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#1 of 24 Old 12-08-2010, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there mamas...

 

I considered posting this in the main forum, but then I thought that you all might have some helpful advice or insight. I don't know if my DD could be considered SN, but she's definitely high needs...

 

My DD is six years old. She's always been emotionally sensitive for as long as I can recall. As a toddler, she cried when I left the room. She was one of those kids who literally hung around your leg. She was fearful of people she didn't know, didn't like new situations, I couldn't leave her with a babysitter (which happened to be an auntie she saw all the time, not a stranger) until she was three (and it didn't go well at all).

 

We tried her in preschool at three years old and had to stop after two weeks. She cried the entire first week. The teachers called me to pick her up: it was disruptive to class. Then I came with her for the next few classes, but it was apparent that she would just cry without stopping if I left, so we quit. We did do preschool at four years old, and she did fare better, but her transition the first month was a lot harder on her than other students. Her classmates had settled in just fine, but she would still cry when I dropped her off in the mornings. But then she would cry at the drop of a hat if something set her off. For example, for the longest time, she was afraid of firemen and fire drills, and one of the photos I have from preschool is (you guessed it) a fireman who came to visit the class for careers day and there's all the happy smiling kids and my DD in hysterics, crying, in the front row.

 

After she turned five, she started school full-time here in Australia and predictably, the first month was an endurance test. The other kids had transitioned well, but she'd still be in tears every morning. And we'd talk, talk, talk about it after school, on weekends..."Okay, on Monday, when we drop you off, it'll be okay, right? Because now you know your teachers and all the kids, so there's nothing to be worried about..." but nope, it never worked. And after term breaks, it would be the same again for a few days.

 

Aside from having a tough time with transitions, she just tends to wear her emotions really close to the surface. When she's chided or disciplined, she's in tears immediately and I often have to wait for her to stop crying and calm down so we can talk about what I need her to hear and understand. Personality-wise, she's a perfectionist, gets frustrated easily when she can't master things immediately (again, more tears)...her teachers have not said that it's interfering with school or disruptive to the class or anything. It's also not a constant...there may be days or even weeks where she seems more on an even keel and able to handle whatever comes up, but then it can be the opposite for a while. Academically, her teachers said she's at least one to two grade levels above her classmates (she came into the Aussie version of Kindergarten already knowing how to read and reading books to her peers from the start of the year), but from what I can see, with the exception of one other child, no one seems to be having the tough time emotionally that she is.

 

I did one of those online tests for "Do you have a highly sensitive child?" http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test_child.htm and she's a 19/23. The ones that stuck out at me were trouble with surprises and change, perfectionist, notices little subtle changes (I can move a small ornament on the bookshelf and she notices right away and asks me why I did that), asks deep questions (and a LOT of questions...it's exhausting), and performs best when strangers not present (she won't even relate a funny story from school to my neighbor and asks me to tell the neighbor instead). I also looked at a lot of the SPD info out there and it doesn't seem to fit her. 

 

It's just getting to the point that we're wondering what else we can do for her. Does she need extra help with this? A lot of the time, we feel like we're walking on eggshells...she recently spent weeks rehearsing in the school choir for the Christmas concert, then the night of it, she refused to go on stage with her buddies, started crying, and sat with us instead. At orientation for her new school, when the teacher asked if she'd like to come with the other new kids and see her new classroom, she burst into tears. And she was the only one to do so in the gathering...while dry-eyed four year olds walked to their classes without a backward glance. Today when I dropped her off, she was fine but then I didn't leave immediately like I usually do (I was talking to another parent) and I see her running over crying and she's stopped her reading lesson with the teacher and has come running to say goodbye to me for a fourth time...the teacher today was a sub and asked me, "Um, is she always like that?" 

 

I was hoping for the longest time that she'd grow out of this, but no sign of that so far. I'm dreading the new school year here in February. Does anyone have any advice, books, websites whatever that they can recommend? It seems we spend so much time some days trying to smooth out transitions, changes etc. and yet sometimes it doesn't seem to be making a difference from her behavior. By contrast, her younger brother is so easy-going, adaptable, and unflappable that I also feel like he's getting a raw deal because we have to focus on her so much.

