BUT - his attitude is awful. When he first gets off the bus he is completely wound up - acting silly, running around, basically driving me nuts. But by dinner the sillies are gone and the nasties have taken over. He doesn't like this, he doesn't like that, he doesn't want to listen, he doesn't want to do the things he has to do. We fight about carrying his dishes over after dinner, we fight about picking toys up, we fight about taking a bath, he begs for "one last show", he fights about going to bed - these are all the same things he has always had to do, the same routine, the same timeline, everything. I started two weeks before school gradually moving his routine forward so that he was going to bed at the time I wanted him in bed on school nights. Nothing at home has changed.
Any thoughts? Advice? Should I just chalk this all up to the whole school thing? Should I request a conference/phone call with his teacher?
Honestly, a nasty boy messes up our household more than anything in life, he has PDD-NOS, so he is big on routine, etc. and we've always worked hard to keep him in his routine, and this nastiness is really getting to me.
We now homeschool in part because of this kind of situation - but before we made the decision to pull him out we looked into a lot of options and tried to make an informed decision. One school professional that I really trusted said that she had observed him and though that he was overloaded sensory wise and that his afternoon meltdowns were a result of him trying to keep it together all day and then running out of coping strategies. Its a bit cliched but in our case it seemed to fit a pattern.
I spent a lot of time talking w my stepmum who is the most amazing PT/OT. She had a lot of suggestions for helping my son deal w sensory overload. His gr1 classroom was very loud and 'busy', and the teacher had little tolerance for kids needing to do things differently. It wasn't a good combination.
My step mum had suggestions for helping my son both in school and afterschool. I'll post some of what I remember here but I think it is valuable (if you have access) to talk a PT/OT that knows your son. Forgive me if you already know/do this
1. Make sure his sleep is restful: use white noise, dark room, 'mummy' type sleeping bag or heavy blankets to reduces flailing/movement.
2. Swimming is excellent for helping kids both deal with overload and learn to cope long term - it involves all the senses, it is rhythmic, it involves a lot of coordinated gross motor movement, and it is tiring physically for most kids.
3. Find a pattern for afterschool which helps - some kids need a bit of quiet time - colouring, reading, playdough - and some need to run off their pent up energy. Some need food or drink, some just need a cuddle. Again think rhythmic like playdough or colouring, swinging on the swings, a rocking cuddle - that kind of thing.
4. Watch carefully for food issues - sugar, red dye, milk allergies etc especially if he's eating school lunches or trading.
1. Give your child a nickel sized smooth stone to keep in his pocket which he can rub to help calm himself if he feels overloaded. A stress ball is good too but attracts a bit more attention.
2. Limit other sensory challenges as much as possible - comfortable familiar clothes, socks w/o seams, familiar lunches, snacks etc.
2. Try to get his desk moved to the edge or corner of the room so that he is not surrounded on all sides by noise/sights/kids etc
3. Help him make good choices in class - in circle time or mat time he should try to pick a space at the side again - like his desk.
4. Make arrangements with his teacher that if he is overloaded there is a space in the hall/class/library he can retreat to. A code word can help with this if his teacher will go for it. See if you can help the teacher build in a quiet time into his day - helping with the library, walking the attendance forms to the office, returning the red file to the teacher across the school (there doesn't have to actually be anything in the red file :LOL - it can just be an excuse for him to talk a walk by himself for 10 minutes)
There's more - I can't remember them all know but I'm sure either the school could help or an OT/PT.
When to talk to the teacher is a challenge. I personally think that we waited to long - but I fault the school for that because we tried talking to them before the year started. The conventional wisdom I ran into was that kids need time to adjust which is true. However if your child has any kind of issue a long wait can set him back. Tough call but I vote for earlier rather than later. I personally would rather be viewed as a pain in the behind but increase my chances of getting my kid off on the right start. YMMV.
Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha