Anyway, that's where I am at the moment. Hope to get to know all of you here...
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. I just noticed your post and wanted to say Hi. Your
    post probably needs to be transferred to the early childhood or
    educational section but a Moderator will make that choice.

    Thank heavens....I am past elementary and middle school issues!
    No advice from me. LOL. Glad you found us. DDD
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Eleanor, I'm a parent of a Hyperlexic child as well. Has the school been using written language intervention strategies to address behavioral issues in the form of lists of rules, social stories, etc? When he starts to escalate are the teachers pulling out a white board and dialogueing with him or are they carrying on verbal dialogue?

    A few other thoughts for your consideration--

    Many of us have had good results with Ross Greene's book "The Explosive Child" so check into that if you haven't already.

    If you feel that setting and intervention strategies are all appropriate it is usually worthwhile having an assessment done by a pediatric neurologist. Sometimes there are issues such as seizure activity or sleep problems lurking that are contributing to the behavioral problems.

    Finally--and I mention this as a possibility--have you trialed any medications? My difficult child did not get along well to the two we trialed due to side effects but we've had some kids through here who have used medications very successfully.
  4. bystander

    bystander New Member

    I am new too - and wanted to chime in on saying hi.

    Our situations are similar on a couple of notes.

    My son is 6 and has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). He's in first also - but is signficantly past that in academics. He started having behavior issues around mid-year that have escalated into noisy outbursts. This is due (we believe) to the atmosphere in the classroom (it's run Montessori-style with a lot of disorganization, but it's a public charter school); and his "friendship" with another boy that has a true Jekyl and Hyde- like behavior (including violence = punching & kicking). He's never been a problem anywhere else - no matter the type or size of activity/venue. His (private) therapists totally agree that it has to be the atmopshere and issue with this other boy.

    We're concerned however, that the school sees this as a deeper problem because they know he has sensory issues and was in therapy - although he's already had a full neuro evaluation to no diagnosis-avial. The parents of this other kid have refused to get their son tested and help him; they think it's just "boy" behavior. Sooo, DS' teacher wants a meeting with us, the Principal and the "Learning Consultant" - pseudo for psychologist I think.

    This school certainly isn't working out. He did totally fine last year in the private Kindergarten we had him in ... and does fine in places like Sunday school with 25-30 kids.

    I wonder sometimes if we'll have to do the same (homeschooling). We're going to give it a go in a traditional academic setting next year (probably a Christian private school). I don't expect a problem - but if there is - we may have to seriously consider other options.
  5. --Eleanor--

    --Eleanor-- New Member

    Hi--thanks for the quick responses! The school is (at this point--his previous school was awful) being very good about accomodating the hyperlexia. His aide uses a whiteboard, and the autism specialist has prepared a number of social stories. The settlement of our IDEA due process claim included what I would consider a "dream team" for his IEP team, including a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who actually knows what hyperlexia is, and a behavioral psychologist (who is on contract, not on district staff) who has set up what looks like a good behavioral plan.

    Re: "The Explosive Child"--yes, we've got it, and it sounded good, but we didn't end up discovering any triggers for problem behaviors other than the obvious one, e.g., him not wanting to do whatever it is he is supposed to do. We did get some useful strageties that we use a lot--we give lots of "choices," for example.

    Re: Evaluations, we have had two full workups, one when he was 2, and one last November. Nothing unusual turned up (except that the hyperlexia is pretty unusual, it seems).

    Re: medications. Well, we resisted for quite a while, but have recently started a trial of the lowest dose of ritalin. It does seem to help with concentration. But his behavior is no better (in fact worse when he's coming off the stuff).

    I think the big problem at this point is that he is really into testing limits. He is constantly asking "what will happen" if he does something I tell him not to, or doesn't do something I tell him to do. And he is obviously carefully weighing his options. It goes something like this:
    "Stop kicking the chair."
    "What will happen?"
    "You'll get a time-out."
    "How long?"
    "5 mintues."
    "How about 4 minutes?"
    And so on...

    (It would be funny if it wasn't so irritating.)
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I would encourage you to first revisit The Explosive Child. Do a reread and see what else you can pull out of it. There's also a threat at the top of the Early Childhood board for adapting it to younger children that may be of help to you. In your above example where you immediately cite a consequence you are playing right into the hands of a child with an ODD mindset. They LOVE to test limits and put forth their being in charge. Nothing sets up their knee jerk reaction to authority than being told what to do and being given a consequence. You want to look beyond giving choices to find ways to defuse the situations without getting into this tug of war.
  7. bystander

    bystander New Member

    OMG - my son does *exactly* the same thing! He asks that A LOT - "What will happen?" If he's doing something and I ask him to stop. The tac I've been taking is - "It doesn't matter - STOP IT because I told you to". Explanations have not helped either - because he started expecting an explanation for *everything* practically. Some things, you know, you just want them to stop because you asked him to. He's a limit tester for sure.

