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A slightly unsure post about DS

(19 Posts)
AnotherMonkey Wed 19-Mar-14 11:50:16

I've been almost posting this for a while, but keep going backwards and forwards between thinking there's a problem and thinking it's perfectly normal 4.5 year old DS behaviour.

I wrote this on Word first and it became much longer than I expected, sorry!

I think what I'm asking is whether any of this sounds familiar and whether you think I should be concerned or whether he's just four. I'm actually giving myself a headache going around in circles about it and could do with some outside perspective. DS has good days and bad days and on the good days I have no concerns at all.

Concerns are...

Difficulty handling empty time. Routine works very well.

He seems to find relationships with his peers tricky sometimes. Reverts to noises and inappropriate physical contact (might be hitting, or touching faces, or just getting a bit close). But he does seem to have friends.

Extreme stubbornness when emotional.

Extreme emotional responses to what appear to be small things.

Tantrums which have started at 4 - our twos weren't terrible at all.

The significant disruption to his behaviour caused by the arrival of his little sister, which seems to have been triggered by the noise and disorder more than jealousy.

His lack of emotional attachment to things/people not in his immediate zone - he loved nursery but didn't bat an eyelid when he left and has no interest in going in when we collect his sister. Won't talk to the staff if we do go in (he was happily with them for 3 years) and isn't at all interested in his old friends. He loves his dad but doesn't miss him when he goes away with work. He doesn't miss toys if you take them away, after the initial irritation that he was playing with it. It's more the loss of control than the loss of the toy which seems to bother him. He has asked for me when I'm not around.

The exception to this is computer games, which he would literally play all day if allowed, and which he asks to play on from the second he wakes up.

He doesn't respond to sticker charts (or other reward systems) at all. He loses interest after the first achievement. Often before that.

He has a kind of 'alter ego' which is like a switch has been flicked and he becomes physically impulsive and makes strange noises.

He LOVES role play. He has very specific ideas about the storyline though and likes to repeat the same game many, many times!

If anyone has any comments on this, whatever they are, I'd be really grateful. I need an honest, impartial view point. I have looked at autism spectrum websites but they don't quite seem to fit, which is another reason I wonder if I'm reading too much into it. School also have had some concerns, although I often get conflicting reports.

TIA

Ferguson Wed 19-Mar-14 19:48:09

I was a primary TA for over twenty years. All children vary, so you can't always make them conform to what the 'book' or society says is the 'norm' at any given age.

As he loves computer games SO much - I would try and limit them drastically, or even remove them all together if you possibly can, without a full-scale 'war' breaking out! I recently read that 'screen time' risks changing children's personalities, and young children should only do 'traditional' activities.

That is good he likes role play: develop that as much as you can, and maybe cash in on his 'alter ego'. As he probably can't write much on his own yet, get him to dictate to you his 'real' life, and this other character. If you can, type them up to his dictation. I assume he is starting to read, so if you can edit his 'stories' to simplify them, and print them off so he can read them.

Many great creative minds and personalities have hovered between what is 'normal' and what might be considered a touch of autism, or unusual, even bizarre in some instances.

School give conflicting reports because there is probably no definitive explanation for what DS is presenting them with.

If he is mostly happy and compliant, and school life is progressing reasonably, then just keep an eye on everything, and see how he progresses.

If he can't handle 'empty time' then try to avoid there being any!

AnotherMonkey Wed 19-Mar-14 20:14:21

Thanks so much for your reply.

We really do restrict screen time, he spends a lot more time asking for it than he spends on it. I do think we might need to consider this more carefully though as I agree about the impact on behaviour.

He thrives when he's out in the open air and can just run around and we do a lot of this!

By empty time, I mean times such as when I'm loading the dishwasher or getting dressed. He is able to play independently, but unless I've thought of something exciting and specific to direct him towards, usually he struggles to stay out of trouble. I have no idea how usual this is.

And the alter ego thing wasn't very clear, sorry - it's not an alter ego in the imagination sense, it's just a bit like I have two different boys sometimes!

I just don't know, we have another parents evening coming up and I'll see if any more issues are raised. I'll begin by making sure screen games aren't a daily activity. He's really not on them much but it is usually every day at some point.

It's so difficult to summarise - there are a million factors, some which make me think there's definitely an issue and some which convince me there isn't.

Upandatem Wed 19-Mar-14 20:18:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Wed 19-Mar-14 20:24:39

The only way you are going to get any insight is to ask for him to be assessed.

How is his diet? sleep? did he learn to speak at early/late?

what is he scared of? what does he love?

