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  • howiecram
    started a topic Suggestions for son

    Suggestions for son

    We began medicating my son (newly turned 7 at the time) in Sept? Octish. He is being "treated" for anxiety. I will say it has been a Godsend. His outburst are considerably less now, but we still have a few areas of concern and I'm not sure how to address them. At the time of his appointment when the doctor prescribed the medication, she also thought about ABA therapy (I think someone from a center had recently been in her office advocating for it for children OTHER than Autism). That thought was quickly but to bed because the #1 reason insurance. They actually would pay for it (surprise) without the autism diagnosis, but only 1-2 hours a week, which the center said was nothing. I discussed his situation with the center and we agreed that maybe this was not the right course of action for him. I called the doctor's office back, spoke to a nurse (who was trying to help me so much!) and said it looked like perhaps we should just revisit OT. I did not particularly care for our previous encounter at the hospital, had heard of a friend with a good experience at a private location and so we set up an appointment. This was an odd experience. At the previous OT place, my son had to take a "test". At this place the in take counselor said he had enough information from the doctor's records, but never really assessed him, in my opinion. At our first appointment, I had no idea I would just be discussing my son with the therapist. We were there for a solid hour (so was my son!). He also had no idea what was happening and why he wasn't "playing" at this appointment. He was relatively calm though....he pushed around the room one of those doctors stools that spins...for a good portion. I mentioned to the therapist that the doctor did not think he had ADHD and he said, based on his 1 hour observation of him that pushing around a chair for an hour was "age appropriate" and he agreed that it was more likely anxiety not ADHD. He said if it was ADHD he would have been bouncing into the walls (literally) and jumping all over the room.

    So, we proceeded with a few therapy sessions. At this location they did not allow me in the sessions. I still did not feel like we had clear goals and the way the therapist was recording the reason for the therapy (anxiety) insurance said that was allowed, essentially. (I think the insurance alluded to, but would not say definitively, that a "psychologist" would be the approved treatment). I was not particularly happy with the therapist. She mentioned several times that is manipulative (which I do concur with), but the way she spoke did not give me good vibes.

    He IS manipulative, he really is. Here are some behaviors that we are currently experiencing difficulty with:

    1) trying to negotiate after an answer is giving to his question that is not the answer he wants "May I ___". I respond and then he will say "well, about this instead". I know the answer here is simply not to continue to respond. I have tried: "I have already answered your question" and then ignoring any additional questions, but this generally results in a fit and "why are not talking to me, why are you not responding to me, don't you care about what I am asking?"

    2) If he has truly done something wrong, (throw a ball in the house - which by the way he never did as a younger child, but all of sudden now I am having this trouble?) and we talk calmly with him, he is upset because we are telling him he did something wrong. "You are mad at me". I respond, "I am upset you threw the ball in the house". But literally any time we are disciplining, even when calm, he over reacts. (yes, by saying "even when calm does indicate that we have not always responded well - we are working on that)

    3) very negative thinking - "Mom how long is ___ activity"? (meaning something fun he is looking forward to). I could respond with 4 hours, 4 days, 4 months or 4 years and his response it "What" that is SOOOO long, why does it have to be so long? Or, "you are not allowed to do x right now because of x" His response "ok, so I can never do this?" (huh??) He does a speed drill and completes all but 1 problem (it might be a newer fact) and visibly throws a tantrum because he did not do them all. "I'm terrible at this!"

    4) disobeying. He wants to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. I actually thought for a period that maybe he did not hear me. I once asked "did you hear what I asked you to do?" (or not do) He replied, honestly and said "no, I just wanted to do it". These instances, while many not life or death, are small and subtle, but I know these little displays of disobedience will become more destructive. Why is he doing it? He was SUCH a rule follower until, maybe the last year?? (he will be 8 in Sept)

