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Five year old boy behaviour

(21 Posts)
Levantine Tue 27-Nov-12 20:44:09

My year 1 ds has always had problems with impulse control and with hurting other children. He won't sit still, can't listen, is always in trouble at and was at nursery too.

He moved school, but at the end of reception in his old school was observed for a morning by an educational psychologist who said there was nothing wrong.

His behaviour had at that point improved quite a lot - we put it down to reading suddenly clicking with him and to a new teacher who was better at class control than his former one.

His behavioural problems have come back at the new school and they want to refer him again, and want me to try to refer him through the gp too, as they think it will be quicker. I am happy to do this but am not sure really what to say to the gp, whether I should take ds with me and what to expect.

His behaviour for a long time seemed in line with what you might expect from a badly behaved child of his age, but it is becoming apparent that it might be something else - but what?

And what can we do to help him with his impulse control in the mean time?

tigersmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:14:40

I have a similar sounding DS in his reception year - school have highlighted difficulty listening, concentrating and sitting still which we were concerned about anyway. He is a bit behind his peers speech wise but most of the time we can understand him well. Our school were excellent at getting a educational psychologist in within two months and she has given the teachers and inadvertently us too good pointers to work on such as reward charts and tokens that he can exchange at the end of the school day for a specific treat. I'm surprised your ed psych was so dismissive with the nothing wrong conclusion as all children in reception can improve on at least one area. Ours has already arranged a follow up visit in March and the school have also suggested hearing tests and another SALT referral (we had one when he was 2 but IMO they were useless sad.

Is the behaviour just at school or home too? Why did he move schools? Have you considered hearing or speech issues? Sorry to bombard you but our DS has had so much upheaval this year that we think its taken its toll on his behaviour. I also took him to chiropractor who found his neck and pelvis unaligned - since then he has been calmer and more pleasant to be around but the last few days he's not been great company - that's the most positive spin I can put on it! grin

tigersmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 19:16:23

Re GP it may be worth calling first to explain situation - no child should be talked about on front of so I would have an initial chat without him.

arista Wed 28-Nov-12 20:25:25

Sounds that my daughter she does not hurt others but she can't sit still for long etc for cinema or a film and does not listen. She is in yr 1 as well just she just turned 5 end of August and one is of the youngest in her class. I was told to get her referred as well and still waiting. I have to mention that though she was not following instructions at school she was in no way behind in terms of learning she knew all the phonics, addition, substraction etc since last year. But amazingly a month ago I have been called and was told they have noticed such a change in my daughter. So she is following her class and is doing what she is asked to do. I am going to see whether she carries on this way and decide whenever I have an appointment if I want her to see a pedaetrician or not. What I am trying to say is maybe your son is finding it hard to adjust and needs more time. He is only 5 and each child is different. Is he doing ok with his learning? Also have a look at a book called FED UP by sue dengate about how food affects your child's behaviour.

arista Wed 28-Nov-12 20:29:01

Sorry wrote wrongly so wanted to say my daughter does sit still for a film or at the cinema but other time can't stay still.

MrsDeVere Wed 28-Nov-12 20:41:56

I am a bit hmm about the school referring him and asking you to get the GP to do it as well.

Duplicating referrals doesn't speed up the process IME. A referral from the school should be sufficient.

I work for the local child development team. We get referrals from lots of sources. If I am brutally honest, the GP ones are often the poorest (sorry MN GPs).
To be fair this is because they have to make a referral based on a ten minute appointment about a child they may never have met before.

The school are in a much better position to complete a full and accurate referral.

Levantine Wed 28-Nov-12 20:56:07

Yes, I was unsure too. We have just moved to the area so there isn't anyone at that practice who knows us at all - our old health visitor would have been my first port of call otherwise.

He had another bad day today - hit a teacher when she asked him to sit elsewhere at lunchtime and then also lied to me, saying he had had a good day when he hadn't. He had no computer time at home and no pudding plus a good talking to from both of us but to be honest I am really at a loss as to what to do.

He has a book at school with smiles/straight faces/frowns for each period of the day and is allowed computer time if he gets enough smiles.

He is bright, so the problem isn't that he is frustrated at not keeping up, but not so bright that he is bored.

Levantine Wed 28-Nov-12 21:24:36

Just thinking about this a bit more, and while you're here mrsdevere, would the referral go to the same place iyswim? Or would the schools one go to eg an ed psych and the gp to eg camhs?

