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The space invader

(35 Posts)
MojoLost Tue 26-May-09 17:01:46

DS is 4 and has GDD. His speech is very delayed (but coming along), his play skills have somewhat improved but they are extremely basic. My biggest concern at the moment are his social skills.

Just picture him invading other children?s space, touching them constantly, and gritting his teeth fists closes and flapping them in their face. It is no wonder that all the friends I somehow managed to help him make are fading away (at 4 yrs old people are no longer very accepting of this behaviour). I made friends with a really nice lady whose son is also 4 with learning difficulties, she liked DS and thought is would be good for them to get along, but even she doesn?t seem keen anymore because of this behaviour.

I feel like we are having to isolate ourselves from people more and more. I cannot expect people to cope with this behaviour. But this is not what I want. I?ve just been to my neighbor?s house, she has small kids. I had to follow DS constantly to avoid problems and allow my other little son to get at least some social interaction.

Why does he do this? He is a very sociable little boy and I think he is desperate to make contact with other children but doesn?t know how to. How can I teach him to behave appropriately? How can I explain to him not to touch children like this. This is really getting me down, I feel so depressed. It doesn?t happen sporadically, it happens always. Please help.

bubblagirl Tue 26-May-09 17:14:09

to be honest my ds has HFA and can be just the same its not something i think you can teach straight away but something that is learnt along the way

don't isolate yourself is there any sn groups you can go to a lot do different therapies to encourage and learn social interaction my ds loved the music therapies this taught turn taking appropriate behaviour and fun

is there any way at home if he gets too in your face that you could just move him back slightly and say thats better i can see you properly now

also ive noticed since my ds speech has come along his understanding has improved enough to be able to tell him to move back slightly then lots of praise

sorry im not very good at the advise here as were tackling this our selves but someone else may come along with better knowledge

i have noticed the improvement since the speech has improved though alot of it has been through play at home and me saying not too close or don't do that i cant play properly but excitement can make him forget and he'll do it to others

maybe with age he'll become more aware but dont feel you have to hide away from others if they know he has gdd then should be more understanding

when was he dx and has he been seen recently for assessment or check up with paed?

MojoLost Tue 26-May-09 17:43:42

thank you for answering bubblagirl.

Sorry to hear you are coping with the same.

I live in hope that when he grows this behaviour will disappear. No there are no sn groups here, he is good at taking turns and all that. His speech has improved very much. He really has come along very far. But this touching, grabbing, fist flapping is such awkward behaviour. It's is simply not right.

I am desperately trying not to isolate myself, but after 3 years of running after him frankly I am getting tired of it and I'm about to give up.

He does it to his brother as well, and all the telling off in the world doesn't seem to make any difference.

bubblagirl Tue 26-May-09 18:04:30

the thing is i don't think telling off works as they don't understand what they are doing is wrong its more of an impulse

maybe just saying no we do this instead and see if you can get a new thing shaking hands was a good one for ds it allowed him contact that he needed but in a nicer way

he has improved alot and doesn't seem to need to do that so much but will still sit very close or leans so far in i just gently move him away

what area are you in could you google to see if they do sn groups in summer or if any kind of group is held at all

MojoLost Tue 26-May-09 18:22:30

bugger! what to do if it's an impulse. I'm fighting a lost cause aren't I?

Actually, talking about sn groups, he does go every fortnight to a psychomotricity group. They take turns, he is great at waiting for his turn, watching the other kids. That is were I met the other mum I mentioned on my first post. Still children with SN don't like grabbing and space invading either.

I will try your suggestion of showing him what to do instead, but cannot think of what would to replace this behaviour with? I don't think he should touch kids, full stop. Shaking hands would work for the beginning of the meeting, but what to do during the rest of the playdate?

It is heartbreaking to see my little boy being avoided by the children.

Has anyone else had this problem with their small child? And have they grown out of it with time?
Thanks xx

Barmymummy Tue 26-May-09 18:31:18

Hiya smile

Am no expert I can tell you but my DS has been through similar things. He used to have a real problem with space invading. He would continually crawl over me and get right up into my face and those of his playschool mates. Even now if DD makes a silly noise he feels he has to touch her mouth each time. Impulse things are still a problem too at times.