 

Thanks...


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#2 of 24 Old 12-09-2010, 08:26 AM
 
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I'm wondering if having her evaluated for anxiety would help? there's a good book called "How to Free Your Child From Anxiety" that you might want to read to see if she shows any signs of anxiety -- you can do a lot at home, and then if that's not working, you might be able to seek out some play therapy.

 

Another avenue to investigate is Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities --- there's a good book called "Living with Intensity" that might give you some insight. That book didn't help me as much, but I know other people who have found it very helpful.


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#3 of 24 Old 12-09-2010, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Lynn...I'm going to look into both options you suggested...I appreciate your input thumb.gif


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#4 of 24 Old 12-09-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Just wanted to say that a lot of what you describe about your DD applies to my DS as well.  And that's about how I would envision any kind of school environment to go for him.  That's only one of the many reasons I am homeschooling.  While it may not work for many families, it seems to be what's working for DS.  He is way more comfortable at home and I think he's able to learn more by not having to expend so much energy being anxious about everything.


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#5 of 24 Old 12-10-2010, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Kim...I have considered homeschooling in the past, but have been reluctant because I don't know if I could do a decent enough job of it. I know a couple of homeschooling moms and they are super organized, savvy, very competent...I have doubts that I could do it as well. But I haven't ruled out that option if her anxiety gets to a point that it interferes with her schoolwork and becomes disruptive to the class. Can I ask, seeing as our LOs seem very similar, what has helped your DS (besides homeschooling)? Do you have any strategies that made a difference in daily life? I know from experience that most times we can't seem to talk our way through it. We talk beforehand and try to anticipate and smooth everything out, but then the wheels fall off the cart and while we're in the middle of a crying jag she doesn't listen to what we're saying...well, not much beyond, "it's okay, it's okay...shhh...don't cry, look, it's nothing to worry about..." So, there must be other things we can do to support her, because it feels like we're not having much success with what we're doing.


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#6 of 24 Old 12-10-2010, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by japonica View Post

Thanks, Kim...I have considered homeschooling in the past, but have been reluctant because I don't know if I could do a decent enough job of it. I know a couple of homeschooling moms and they are super organized, savvy, very competent...I have doubts that I could do it as well. But I haven't ruled out that option if her anxiety gets to a point that it interferes with her schoolwork and becomes disruptive to the class. Can I ask, seeing as our LOs seem very similar, what has helped your DS (besides homeschooling)? Do you have any strategies that made a difference in daily life? I know from experience that most times we can't seem to talk our way through it. We talk beforehand and try to anticipate and smooth everything out, but then the wheels fall off the cart and while we're in the middle of a crying jag she doesn't listen to what we're saying...well, not much beyond, "it's okay, it's okay...shhh...don't cry, look, it's nothing to worry about..." So, there must be other things we can do to support her, because it feels like we're not having much success with what we're doing.


You don't have to be really that together to do homeschooling.  It helps to have a curriculum that you think she will like.  We chose a real-books based curriculum and that seems to be working.  I think that the early grades are easier to homeschool.  Plus, you could decide to only do it for a year, may be two tops, until she is better able to handle the stresses of outside school.  If it's at all possible, I would urge you to consider it for the short term, to put her in a place of comfort while you work on these anxieties.

 

Anyway, dealing w/ the problem when she's already crying is too late, as you have figured out.  Then it's just damage control.  Perhaps you could start by discussing what kind of things bother her.  Acknowledge that (whatever those things are) can be scary, but then let her know that you are going to help her handle (whatever those things are).  There are probably so many things and they all seem so big to her that it's overwhelming for her.  She needs to know that you are on her side and are going to help her figure it out.  I've found that biting off small pieces and working with just that one thing can be helpful.  Starting from when she's feeling safe, she can be led by you to face one of the things that scare her...but in a very small way so that she can get comfortable with it.  Then repeat so she gets more comfortable with that same situation each time.   Maybe I'm not describing it very well.  (My description below on dealing with my DS's texture sensitivities can be similar to how you would handle other anxieties.)

