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#1 of 13 Old 10-26-2011, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS will be 5 in a few weeks and has recently started school and we are having some problems with his meltdowns in the classroom. Twice the teachers have ended up moving the class to another room till he calms down, on another occasion they removed him, though this ended with him lashing out at the staff.  We had some problems in preschool too so this in not new, just the extra structure of school and his increasing strength are making it harder to remove him from the situation to calm down.

 

I would not be surprised to find him diagnosed with aspergers in a few years, of what I've been reading that best describes his issues. However the special needs team at the preschool felt that as he was starting to make progress it would be too early to say anything for sure one way or the other so we haven't pursued anything formal.

 

In terms of avoiding the meldowns I have some ideas I would like to discuss more with his teachers. For example before he started we discussed them setting up a picture chart of his routine for the day which I'm not sure they have done yet.

 

However I am completely at a loss as to what to do once he has reached the point of meltdown. Generally he screams and stomps/kicks and is very loud which is disturbing the other children. He also tends to lash out at anyone coming near him (hence them deciding to remove the other children) so I'm not sure how a calm down space in the classroom would work out.

 

He seems to need a fairly physical was of getting the tension out, I have wondered about some sort of stress ball but I fear it may just become a missile. When he was younger he liked "big angry jumps" on his little trampoline but he is outgrowing that.

 

We're having a meeting with the teachers sometime next week and I'm hoping they will have some ideas but I wondered if anyone had any strategies that have worked well for their children.

 

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#2 of 13 Old 10-26-2011, 07:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post

I would not be surprised to find him diagnosed with aspergers in a few years, of what I've been reading that best describes his issues. However the special needs team at the preschool felt that as he was starting to make progress it would be too early to say anything for sure one way or the other so we haven't pursued anything formal.

 

Please do not rely on the school for advice on this. When ds was in K his teacher and the counselor told me that "they" don't consider ADHD before 2nd or 3rd grade, then treated him like a typical child with a behavior problem (though at least your special needs team is paying attention smile.gif); that February we went to a family counselor and though it was helpful for dh and I to evaluate our discipline style, it did not directly help ds; then the counselor kept putting off referring us to a psychiatrist, saying he wanted to wait to see how ds did in 1st grade--listening to them was a huge, huge mistake greensad.gif and "luckily" ds did something that pushed us to get an initial diagnosis before the start of 1st grade. If you are able, I recommend getting an eval at a clinic like this. Labels can be useful even if they are adjusted over time.

 

Other providers that could be helpful to your ds are STs (speech therapist) and OTs (occupational therapists) and it tends to be less of a wait to get to see them-- sometimes you go to them at a place like this, and sometimes they come to your home. Ds had an eval by an OT that came to our home--I was worried that she wouldn't see the problems ds had, at that point he behaved better at home and did better one on one--but her insight was amazing; she wrote her report with the school in mind and it was really helpful in helping his 1st grade teacher understand him and it included recommendations to help him in school. We also had an ST come to us over the summer to help ds with social reciprocity and pragmatics.

 

In any case, the amount of attention the school can give him is probably not going to be all that he needs and it will be focused on his behavior/performance in school and not what is best for him overall.
 

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Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post

In terms of avoiding the meldowns I have some ideas I would like to discuss more with his teachers. For example before he started we discussed them setting up a picture chart of his routine for the day which I'm not sure they have done yet.

 

It may be time for 504 meeting where you can put accomodations like that in writing and everyone is on the same page. At ds' initial 504 meeting at his current school we had his teacher, the resource teacher, the school psychologist, the elementary school principle (K-12 school), and I think one other person from the school. Just before the holiday break last year ds' therapist requested evals from all his teachers and their responses showed me that they were all following the 504; a diagnosis is not required, but it can be helpful.

 

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Under IDEA/IEP, if your child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, your child is entitled to an education that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which your child receives educational benefit.

 

A 504 is helping your child get the same education that everyone else is getting--more for a student that needs accommodations to help them learn (like sitting next to the teacher) or for behavior, and that they are not punished for things that they cannot control due to the ADHD (like needing to work standing up or not sit inside a group).

