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Why is ds 3.9 aggressive towards kids? Very concerned.

(8 Posts)
ma76 Fri 19-Dec-14 18:25:15

Hi all
Has anyone had experience with an aggressive preschooler? He pushes, pinches, scratches other kids at preschool for no apparent reason and blatantly in front of his teachers. Teacher thought this was weird as kids usually try to hide this behaviour. I am considering pulling him out because I am feeling so anxious about the number of kids shouting out to me that he is naughty. I have to add that he seems happy at preschool but maybe this aggression is his way of saying he doesn't want to be there.

I have no behaviourial problems with him at home eg tantrums or anger except when over tired. We don't have tv and junk food is very limited. He is a bright and articulate boy is always engaged in something when home. He is very independent and strong minded. I have no idea why he behaves like this. He does like getting on with things on his own or with adults. His teacher mentioned he wants to withdraw from group activities and be with a teacher. He freaks out at large gatherings. During every wedding I have been to over the past 18 months, he has clung to me as if he is scared. I tried taking him to a couple of kids classes but his anxiety got out of hand and he would not let me leave him.

I have spoken to the HV as I would like an assessment for aspergers as his social skills with peers are so poor. I can't really identify other asd traits though. I don't know if I am helping him by pulling him out of preschool.

I would appreciate any advice or insights.

kleinzeit Fri 19-Dec-14 18:59:50

Reading your post, I also thought of Asperger’s or some similar social-communication issue. Kids with poor social skills can be aggressive because they really don’t know how else to communicate and negotiate. I would keep him in preschool if he seems to mostly enjoy it. My DS (who has Asperger’s disgnosis) loved nursery and was very outgoing, got on fine with adults and was seldom any bother at home (possibly due to not having brothers or sisters to disarrange his life!) Unlike your DS he didn’t show anxiety in social situations (though many kids with Asperger’s do) but when things got too much for him or there was a disagreement or a kid annoyed him he would lash out. My DS was astonishingly articulate in some ways but he couldn’t negotiate with other kids.

You do have my sympathy about the other kids. flowers The adults at nursery may need to supervise your DS more closely and intervene. My DS was fine at a small nursery where the kids and staff knew him well and the staff knew exactly how to handle him but we had an atrocious time with aggression when he started school until he was diagnosed and supported properly.

So my suggestion is, keep your DS at preschool if he seems mostly happy there, and talk to both your GP and the preschool about assessments. The preschool have noticed there’s an issue so they are likely to support you and they may have access to e.g. an educational psychologist who could help, though you may need to see a developmental paediatritian for a full assessment.

Heyho111 Fri 19-Dec-14 20:21:06

It's a good idea to have talked to the hv.
The nursery could some specific things to help him if possible.
Set up turn taking activities with one other child. Take any opertunity. Eg. Playing in the sand. Fill a bucket. Give your son the spade. I'm calling him sam. Say. 'Sams turn'. Give the spade to the other child and say. 'x turn ' continue doing this just using this simple phrase. Do it with different kids one at a time and in different ways. Puzzles, tipping water, rolling a car. Etc. this will help him learn to interact with his peers.
Circle time. Give him a cusion to sit on so he knows it's his space. Have it placed at the edge of the group near an adult. He will then learn to cope with group situations. Place the cusion in different place but on the edge.
These stratagies may help him over the weeks to interact better with his peers. I hope it helps a little.

HollyJollyXmas Fri 19-Dec-14 20:25:29

If you suspect AS, go to your GP rather than H and ask for a referral to a paed.

No way of knowing whats going on just from what you have said, but youre his know him best and should go with your gut in order to get AS discounted or confirmed.

Anecdotally, my DS was the same and yes, he has Asperger's. He got his diagnosis aged 5 yrs, but in retrospect, I started to notice his issues at about 2.5 yrs when he started nursery.

HollyJollyXmas Fri 19-Dec-14 20:25:50

That should say GP rather than HV

ma76 Fri 19-Dec-14 22:09:24

Thank you all for your insights and advice, which are very helpful.

Heyho - I think preschool tried some of these strategies but when he pinches etc, it is very quick and unpredictable. I take him to plenty of outings to put him in different social situations. Yesterday, in a cafe, a child wanted to look at his toys and ds wasn't interested but was more than happy to return unused condiments to the till and ask staff where to throw our rubbish. So, he can be great in some social situations but only with adults. I should have added he is an only child and has had a lot of attention from me as I am a SAHM.

Kleinzeit and Hollyjolly did your dcs have other traits which you thought were asd? Aside from the social aspect, I can't say that anything else especially stands out except he notices tiny details and sees patterns in things that take me a while to figure out. He reads emotions very well and I find him incredibly intense. He has a huge interest in transport but engages well in lots of other things.

I will pursue the assessment route as I need support for him. I have no idea what to do about schooling ....

ma76 Fri 19-Dec-14 22:15:35

I should have added that he has been good at stopping other undesirable behaviours eg sticking his tongue out and saying poo through sanctions and me being firm but nothing is getting through to him about the negative behaviour towards kids.

kleinzeit Sat 20-Dec-14 17:37:34

I had absolutely no clue and the nursery that DS went to had no clue either. He’d been going since he was a baby and they were just too used to his ways! I can’t even say “if I’d known more about Asperger’s I would have realised”. There were some potential signs earlier but nothing stand-out obvious.

Things only went wrong for DS when he started school – unfamiliar setting and people, less adult attention, more going on, more choice, more demands. It was as if he underwent a total personality transplant and he went from the “happy friendly” boy the nursery trusted to take the little ones to the bathroom because he’d make sure they washed their hands to a raging monster in weeks.

Even when Asperger’s was first mentioned I didn’t think it was very likely – though it was the least-unlikely explanation if you see what I mean! It was only when the paediatritian and the speech therapist were assessing him and they knew exactly how to bring out the things he couldn’t do – then I saw it. He had a lovely two-way conversation with the speech therapist about one of his own favourite subjects - maps. Then she changed the subject on him and he went dead silent. He just couldn’t cope. Without formal assessment I would never have realised.

I’m not saying your DS does have Asperger’s but sometimes it really does take an expert to nail the exact issues that are causing the problems.

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