 

I also am wondering if she has some sensory hypersensitivities?  My DS does...sounds are often too loud for him, occasionally lights are too bright for him, and textures always look intimidating to him.  We use ear muffs for when I know the sound level will be too loud.  And we've been doing desensitizing for textures.  I've been purposefully exposing him to textures he doesn't like and then am with him and support him as I try to encourage him to touch the textures.  He gets lots of celebration for even just briefly touching a new texture with the tip of one finger.  This leads to more confidence in him, and continued willingness to try new textures, as long as he's feeling supported.  It takes a lot of work on my part.  But I'm helping him to face his fears and rise to the challenge.  We are doing similar things for food texture anxieties.  I think he will always be a sensitive child, but I've seen him mature and be able to handle some situations that I don't think he could have if we hadn't worked on it so hard.


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#7 of 24 Old 12-10-2010, 07:55 AM
 
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I also want to suggest NOT telling her that "it's nothing to worry about", and instead agreeing with her that it can be scary and you will help her get through it - this would be more helpful.  Because to her, it IS big and scary.  The only way then is to guide her through it, at whatever pace she can handle.  You may have to push her a bit beyond her comfort zone, but never into fits of screaming and tears.  It's a hard line for you to walk.  If she does get to the point of tears and all, then just comfort her and try NOT to downplay the scariness of it....in other words, believe and accept her feelings about it, whatever they are.  Then help her learn to navigate it.


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#8 of 24 Old 12-10-2010, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kim,

 

Thanks for the excellent posts. Lots of food for thought. 

 

I will still consider the homeschooling if it looks like she's having difficulty in her new school. Besides the issues I have about doing a competent job, my DD and I tend not to have the best scholastic relationship at the best of times...we've worked on research projects before, done her homework together and she'll tolerate a fraction of input on my side, but she gets frustrated with me very easily and soon refuses any assistance whatsoever. Part of this, as DH has noted a thousand times, is just plain personality clash between the two of us. So, at the present time, I can also see any prospective homeschooling relationship being a source of irritation and strife more than comfort and support. Maybe that will change down the road...I'm not sure. I've spoken to her teachers at school and they don't have any problems with instructing her in that setting and she takes guidance and assistance from them without issue, so it's just me she has the problem with. An example is her daily reading journal...I'll notice spelling mistakes and gently ask her if I can help her with her words..."NO!" Okay, then.

 

We do talk a lot about the situations that cause potential problems. We ask her what's she's afraid of or worried about, we discuss why it's scary, what she can do while she's experiencing it, how her father or I are going to be there with her and support her etc. A lot of the time, all of this prep doesn't seem to make any difference. And I do my best not to dismiss her concerns or downplay them...the "it's nothing to worry about" comes into play when she's done the same drop off routine at school for 10 months now and has navigated it successfully 8/10 times and knows the ins and outs of the entire situation, all the people, all the variables, the outcome, and what to expect, but still bursts into tears. And yes, part of it is just sheer frustration on our part. We've been through the same routines successfully a thousand times but something will still trigger a crying episode.

 

Hypersensitivities...perhaps...I don't think textures, tastes, or visual ones have ever been an issue. I'm just reading over the various checklists online and nothing jumps out...She's had no problems with food or labels on clothes etc. Maybe a bit of hypersensitivity to movement as a baby and toddler, but nothing that I'd consider is an issue now...She hated being on her stomach as a baby; she hated stairs for the longest time, and playgrounds were an issue when she was two and three, but she seems to have moved past many of these issues as she's gotten older. Part of it is that she has some physical concerns that we had her evaluated for and a pediatric occupational therapist noted that she has some muscle weakness that she has to work on and that is contributing to the balance and stability issues which in turn influence her willingness to take risks etc. At school, I've asked teachers if they've noticed anything particular to her that is causing an issue (I didn't mention hypersensitivity, but figure if she has a problem with noise or a crowd or something, they'd pick it up). They have noticed that she prefers her own company a lot of the time (this started in preschool) but they've written it off to being because she's more advanced than her peers in a number of areas as well has her general personality. So, I can't say for sure with any certainty that she has a hypersensitivity that is contributing to this...maybe she does, but it's not immediately obvious to me.