    Academics

    1) When he was learning to read, he could actually blend fairly quickly. It was amazing, after the struggles with the first. However, when it came to reading a sentence, he literally could not do it. He would read all the words, perfectly, but could not re-read it as a sentence. He could not remember the words he just read! (all about reading fluency sheets helped here). A year ago, he was barely reading the book D words in fSR and now, a year later he is doing amazing. He is able to read the same books as his older sister. He is actually using his decoding skills, because he has not figured out to use contextual clues to figure out the word. I hear him actually sounding them out and he is doing it correctly! He is definitely not done with phonics, but I am amazed how far he has come since just last year. However, we pulled out Core Skills Phonics 2 last week (which he loves) and today he had trouble with the instructions. It was 3 parts. He read every single word, perfectly, but just like the sentence problem, did not know what he was supposed to do. I then read to him all 3 sentences and he still did not know what to do. I said "ok, let's read the first sentence and do that part". We did and it worked out, but I was a little shocked he could not follow the instructions. (He has not had trouble before on any other pages). I'm guessing it was the multi-step problem.

    2) Math. He can do in his head $32-$2. (He makes up problems for fun......) "Mom, if x cost $2 and I have $32, how much change will I get?" He will give me the answer, rather quickly. However, if I give him problem 32-2 he stares at it, cries and says it is too hard???? We were going to the dollar store one day (for a lost tooth) and he said "Mom, can I get two toys?" I have $1 of my own money + the tooth fairy toy? I agreed, but explained that there is tax and it would actually cost $1.07. He thought a minute and said "hm, I don't have $.07, but I have a dime and they will give me three cents back" Again, doing all this in his head, but if he sees problems on paper, he says it is too hard? Flash cards are such a problem. I can orally ask him what 9-3 is and he can say the answer quickly, I show him the card and it is like I am asking him to multiply numbers he has never seen...

    I just don't know what questions to ask, to help him, or if this is really all just normal 8 year old boy stuff?

    I know he needs steps broken down, in generally, and for the steps to be mastered before adding one, but the math thing puzzles me? He can do it in his head, but on paper it is like Greek?

  • sfhargett
    replied
    I understand exactly how you are feeling! We just moved from NC away from all our family to VA. We lived for about a month and a half in a hotel. We had to manage selling and buying a home while living in the hotel. Then we moved into our house April 1. We really just got into a decent routine last week.

    I pretty much shut down while living in the hotel. It was so hard. I rationally knew this move was a good idea, but I just didn't want to deal with it. Like the straw that broke the camel's back.

    You are human. What you are going through is hard. HARD. There is only so much you can handle at one time.

    Looking for professionals is a very good idea. We've just started that here.

    For all the to-do's -- I recommend doing a brain dump -- just write down all the things that you think you need to do or consider. I like to do brain dumps in sections -- like home, school, financial, etc. Write everything down. Having so much stuff swirling around in your brain is exhausting and overwhelming. Then go through your list, try to categorize tasks as much as you can, then pick out the most important tasks. Only pick a few. Do them. Then pick a few more.

    Honestly I try to do the same with parenting and schooling. There are so many changes I want to make and I am such a project person. I want to come up with a complete overhaul and execute it perfectly. That always fails. So I try to think of what the one thing I could do in whatever area that would make the biggest impact. For schooling - maybe that is having your 11 year old read aloud a tiny bit every day until the habit is built and it becomes less of a big deal. Even one paragraph for every day for a week. Maybe its choosing to have your 11 year old correct the first two math mistakes and leave off marking any more wrong. As far as emotional outbursts go, for my kids, remaining matter of fact, acknowledging that they are upset (sad, angry, etc), giving them x amount of time to calm down (asking if they need a 2 minute break, a drink of water, etc), and but still requiring them to do whatever it is that caused the outburst (so hard to follow through, but so necessary -- also why it is helpful to start very small). I've found that over time, the outbursts decrease in both severity and quantity as long as I am consistent with my approach to them.

    Leave a comment:


  • howiecram
    replied
    Originally posted by empokorski View Post
    Wow. I am reading this thread and I am blown away. You ladies “get it” so much more than I ever did when my
    kids were that young. I have a 13-yr old autistic son who spends his day rubbing his brothers head which K have not been able to stop and then brother (6) retaliates by hitting, kicking or cursing. It is awful. I took all four kids to the grocery store yesterday and my eldest (13) acts like a 2-yr old wandering off to look at this or that and wanting to put things into the cart and irritating his brother and such. It was embarrassing and then when he provoked little brother, little brother calls him a curse word in the grocery store. Great. I am not good at in the moment, I take everything personally which I am trying hard not to and I am not good at thinking up consequences. My kids can see it and see that I am weak.