 

[A IEP or 504 is not an escalation or punishments for the teacher/school. It's more about getting all appropriate parties involved and on the same page. The student, parent/legal guardian, teachers, principals, Pupil Services administrators, support staff (i.e. nurse, counselor, psychologist, language/speech pathologist) as well as the student's physician or therapist may be involved in the placement process including the 504 meeting.]

 

 

Eligibility under IDEA for Other Health Impaired Children

Key Differences Between Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA.

 

(http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.summ.rights.htm)

 

Key Differences Between Section 504 and IDEA

(http://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/504.idea.htm)

 

Though these links are focused on ADHD, some of the behaviors may be familiar to you. Sometimes food sensitivities/allergies and lack of quality sleep can worsen these behaviors:

 

 

Sleep and ADHD - Lack of Sleep and ADHD

ADHD and Food Allergies - ADD ADHD Advances

ADHD and Food Allergies - Adhd in Child

Food Allergy Testing for ADHD and Autism


Google search: "ADHD and food sensitivities"  http://www.google.com/search?q=ADHD+and+food+sensitivities&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

 


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#3 of 13 Old 10-26-2011, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, looks like there is a lot of info in your links. I will settle down later with a cup of tea for a good read.

 

I probably should have mentioned we are in the UK so I expect the system will be a bit different but kids are pretty similar so I'm sure some of it will be useful.

 

So far I have been pretty happy with the help we have had from the school. The same assessment person who saw was called in by his preschool also works with his school so we will probably contact her again for an update. Also the speech therapists we saw have connections with his school, though I no longer find his speech to be a problem.

 

We also have an older child at the school and we've been happy with the way they have handled her behavioural quirks so I'm hopeful we should get some support.

 

On the plus side the majority of the time he does seem to enjoy school, certainly we have had no issues with him going in in the morning which has surprised me.

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#4 of 13 Old 10-26-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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I don't have any experience with having a child with these kinds of behavioral issues, but my son was in a class with a child who did similar things last year and I have to say that it was pretty traumatizing for many of the kids in the class, to observe a child throw things, kick, and hit the teacher and principal.  Many of the kids began to hate school and fear for their own safety.  This school year has been kind of a rebuilding year for some of them, to start to feel safe in a school environment again.

 

I hope you are able to get your son the appropriate help, for his sake and for the other children in his class.


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#5 of 13 Old 10-26-2011, 10:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post
 

I probably should have mentioned we are in the UK so I expect the system will be a bit different but kids are pretty similar so I'm sure some of it will be useful.

 

So far I have been pretty happy with the help we have had from the school. The same assessment person who saw was called in by his preschool also works with his school so we will probably contact her again for an update. Also the speech therapists we saw have connections with his school, though I no longer find his speech to be a problem.

 

The kids may be similar, but how these issues are often handled are not; though it's good to hear you are satisfied with their response. However, speech therapists don't just work on articulation issues (here, at least) but also social reciprocity and pragmatics.
 

 


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#6 of 13 Old 10-26-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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I have a kid with Asperger's (who used to have the lable PDD-NOS) before she had the Asperger's label.

 

What is helpful to her (and to other similar kids I know) is it figure out what causes the intense emotion and work to head it off, rather than waiting until after the meltdown starts. At that point, it's too late. Getting a real evaluation would be part of the first step. If your child has intense sensory issues and sensory things are schools are freaking him out, knowing that would let you make a REAL plan. Otherwise, this will most likely end up being treated as a discipline problem. 

 

If these meltdowns are caused by fundamental issues (such as sensory issues) then no discipline will ever work, and your child will end up being placed whereever your system sends the children that the other parents don't want their kids around because they are viewed as dangerous.

 

Second, an important step for my DD was having a safe place to go during school. She has to have an out -- permission to leave the current situation and go to her safe place without asking permission or even speaking. Different places at worked at different times and at different schools -- from the nurses office, the sp. ed teacher's room, the social workers office, the school secretary and even the library. BUT she has to have some place she can go, no questions asked. Part 2 (which was more difficult) is helping her realize when she is about to loss it so she can leave before the meltdown happens. Pulling herself together when she is on the edge, rather than waiting until things are out of control. Helping her recognize the signs and giving her solid action to take.