He has stopped the space invading with others now (still does it a little with me) but everytime he did it to me I would put my hand on his chest push him back firmly (not hard but just firmly) and say to him "too close" and motion with my hands that I needed more room. This helped alot but it took time for him to grasp it.

I second completely that improved speech brings improved behaviour. His speech has also come on loads. Beforehand he would push another child to say "no" or to engage in play, that sort of thing. Playschool told him that he needed to come and tell them he was "unhappy with Emma" (for example) and they would sort it out. This clicked with him and now all the pushing has stopped too.

He still shouts ALOT and this does drive me barmy. Haven't found a way of stopping this yet and its most embarressing when he's playing with his mates in the playground as instead of talking or laughing he just roars or shouts this awful noise in excitement. Am trying role play to make him understand.

Again am hoping this will reduce when he feels confident he has enough vocab/conversation ability to talk instead of making noises. I think he actually likes the sound though so is a hard one to solve.

Oh just remembered, he went through a phase of poking people in the eyes too hmm, that was awful but again repeated firm "no" eventually worked after a long time.

I used to follow him round everywhere too and it was so draining and demoralising as I could almost hear mums saying "oh heres comes trouble, watch out" sad

Things are getting alot better but most of this has come with speech. Sending you a big hug ((((hug)))) xx I would meet up with you no probs smile, don't spose you are in the South East? wink

MojoLost Tue 26-May-09 18:47:38

oh, thank you Barmy <tears rolling down my cheeks emotion>. It's is so nice of you to offer meeting up. Unfortunately I am not in the UK. But thank you so much. Thanks for the hug as well, one back to you.

I tell you what though Barmy, I cannot wait for the day when I can write what you just did *"...when he's playing with his mates in the playground..."* envy

DS has no mates (i've tried!!), and he has never pushed anyone because he doesn't want to play with them (like the situation you describe), it is the total opposite, he is desperate to play with other children to make some sort of contact. Breaks my heart.

bubblagirl Tue 26-May-09 19:08:50

where in se are you barmymummy? in se too.

mojolost just remember most kids this age dont have friends my ds doesn't have any either

but being at school will help a lot just role play at home this is what they are introducing next with ds ready for starting school how to ask to play and how to play

i have just started some at home and so far his doing ok it wont change over night but the more we do it he'll get there

your ds sounds adorable he will get there the speech coming a long will improve things loads also we give ds eye q strawberry chews and found this helped him alot

bubblagirl Tue 26-May-09 19:13:07

i'll tell you another thing they want to start with ds a bag of toys that are ideal for sharing

ball, book, turn taking games

this is to be carried with him where ever he goes to help him interact with others properly they will introduce fully when he starts school

so he can play catch with another child etc without getting too close and has sharing games at hand to be taught appropriate play

maybe this could be an option to have some toys with you that you could then get him and another child to play with that creates some distant but shared play

Barmymummy Tue 26-May-09 19:19:17

Well, when I say "playing with his mates in the playground" I mean more like DS running around shouting CHASE ME and they do, followed by alot of shouting!! They don't play exactly as DS is still not really sure what to do, except when he is playing 1:1 in a house or with his sister. Role play has helped loads though, give that a go.

Bubblagirl - do they do Eye Q in orange? DS hates the taste of strawberry hmm I am in Sussex, 30 mins from Brighton, you?

bubblagirl Tue 26-May-09 19:25:56

further than that so not very near after all i did have to check with dp that we were se lol

bubblagirl Tue 26-May-09 19:28:44

not sure if eye q do but ds did have haliborange [sp?] which he quite liked

MojoLost Tue 26-May-09 20:14:01

thank you bubblagirl. The idea of having toys with us is great, the problem with DS is that his attention is extremely short and doesn't play with toys for very long.

I'll talk to his therapist about role play, at home we have done plenty of play to practice speech and motor skills, but never role play. Do you know if there are DVDs to help with this? Maybe if he observes other children role playing appropriately he'll start to get the message.