    In addition to this, I have an 11-yr old who is doing better with his emotional outbursts, but he rumpled up a math paper again yesterday because I circled the ones he got wrong. He hates to see any marks on any of his work. He wants me to use erasable pen so he can erase the circles afterwards. He gets so mad when he has to do reading aloud to me (he has dyslexia). He fights his tutoring when I am taking him but he never acts out at the tutor. It is only me. He gets mad if I wake him up in the AM or turn on his light. It is really frustrating.

    My daughter tries to slide under the radar unless she is mad. Then she will go quickly to whining and screaming which she can turn on or off in a moments notice. I try not to react emotionally to any of this, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t go off and cry many times over all this. I try to keep an even tone but I am not good at it.

    Someone told me recently that if I victimize myself, I will never win the war. Soldiers win wars. I LOVE THAT. Now in the midst of moving away from all of my close friends and especially all the daily and weekly grandparent help a I had...here I am a bit of a mess. A new baby is coming in September, a house to unpack and me trying to decide if I can still handle this homeschooling thing or if my kiddos would be better off with someone else for the day. It is a very emotional and tough spot to be in. I am trying to keep some semblance of school going until July because we basically missed an entire month while we had movers coming and packing us up and our final week in MI and now here we just finished our first week in WI and the house is covered in boxes and my eldest seems to be having some allergic reaction to something...wheezing at night and such. I’m in a tough spot at the moment. I guess maybe I need to practice my own positive self talk. I struggle with that too. Thanks for listening. Right now I don’t know who else to talk to. I know no one here yet...😢.
    I do not have anything helpful to add, except offering prayers! God Bless you! Where in WI?

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    First:
    Find at least one capable professional, such as a child/adolescent psychiatrist, to be on your new WI team. You may need strategies from someone in person. Your children may need additional support whether in medications, therapies, supplements, or some combination of all these.Your oldest, especially, needs help regulating himself. In our house that has always been a red flag to consider that medications are not at a therapeutic level. This happened just recently and bloodwork indicated this to be the case. The doctor responded immediately. If you have found a good OB for your upcoming delivery, maybe that person can recommend where to go. The OB may also have suggestions for you in caring both for yourself and your baby. Find out what your insurance covers and assemble a strong team.

    Second:
    Search here by your name for previous posts and emails. Print or reread anything that was helpful before. Your geographical location has changed, but many of the dynamics remain the same. Soldier on!

    Third:
    Feel free to cry here. We may have no words of wisdom beyond those in previous posts about your situation, but we are here for you.


    Praying for all of your children, for your husband, for your baby, and for you --
    Last edited by cherylswope; 05-14-2019, 08:46 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • MBentley
    replied
    empokorski
    I'd hug you across the miles if I could. Moving, new baby, a child with special needs, loss of extended family help, and kids that have decided to pick this moment to push all of the rules and boundaries? I'll bet we can add poor sleep and severe body aches to the mix too. Yeah, this looks like a recipe for getting good and "Lost". I've been lost before.

    When I get lost, I can only tell you what I do so this may not work for anyone but my weird self.
    For the house stuff
    1) Figure out "precisely" what needs to be done and make a list. This is a fast list with no order of importance. It's absolutely everything I can think of in 10 minutes or less. No vague action items here (like "unpack the house"). Everything must be absolutely completely specific.
    2) Shuffle the deck. Assign everything to a level of importance. Some things require an order sequence. For example: Right now, unless you have managed to get your main school area "unpacked" and ready to go, then you probably can't re-start school just yet. Since one precedes the other, it kind of helps give you a plan of attack.