 

We'll see how this goes...it's a real learning process for all of us and what seems to work some days doesn't work on others...we're trying to do our best to support her and figure out a way of doing things that leads to happier kid and happier parents...


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#9 of 24 Old 12-10-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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Your dd sounds a lot like my ds when he was younger.  I remember the looks he would give me when I left him at preschool and kindergarten.  

We homeschooled for grades 2nd and 3rd.  By far, it was the best thing for him for so many reasons, but I remember being very nervous and felt really scared that I wouldn't be able to provide what he needed.  He was (and still is) a very head strong child when it comes to educating himself, but we found a way to really work together.   I know that you say you haven't had the best track record for working on academic projects, but it sounds like these are projects for school, not necessarily projects that you collaborated on together from the beginning.  It doesn't have to be the same for homeschooling.  

 

You may want to pick up this book - "Creative Homeschooling for Smart Families."  I just can't say enough about this really excellent resource.

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Home-Schooling-Resource-Families/dp/0910707480/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292041150&sr=8-1

 

If your dd is 2 years ahead academically, she is likely not in sync with her peers and that can make finding suitable playmates difficult.  This can add loneliness to the reasons why school isn't her favorite place to go, although she may not recognize why she isn't like the other kids or why the other kids don't like to play the way she does.  Is the school addressing her academic needs, or is she still working at the pace that the rest of the class is?  I'm asking because if there's nothing compelling about being at school, why would she willing want to go?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#10 of 24 Old 12-11-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by japonica View Post

I will still consider the homeschooling if it looks like she's having difficulty in her new school. Besides the issues I have about doing a competent job, my DD and I tend not to have the best scholastic relationship at the best of times...we've worked on research projects before, done her homework together and she'll tolerate a fraction of input on my side, but she gets frustrated with me very easily and soon refuses any assistance whatsoever. Part of this, as DH has noted a thousand times, is just plain personality clash between the two of us. So, at the present time, I can also see any prospective homeschooling relationship being a source of irritation and strife more than comfort and support. Maybe that will change down the road...I'm not sure. I've spoken to her teachers at school and they don't have any problems with instructing her in that setting and she takes guidance and assistance from them without issue, so it's just me she has the problem with. An example is her daily reading journal...I'll notice spelling mistakes and gently ask her if I can help her with her words..."NO!" Okay,

then.

 

Yes, my DS is a pretty strong-willed, do-it-my-way kinda guy.  He definitely doesn't learn the same way I do.  But I've found that trying to work with his frame of reference works best.  Sometimes he's open to corrections and other times he's not.  Sometimes I find it's best to address corrections at other times, say, not right after he's done something in error.  Also, I let him decide if he wants to do a particular subject at a particular time.  If I impose the schedule on him, he's less receptive and generally not interested.

 

I read something yesterday that made me think of your DD's situation.  The woman who wrote the RightStart Math curriculum has done a lot of research on learning.  She mentioned something interesting...that when you are learning, your current emotional state is stored along with the information you learn.  Something to think about if school is often stressful for her.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by japonica View Post
We do talk a lot about the situations that cause potential problems. We ask her what's she's afraid of or worried about, we discuss why it's scary, what she can do while she's experiencing it, how her father or I are going to be there with her and support her etc. A lot of the time, all of this prep doesn't seem to make any difference. And I do my best not to dismiss her concerns or downplay them...the "it's nothing to worry about" comes into play when she's done the same drop off routine at school for 10 months now and has navigated it successfully 8/10 times and knows the ins and outs of the entire situation, all the people, all the variables, the outcome, and what to expect, but still bursts into tears. And yes, part of it is just sheer frustration on our part. We've been through the same routines successfully a thousand times but something will still trigger a crying episode.


