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It was biting, now it's hugging...

(11 Posts)
brette Wed 04-Nov-09 09:48:54

Hi,
My 5 year-old son has sensorial issues (noise + touch) and after years of biting and all the unpleasantness that goes with it, he is now hugging children he likes 5 (a couple) in a very forceful way. He's been doing it to a friendly mother's DS at school. We always kept an eye on it and told to DS to be gentle, even to refrain from doing it. Now the little girl has said that when my DS does that to her at playtime at school, her friends don't wait for her and leave. So her mum voiced her concerns to me. I can see the mum's point.
This morning, my DH took my DS to school and the mum gently told my DS to stop hugging her DD because by doing so he prevents her from playing with her friends. DS the hugging bully...
Should I get the school involved so that they keep an eye on him during playtime and intervenes if he does that to her? (In addition of us working on it at home of course)

magso Wed 04-Nov-09 10:16:24

I espect YOU need a ( gentle) hug!

My son is an enthusiastic hugger - still. He only understands the hug from his perspective not the receivers so can be much too enthusiastic. With my son once a pattern is set up it is quite hard to change, so if this is the case with your son I would think getting school disceetly involved ( to break this particular hugging habit with the girl) is probabably wise. (Ds might like to help the teacher with a job that gives him sensory rewards and class cudos perhaps whilst other child runs out first, redirect the hug to a cushion or large squashy toy animal?
I try to give my son lots of appropriate hugs before school, and we have a 'sensory diet' (a schedule of play/exercises like rubbing/ brushing/ swinging/ squashing/ beanbag relaxing).HTH

brette Wed 04-Nov-09 10:23:37

Thank you... Yes I do... Thank you very much for your advice.

jasdox Wed 04-Nov-09 10:53:50

my ds is big on hugging, it was becoming a problem at pre-school- to strong/often, we tried the 'be gentle' the second we saw him do it. He would then be gentle when we said it, but, still a bit late. However, he did become aware of it himself, but could still not control it. so at pre-school we gave him a squeeze ball and he took him everywhere with him and this worked really well. so now he seems to have internalised it at pre-school and keeps it for home, where his need for hugs with me have gone overdrive, but I'd rather that, but will start to work on this soon. I saw on the NAS mag, a boy with a gorgeous penguin which he uses when he needs a hug. so yes agree with magso

brette Wed 04-Nov-09 10:56:02

I should add that this little girl and her family are more or less the only people at school that we really know. Because of DS's
challenging behaviour, he's never been invited to any playdate and he doesn't see any of the school kids outside school hours. So I'm a bit sad that this is happening with this family. I know it's not a big deal in the big scheme of things, but it does upset me.

magso Wed 04-Nov-09 11:03:28

(Hands Brette a cup of tea)

Have you got any OT involvement yet? If not could you get the paed/GP to request sensory assessment and advice. Sensory assessment is helpful just to sort out your childs needs and get ideas how to best meet them. Some areas are just beginning to offer sensory integration therapy.

brette Wed 04-Nov-09 11:05:30

Thanks jasdox. We definitely have to look into introducing a sensory diet. I bought the book "The Out-of synch child" a while ago but when his biting disappeared and his behaviour improved greatly (he's never been assessed but I suspect a mild form of Asperger), I foolishly thought everything was kind of sorted and didn't bother reading it in depth. But of course it is an ongoing thing that needs to be seriously and consistantly addressed (my family thinks the whole sensory thing is a new psychology fad.) The squeezing ball is a very good idea... Even if it means it will go hugging-mad at home... Which I can't imagine given how he's already so tactile
Time to be more proactive and less self-pitying :=)

brette Wed 04-Nov-09 11:11:35

Magso, we had a sensory assessment followed by an appointment with the PO working with the school. That's how we know he has auditory and tactile sensory issues. The PO gave me a few very useless strategies. She seemed out of her depth. Since then, I've asked my GP to refer him to a child psychology clinic. That was in August. They were supposed to have a multi disciplinary team assess him. I phoned them back this morning to see what the situation is and they're supposed to call me back.
Things are going so slow. And in the meantime, we go from "everything's OK" when things are smooth to "there's definitely something 'different' about him" IFYKWIM when things aren't so smooth and I find it emotionnally challenging. I should add that my DS seems unfazed by it, he's a very happy little man, and my DP is much calmer about it all. Mad mummy??? ;)

magso Wed 04-Nov-09 11:14:37

Cross posted! I understand the social isolation (ds was a biter too blush) and how important it is to keep this family supporting you. I think it is important to be sympathetic and quietly seen to be dealing with any difficulties. Try not to let your distress stop you staying friendly with this family. (I felt very awkward in a similar situation and it was a real effort for me to not withdraw completely)

brette Wed 04-Nov-09 11:21:11

Yes, wanting to withdraw from the relationship was my initial reaction. But I know that would be counter-productive. The mum is very nice and I do think she's dealing with it in a tactful manner. And my son adores her and her family so hopefully what she told him will have an impact.

magso Wed 04-Nov-09 11:29:12

No you are not mad! I think mums are closer to the ground IYKWIM and (not in all cases) see their children with peers more so can spot small differences. My dh is very calm about it all - he sees the positive only- and this sort of forces me to be the negative noticing active one! Not an unusual dynamic. And other loving family like my mum want to make light of it all and be super encouraging which sometimes made me feel as if I was mad too. It has balanced out a bit with time ( Ds is 10 this week and was eventually dx with asd but infants brings back painful memories--)
I hope you get your appointments soon. It can be a slow process.

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