    When you can see what must be done each day as the top priority, your brain can ignore all the other "stuff that needs to be done" because you've already given yourself permission to back-burner that stuff to higher priority stuff. That permission to "ignore" something is precious. If nothing else, it gives your brain rest because you can't be clouded with "All" of it. Just the "priority" action items. As those get crossed off, do the same thing the next day. You don't start the new day using yesterday's list. Some (or maybe none) were crossed off. New list. New priority/importance/sequence levels. What must be done is zeroed in on like an eagle eye on a fish. Nothing matters but those major items - which yesterday might have been only medium or minor level items. I'd even have the kids help with those specific action items on this list. Let them call some out and write it down while everyone is sitting down to breakfast. Even if they can't complete any of them (which I doubt), If they start looking around, thinking of what needs to be done, their brain has to begin shifting from an inward selfish motivation to an outward selfless one. (Please don't read that I'm calling the kids selfish - I"m not!) It's just about re-directing focus.

    This time could be used as a calming time to "reset" with your kids what home life, relationships, school expectations, and growing up looks like. I'm not saying this is a new time for rules. Dive deep with "Why". Why are we homeschooling? Why do we have rules? Why is crying, whining, or a tantrum the wrong behavior? Is it only because it breaks a rule? Is it only wrong because it is rude? Honestly, frustration, whining, tantrums, outbursts are kind of a natural response. But is it the best response that can happen? Ask them what they think about it? Have them turn it around on you. Ask them what they think when you get frustrated and lose your temper. How does it make them feel. How does it make home feel. Show that you, too, are vulnerable to making mistakes and you are on your own journey, gently being guided by God to become a better person every day. You might even grab the "Myself and Others" for everyone and start using those as a big part of curriculum. For that matter, give yourself permission to back off a lot of curriculum. Which subjects can you zero in on and do well. Add back in the rest over time. I just did a tally and I won't finish this year until the end of August. I'm good with that. This curriculum is intensive and worth finishing well. Learning is the goal - not checkboxes and tyrannical time tables.

    Why is an outburst on math the wrong way to look at something. I sat down with my son (same one I talked about above) when he tearfully complained about getting some math problems wrong. Seriously, it was 2 wrong out of the entire lesson. He just wants the stupid A+ every day. I kind of overdramatized this, but I had to make him understand that an A+ doesn't tell me much. Math is brain exercise. It's one of the few subjects we have where there is only one answer. You can't reason alternative answers or come at things from a different perspective. There is no "persuasion" to it. You have to use skills to problem solve to get it to that one perfect answer. It's like a treadmill for the brain. Every time you get something wrong, you have to back track a second and look at how you could have gotten it wrong. Sometimes, (most of the time) it isn't even because you don't "know" the material. As soon as it is pointed out, you see that you do know it, but you made a "mistake" which is the opposite of "not knowing it". You have to know the difference between a mistake and lack of understanding. Getting problems wrong is the ONLY way to figure that out. I told my son that when he gets a problem wrong, it actually helps me teach him more. It's an aid, a tool in the toolkit, for me as a teacher. Mistakes happen because of distractions. Were you looking at the next problem? Listening to something happening in the house? Having a short day-dream? Were you focusing on the previous problem still? Knowing what distracts you helps you know more about yourself. That is worth learning by itself. Also, I drew a picture of the brain. I explained what synapses were and how the brain builds bridges every time he learns something new. Sometimes, he learns it in such a chunk that the only way to learn more about something is to make a mistake and get something wrong. Then the brain has to pause and to re-focus on what happened. It has to build new neural connections around the problem. In history, it was getting things "wrong" that made many of the greatest breakthroughs of all time. We did not invent the plane, or the light bulb, by being uncomfortable with getting something wrong. Look at the Bible itself. It's not a book about people who were always getting an A+ in life. Those red circles on his math papers are the entire reason you are there. It wasn't to teach the entire lesson - if anything, the rest of the lesson didn't do much for him if he already knows it. What does a perfect math paper tell us about what was just learned? An A+ on the math paper may mean you just spent 30 minutes doing busy work without learning anything new (I know that's not the whole thing, but it's an overdramatized analogy for a kid wanting total perfection). Without the red circles, we are both wasting our time. I told my son "The only thing you learned in this entire 30 minute lesson was learned through that red circle." It literally is the only important thing on the paper.