    He's a skilled negotiator too - but he doesn't usually negotiate about discipline. He takes his medicine after it gets presented so to speak. He negotiates more often about like how many cookies he can have; or, bed-time on the weekends. These encounters can get annoying.

    SRL: Does that book have good advice for this consequence-kind of stuff even if your kid is not explosive?
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Yes, I think the title sways a lot of parents away from reading it because they don't feel like their child fits the "explosive" description. If you have a difficult, inflexible child this is a good book to put into your bag of tricks. The goal is to engage the child in problem solving in which case the negotiating skills can be seen as positive.

    I think where the books helped me the most was getting inside the mind of a child who has a very different mindset from my others.
  9. --Eleanor--

    --Eleanor-- New Member

    Some of this "questioning authority" stuff is probably just part of being 6, I suppose. And negotiation around stuff that doesn't involve behavioral problems doesn't seem like a bad idea. (Of course, I do that for a living, so I guess I WOULD say that...)

    Part of the tension of what we're dealing with is that, to some extent, we are getting differing advice from various professionals. Because my son's language (particularly reciprocal conversation skills) has been so delayed, the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is THRILLED with reciprocal dialogue including the irritating type of negotiation described above. The psychologist (very behavioral approach) goes to the opposite extreme--no dialogue at all with child about the problem behavior, just time out, get back on task, etc.

    I think I will go back and loot at "The Explosive Child" again. In some ways, my son fits this description and in some ways not. The book describes kids that are often angry, surly, withdrawn, and with explosive tempers. My son is actually very cheerful most of the time, even when he is misbehaving. In fact, that is one of the things that makes his misbehavior so irritating...
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I would have issues with a child psychologist who was pushing for a My Way or The Highway approach with an High-Functioning Autism (HFA) child. Certainly there are those times--safety, very important issues--when you must have compliance but experience of parents here has shown that getting your goal accomplished through other means than demanding compliance and dishing out consequences has been far more successful.

    Negotiation is a valuable skill to have, including the language aspect. I would work changing the adult language so that negotiations don't jump to the consequence level.
  11. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Hi Eleanor. I used to wonder the same thing, and envisioned my difficult child not even making grade 8 and living in a box under a bridge or something, but we've made it and I'm sure you will too though it's not an easy road. :thumbsup:

    My son's problems started about the same time as yours, and in grade 2 graduated to meltdowns. We didn't get a diagnosis though, and over the next 3 years through a few programs ended up in a 3:1 ratio classroom. In hindsight the worst thing for him. We got a diagnosis, the 3:1 teacher actually was the first to truly "get" my son, and with this and the medication we were able to integrate him back to regular classes with an aide. He's doing well, though his mediocre grades aren't reflective of his IQ, but at least he's on to high school. We came to realize a lot of my son's problems were his anxieties and ocdness - not "getting" something when he knew he should, his need to do things "perfectly" or "right" all the time, his problems with transitions. They've done things like write the schedule down for him for the day, so he'd always know what was next, and if language arts was next (his most hated subject) then it wasn't "sprung" on him. You mentioned that you haven't found a trigger for behaviors, and that's similar with us. The thing is, a trigger could be something completely simple. Once my son's desk was sitting near a window, and the sun was shining in on his leg, making his leg hot and making it too bright. He ended up in a meltdown over writing a few sentences in his journal. When I finally got him to talk about the whole thing, right to the sun part, we realized that was what irritated him to start with and brought on the whole thing. He didn't think the teacher would let him move if he told her the sun was bothering him. The Christmas music they were playing in the school brought on another. The sound bothered him, and he melted over something else. But in making him talk over the whole thing, he just wanted the noise to stop. Oh, for an uncomplicated child :hammer: LOL. It could be anything like this with your son as well. The school finding your son "noisy", is he perhaps using sounds as a stimulant? I know my son used to make a lot more noises, and still does once in a while. He'll be sitting quiet at the computer and then just make some noise. :crazy2: It's like they just can't hold it in.

    I've used some of the things I've learned in The Explosive Child as well, though probably not following it exactly as the author intended. I think it's like any parenting technique, you have to adapt it to your situation and what works for you. I have found that with my sons rigid thinking over some things, that if I sit down and talk to him about behaviors etc. and he has input into what happens or doesn't, that he does much better. Perhaps if you sit down with your difficult child and mention that "what will happen" and get him to talk about what he thinks and get him to agree with what will happen before the behaviors you won't get this as much. I think this is such a kid thing though, I get this from both of mine, "what if I don't" and my response now is just :nonono: "you know what will happen".

    Again, welcome to the site. Hope we can help you out.
    :flower: :angel: :kisses: