AlabamaX3's picture
AlabamaX3

Kindergarten Woes

My 5 year old son is having difficulty in kindergarten.
We worked hard to prepare for kindergarten, having 2 older children I knew what to expect. We taught him his upper and lower case letters, shapes, colors, numbers. We made sure he could use scissors and button his pants. We bought velcro shoes because tying his shoes was still too hard. I had my concerns, accepted he was still a little immature,and braced myself for problems.He didn't want to go, and begged to stay home. With much bribery, I mean with many incentives, we convinced him to go. He decided school was ok and told me all about it. I thought it was gonna be alright. Within the first week I had a parent teacher conference, as my son wasn't listening or following directions, not unexpected as he's a little hard headed. His teacher said he would ignore her or just sit there and smile.Hmm, sitting and smiling? She said he was quiet and respectful, but needed to be told repeatedly what to do.Wow, I was surprised, my son isn't the quiet type. After talking with him about listening and paying attention, and promising more incentives, it got better. He was bringing home smileys on his daily take-home sheets, life was good.Then I got the call, not the call about bad behavior I was expecting, they lost my son! But not to worry, they found him a few minutes after they lost him. I was not relieved. He had been left on the playground, he was hiding in the tunnel.This incident resulted in another conference, in which his teacher told me my son was antisocial, that he had been screaming in the bathroom (because it echos), that he wouldn't speak to her or the other students, that he wouldn't participate in group discussions, that he had trouble staying in line, that his response to most things was a smile, that she was afraid he would wander off if she wasn't watching him, but academically he was doing great. Shocked does not begin to describe how I felt.
I feel I must add that before school I had my son tested for learning disabilities and behavior problems (as dyslexia and ADD run in the family), he has no diagnosable problems. However he is a little behind in maturity, which our doctor said is normal for some boys.
So my sons difficulty seems to be that he is antisocial, and shy in school, which is not how he is at home.He acts completely different at school. I consoled myself that he was relatively happy, he'd come home and talk about school like it was a good thing, and he was keeping up with the rest of the kids academically. But, as of the last 2 weeks it is beginning to effect his work. He is refusing to read aloud for his reading tests. His teacher and I both know he can read the words, but come testing time he just sits and smiles. She has had to give him several zeros because of it.At least once a week I get a comment about his behavior, such as "not listening" or "Not participating in group activities". I also get to speak to his teacher on a daily basis, as I pick him up from school, and she always has a comment or complaint. It's disheartening to hear things like, "He's still not reading aloud for me", "He didn't finish his work today", "He sat alone again today","He needs to work harder on his social skills". I am aware of the problem, and I'm trying to fix it. I just don't know how. He is sweet, talkative and energetic at home. I don't know how to help the shy, quiet, antisocial little boy his teacher describes him as. How concerned should I be? What course of action do I take? Can anyone else relate to a school/home split personality?



acitez's picture
acitez

Can you take a day off and go observe him? Maybe you could see what actually happens and come up with some understanding.

AlabamaX3's picture
AlabamaX3

Not a bad idea. I've already volunteered for field trips, mostly because I was afraid they'd lose him again. But his behavior with me on a field trip was typical of his "home" behavior. His teacher was a bit stunned as to how he acted with me around.

2xstepmom's picture
2xstepmom

Your son's behavior is very much like my daughter's was in school. It took years misery for my daughter while teachers and school personel trying to pound my "square peg" into a round hole to get to the heart of the matter. Eventually, she was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and Nonverbal Learning Disorder. Your description of him sitting and smiling is exactally like my daughter. The smile is caused by anxiety, if the child does not force him/herself to smile, then there will be tears. Search out a really good child psychologist and have him evaluated. His behavior changes at home and around you because he is in his comfort zone and not feeling the anxiety he feels at school when he is out of his element. Hope you are able to get him the help he needs. We ended up home schooling which made all the difference for my child.

Only2boys's picture
Only2boys

2xstepmom... you beat me to it.. glad you posted. I was reading this thinking NLD as well.

As 2x said, I would have him tested by a child psychologist who has experience with Autism.

Does your son have a very good vocabulary and is he reading?

I was told when my son was tested for NLD that these children are often misdiagnosed as having ADHD, because some of the characteristics of NLD are hyperactivity and innatentiveness (usually a slow processing speed which makes them look like they aren't paying attention) and/or anxiety/depression.

Poor social skills also goes along with NLD and being lost also goes along with it. Look NLD up on this site and see if it fits your son.

Good luck and let us know what you are finding out.

Only

AlabamaX3's picture
AlabamaX3

Thank you. I've never heard of NLD but it sounds very much like what my son is going through. I'll be contacting his doctor today to see where to go from here.

AlabamaX3's picture
AlabamaX3

I've set up an appointment with a child psychiotrist.We go next week.

I wonder why his teacher hasn't suggested an evaluation through the school. She has no problem telling me about my son's social issues, and when he refused to read his reading test she made him flash cards. She's called me on several occasions to discuss his behavior and lack of participation.

2xstepmom's picture
2xstepmom

Unfortunately, many teachers do not have training in spotting Autism spectrum disorders. It is up to the parents to advocate for their children in most cases. Personally and professionally, I have seen that even after a child's diagnosis you will have to continue to be a contant presence in the school to make sure your child's needs are being met.

AlabamaX3's picture
AlabamaX3

I was web surfing during lunch and ran across something that caught my attention. Selective Mutism. It's an anxiety disorder. Where they won't speak in certain social situations.

My son reads well, connects letters to sounds, can count to 100, he can run jump etc, he picks up facial expressions just fine, and even knows some sign language. He's typically not shy or quiet except at school.At school he does not talk, he may whisper, or just smile.

Has anyone had experiance with a child with selective mutism?

I'll be mentioning it at his appointment.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I think all the suggestions on here are really good. You, at on pt, asked how you can help your son. I think everything you're doing is right. I also have a son who has trouble socially. In his case, b/c he doesn't communicate well, he acts out by getting touchy, jumpy and in your face. Sometimes he annoys the other kids, and I have to often remind him to keep his hands to himself. Instead of communicating verbally (which he can do), he may chase the other kids pretending to be a monster. This happens quite often. I find that play dates have helped my son quite a bit. When it's one on one, he does best. Also, I try to organize activities along w/ free play, so I can be there to teach my son how to best socialize. There's a book called, Social Stories by Carol Gray. It includes a number of examples that teach children how to act appropriately in social settings. There's also an online company called Sandbox Learning Co. It too has varies stories that can be personalized to teach your child about various different social situations. Overall, as a parent, I find that the best teaching tool is to expose my son to social settings, b/c if he's not in them, how is he going to ever learn how to act appropriately? Look into community activities, sports and other avenues that can help your child to socialize and build his confidence. Boy Scouts is great for that. So is the YMCA, Karate and swimming to name a few. I hope my suggestions help. I wish you and your son all the best. Please keep us posted on how you make out at his dr visit. Good luck.

AlabamaX3's picture
AlabamaX3

They rescheduled the appt till this upcoming tuesday.

Which has given me more time to worry and question myself, my son's issues and his teachers words.

Progress reports came home friday, and my son is having academic difficulty in reading math and handwriting. No issues with behavior, simply because being quiet and extraordinarily shy aren't issues for his teacher.She's fine with him being introverted.

Anyway I'll hopefully have some answers and reassurances by tuesday. Though I know this appt is only step one, I hope it's the first step in the right direction.