    I have a thought about the reading aloud. He may not want to do it because he is reaching that age where he does not want to be embarrassed for any reason. I don't have an 11 year old yet, but talking to my husband, I get the sense that embarrassment is something that creates so much anxiety that some, boys especially, will act out to avoid it. I don't know how to calm that fear other than using the same math analogy above - it's only in the mistakes that we learn anything. (I know...not totally true, but true enough for the example). For the waking up, getting mad stuff? I would call in the bigger voice - "Dad's". I swear that Dad's have this voodoo magic rumble voice that commands respect that I just didn't get when God was passing out parenting skill sets at my house. Tantrums that I can't get a handle on get referred to "Dad" to have a talk about. Boys do NOT want their Daddy to be upset with them. They are like a weird wolf pack with Dad as the alpha. Sometimes you have to call in the big guns. Think about our military. Think of the quintessential stereotype of the army drill instructor. They don't sound like us Mama's....They just command a different response and one that young men sometimes need to re-center themselves and their behavior. And seriously, Dad here doesn't even have to raise his voice. I swear it's weird alpha male voodoo magic. I wish I had some. It makes a dramatic difference.

    I have no idea about little girls. I have my first girl (she's 2). I'm still figuring her out. I stand by my first assessment that boys and girls are so different that i'm shocked we are even the same genus and species.

    And one last thing. You. Are. Not. WEAK. Seriously. With all that on your plate? If this were a labor of Hercules (from Hercules and the 12 labors), I swear he would look at the situation, go wide eyed, and say "On second thought, I think I'm good at 11. I'll be Hercules and the 11 labors. Yep...I'm good..11 is good." And he would run like mad the other direction. You are a superhero with coffee and a red pen. Your family is an amazing family because they have a Mama who, even when she is lost, reaches out to still pursues a better day. I can think of no one better to be their guide.

    Leave a comment:


  • empokorski
    replied
    Wow. I am reading this thread and I am blown away. You ladies “get it” so much more than I ever did when my
    kids were that young. I have a 13-yr old autistic son who spends his day rubbing his brothers head which K have not been able to stop and then brother (6) retaliates by hitting, kicking or cursing. It is awful. I took all four kids to the grocery store yesterday and my eldest (13) acts like a 2-yr old wandering off to look at this or that and wanting to put things into the cart and irritating his brother and such. It was embarrassing and then when he provoked little brother, little brother calls him a curse word in the grocery store. Great. I am not good at in the moment, I take everything personally which I am trying hard not to and I am not good at thinking up consequences. My kids can see it and see that I am weak.

    In addition to this, I have an 11-yr old who is doing better with his emotional outbursts, but he rumpled up a math paper again yesterday because I circled the ones he got wrong. He hates to see any marks on any of his work. He wants me to use erasable pen so he can erase the circles afterwards. He gets so mad when he has to do reading aloud to me (he has dyslexia). He fights his tutoring when I am taking him but he never acts out at the tutor. It is only me. He gets mad if I wake him up in the AM or turn on his light. It is really frustrating.

    My daughter tries to slide under the radar unless she is mad. Then she will go quickly to whining and screaming which she can turn on or off in a moments notice. I try not to react emotionally to any of this, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t go off and cry many times over all this. I try to keep an even tone but I am not good at it.

    Someone told me recently that if I victimize myself, I will never win the war. Soldiers win wars. I LOVE THAT. Now in the midst of moving away from all of my close friends and especially all the daily and weekly grandparent help a I had...here I am a bit of a mess. A new baby is coming in September, a house to unpack and me trying to decide if I can still handle this homeschooling thing or if my kiddos would be better off with someone else for the day. It is a very emotional and tough spot to be in. I am trying to keep some semblance of school going until July because we basically missed an entire month while we had movers coming and packing us up and our final week in MI and now here we just finished our first week in WI and the house is covered in boxes and my eldest seems to be having some allergic reaction to something...wheezing at night and such. I’m in a tough spot at the moment. I guess maybe I need to practice my own positive self talk. I struggle with that too. Thanks for listening. Right now I don’t know who else to talk to. I know no one here yet...😢.

    Leave a comment:


  • howiecram
    replied
    Thanks everyone! Lots to ponder!! Melissa and Enbateau, thank you for your sayings and phrases.