Levantine Wed 28-Nov-12 21:25:27

I had assumed so, but sounded from your post as if probably not

MrsDeVere Wed 28-Nov-12 21:47:00

They should both go to the same place. If referrals are firing off to separate agencies you run the risk of them both saying 'camhs are dealing with this/Ed psych is dealing with this.
What sort of referral are the school asking for? If it is an ed psych I can see no reason to ask the GP to make a referral.
I am not sure why they would want a referral to CAMHs unless they are suggesting your son has fairly significant issues.

EP would be first. I doubt he would meet the referral threshold for CAMHS. I might be wrong. Things do differ from area to area.

I think the first thing to do is get the school to tell you exactly what kind of ref they are asking for.
Child Development Team
Ed Psych

Are they suggesting autism? In which case there may be a specialist pathway in your area.
ADHD? Services are reluctant to start on a dx before schools put strategies in place for behavioral management.

Are they thinking about applying for a statement? Your DS will need an EP observation and assessment for that.

I am sorry, these are very difficult question for you to have to ask the school but they need to be more specific about what they want.

Do you mind me making a suggestion? Your DS is still very young. If he had a bad day at school he is not really going to connect that with not having pudding after dinner. Even at 5, things need to be immediate, particularly if you DS has trouble with attention/concentration.

Him telling you he had a good day is not necessarily a lie. Children of that age tend to live right in the 'now'.

MrsDeVere Wed 28-Nov-12 21:48:55

Forgot to say - I do sympathise. I have a child with SN who has very challenging behaviour. Luckily he tends to be well behaved at school though. He saves it all for home time.

How is your son when he is at home? Same sort of issues or totally different?

Levantine Wed 28-Nov-12 21:57:37

Thank you that is helpful. Tbh I feel out of my depth with following up what has happened at school at home - I used to just want to keep them separate so that he felt 'safe' at home. I see what you mean about the living in the moment thing. Ds said he had a good day and then made up what frowns/smiles he had, because he wanted to play computer games. But he was so happy to see me and kept running to give me cuddles when I picked him up from karate.

He is fine at home, a real sweetie, he just struggles in big groups and with concentrating.

I don't think camhs is what they are thinking, it was the example that came to mind. He has been consistently hitting the same child so I have already asked for a meeting with the Senco and his teacher, so it is very very useful to have some pointers. I suspect they are thinking ADHD, but I will ask them.

MrsDeVere Wed 28-Nov-12 22:19:41

It is very hard to know how to cope with this sort of thing. TBH if he is getting frowns and smilies at school in response to his behaviour I dont think you need to 'punish' him at home too. It would be a good idea to get him to talk about and 'name' his feelings.

Ask him what happened before he hit the other child. 'did that make you feel cross?' 'when I feel cross I look like this' and make a cross face.

'I would feel very sad if you hit me. I think Other Child's Name must feel sad when you hit him' 'when do you feel sad?'

You can get some books on Amazon that will help with this.

Meeting with Senco and teacher is great idea.
ADHD means significant difficulties and would be unlikely to only manifest in one environment. Children with ADHD can be more comfortable in different environments and therefore their behaviour is less extreme at home (for eg) but it does not just turn off.

It could be that your little boy is a little behind with his emotional development. Children can be very forward or typical in some areas and behind or significantly delayed in others.

It is always sensible to get an assessment if you are concerned and to keep an eye on things but try not to worry just yet.

The school really need to be putting a behavioural plan in place before they start looking for a diagnosis. A paediatrician would expect to see the results of this before making any diagnosis anyway.

If your son was exhibiting severe and consistent challenging behaviour AND you were very concerned I would be urging you to push harder.

Levantine Thu 29-Nov-12 09:02:39

That is so helpful mrsdevere, thank you. I talked to him about things in bed this morning and he invented a thumbs up, both thumbs up, thumbs down system for how he felt/feels about things. He can do stupid things at home - like jump into the pool at the end of the swimming lesson, but my instinct is that he will grow out of this. More clarity on behavioural strategy from school would be god though.

Thank you thanks

confusedperson Thu 29-Nov-12 22:07:50

I feel my DS1 who is 4.7yo is similar to what you describe. He can impulsively hurt his friends or me or poke his brother, and is grumpy most of the time. He is also very challenging verbally - would not engage in a conversation, say silly (not nice) words instead of replying etc. His nursery had referred him to ABC behavioural team (a council service), but after they did a couple of sessions, they didn't notice anything "wrong", in fact they said he is quite bright. He is OKish in school at the moment, not overly engaging in tasks and "has his moments" according to the teachers, but understands consequences and is friendly and chatty so the teacher is not worried. It sounds brilliant, however...