So, it seems you have a handle on what's scary for her.  Maybe she needs to be physically walked through it, or even just a part of it.  Perhaps just talking through it all and then leaving her to do it alone is too much.  Especially if something else is bothering her.  Do you think she feels left alone to handle what seems to be too much for her?  Can she go to, say, the teacher and have the teacher be able to help her through this...or is she not aware that she can ask the teacher for help?  Or maybe she feels that she can't ask the teacher?  Or I hope it's not the case that the teacher won't help her. (or doesn't know how)

 

Maybe the 8/10 times everything went exactly as she had anticipated, but the other 2/10 times something went different than expected...?  Even slightly?  Have you asked her what was different those times (wait until after the crying is done)?  Sometimes I see this with my DS, and then I will try to figure out what's different on the few times things didn't go so well.  Sometimes I have to take my best guess at what went wrong.  When he's in a receptive state, I try to explain to him what it was that was likely different. 

 

I would still suggest not saying "nothing to worry about".  I would more likely try to find out what's worrying her and try to address that.  (Or perhaps as I explain below, addressing the seemingly unrelated - but actually causative - reasons why she's getting upset.)

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by japonica View Post

Hypersensitivities...perhaps...I don't think textures, tastes, or visual ones have ever been an issue. I'm just reading over the various checklists online and nothing jumps out...She's had no problems with food or labels on clothes etc. Maybe a bit of hypersensitivity to movement as a baby and toddler, but nothing that I'd consider is an issue now...She hated being on her stomach as a baby; she hated stairs for the longest time, and playgrounds were an issue when she was two and three, but she seems to have moved past many of these issues as she's gotten older. Part of it is that she has some physical concerns that we had her evaluated for and a pediatric occupational therapist noted that she has some muscle weakness that she has to work on and that is contributing to the balance and stability issues which in turn influence her willingness to take risks etc. At school, I've asked teachers if they've noticed anything particular to her that is causing an issue (I didn't mention hypersensitivity, but figure if she has a problem with noise or a crowd or something, they'd pick it up). They have noticed that she prefers her own company a lot of the time (this started in preschool) but they've written it off to being because she's more advanced than her peers in a number of areas as well has her general personality. So, I can't say for sure with any certainty that she has a hypersensitivity that is contributing to this...maybe she does, but it's not immediately obvious to me.

 

I wonder if vestibular sensitivities are a problem for her?  It has to do with motion of their bodies and their physical position in space.  Sometimes people are hypersensitive to being moved around.  If she's over stimulated by, say, the motion of riding in a car or bus..then any little thing could set her off.  Even stuff that she's usually okay with.  This is what I've found with DS...if he is overwhelmed by his sensory input, he doesn't have any reserve for handling anything extra.  Any little thing will set him off at that point.  So that's why I mention hypersensitivities.  If you can figure out how to deal with any of those she might be experiencing, life on the whole will go a lot easier.


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#11 of 24 Old 12-11-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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You might consider having her assessed by someone--a psychologist or OT--with some expertise.  We've found practitioners through this site to be very knowledgeable, gentle and helpful.  

http://www.icdl.com/intprograms/programs/AUSTRALIA.shtml

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#12 of 24 Old 12-12-2010, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone...loads of great advice and help. thumb.gif I will look into homeschooling (although I asked her the other day and she says she wants to go to school) and I'll see about having an assessment done.


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#13 of 24 Old 12-13-2010, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ack, just got her report card for the end of the year today...here's what the teacher had to say...

 

"__________ is a very competent member of our class. She began socialising with her peers positively just before her Canadian holiday which was pleasing to see.* Upon her return, ______________ constantly sought adult attention and reassurance. She appeared unable to make any decisions autonomously and when questioned reacted emotionally. It has taken quite a while for her to settle back into the classroom but with adult support _____________ is beginning to regain her independence and skills to connect with her friends. I wish _________ all the best in Year One at her new school."

 

*We had gone back to Canada for a month to visit my stepfather who has cancer.

 

I guess what gets me is that none of the teachers told me during the past 7 weeks since we returned from the trip that she was having any issues at school. I'd ask the teachers how things are going and it was "fine, fine" or "a bit up and down today," but no specifics. If I'd known even a month ago that she was having trouble at school, then I could have started this process earlier...getting an assessment, asking for support, meeting with the teachers to see what we could do together to make the situation better for her. But nope, not a word until report card time. Nice. I knew we were having some issues on my end, I had no idea if they were having them at school or not. 