I'll definitely get the eye q chews. Thank you for the tips smile

Barmy, I can just picture your DS running with his mates shouting CHASE ME. So cute.

5inthebed Tue 26-May-09 21:03:03

My ds2 (3 and autism) does this. He does it more when he is in new situations and new people. When he started MS school in January he had no friends as all the children seemed a bit scared of his "in your face" behaviour. He really does get right in there! Anyway, he now has a few friends who are used to his behaviour, and he doesn't tend to get in their faces as much.

It's a shame your DS has no other children he can play with, as I bet he would calm down around them once he gets used to the situation. When does he start school?

Barmymummy, your Ds sounds so much like min, especially the running around the playground screaming.

Barmymummy Tue 26-May-09 21:18:41

5inthebed - my DS starts school next January (deferred his from September 09) and being the worryer that I am, am so nervous how he will get along. What experince did you have of your DS starting school? Am not sure what your DS's speech is like but my DS has been behind but catching up fast now, he's the one with the delayed echolalia if you have come across any of my posts grin. Did he settle in ok? Are the teachers reporting anything that is causing a problem? Am so silly, I should learn to chill out, but its so hard. Playschool have no issues with my DS at all which gives me some hope but I worry more about the concentrating side of things at school hmm along with any mean mummies that might notice DS is a tiny bit different sad. Lastly, the most important question - is he happy there? Thanks so much,xxx

5inthebed Tue 26-May-09 21:50:55

DS2 is still in nursery, he starts reception in September. I was going to defer him a year, but his EP has said he wouldn't benefit from it. We are busy getting him statemented, and not entirely sure how it will go, as he needs constant 1-2-1 atm. His concentration isn't that great.

He started a SN (autism based) school in September last year and a MS nursery for a few afternoons in January. If I had had to put him straight in a MS school, I would have cracked. His speech was non existant, his behaviour was erratic and he was quite a handful. I spent every day in tears. The SN school was a godsend! He has come on so well since he started there, no problems whatsoever. MS school was a bit different, DS2 thought it was just one big playgound at first, but he has now settled in well, got with the routine (they use a visual timetable for him) and he has a few friends. I think its his energetic personality that his friends like. He is very happy there.

And as for the mean mammies, they can all go to hell. I try not to let it get to me. The ones who tend to be nasty, are the ones who walk around with rose tinted glasses when it comes to the behaviour of their pfbs.

MojoLost Wed 27-May-09 03:20:58

Well it's 4am and since I cannot sleep I thought I'd check in grin. I haven't been sleepless for a long time, but yes I am also a worryer Barmy, and I cannot shift this horrible fear of DS being completely isolated and lonely. <must get a grip and calm down>

5inthebed ""It's a shame your DS has no other children he can play with, as I bet he would calm down around them once he gets used to the situation. When does he start school?"" My DS starts school this september he goes to nursery now. Funnily enough, at nursery they assure me that he is fine hmm. The strange thing is that I have a handful of friends that I have known for the last 3 years (kids similar age), DS has seen their children regularly but he still does this to them. I have started seeing less of them because at 4 this behaviour is getting very embarrassing really. It is not attention seeking because he does it even when I'm not around.

But so happy to know that your DS has settled well at school, that really has given me huge ray of light. I only hope that at his school he finds children that are kind and accept his "friendliness".

Phoenix4725 Wed 27-May-09 03:38:34

yep isecond the worry about them starting school ds is due to start this year and were going through statementing now

And if opt for mainstream that is something worrys me how other parents going to judge m ds

MojoLost Wed 27-May-09 03:46:18

Good luck with statementing Phoenix. Do you get any say in what type of school you'd like him to go to?