Tambaboy Wed 19-Mar-14 20:56:21

AnotherMonkey I'm sorry you are concern about your DS and I can totally sympathise. We can't not really tell you whether you should be worried or not, the fact is that you already are!
I would speak to the school and maybe go through your concerns, whether they have noticed the same. Saying that ,children often behave very differently at home and in school.
If you really think something is the matter, asking for him to be assessed would be the best course of action.
I would keep a diary with all the things that seem relevant and try to work out the triggers for those behaviours.
My DS can be like yours, two completely different boys in one. I often compare DS to a cat . You know when the cat is chilling on the sofa and suddenly becomes mad and starts running up and down the stairs , chasing their own tail, chasing imaginary mice etc. and after a while stops and goes back to sleep like nothing happened! grin

AnotherMonkey Thu 20-Mar-14 08:00:00

Upandatem the most accurate thing I can post in response to that link is shock , although it's more of an 'ohhh' face than shock. I have been consciously adapting my approach recently to make sure I use direct instructions as little as possible, but had no idea this was a 'thing', iyswim.

Like I mentioned before, we have good days too but yes, that link basically describes DS. How is this condition diagnosed? If we go to doctors/dentists/hairdressers he is not comfortable, it's as if something inside him goes very still, but he does exactly what they tell him do.

Using that knowledge made dealing with this morning's outburst much more manageable, thank you so much for posting that link.

Zzzz - diet, he has quite specific ideas about what he will and won't eat, his mouth is like a mechanical filter! He identified and spat out, clean but still in one piece, an errant piece of sweetcorn which had snuck it's way into his tuna sandwich the other day. It was quite fascinating. Sleep not bad, he's an early riser but otherwise ok. Language has been another issue, but is basically as described on the link.

We've had other control issues, such as the poo part of potty training.

Tambaboy the cat description is a good one! The diary suggestion is exactly what I needed, I will be doing this, and will wait until the parents meeting next week to see what they have to say before doing anything else.

I was getting into a right muddle yesterday, thank you again for this advice thanks

AnotherMonkey Thu 20-Mar-14 08:56:39

(Just to add, obv no link up thread, I googled PDA, but hopefully you knew what I meant!)

Tambaboy Thu 20-Mar-14 09:54:03

If you suspect PDA , many posters swear by this one particular book "The Explosive Child" by Ross W. Greene, with strategies on how to deal with an inflexible child.
www.amazon.co.uk/The-Explosive-Child-Understanding-Chronically/dp/0061906190/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395309145&sr=8-1&keywords=the+explosive+child

Upandatem Thu 20-Mar-14 13:29:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Upandatem Thu 20-Mar-14 13:30:53

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Upandatem Thu 20-Mar-14 13:34:08

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AnotherMonkey Fri 21-Mar-14 08:24:00

I've downloaded the explosive child book and will be having a look at that later. 'Anxiety being the root of the drive for control' - I so relate to that sentence!! Will dig the Schramm out too. I'll let you know what I think. Thanks again.

Upandatem Fri 21-Mar-14 12:38:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnotherMonkey Fri 21-Mar-14 20:39:01

Up, could I ask you something?

The thing which is confusing me is the 'pathological' bit. For your son, is/was it a complete inability to follow a direct instruction? Or was there a bit of a mix?

With my DS, I would make a very rough guess at the moment that around 40% of the instructions we give him he is able to cope with. Maybe not immediately, but if not then within a suitable time scale for his age.

About 60% are met with anything from distraction to selective hearing to continuing his own dialogue as if we haven't said anything to minor refusal/argument to flat out temper tantrum and distress.

Tonight, he refused to go to the toilet before bed when I asked. He had drunk three glasses of milk due to another stubborn episode and had had an accident a couple of days ago. I offered him a choice. After much distress, he went and did need to go, but made me wait where I 'couldn't hear him wee'. He then denied point blank having gone at all and tried to make me say that he hadn't been and wouldn't be allowed to do the alternative, preferable option. Despite having done what he needed to and crying all the time. It gets so confusing.

I've also lost track a bit of how many of the 'direct instructions' he complies with actually are direct instructions, and how many are now disguised as games/role play/casual suggestions etc. I need to pay more careful attention to this.

Upandatem Fri 21-Mar-14 21:00:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnotherMonkey Sat 22-Mar-14 08:31:47

That sounds so tough, for all of you.

Here, there'll be a couple of days where I am certain there's something we need to look into. There is so much written down for the last two days. Then there'll be a spell like this morning (it's just been a couple of hours, but a lot can happen in that time!) when I see very little out of the ordinary for his age at all.

I'll just keep recording and see what his teacher says and try not to overthink it in the meantime!

Upandatem Sat 22-Mar-14 08:43:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Upandatem Sat 22-Mar-14 08:44:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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