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CRB
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22 Jan 2006, 10:27 pm

I am an AS parent married to an NT wife, and I am at my wits end with my youngest son (5 years old). He has been acting up recently in the following ways:

1) He will not listen to either my wife nor I, and he will not listen to his teacher. He often will say "OK" to us, and then go behind our back and do the exact opposite.

2) He is behaves very aggressively in school. I have frequently heard from the teacher that he has hit other people and spit on other people. He has been suspended from kindergarten for 3 days, and the school is threatening expulsion with the next infraction.

3) He gets into things that he his not supposed to get into. He will take food from the refrigerator and hid it under his bed. We cannot keep our house clean because he will mess it up.

We have not had our kid tested for ADD/ADHD or an ASD. I am at my wits end. Any suggestions?


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Jetson
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22 Jan 2006, 11:27 pm

CRB wrote:
Any suggestions?

Seek professional help.

Attention-seeking, violent and oppositional behavior are fairly common and may be simply personality issues, but when a child is hoarding food that is usually a sign of more significant psychological problems. Without knowing more about your son, I don't think anyone can (or should) be pointing you to a specific diagnosis.


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Paula
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23 Jan 2006, 2:23 am

By law the school MUST educate your son, so they cannot just cast him out on the streets. Have him assessed, and from your district get the book, "Special Education Rights and Responsibilities" it's not just a book for children who need special ed...I really want to stress that, they just let you know what your rights and the rights of your child is. You also need to find out if you can get an educational advocate for your son, i'm not familiar with your state, they can help you deal with the school, and advice on dealing with your son. Also ask and they have to comply, for an I.E.P, THEY HAVE TO DO THIS, don't let them tell you any different, it is a Individual Educational Plan, that school has to follow..... DON'T LET THEM JUST HAVE YOUR CHILD IN SCHOOL HALF DAY thats illegal and that is not what an I.E.P is for. It makes the school design a program that best suits your sons educational needs.Also I know that if a child is suspended 10 days in California that the schools have to come up with a B.I.P Behavior Intervention Program, it's what they must follow before suspension happens, and if it dosn't work there are other schools they can send your child to if he needs it. but they just can't toss them away. You can write to U.S Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Region 1X Old Federal Building 50 United Nations Plaza, Room 239 San Fransisco Calif. 944102, you can also check in the internet on Educational Rights, but you have to really educate yourself, expecally if you and school phychologist and authorities disagree. the book i have is great, but it's an old one, you need a more updated one, i use to have a bunch of phone numbers and addresses but I can't for the life of me find them. So really, be vigilant you are in for an uphill battle with the school, and looks like now your son. I would suggest some sort of behavior modification for him. What can he earn if he goes one day, two days, three days...ect in school without a fight? I have a child I work with, one week in school=Basken Robbins gift Certifiate. He loves it, soon we will graduate from that and move to our next challenge........better grades.....for him, it has to be one victory at a time. You know your child, figure out what he can earn and what you can take away if need be. As for hiding food. I'd suggest giving him a spot or a cabnet of his own, to put his own food in, it's his own, noone takes it, and he must keep it there, NOT IN HIS ROOM, or his special cabnet gets a lock on it. You can give him treats and stuff like that to store in his cabnet, and he should have access to it, it is after all his, maybe have him help you with the rules for his cabnet, like how close to meals he can get into it, and whats the latest time he can have access to it, then post the rules on his cabnet. We've done this at our group home, it was strange what kind of food our children would put in there, we would put healthy snacks and alittle bit of junk food. They would put canned food, breads and stuff like that in their cabnet, eventually they didn't need it anymore, well they lost interest. I hope this helps



ster
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23 Jan 2006, 7:13 am

not knowing much about your son and possible diagnoses makes responding a little difficult...howver, i'll try...........as far as NT sorts of behaviors, it is normal for kids to act out when they are feeling like they're not getting enough attention~ from my own personal experience, my behaviors became more extreme when i realized that small misbehaviors got no response................NTs will also act out behaviors they have witnessed ( one boy who was in my daughters class 2 years ago was hitting all of the other kids and yelling at them when he was mad~ turns out he was being abused at home). finally, little kids will often act out when they are in a situation that they feel totally overwhelmed in~ a situation that they cannot control.