Phoenix4725 Wed 27-May-09 08:12:43

i can state a prefernce for which I want ,does seem that at last meeting that ep will support sn school but knowing essex lea will have to fight all the way

bubblagirl Wed 27-May-09 08:25:26

have you a statement mojolost i am also in the middle of statementing for my ds

it is worrying as bubbla boy runs around with the other children but isn't playing with them oyswim

as for the time thing concentration i was advised to get a timer and do an activity until timer run out 5 mins max to start with this helped a lot as they carried this on in pre school and will do activities for a bit longer will still have days he wants to work to his own agenda and the visual chart works well with this

he gets to choose his reward activity so he endures there's and then he gets his reward its starting to work well

how often does your ds do SALT you could perhaps ask them for some work to do at home if you don't already this helped my ds speech come along a lot although it could have just been his time but we had eye q and lots of SLAT work at home i did all the repeating of everything i was doing and within weeks big change don't know if anything there was the key factor or whether his brain was at the right stage

also sleep issues is a big thing for us my ds didnt sleep well couldn't settle off and in return he was all over the place and couldn't concentrate

we got given melatonin and few weeks ion that amazing how calm and how much he has been able to take in we still have a long way to go but the differences are huge

bubblagirl Wed 27-May-09 08:25:56

sorry for typos lol

MojoLost Wed 27-May-09 12:54:21

Hi bubbla, I'm not in the UK so the whole statementing process is not applicable to us. We have some guidelines with regards to what DS will require at school, but they are not as legally binding as a statement is in the UK. Anyway, that is a different thread altogether!!

Concentration-wise, DS needs huge motivation to complete something! It's really hard work. The reward thing works well (bubbles, blowing whistles tickles are good enough for him). But I have no idea how they will cope at school.

I have done work with him at home for all his short life (did some ABA based work as well). It has been worthed, but I wish I coul back-off now. I'd rather just be his mum. His current SALT does send us lots of homework. I wish I didn't have to do it though!

The sleep is a problem, bedtime is not a problem at all. We have a routine that we follow, then bed at 8pm it works a treat. The big issue is his wake up time. We went camping last weekend and I was really worried we were going to be thrown out by the happy campers with DS chatting away at 5pm!! He just will not go back, he's like a spring that pop up and won't go down again.

The social thing is what worries me the most at the moment to be honest. I tried your suggestion of showing him an alternative behaviour (shaking hands) when he grabbed his brother this morning, and it actually seemed to work! Will see how it progresses.

bubblagirl Wed 27-May-09 13:19:02

i wish you all the luck if you need to let off stream then please do

it is hard having to do so much every day i have basically had to train ds to be able to do alot of things but the rewards of it have been great so is well worth continuing to a lesser degree set 30 mins a day to do set tasks then just let him be

does he like computers at all? will he sit long enough to play games etc my ds is obsessed and found lots of pre school education sites that he has also learnt alot from most from c beebie games

he learnt some sign makaton and facial expressions from there

my ds wakes at 5 am every day to be honest im finding having me time of an evening id prefer this and have early mornings to having late night and early morning

not sure how he is with games console etc but we find if we go away anywhere his little games console is a blessing also portable dvd player comes in handy

also story tapes with headphones

you will find as his speech improves so will his behaviour and your ability to reason with him

i find choices work great we use them for everything if he doesnt want to do something he gets a choice of doing it or losing something he will 9 times out of 10 choose to do it

but we always ask him 2-3 times first it takes him longer to process whats being asked

where a bouts are you if you don't mind me asking

MojoLost Thu 28-May-09 06:28:03

Hi bubblagirl, yes he is really enjoying the computer. I introduced him to the "dressing mr tumble" game on the cbeebies website, he loved it and i was quite impressed with his handling of the mouse, so I bought a couple of computer game cds, he really likes them. I haven't found many free sites suitable for him though.

We don't have a games console, what a good idea! I already coaxed DH into getting a trampoline so a games console might have to wait a little. Which is a good one to get?

Story tapes, you are so full of good ideas. Do you find those in amazon? I have a few books that came with CDs, sometimes we listen to those together.

Yesterday DS had his psychomotrocity group, there was one other boy and another little girl. The therapists told me that he treated teh boy wonderfully, but he kept touching and bothering the little girl, invading space, touching hair, touching face, they said it happened before but it is getting worst. They have absolutely no idea how to handle the situation, at least it's good to know that someone professional has seen the behaviour and it's not me being paranoid.

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