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I'm not sure if this belongs here, but DS (5)'s behaviour issues...

(7 Posts)
Arana Tue 19-Mar-13 03:49:33

I hope people don't think I'm being presumptive posting in special needs...

DS is 5, and started prep in January (we're in Oz, it's the equivalent of reception).

His behaviour has always been challenging. He has all the characteristics of ADHD (which I have been formally diagnosed with, at the age of 30), and when assessed by a paediatrician it was decided that he may have ADHD but they didn't want to diagnose him until he'd had those problems in a formal learning environment. He also has some minor speech and language problems which we have sorted with therapy, and sensory processing problems which we have not been able to sort with therapy.

The school are very much on-board with managing his behaviour, and his teacher has been really pro-active with him to make sure that he doesn't miss out on too much learning. She has said that their approach is to manage the behaviour as it presents itself, and if we choose to medicate following a formal diagnosis, then that's up to us. He has been flagged by the school as requiring special measures, which will kick in next year when he enters year 1, and will probably involve having some one-on-one attention with a teaching assistant a couple of hours a week.

The problem we're struggling with is at out of hours school care. Me and DH work full time, so DS is dropped off at 7:15, and collected at 5:30. It's a long day, but he attended daycare for a year before going to school, and he is used to the hours. The people at daycare seem to struggle to manage his behaviour, and we are getting about two letters a week relating to incidents at after-school club. Most of these relate to not listening to instructions, running away when being spoken to, and unintentional damage/injury to property or people.
The school holidays are coming up, and we've just received an email from the out of hours school club saying that they can't accept DS for days when they have excursions planned as they can't guarantee his safety if they can't manage his behaviour. Which I guess is fair enough. We're lucky that my Dad is visiting, and had already agreed to look after DS in the holidays, but he won't be here for the next holidays in June.

We have strategies in place for managing his behaviour (marble system for rewards and punishments which generally works well), but a lot of it relies on whoever is looking after him being proactive, and intervening before he gets out of control. Once he gets past a certain point of "exuberance" it's very difficult to have any meaningful dialogue with him, and the more stimulating the environment and the more people around him, the harder it is. He's never aggressive, and has a very sunny personality, but he really struggles to moderate his behaviour, especially the way he reacts physically. He fidgets, fiddles, swings his arms and legs constantly, rolls around, leans on people, hums, makes silly noises/faces. We saw an occupational therapist, but the exercises we were given to "slow his engine" and reduce his need for sensory seeking behaviour were unsuccessful.

If he does get diagnosed with ADHD (which we've been told is likely should we seek a diagnosis) we don't want to medicate him yet, and the school have been very supportive of that. However, we still have the situation where not all his behaviours are manageable, and this is interfering in his learning and care.

Does anyone have any advice? Either practical advice on managing his behaviour, or strategic advice on how to deal with the issue of childcare. Surely not every parent of difficult children home schools or works part time?

colditz Tue 19-Mar-13 03:59:41

Get pushing for a proper assessment and diagnosis.

Once you have that, you have the disability discrimination act to poke the childcare setting Into supervising more

Xx he sounds just like ds1!

colditz Tue 19-Mar-13 04:00:54

Oh, you're in oz! The will still be something about disability discrimination in the law, surely

justaboutalittlefrazzled Tue 19-Mar-13 08:10:59

I am in NZ so not quite in your situation but...

I think you are probably looking at the wrong type of childcare medium-term. Your strategy of behaviour management needs someone who is very focused and committed to your child as an individual and you are not in general going to get that at afterschool club.
I think you need to look at home-based care, au pair or part-time nanny. The individual relationship is key and that is what you have got to build (and probably pay a bit more for).

FWIW I knew my DS had ADHD (as well as ASD) from 5 years old. I was adamant we would never need to medicate and only got the diagnosis for informational purposes. Then we decided to trial medication for occasional use only, when we were having a particularly bad day type of thing. He was almost eight years old.
It has transformed my DS's life and I am SO glad we did it. He is just not in trouble so much, and he is a happier calmer child as a result.

I think home care as well. For the reasons justabout has said but also because even NT kids who have just started school arrive home exhausted and often start being difficult. It's tough on them. It will be doubly hard for him if he does have ADHD - he's had to work extra hard at doing what is required all day iyswim.

You may find holiday clubs etc more accessible as it's not after a tiring day at school (although it depends on how important routine is to him).

mrslaughan Tue 19-Mar-13 08:58:27

I would be looking for home based childcare. My DS has sensory issues and so much of your post rings true for my DS( up too about a year ago). He was thought to have ADHD - terrible behaviour .... WAs diagnosed with sensory issues, got the RIGHT therapy and the aDHD behaviour has 100% disappeared (still has dyspraxiahmm). Why I say home based childcare, is he is probably completely overwhelmed sensorially.
If he is having sensory integration therapy and you are not seeing any effect ( though with his long school hours could be making effective therapy impossible) I would change therapists. My DS saw 4 therapists - all had some knowledge of sensory issues , before we struck gold with his current one. The first 4 made no difference with his sensory issues... We spent a fortune out of desperation. With his current one the experience has been transformative, his teachers asked if we drugged him..... I was talking to his teacher from last year ( he is at a small prep school) and she still teachers him 1 morning a week - she was saying last week the difference is unbelievable.... He is now so calm......

MareeyaDolores Tue 19-Mar-13 13:57:14

Yy to all the above posters. Ds1 is 9, and eventually I had to cut my work hours and stagger them with DH so he only has 5 hours a week in wrap-around care.

Childminders wouldn't take him, so for a while a good friend had him 1-2 afternoons a week (a bit like the super-au-pair solution, cos she's a full-time mum, an ex-nursery nurse and has a brother with ADHD).

We tried several different holiday play schemes including a special needs one, none were ideal. Eventually we found one that worked well, a sports based one aimed mainly at boys with lots of structure, and a limited choice of activities each session. He also takes methylphenidate, maturity has helped, and now we know about his ASD as well so our techniques are better targeted.

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