Jetson
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24 Jan 2006, 4:49 am

I don't think the school has to use an IEP until it's established that a learning disability is involved. CRB didn't say his boy was having anything other than behavior problems. I would want to rule out psychological causes before trying to impliment a behavioral intervention program. If the kid truly can't control his actions then you need to treat the cause, not find ways of accomodating the symptoms.

Food hoarding is an eating disorder. It's most commonly seen among adopted children who came from 3rd-world countries where they were subject to chronic starvation or among foster children taken from homes with neglectful or abusive parents. It can also be an indication of PTSD (reported incidents of kids hoarding food at school rose sharply in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina), a specific variant of OCD, or a response to physical / sexual abuse.


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ster
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24 Jan 2006, 7:23 am

Quote:
I would want to rule out psychological causes before trying to impliment a behavioral intervention program. If the kid truly can't control his actions then you need to treat the cause, not find ways of accomodating the symptoms.


i'm not sure that i was clear in my earlier post... i meant to say exactly what jetson said above...when i said that it was normal for NTs to react in some of these ways, i meant that it was normal for someone who is/was in an abusive setting. :oops: unfortunately for me, some of these behaviors were normal for me due to my abusive dysfunctional family. :cry:



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25 Jan 2006, 2:00 am

Maybe he is not ready for Kindergarten. Could he come back home for the rest of the year and start when he's a year older? Does he have any sensitivities; sound, sight, smell? My son would sometimes hoard food but I think it had to do with nutritional deficiency because it would be odd things like salt or garlic powder.
Try asking him what he likes and dislikes about school and make a list. Try to enlist his aid in changing the things that may be changed and offering specific rewards for putting up with the things that must remain the same. Is it possible that you or your wife or a friend or relative could come to the school and have lunch with him? Sometimes just your presence at school brings some kind of reality and balance to an "otherworld".


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Paula
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28 Jan 2006, 1:11 am

An I.E.P isn't just for learning disabilities, but any behavior that interferes or disrupts a childs learning can warnet an I.E.P, and by law if a parent request one the schools must acomodate. We've done this at the group home I work at, also your child does need an assesment either by your own professional or the schools, but I always liked the I.E.P route because it got the schools on the ball for the sake of my boys that I work with. Also once your child is assessed see about seeing a behavioral specialist, they have alot of ideas that can help with your son. And family counseling also, as this is a family situation that you all need to work on together.



Aspen
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28 Jan 2006, 2:53 am

CRB wrote:
I am an AS parent married to an NT wife, and I am at my wits end with my youngest son (5 years old). He has been acting up recently in the following ways:

1) He will not listen to either my wife nor I, and he will not listen to his teacher. He often will say "OK" to us, and then go behind our back and do the exact opposite.

2) He is behaves very aggressively in school. I have frequently heard from the teacher that he has hit other people and spit on other people. He has been suspended from kindergarten for 3 days, and the school is threatening expulsion with the next infraction.

3) He gets into things that he his not supposed to get into. He will take food from the refrigerator and hid it under his bed. We cannot keep our house clean because he will mess it up.

We have not had our kid tested for ADD/ADHD or an ASD. I am at my wits end. Any suggestions?