 

DH has agreed to an assessment for her, so we'll just have to find someone in our area after the Christmas holidays.


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#14 of 24 Old 12-13-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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My DD struggled with this - and still does to a certain degree - her whole life.  My DD has food sensitivities.  Which is a fancy word for - the food doesn't bother you enough to make you physically ill so most doctors don't give it much weight.  When we removed the food she was sensitive to from her diet, her emotional state became more stable.  She still has trouble when she's tired and requires more sleep than the "average" 6 yo.  But we have whole days now where she doesn't drop on the floor in a melted puddle because life is so hard it's unbearable for her.

 

For my DD she's trying to absorb everything all the time.  So when we go somewhere new or do something new, she's in a hypervigilant state.  I think she literally does not want to miss a thing.  So with her trying to absorb everything and her body not feeling well, I just think it was too much and it would push her over the edge.  Then we'd get the stimulus down she's start to feel better and something else would spring up.  Taking the "not feeling well" component out of the mix, it enabled her to concentrate on other things.  (Kind of like a pressure valve on a pressure cooker.  Let just enough built up steam off of her system, so it allowed her to have more energy to deal with other things.) 

 

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#15 of 24 Old 12-13-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Upon her return, ______________ constantly sought adult attention and reassurance. She appeared unable to make any decisions autonomously and when questioned reacted emotionally. It has taken quite a while for her to settle back into the classroom but with adult support _____________ is beginning to regain her independence and skills to connect with her friends. I wish _________ all the best in Year One at her new school."

 

*We had gone back to Canada for a month to visit my stepfather who has cancer.



I know where you're coming from.  For years I worried about my DD.  So I'm not saying this lightly.  But honestly, the above statements make sense to me considering what you're family was doing on break.  It's very hard for a 6 yo to process someone being sick.  New schedules to accommodate visits/doc visits, etc.  I would find her reaction to be pretty standard.  I feel several years ago and could not get out of bed for weeks.  My DD was so worried about me, she wasn't sleeping.  She would literally tiptoe into my room all night long to make sure I was still breathing.  It was pretty bad.  We had to get her to the doctor for some relaxation/stress relief because she was soooo upset. 

 

So, while I'm not discounting your concern about her sensitivities.  I wouldn't be especially freaked out about what they said about her after the break where she was with a sick relative.

 

 

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#16 of 24 Old 12-14-2010, 09:39 AM
 
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I haven't read any but the OP's post, but wanted to respond b/c I also have a sensitive child. OP, your daughter and my son exhibit the same behaviors, and share many of the same experiences. My child is 6 now. Through parenting my child, I've learned that I'm a sensitive person, too, just like my son. I also realize now just how hard it must have been for my parents, who are not sensitive. What you describe is temperament, it doesn't change. However, sensitive people do learn coping mechanisms and become more resilient through time. Unfortunately, I think they are also more vulnerable than most & can easily have their self-esteem impaired or suffer from depression and anxiety later in life. But perhaps my personal experiences color my view?

 

Personally as a sensitive person -- the school social environment was always torture for me, though I excelled academically. I was painfully shy. Also, I empathized w/ the kids who had social difficulties & was drawn to making others feel better, and couldn't understand bullies or mean kids at all. So I was a misfit, ultimately due to my own temperament. Since my parents were more on the authoritarian side in their parenting, and my Dad shamed me for crying when upset for small things or angry (though I couldn't help it), I came to believe early that there was something defective with me & had terribly low self-esteem. This ultimately impacted my young adult relationships and career choices. Eventually I realized that my strength is within "helping" fields, and that I can be a really powerful advocate for the vulnerable. I have overcome all those earlier feelings of low self-esteem, but it took a long time. I still have my sensitive temperament, but can more effectively cope with the world.