I observed him with other children - runs around on his own, ignores other children when they try to speak to him or instead of engaging in the conversations with other 4-5 year olds, always responds negatively so the conversations dies straight away. He does this to me as well - I try to talk to him, as I try to put, about "wonderful things" and his response is "no", "poo-poo", "bum-bum", "naughty" (complete out of sense) so I always end up silent. I can't work out the reasons. His speech is great, but maybe he is still very immature? Anyway, I think he has signs of ADHD, perhaps too little to be diagnosed, but I am aware and this may cause problems in the future.

The only "positive" thing out of this is that I consider myself an undiagnosed adult with ADHD and I have similar awkwardness but I learnt to hide them and live with it. So I am able recognise similarities in my DS1 and it is easier to understand how he might feel inside and how to deal with it.

matana Sat 01-Dec-12 15:57:40

My friend's eldest boy was like this. They signed him up for early morning circuit training before he went to school and it worked a treat. He had so much pent up energy he couldn't concentrate in school and fidgeted constantly, so the early morning workout really helped. He's 11 now, very bright and much calmer. I heard that boys also double their testosterone around 5, which might also have an impact.

Levantine Wed 12-Dec-12 15:27:13

Thank you all for your input, it really helps. Just coming back to update. MrsdeVeres suggestion seems to have made a big difference, just doing faces to show emotions seems to get through to him and he has had very few days with frowns in his book since I started doing that.

I did meet with his teacher and with the senco. When I asked what exactly I would be asking a doctor to refer to his teacher mentioned autism, which was really not what I was expecting.

They said that they would get the educational psychologist to work with him in January. So I would be asking for a referral to a paediatrician and they would be doing stuff with the ed psych (as I understand it).

I would be happy for him to have a diagnosis if it helps us all to support him, but it is a confusing place to be.

DeWe Wed 12-Dec-12 16:38:49

If he's mostly hitting one child, it can be worth checking what the dynamic is between them. It could be they're playing mostly together, hence when something goes wrong the other child tends to be there. Or it could be that the other child is doing something either accidently or deliberately to wind your ds up.

Ds last year had a child who would repeatedly do something irritating to him. Like remove a piece in a jigsaw ds was doing. Ds would tell him not to do it 2, 3, 4 times. Then would eventually snap and hit him.
Then he other child's parents would go in crying "bully".
Luckily the school was on the ball, and although ds was punished for hitting (which is right, so he doesn't see it as something he can get away with) the other child was not held blameless. As the school put it to me "ds would hit anyone who did that to him. That isn't bullying. However the other child is deliberately targetting ds, which can be counted as bullying."

MrsDeVere Wed 12-Dec-12 17:53:54

Thanks for the update. I am really glad you have been able to help him.
Its a good idea to keep working on the emotional stuff. Being able to express himself can help cut down on the aggression.

You might want to try an ABC approach so you can get to the bottom of his behaviours. Sounds like the school might benefit from trying this.
Antecedent - what was going on, where was he, what was he doing, mood, actions, what were others doing.
Behaviour - what happened? did he hit, shout etc
Consequences - what happened afterwards? Did he get a lot of attention from staff, did the class all turn and look at him, did he get removed from situation (this is an important one - children often use challenging behaviour to get out of situations)

I thought I knew how to use these charts but had a bit of a revelation this week blush. I would usually concentrate on the B section of the chart. Learnt this week that the A section is actually a lot more telling than I thought. I knew it was important but the detail can tell you an awful lot about what is going on with the child.

I completely understand your confusion at the moment. It will get more confusing before it gets clearer. I know this from a personal and professional viewpoint. Things tend to take time which doesn't help either.

If you keep moving forward with the emotional maturity stuff it can only make the picture clearer for when you do eventually get to assessment.

YY to giving him lots of physical stuff to do too and finding out a bit more about the hitting. If it is one child I would want to know what is going on. It could be that the other child is tormenting him or that your boy has taken an irrational dislike to the other child and needs to talk that through (using his new found skills of course grin

You are doing a grand job. Don't forget that smile

Poor thing, he sounds very overwhelmed. Have you heard of/googled auditory processing difficulty?

I hope you get to the bottom of it and he gets the support he needs.

Levantine Wed 12-Dec-12 18:56:47

It was very nice to get home to find these messages. Ds had karate tonight and the teacher said he is not putting him forward for grading because he needs to concentrate more - his best friend IS doing it. It is just dawning on me that this is what it is likely to be like sad. Ds doesn't seem bothered so I am trying not to project.

Anyway, we don't actually have a diagnosis yet, so who knows.

I will look into auditory processing difficulty, thanks for that neverquitesure and the ABC approach sounds really helpful. Honestly I am amazed how much difference helping him identify his emotions has made already

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