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Old 01-26-2004, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Help!

My son about a week ago started hitting, choking, and otherwise hurting other children in his kindergarten class.

He has never been an agressive kid.

He's had behavior issues since starting kindergarten, but never aggressiveness or hitting.

He has a seizure disorder and is on medication for it. He hasn't had seizures for 9 months, because of the medication. We don't know whether the medication is a cause or not. It could be, but even if it is, there is nothing we can do about that. We have to address the behavior.

Does anyone have experience with hitting in school at this age, and what to do about it?
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Old 01-26-2004, 11:53 PM
 
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can you say more about what the kindergarten class is like--large class, small class, teacher student ratio, amt. of stimulation, whether it is full day or half day, etc. It might help to know these things to help figure out any suggestions. Thanks!

 
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Lauren, it is a normal sized class - 25 children with 2 teachers. It's a mixed-age group meaning it's a two year kindergarten, so half the kids are first-year, half the kids are second-year. My son is a first-year. It is a wonderful program. It's a public Waldorf-methods charter school. It is morning only - 8:45-12:45. Normal amount of stimulation you would find in a Waldorf school, there is a great rhythm to the day, lots of activities, but not chaotic at all.
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:54 AM
 
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From my experience as a teacher I found it very helpful to get specific information about exactly when and where the behavior is happening. Once you have that you can figure out the why. There may be a pattern to it. Of course, with 13 or so kids to every adult it may be hard for the teachers to observe it. Maybe if there is someone who could spend a day looking at what may be upsetting him.

I also tried to talk directly with the students any time I saw a change in behavior. By hitting and choking your son is getting a message across...it's a challenge to decode it sometimes though. Maybe your son can give you some ideas about what is upsetting him.

My son is 18 months now and recently started hitting folks at different times. I finally figured out that it was when people got too in his face. At first I was so horrified that my son was hitting because I saw it as agressive, but after my ego recovered I could see that he was just trying to communicate a need (the need being some space!)...and then I felt a little bit better. And now I am trying to find a way for ds to get what he wants (his own space) without hitting. I guess in some ways I am a devote behavioralist.

Hope that helps some...Take care, Nancy
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Old 01-27-2004, 09:10 AM
 
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HI again, thanks for the details. 25 k-garten kids to two adults actually sounds like a lot to me, but I think we are spoiled in VT! It depends on the kids I think. I agree with mama nancy that all behavior has a purpose. kids are not poorly behaved for no reason at all. Teachers, too, will often state that they cannot identify what causes the behavior, that it comes 'out of the blue,' but I've also found that if one observes closely, there is always a reason, even if that reason can't be observed. An example is a child that is very sensitive to sensory stimulation--no one on the outside can tell that the noise level or bright lights are sending him 'over the edge' but suddenly he reaches his threshold and strikes out. I'm not saying that is the issue with your child, but just an example. You mentioned a seizure disorder and the meds. Have you talked to the dr. about the behavior?

It might make sense to have someone independent observe in the classroom with the goal of identifying what happens before the aggression (guessing that your child might not do it if you are there). Chat with him and see if he can figure out what's going on for him. You could even play out the scene with dolls to have him show what's happening during an event where he is aggressive.

I know how much heartache these things bring when they are going on. PLease keep us posted and let us know how it's going!

 
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Old 01-29-2004, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Lauren and Mama Nancy.

Well, this behavior just started late last week, and we just found out that his medication level is a little too low, as he has started feeling seizure-prone again for the first time in a long time.

So, maybe that's why.

We have talked with his pediatrician and neurologist a lot about his behavior, previously (not the hitting, cause that only just started). They were very helpful, saying his behavior was pretty normal for a little boy just starting kindergarten (and he only just turned 5 in October). His neurologist is the one who suggested a start chart/rewards system, and his teacher implemented this shortly after school started in the Fall; this has been very successful. His behavior has gotten much better. But now, this hitting thing.

When we'd ask him why he's hitting others, he says because he's angry. When we ask why he's angry, he says he doesn't know.
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Old 01-29-2004, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lauren, I just wanted to add that I agree with you that 25 is too many, especially for kindergarten. It would not be my choice, to have that many kids in the class. I can only assume they do this because they are a public school relying on public funding, and they can get away with having 25 because there are 2 teachers. I do wish there were fewer kids.

I also feel that some of the discipline problems in the class, including my son hitting others, could be at least partly alleviated simply by having fewer kids in the class.

But it is hard for me to point to class size as the cause, since no one else in the class is hitting others, at least not to the extent that he is.

I don't know...
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Old 01-29-2004, 02:03 AM
 
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You might be able to make a case for your son to have an aid in the class, though, based on the fact that there are so many. I don't even know if this is something you want for him, but so many behavioral struggles are easily redirected if caught in time. He would need to be on an IEP first in order to access an aid. It may be premature; he may just be going through a transition, as you said, with the meds, and adjusting to so much stimulation at school.

 
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Old 02-04-2004, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Lauren.

I had to jump ship to the Health & Healing forum for awhile because just after this hitting thing, turns out Eli had a bad ear infection and viral thing that's been going around his school and he's been out sick since Tuesday!

Your ideas are very good. If this hitting continues I might just puruse the IEP. We have actually had one for him before, prior to preschool, but that's when he was still having seizures and the IEP was for very different reasons, he had no behavioral issues then.

Will have to see how he does after this illness. Maybe he was feeling angry inside because the pressure in his eustachian tubes was about to make his head explode! (wishful thinking?)
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Old 02-04-2004, 10:09 AM
 
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I do think physical problems can create what appear to be emotional reactions, so you may be on to something about his ears. Good luck and keep us posted!

 
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Old 02-16-2004, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well he got through the ear infection, he was very sick for 2 weeks, then returned to school and has not been hitting anyone since then.
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Old 02-16-2004, 10:57 AM
 
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Wow! Sounds like you learned some important information about him. Next time you'll know what's going on. So glad to hear things are better!

 
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