 

I've learned through a couple of books (one called "your highly sensitive child", or something like that) that sensitive kids very much need to be parented differently. They don't respond the same way to discipline, and time-outs, constructive criticism, or yelling can destroy them. They need to learn how to take breathers when upset, and be able to withdraw from the world when overstimulated. When young, I think sensitive kids need help from their parents in finding ways to express themselves with words, since tears and sadness can become so overwhelming for them that they don't know how to get their needs met. They require tremendous amounts of reassurance, praise, patience, and soothing, and thrive in calm environments. They're so emotionally fragile, and a lot depends on parenting in whether they are built up or torn down. I think it's important to expose them to a wide variety of challenges beyond school, such as sports, arts classes, outdoors activities, music, drama, etc..for many reasons -- to reinforce healthy self-esteem, be exposed to difficulites and learn how to develop personal resilience, make them engage with the outer world, develop skills that later will take them out of themselves and reinforce a positive self-concept, etc...

 

Also, be your daughter's biggest advocate (though I'm sure you are). When my son cries, I just give words to what he's experiencing, say it's completely OK (emphasize normalcy), hug him, smile. I've seen that in social situations, he has learned to usually hold back the tears now, and present a stronger face that is "socially acceptable" to his peers. I've come to believe that this is actually a good thing (and see it as a valuable social skill), for he needs to be able to step beyond his emotions, understand that they don't control him, and interact with others in a more neutral way (rather than reactive way). A strong sense of humor is also important, and to see something funny in a situation rather than reacting with sadness or feelings of being overwhelmed is great coping. However, I do know that since he's stuffing some tears, he will need to have another avenue for their release -- this may mean more tears at home, where he can just chill and "lose it" occasionally (including tantrums) if he needs to, and find quiet and space to just be.

 

******************************************************

Edit: I just breezed through some posts, but just wanted to say that a person can have a sensitive temperament without any food allergies or other hypersensitivities. Also, I personally believe that homeschooling b/c a child is sensitive is ultimately counterproductive. These kids must learn how to interact in the world and build coping skills, and that can only be done by actually participating. It can be done, it just requires a lot of patience and support. Her fears must not be allowed to become so large for her that it takes over her life. If you pull her out of school, it may just reinforce her fears about the world & the overwhelming nature of her own emotions. I would stay in school, where she is learning as much socially as academically. My husband and I have emphasized participating w/ the world from a young age, and thus enrolled him in lots of different activities, so that he doesn't learn to fear people and different types of social environments. Even at age 6, he has built emotional skills from which he can continue to build, and these will last a lifetime.

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#17 of 24 Old 12-14-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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I wonder if grief counseling would be helpful to her.


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#18 of 24 Old 12-15-2010, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm reading everything, mamas, and still thinking things through...you've all given me a lot of food for thought...thank you so much...DH and I are going to talk about where to go next and what we think would work best for her. 

 


Mother to DD#1  s/b @40w 2003 for unknown reasons; DD#2   9.5 years old; DS  6 years old 
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#19 of 24 Old 12-15-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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You have gotten so much good advise from everyone and I especially think Pregnant@40 had so many great insights into your situation. I just wanted to point out that school is not "the real world". Is is simply one way for children to spend their time. Yes she would be withdrawing from the world of school, but she is then entering more fully the world outside of school. It may be better for your  DD and your family to keep her in school, but if you choose to bring her home just remember there are many ways to educate your child, from using a structured curriculum or an online school to not using any curriculum at all. No matter what you choose she will be living in the real world, she will have access to other children, adults and everything else that exists where you live. Good luck!!


Sarah, unschooling musician mama to Ella (12/24/00) , Aurora (1/31/04) and Hazel (1/30/07) (agenesis of the corpus colosum, large interhemispheric cyst, macrocephaly, shunt). homeschool.gif bfolderchild.gif familybed1.gifguitar.gif
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#20 of 24 Old 12-15-2010, 11:27 PM
 
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http://www.amazon.com/Highly-Sensitive-Child-Children-Overwhelms/dp/0767908724

This book describes your child.

Also, just wanted to add that I agree with the prior post. Of course she can have a full experience as a homeschooler if you provide an abundance of social experiences (her greatest challenge). She is still quite young, and perhaps could use an extra year to mature. I took my son's entire mostly 5th year off of work to just hang out w/ him prior to the start of kindergarten (ie. he started K in Sept at age 5, but turned 6 in Nov). It really benefited him. Anyway, you know best.