 

Waiting until meltdown isn't, IMHO, a viable solution.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 13 Old 10-27-2011, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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However, speech therapists don't just work on articulation issues (here, at least) but also social reciprocity and pragmatics.

Interesting, we only seemed to work on articulation, though it was a group session with two therapists and 4 - 6 children so I suppose there was an implicit social element. While he speech improved a lot over the time we were doing the sessions he never went into a session willingly and didn't actually join in till well into the session. At the time we felt that many of his frustrations would lessen if we could understand him better, that doesn't seem to have happened.

 

Defiantly finding the triggers is going to be the key, however I think that is going to take time, we are only 6 weeks into school so I really do think part of it is just that everything is new and he's not sure what to expect.

 

I've been trying to take note of the signs he's getting close to meltdown so I can let them know, most of the time I just have a feeling which is not the most concrete information to pass on to someone else lol.gif

 

Linda - his teachers suggested a place he can go whenever he needs to calm down and are looking into where that might best be. Unfortunately in his school there are very few spaces which are generally likely to be free, they even have music lessons in the cloakroom!

 

I will defiantly start looking into how we go about more formal assessment, you all sound agreed that it's going to be needed to sort out appropriate help for him.

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#8 of 13 Old 10-27-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post

Interesting, we only seemed to work on articulation, though it was a group session with two therapists and 4 - 6 children so I suppose there was an implicit social element. While he speech improved a lot over the time we were doing the sessions he never went into a session willingly and didn't actually join in till well into the session. At the time we felt that many of his frustrations would lessen if we could understand him better, that doesn't seem to have happened.

 

Perhaps it is more of a specialty within a specialty http://autism.about.com/od/autismterms/g/pragspeech.htm.

 

Here is a link that talks about pragmatics http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/pragmatics.htm.

 

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Defiantly finding the triggers is going to be the key, however I think that is going to take time, we are only 6 weeks into school so I really do think part of it is just that everything is new and he's not sure what to expect.

 

Ds takes about that long to deal with the transition back to school; this year is only big problem seemed to be an inability to behave appropriately in the restroom when the class went after lunch (draining the soap out of the dispenser, locking the stall doors, etc.) then the problem just stopped.

 

Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View PostI've been trying to take note of the signs he's getting close to meltdown so I can let them know, most of the time I just have a feeling which is not the most concrete information to pass on to someone else lol.gif

 

I would pass on what you know to his teacher as you figure it outsmile.gif. Perhaps you can maintain a daily diary and just try to keep note of everything that happens around your ds--you may see patterns that are not obvious in the moment. I wish I had done that instead of trying to figure it all out in my head redface.gif.

 

Ds tends to get "spring fever" by April; this was worse in Kindergarten as he was literally running in circles all day. I had read about some small studies done on giving large doses of magnesium and vitamin B6 supplements together that resulted in behavioral improvements in children with Autism. I didn't use large doses, just ds' liquid multivitamin and 1/4 dose of a liquid magnesium supplement, but it did result in taking the edge off ds' hyperactivity at school and he was no longer running in circles smile.gif.

 

Google Search: magnesium vitamin b6 autism -- http://www.google.com/search?q=magnesium+vitamin+b6+autism&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

 

Combined vitamin B6-magnesium treatment in autism spectrum ...

 

Studies of High Dosage Vitamin B6 and often with Magnesium in ...


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#9 of 13 Old 10-27-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post

 

Interesting, we only seemed to work on articulation, though it was a group session with two therapists and 4 - 6 children so I suppose there was an implicit social element. While he speech improved a lot over the time we were doing the sessions he never went into a session willingly and didn't actually join in till well into the session. At the time we felt that many of his frustrations would lessen if we could understand him better, that doesn't seem to have happened.

 

Defiantly finding the triggers is going to be the key, however I think that is going to take time, we are only 6 weeks into school so I really do think part of it is just that everything is new and he's not sure what to expect.