    Cheryl, Ironically (or maybe not so ironically), I was looking at M&O 1 &2 last night and planning it out! I think I am missing a few of the readers, but maybe only 1 or 2. I'm still checking that inventory! He is making his 1st Holy Communion this weekend, so things are a little crazy this week. My husband and I are discussing the "white space" issue (and lack of it). It's hard with the "only boy" thing. I want to provide him with opportunities to "socialize" - he is like his mother and likes to be around people, more so than the girls. However, when discussing which activities would be dropped next year (and him protesting) I asked him to name is favorite things. He named "playing with Daddy" more than once at the top of his list. I explained that the activities actually make it difficult for Daddy to play with him and we are working on some resolutions for next "school year".

    Leave a comment:


  • GraceEllen
    replied
    Melissa, what you shared is helpful. Those repeated phrases are gems. I think they act as anchors for our children.

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    Melissa, not at all corny, but rather inspiring and touching. Thank you.

    Like enbateau, we have our repeated sayings here. My husband's is simple but one of the most comforting for our children: "We'll get through this. We always do."

    Melissa, I think all of us can benefit from this one from your list: "With God's help, I've got this."

    Leave a comment:


  • enbateau
    replied
    Melissa, that made me think of what I say to short circuit the crying when my son is in his room and won't let go of the emotion. I ask him over and over, "Who loves you?" I ask until mom and dad and Jesus are an answer.

    We also quote scripture: "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

    We also say, "In this family, we do hard things."

    And my favorite to get them helping us and each other in tasks that aren't their responsibility: We are (insert plural of last name), (insert plural of last name) help each other.

    Leave a comment:


  • MBentley
    replied
    Ok. This is going to be corny, but here goes.

    I actually make him say his own name, as if he is talking to himself. Some of it becomes a quiet prayer to God. It changes given the circumstances. We don't follow this exactly each time but you get the idea.

    "Justin, it's time to calm down."
    "God loves me so much, Mama loves me so much, Daddy loves me so much."
    "I am not really this angry/sad/disappointed at __________ (Monday, it was not being able to spread butter on his waffle)"
    "This is not the time for sadness/anger/disappointment"
    "I am still learning and I'm doing really well. I am still growing and I can do more today than I could yesterday. Even my mistakes show me how to become more of the man I choose to be.
    "Every day will expect more from me, and I'm not afraid to try - even if I don't get it right. Especially if I don't get it right. I will not be afraid to become more today.
    "With God's help, I've got this.
    "I am loved, and I love my family deeply."
    " I choose to smile"

    Sometimes, we say that opening prayer. We talked once about why the prayer asks God to "teach". I took it further and showed him that if you insert the word "teach" in front of the rest of it, you realize that none of this comes naturally to us. Generosity is not natural. Fighting when you are hurt isn't natural. Toiling without looking for rest isn't natural. Laboring without wanting a reward is just not natural. All of this is something we have to learn and we ask God to help us with that - to "teach" us. I remind him that this is my prayer for myself every single day because I fight the same things and God is still "teaching" me.

    I know it's corny and much of it I make up in the moment for him. I think the very act of stopping the behavior and saying the words gives him the internal brain space to reflect and the calming happens whether he wants it to or not. I don't even know that the words themselves mean so much as the fact that the break in behavior for even 60-90 seconds gives him a chance to reset.

    It's a whole different set of words for being overly silly in school.

    I doubt that makes much sense. It does for him though. We don't even have to do the words so much now as we've done it so many times before. I can truly help him stop the behavior with the "ear-touch" signal. He get's a little sad for a second, feeling like he's doing something wrong and that negative self talk is running across his mind because you can see it on his face. But I counter that by smiling really big at him, and telling him "Good" or "Well-done" because the behavior stopped. Often there's a hug. No one else knows what is happening, he gets to self correct, even getting a big kudos from me, and we keep going.

