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momof1
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18 May 2011, 2:14 pm

Hi. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to teach my almost 6 year old about personal space? He has always had issues with it (standing to close to people in line, hugging random people), but it has gotten worse lately. In a previous post, I was asking about my son touching himself. This has gotten better, but now he is hugging/hanging on the girls in his class. He got sent to "isolation" as the principal called it today because of it. I'm going to try using a social story and talking to him about it again as well as taking away his computer time, but I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions I could try. Thanks!



League_Girl
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18 May 2011, 2:48 pm

Tell him about the arm length rule. Easy to understand. Tell him if someone is closer than his arm length when he holds out his arm, he is standing too close. If the person is still in front of his hand, he is not in their personal space. But this rule doesn't apply in crowded elevators or buses or trams or trains when it's very crowded.

Also tell him he shouldn't hug anyone because he doesn't understand when it's okay to hug so it's better if he doesn't do it at all. He can hug if the other person wants to hug him. It's okay to hug you guys and his other relatives but if they say stop, stop.

About him touching himself, have you asked him why he does it? It could be sensory issues.



Last edited by League_Girl on 19 May 2011, 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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18 May 2011, 5:02 pm

League Girl pretty much covered it. The only thing I'd add about crowded spaces is possibly to say "excuse me" when he's trying to move through people in a crowded area.


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18 May 2011, 5:43 pm

I wouldn't be taking his pc away, that's not fair he's not being naughty it's an impulse control thing.
The arms length rule is a good one as are social stories.

Something you may want to try for the hugging is drawing a circle, place his family in the circle (people you can hug)
Draw a circle around the first one,( people you need to ask if you can hug or people you can hug with mum's permission)
Draw another circle around the first two, (people who you shouldn't really hug at all)

Make it a visual and have school follow threw on anything you are doing at home.


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18 May 2011, 5:52 pm

Do you have a hula hoop? Stand your son in the middle of a hula hoop and show him this is his personal space. Lift it up to his body, then his face. Give him a good visual of what this sphere of space looks like.

If he likes to draw you can used colored pencils and kind of draw an "aura" of light color around his person drawings. Sometimes my kids really need this visual way of seeing what all the barrage of words and upset adults is about. Practice role play at home, you be the classmate let him be himself.

I agree with the no hugging rule, I'd say unless he is with you to have you to help him gauge the different situations as learning experience. Also as a learning opportunity, take any time your son doesn't want someone doing these things to him as a time to help him to relate to others not wanting to be touched or crowded.

As for the self touching I remind my son in public or any other room other than the bathroom, "bathroom behavior"! That is his cue to take his hand out of his pants in front of others without added embarrasment. I explained to him some time ago that "touching, scratching, checking" ect were all things to be done in private, such as in the bathroom. Now he knows and remembers with some help. Of course when you aren't with your son this doesn't help, but doing it at home regularly will hopefully spill into school behavior.

Best of luck n wishes!



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18 May 2011, 6:35 pm

Great suggestions. What does "isolation" look like?



Last edited by ASDsmom on 18 May 2011, 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jojobean
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19 May 2011, 3:09 am

ASDsmom wrote:
Great suggestions. What does "isolation" look like?


usually a kid with their nose in a corner till the teacher says they can join the group again.


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momof1
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19 May 2011, 8:43 am

ASDsmom wrote:
Great suggestions. What does "isolation" look like?


They sent him to a room separate from his class. It is like in school suspension. He has actually been sent there already this morning for biting. Gotta love those calls first thing in the morning. I'm not sure what is going on with him lately since he had been doing so good. I don't think we have had any issues with biting since preschool last year. There haven't been any changes to his routine recently so I don't know if is the moon or the weather or what. As for the punishment, I only take away the computer because it does seem to help him control his impulses if he knows he is going to have the consequence.



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19 May 2011, 4:00 pm

momof1 wrote:
They sent him to a room separate from his class. It is like in school suspension. He has actually been sent there already this morning for biting. Gotta love those calls first thing in the morning. I'm not sure what is going on with him lately since he had been doing so good. I don't think we have had any issues with biting since preschool last year. There haven't been any changes to his routine recently so I don't know if is the moon or the weather or what. As for the punishment, I only take away the computer because it does seem to help him control his impulses if he knows he is going to have the consequence.


Personally some of the behavior both my boys have exhibited in the past few weeks I just chalk up to spring fever. There doesn't seem to be much other explanation.

Does the computer time help him decompress after school? If so, I really would consider trying to find a different consequence for his impulse control problems. It's possible taking away that stress relief valve will make things worse.



momof1
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20 May 2011, 9:03 am

Bombaloo wrote:
[Does the computer time help him decompress after school? If so, I really would consider trying to find a different consequence for his impulse control problems. It's possible taking away that stress relief valve will make things worse.


No. He gets his computer time after dinner so he doesn't get to play right after school. Usually if I tell him he will get time taken away if he doesn't behave, his behavior will improve (when he is with me at least). I did find out the biting incident occurred when he was putting something away and this classmate started helping him, and he did not want the help. I think the classmate got too close, and he got upset so he bit her. He has done really well this year for the most part, but I'm really, really concerned about next year when his teacher might not be as understanding as this year.



bjcirceleb
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21 May 2011, 3:04 am

I suspect that he has a great deal of trouble with understanding social behaviour as a whole. I would not even say that he is necessarily wanting to be hugged, just that he wants to be liked and included. If he is biting children for getting too close and then hugging them to bring them close, he is struggling with the whole relationship thing. There are clearly sensory issues involved, but there are also simply social cues missing. He does need to understand when he can and when he cannot hug, and the arms distance, hulla hoop, drawing the circles with the different groups of people in them are all good. I would suggest a sensory assessment from an occupational therapist who understands and is skilled in sensory issues. It may be that a weighted blanket would help as he could then hug himself if needed, etc. Many people on the spectrum yearn for physical touch, but really struggle with it at the same time. What they need is very deep pressure and not the odd touch on the shoulder or the like, which many people like and are calmed and reassured by. Slight touch can send shivers up their spines, so they push people away, but at the same time they long for that deep pressure and have no idea of how to get those needs met. He also wants to be liked and accepted, and sees people hugging, but has no concept of how or when to do it. Likewise with eye contact they can notice that I need to do that, but not comprehend how to do it and hence look directly from in front of the person right into their eyes, eyeballing them if you understand that. I suspect that is issues are partly sensory and partly just not getting the right social cues, and addressing one alone will not help with the other.