 

I've been trying to take note of the signs he's getting close to meltdown so I can let them know, most of the time I just have a feeling which is not the most concrete information to pass on to someone else lol.gif

 

Linda - his teachers suggested a place he can go whenever he needs to calm down and are looking into where that might best be. Unfortunately in his school there are very few spaces which are generally likely to be free, they even have music lessons in the cloakroom!

 

I will defiantly start looking into how we go about more formal assessment, you all sound agreed that it's going to be needed to sort out appropriate help for him.


 

 

Even if they could temporarily make a quiet place in the classroom while they figure this out, that would help.  DS has a quiet area by a sunny window and the desks and classroom divider helped it feel quieter.  Also, having a calming activity helped (for DS it was play dough and blocks that age, now he'll draw or fiddle with silly putty).

 

Formal assessment made a difference for us.  We didn't have a diagnoses of Asperger's the first two times around, but there was a formal anxiety diagnoses from the start.  It opened up the doors to therapy, and he learned a lot about assertive communication, social skills and calming himself as a component to the therapy.  I don't think we ever could have done it alone.

 

We also find that attending to ensuring lots of positive downtime, including exercise, fresh air and personal quiet space, makes a big difference in how well our son handles conflicts at school.  He's 11 now, and doing overall so much better than we thought things would turn out when he was 5.  Hang in there and with help you'll find what works.

 

 

 


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#10 of 13 Old 10-28-2011, 03:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Even if they could temporarily make a quiet place in the classroom while they figure this out, that would help.  DS has a quiet area by a sunny window and the desks and classroom divider helped it feel quieter.  Also, having a calming activity helped (for DS it was play dough and blocks that age, now he'll draw or fiddle with silly putty).

 

Playdough, I could defiantly see that working, he loves that kid of thing. A small tub of plastercine often comes with us to his sisters swimming lessons and other places he's going to be waiting around.

 

They have a "cosy corner" in the classroom with a rug, cushions and cuddly toys. There is a little bookshelf separating it from the rest of the class a bit but I don;t think DS likes it that much. I will have to try and work out why.

 

I wonder if they could set him up somewhere outdoors, they have a nice covered porch space just outside the classroom where they would be able to keep an eye on him and being outside often seems to calm him down.

 

Thank you to everyone you've all given me plenty to think about.

 

 

 

 

 

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#11 of 13 Old 11-06-2011, 09:33 AM
 
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My SN DS with behavior issues also responds well to some of the techniques in "Kids, parents and power struggles", I ffound it to be a good book, if not totally relevant to SN issues. It gives great modeling for helping kis deal with emotions. Sounds like you have gotten lots of great advice here.


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#12 of 13 Old 11-06-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I'm not sure what the policy in the UK would be on this or if you're even interested but have you considered holding him a year back from school and finding another pre school for him? He sounds so young on top of everything else. Many states here have a cut off date of Sept 1 for starting K - meaning you must turn 5 before then to start K. Another year to mature could really help. Just a thought.

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#13 of 13 Old 11-07-2011, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure what the policy in the UK would be on this or if you're even interested but have you considered holding him a year back from school and finding another pre school for him? He sounds so young on top of everything else. Many states here have a cut off date of Sept 1 for starting K - meaning you must turn 5 before then to start K. Another year to mature could really help. Just a thought.

It was something I though about a  lot with my older child (August birthday) but our system is not very flexible. Children must start school the term after their 5th birthday, so for DS the latest we could do would be for him to start in January. However it's common in a lot of places (and certainly in the area we are) for all the children to start in September if they will be 5 before the following 31st August. We probably could have done it if we really tried but felt it would be better to let him start with all the other children, at the point at which the teachers are working on settling the kids into routines and helping them make friends etc.

 

We could have opted for home educating for a while and starting school later but that would have given us no choice in the school he would get into, he would simply be assigned a place at whichever school had a place available. Our local schools are all over full anyway so this could have been anywhere and we didn't feel it worth the risk of not having both children at the same school.

 

We've had a good few days and he teachers are definitely working out some good ways to support him. For example he now has a card to wave if he needs the toilet during a quiet time. We realised he was having accidents because he wouldn't say anything to the teachers when he'd be asked to sit quietly to listen to a story or something. He took sitting quietly very literally.

 

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