Well, my daughter has done most of these same things except for hiding food under her bed and saying OK and doing the exact opposite behind our backs and she is autistic. If you have AS, you have a good chance of having a child with an ASD, even though your wife is NT. Is there any reason you have not had him evaluated yet? Assuming he is attending a public kindergarten, I agree with almost all of Paula's advice except for one thing: I would have him evaluated by a private psychiatrist or some other specialist before the school finishes their evaluation, if possible. That way, if they try any nonsense, you will have the private evaluation you can use to counter them in the initial IEP meeting. If it is not possible, don't worry and don't wait to write a letter to the school telling them that you believe your son is in need of special education services. Here is a sample letter:

http://www.nichcy.org/pubs/parent/pa9txt.htm#partD

Quote:
Requesting an Initial Evaluation for Special Education Services

When would I request an evaluation for special education services?

If your child has been consistently struggling in school, his or her problems may be due to a disability. If the school thinks your child may have a disability, they will contact you to request your written permission to evaluate your child. Under the IDEA, you also have the right to ask the school to evaluate your child. The purpose of the evaluation is to see if he or she has a disability and needs special education services. This evaluation is free of charge. (For more information on evaluation, see NICHCY's publication, Your Child's Evaluation).

If your child has been identified by your doctor or other professionals as having a disability, you will want to include this information in your letter to the school. You should also provide copies of any reports you have received that explain your child's condition. If you decide to write the school and ask that your child be evaluated, here's an example of what you may want to say.
Sample Letter 2: Requesting an Initial Evaluation

Today's Date (include month, day, and year)

Your Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code
Daytime telephone number

Name of Principal or Special Education Administrator
Name of School
Street Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear (Principal's or Administrator's name),

I am writing to request that my son/daughter, (child's name), be evaluated for special education services. I am worried that (child's name) is not doing well in school and believe he/she may need special services in order to learn. (Child's name) is in the ( _ ) grade at (name of school). (Teacher's name) is his/her teacher.

Specifically, I am worried because (child's name) does/does not (give a few direct examples of your child's problems at school).

We have tried the following to help (child's name): (If you or the school have done anything extra to help your child, briefly state it here).

I understand that I have to give written permission in order for (child's name) to be evaluated. Before the evaluation begins, I have some questions about the process that I need to have answered (list any questions you may have). I would be happy to talk with you about (child's name). You can send me information or call me during the day at (daytime telephone number). Thank you for your prompt attention to my request.

Sincerely,

Your name

cc: your child's principal (if letter is addressed to an administrator)
your child's teacher(s)

Note: If your child has been identified as having a disability by professionals outside the school system, add the following sentence to the end of the first paragraph above.

(Child's name) has been identified as having (name of disability) by (name of professional). Enclosed is a copy of the report(s) I have received that explains (child's name) condition.


Start a special education file for your son and file a copy of this letter and any other correspondence you have with the school. Also file copies of any private evaluations done for him. While you hope that you will not have problems with the school, always assume you may at some point have to fight them in court and be prepared for that. Start keeping good records now.

Another good special education law website is Wrightslaw.

Here is a good article about effective letter writing on their website:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/article ... tters.html

Here is their Pennsylvania Yellow Pages for Kids, which has resources in Pennsylvania:

http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/help/pa.htm

Here is the website for Special Education for the Pennsylvania Department of Education:

http://www.pde.state.pa.us/special_edu/site/default.asp

Do you know if any parenting classes are offered in your area? My husband and I attended a series of parenting classes that helped us deal with our daughter's behavior more effectively.



aprillove
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28 Jan 2006, 12:23 pm

i don't really have any advice in regards to your son, but if you do choose to have him tested or if you want the school to test him or get him an iep, then you need to do more than just ask the school.

yes by law they are supposed to, thing is, they have ways to get around this. i was in the ps system, and i saw this done so much.

even though you as a parent may think your child needs testing, the school can use their little things to say, no, we'll try something else first. this can then put the testing off for years and the child may never get tested. again, i've seen this done--there are ways to skirt around it. i'm assuming it's pretty much the same in other states as in indiana.

if you really want to get your child tested (and you want to go through the school system to do it), then take your child to the doc or to a mental health place (i say doc in case you need a referal first). eventually get to a mental health place and have a psychologist put in writing that your child needs testing. then bring this to your school and by law (assuming it's relatively the same as indiana) they have so many days to do it.