    Leave a comment:


  • cherylswope
    replied
    Originally posted by MBentley View Post

    I have had to tell him that it's his responsibility to calm himself down. We've talked about sadness, anger, and disappointment and when they are appropriate and when they are not. In fact, it doesn't even matter what the problem is, we address his response as the new problem. We take deep breaths together. He takes a breath, holds it for a couple of seconds (sometimes snot blows out), and he releases. I make him repeat words to himself that are the opposite of "negative self talk". Literally, I am teaching him to talk - out loud- to himself to tell himself exactly how calm down. I can literally see a change in his face as he says these words. There's a calmness that comes over his eyes. I tell him that this happens sometimes, even to Mama and Daddy. I explain how we have to practice calming ourselves down. A few months ago, we started something new. When I see him getting "out of control", I touch my ear and look at him as a "signal". His response is to pause, and realize I'm helping him recognize what's happening and that his response is going too far. This way, I don't have to embarrass him by calling him out. It gives him a chance to quietly calm down independently. After a few seconds, he says "Yes, ma'am". For us, it's about learning how to control his own outbursts - sometimes those outbursts are not totally negative - they are off the wall silly which can be really disruptive in school. I give the signal, and he gets a chance to reset.
    .
    I love this! Do you have examples of the words that he is to repeat? I think we all know what negative self talk sounds like, but it would be helpful to hear examples of the opposite.


    Leave a comment:


  • MBentley
    replied
    Actually, I'm not in any way someone to listen to.

    However, the reading/doing things in your son's head/legos thing got me thinking that there could be a visual problem like dyslexia (although I'm told it has nothing to do with vision)? Where he might focus on one short word, the rest of the letters and words begin to move around? That would make sense why following lego instructions - which are instructions without any words at all - aren't a problem? Just guessing here.

    This is a random thought. I get these. Apologies. I was watching a quilting how-to video a few years ago. The instructor said that sometimes, you put too many similar blocks together (to many lights or darks to close too each other) and the quilt looks "un-balanced". One way to avoid that was to purchase these red-tinted glasses. It seemed to filter out all the extra colors so you are left looking at regions of light and dark. Basically, you had less information to process. I did a quick Dr. Google search (sorry!) to see if tinted glasses was every used to treat dyslexia. Apparently, this occurred to other people too and at least one group said it doesn't carry any evidence at all so this may be totally useless. Others disagreed strongly though saying it did radically help. I've got nothing else.

    As for the behavioral stuff...well...that I have a little experience with my own 7 year old boy. Maybe he's a drama person. I've got one of those. Masterful negotiation and manipulation? Check. Extreme emotion either silly or sad? Yep. Tendency to over dramatize every disappointment no matter how slight? Oh. Yeah. Everything is blown out of proportion and I have to take a totally different stance with it. It's finally dawned on me to quit fighting the daily problems because there are too many and they are random. The real problem is his behavioral response to something in the world that it's going according to his plans.

    I have had to tell him that it's his responsibility to calm himself down. We've talked about sadness, anger, and disappointment and when they are appropriate and when they are not. In fact, it doesn't even matter what the problem is, we address his response as the new problem. We take deep breaths together. He takes a breath, holds it for a couple of seconds (sometimes snot blows out), and he releases. I make him repeat words to himself that are the opposite of "negative self talk". Literally, I am teaching him to talk - out loud- to himself to tell himself exactly how calm down. I can literally see a change in his face as he says these words. There's a calmness that comes over his eyes. I tell him that this happens sometimes, even to Mama and Daddy. I explain how we have to practice calming ourselves down. A few months ago, we started something new. When I see him getting "out of control", I touch my ear and look at him as a "signal". His response is to pause, and realize I'm helping him recognize what's happening and that his response is going too far. This way, I don't have to embarrass him by calling him out. It gives him a chance to quietly calm down independently. After a few seconds, he says "Yes, ma'am". For us, it's about learning how to control his own outbursts - sometimes those outbursts are not totally negative - they are off the wall silly which can be really disruptive in school. I give the signal, and he gets a chance to reset.

    Anxiety, negative self talk, runs in my family and my husbands. I'm not saying they are "genetic"...or maybe I am. I don't know. But do you ever feel like the same tendencies do tend to have some kind of hereditary aspect? Or...and maybe this is my own fanciful mind talking...it's like the same demons that plagued our family's ancestors know when they have a tool in the toolkit that works really well for a certain family's hereditary tendencies. I feel strongly that this must be battled because we are not supposed to be upset by so many things in life. I'm not sure my son's anxiety can be eliminated so much as "self-controlled" and put back into perspective. I believe there's a good chance it will always be there. I have to give him tools early on in life to deal with it.