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#21 of 24 Old 12-16-2010, 02:08 PM
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I was just about to start a thread on this same subject!  Except my child is almost 4, and his big brother is autistic and cognitively impaired, so I have been anxious about my little one's development since I became pregnant with him.  Yesterday my little one asked me to explain rocket propulsion systems -- he wanted to know why rockets don't have internal combustion engines the way cars do!  He is also a perfectionist and highly ritualistic in everything he does, to the point that I worry about OCD.  He is temperamental and moody and shy to the point that I worry about Bipolar Disorder (2 of my brothers & my grandmother had this) or an anxiety disorder.  He also has sensory issues and difficulty with solid food, but he can be so charming and sweet, his social skills are lovely when he's relaxed, and his cognitive, fine-motor and gross motor development are all perfect.  It is so difficult to take care of both my special needs DS1 and my high-need DS2...some days I am beside myself.  I don't know where to draw the line between normal development and special needs.

 

Anyway, I don't mean to hijack the thread, I just want to let the OP know that she is not alone and express my gratitude for the terrific advice given here!


"Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" - Andy Warhol
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#22 of 24 Old 12-28-2010, 09:57 AM
 
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I think you've gotten a lot of good responses, but I just wanted to add a few words. We went through 18mos of play therapy with our son when he was 3. I highly recommend The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. We had a lot of success employing the methods of coping that they suggest in the workbookthumb.gif

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#23 of 24 Old 12-28-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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My daughter used to be very much a highly sensitive child.  She was the baby to cry at playgroups if I so much as stretched away from her to toss something in the trash.  She would take pretty much the entire duration of playgroup to warm up enough to actually play and even then it was generally only if I was right by her side.  We never really even tried having sitters nor did we ever try preschool.  We tried taking her to this free circus thing at the library once and it was horrible.  She screamed like you would not believe and just wouldn't calm down so we had to leave (there were clowns on stilts... and anoither one we brought her to had a guy on a unicycle which caused the same reaction).  Oh, and at stores she would freak out if someone spoke to her which always made check-out hard.

 

However, at some point she transitioned to being just a little bit quiet when she isn't totally comfortable.  She is the kid in gymnastics who will stand back and let other kids cut in front of her, BUT other than that, she seems like she isn't at all sensitive anymore.  Part of what may have helped is she has a very close friend and she'll go off and do stuff with her.  She's also homeschooled, but in lots of activities.  She now is very social and will easily run off with kids... I actually find myself missing the sensitivity because she used to observe and analyze before acting, now she just acts and I get so frustrated with some of the things that happened in the name of "I was PLAYING, that's why I overfed the fish and cut off my hair".  And at the moment she is out with my parents after a sleepover... I actually sort of miss the days when she actually needed me.  Recently she's acting like a teenager, like she'd rather be out with friends all day and having nothing to do with me!

 

I have no idea how this transition happened, but I'm wondering if it's at all related to the fact that she's pulling away in her own time.  Other than the hour class here a few times a week, she isn't away from us much.  She started with her independent (without parents) classes at age 3, but even that was dance class at the studio I worked at and we were right outside the window.  Funny how she actually did better once she started without us, though.  I remember they would dump toys in the center of the room and tell each kid to pick one and dd wouldn't do it unless she was firmly attachet to my finger and I was right with her.  It's crazy how far she has come since then.  And for the record, she is 5 now.  But I'd definitely say having lots of friends to run off with has probably helped.  Good luck!  I know exactly what it's like!

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#24 of 24 Old 07-03-2014, 02:05 AM
 
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Hi if you haven't already I highly recommend you read The Highly Sensitive Child by Dr Elaine Aron (she invented the test) it will help you decide if your DD has the highly sensitive personality trait. It confirmed to us that our 7 year old does and since we have embraced it she is really starting to thrive. I was so inspired by Elaine's work I set up a parent community to allow parents to help each other it really helps if you don't feel alone. Have a look it might help https://www.facebook.com/myhighlysensitivechild and http://mysensitivechild.com/
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