without something in writing from a professional, the school can find ways to wiggle around the law and keep it going for a looooong time.

another thing to think about is whether you want to have the child tested by the school or by a private individual. it'll cost a lot with the private psychologist, but you may get a more honest assessment. i've seen this too--kids we knew needed help and not getting it because the assessor didn't want to help. or kids that just needed behavior help, getting labeled so that they can be pawned off into the special ed class even though they dont need it.

what i was also told in college (i have a degree in education) was that if your child is tested by an individual, you have the right to refuse what they propose and then the school would have to take you to court to prove that it is indeed the right thing to do, which in most cases they won't do because they don't want to fork out the money. however, if your child is tested via the school system and then the school system says they need certain things in their iep and you don't want it, then you have to take the school system to court to prove that your child shouldn't have them.

again, i don't know if this is true in every state, but you may want to look into it. and also, ask around. see what your school system is doing with other kids. how long does it take to get a child tested. what kind of services do they offer. and don't just ask the educators because they will make it sound like their school system is sooooo great. go to other parents. get the inside scoop so to speak. go to the school unexpectedly and take a look at what's going on.

i know from experience that there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes, and many times the teachers are just as frustrated because their hands are tied. there are laws, but the schools know how to manipulate them.

april


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Aspen
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28 Jan 2006, 1:10 pm

April Love is right. Some schools will try to delay evaluating a child who needs help. The reason I suggested notifying them in writing of your son's need for an IEP is because it gives him some legal protection under the IDEA if they try to expel him from a public kindergarten. If they have this notice they must discipline him as a "child with a disability" which means they can suspend him for no more than ten days for "behavior that is a manifestation of his disability" except for some very specific circumstances like bringing a weapon or drugs to school.

At the same time, if this is financially possible, perhaps through private insurance, you have him privately evaluated (for developmental delays or autism or whatever) through the Child Development Unit of your best children's hospital. If this is not financially possible, then have him privately evaluated by the best professional you can afford. I meant to say that if the school does their evaluation so quickly that your private evaluation is not done yet, they still have to take your private evaluation into account when considering placement for your son, so you can call another IEP meeting when it is completed. If you absolutely cannot afford a private evaluation at all, you have nothing to lose in asking the school to evaluate him, because the way things are going right now, they are just going to kick him out of kindergarten if you do nothing.

Also you and your wife are very important members of the IEP team, so don't let them intimidate you, but do dress and behave very professionally in the meeting and try not to become emotional. If you tantrum in the meeting, you will hurt your son's case, so try very hard not to do it. Fall apart later, if you need to. Treat the IEP meeting like a business meeting. Your business is negotiating appropriate services for your son. Those services will probably include a Behavior Support Plan that is geared to helping him with his behaviors.



CRB
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03 Feb 2006, 9:41 pm

Just to let you know what happened with my youngest son. The problem was that he was not happy in the school that he was going. He was attending a private school kindergarten where from the beginning, the teacher felt that he was not mature enough for kindergarten. After receiving a 10-day suspension for hitting our middle son in the playground, we decided to yank him from the school. In the morning, our youngest son will be attending the day care that he really enjoyed, and then in the afternoon, he will be at kindergarten at a public school. Already, his behavior has vastly improved. It was obvious that he was not happy where he was and was acting out because of it. He is much happier, and is behaving better.


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Aspen
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03 Feb 2006, 10:16 pm

I am so glad he is happier and doing better now, CRB. Keep the other stuff in mind just in case he has trouble at a public school. Private schools have their own rules and can do pretty much anything they want.



ster
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04 Feb 2006, 6:19 am

so glad to hear that he's doing better ! :)



Bland
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06 Feb 2006, 9:00 am

CRB, that's great! Sometimes it's just a matter of finding out where each one of our kids fits. (not easy!)


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