    I doubt any of that made sense. I was typing fast. I'll give whatever I have - and that may be useless. Group brain storming in this forum is amazing though and you never know what reaches right through and helps someone.

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  • cherylswope
    replied
    Hi, Christine. A few thoughts in no particular order:

    You're Doing Well!
    You are doing what makes sense, yet he still struggles. This in itself is a "symptom" that something else is going on. Of course you're not perfect and, like all of us, you wish you were more consistent or more level-headed, but just as you saw with your daughter, there seems to be something else causing his difficulties. You are doing well to catch this early. Age 8 is still early. Sometimes parents do not see these things until the student is 17. I think you are conveying your concerns very well!

    Eval Time?
    This might be time for a good, thorough evaluation just as you did with your daughter. This is telling:
    Originally posted by howiecram View Post
    I know he needs steps broken down, in generally, and for the steps to be mastered before adding one, but the math thing puzzles me? He can do it in his head, but on paper it is like Greek?

    You can even explain to him about the evaluations, "You are a bright boy. You know your math, you can create Legos kits, and you are smart. We are going to learn more about the way your mind works, so we can help you." This might require an updated vision exam -- including a vision exam in the way the muscles are working or a full neuropsychological evaluation to determine what, if anything, is going on with visual processing or possible learning differences or disabilities. If nothing else, you can rule out some things.

    Boy
    Some of this may be from the child's unique position in the family as the only boy. Your daugthers respond differently to you. Your oldest, who has always been an eager child even when struggling, set the bar high. Resist, as you already know, the comparisons. Think of the ways this unique child makes you smile, delights the family, and shows his own academic strengths. You already listed some of them. These will be the things to cling to, as you move forward. You want to make sure you respect his boy-ness; yet it does not sound from here as if all of your concerns result simply from his being a boy.

    Dad
    Boys at 8 or 9 with behavior challenges can be transitioning from a need for Nurturing Mom to a need for Direct Dad. Dads often use far fewer words than we do, are direct and to the point, and are not so easily manipulated by emotions. If you and your husband can brainstorm a clear, effective system for conveying and tracking expectations each day, this might help. We still do this today when things begin to unravel. We switched from long, ineffective haranguing to a simple, even childlike point system for our son. He responded with visible relief. Everything is spelled out. Dad administers the points at the end of each day.

    Breathe
    This child, who is so adorable (I love photos of him), has struggled with "soft signs" of difficulties for several years: difficulties sleeping, many allergies and sensitivities, and behavior challenges.

    M&O One and Two
    If you have time over the summer, you might want to teach from M&O One (just 30 min/day) and then Two (longer) to teach behavior control, manners, good habits, and social cues in a more objective way that is not "in the heat of the moment." We can succumb to a nagging or reacting that is much less helpful than a forward-looking, objective, encouraging approach. M&O can help break those patterns and provide good literature at the same time. After the lessons each day, the literature teaches for you in ways that become internalized more than an external point system can do.

    All of the Above
    This will not be easy, as you know. Weight out all of the suggestions you receive here and from local friends and extended family. Most likely, you'll need a multi-faceted approach, and no single thing will be THE answer. You're good at pulling all of the pieces of something into one big, cohesive whole. I am confident you will do this for your son as well.



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  • howiecram
    replied
    Thanks Heidi!

    1) yes, I am not sure what our goals are! (Which I know is a problem!). My first goal was to stop the endless tantrums. The medication alone has curbed these dramatically. I justbstill feel like something is “off”, but I can not put my finger on it, or seem to convey the challenges.

    2) I think right at the moment the negativity is the hardest to deal with. I have explained that the speed drills are not necessarily meant to be accomplished in the time frame. It helps me know if/what we still need to practice. I explain that missing 1 on a speed drill of fairly new facts, is in fact a great accomplishment, etc. His handwriting is beautiful, but if he makes a mistake (it will actually not really be that bad), he throws a mini fit, erases and does it again. I never want to answer the “how long until” questions because it does not seem to matter my response.

    3)He builds legos all the time, with the booklet! They are generally listed as 1 step at a time, so I feel that is already broken down for him.

    What is is the difference between CBT and ABT? (Do I have those acronyms correct?).

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