Author Topic: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?  (Read 13497 times)

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #100 on: January 09, 2018, 08:04:14 AM »
Hi All,

just checking in with an update. School went downhill rapidly in the two weeks before Christmas. The pediatric psychologist at the therapy center we took him to says his anxiety level is off the charts so we're working on just making him feel loved and supported.

We had a wonderful three weeks off for Christmas break. He did a lego camp and a science camp and has since become obsessed with making circuit projects, started teaching himself to play ukulele, and we had lots of outdoor fun and did tons of swimming at the Y- only one tantrum the day after Christmas. In short - he was beautifully and age appropriately behaved the entire time he was home.

School started this week and he is so sad and avoidant.

I've started reaching out to some nearby private schools to see about class sizes and letting kids move at their own speed, etc. I still want to give the therapy a chance and give public school a shot, but a child crying about going to kindergarten makes me feel like I need to start looking at additional options.

We haven't ruled out more intense testing yet (for giftedness or disorders) but did what I think was a fairly thorough initial "diagnosis" interview at the therapy practice (diagnosis = high anxiety and very bright and some oppositional issues when commands don't "make sense").

Thanks everyone for the links! Better Late - my son's kindergarten teacher also provided some of those links to me. The Hoagies site is so DENSE! But lots of good stuff there.

I'll be going back and perusing those comments about private school too. Thanks everyone so much for all of your comments over the course of this thread. It actually gave me good stuff to target in on and I think we got the therapy ball rolling much sooner than I think I would have otherwise. Anxiety in a young child wasn't even on my radar.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 02:27:00 PM by StarBright »

jeninco

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #101 on: January 09, 2018, 02:17:52 PM »
Gosh, StarBright, what a sad and horrible situation for all of you! (But especially for the little boy stuck in such an unhappy situation!).

Luckily for him, he's got you looking out for his interests -- good luck finding a situation that works better for you all.

bearandmoose

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #102 on: January 12, 2018, 01:33:18 AM »
We have a 5 year old with anxiety and I found the GoZen online videos helpful to watch with her.  They helped her to understand why we worry, why worrying is good, but some people worry too much.  It also built a shared vocabulary of approaches to figure out when she is worrying, why she is worrying, and how to address her worry.  We would cuddle and watch the videos together for 10-30 minutes a day.  I liked that it complemented what she was getting elsewhere but wasn't likely to cause any harm to her if the diagnosis or treatment approach changed.

aneel

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #103 on: January 12, 2018, 07:34:59 AM »
Have you read the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka? It's been recommended to me (I have my hands full with a similar kindergartner, in this case my youngest child). I haven't read it yet, but I think I'm finally going to do so. Might be worth checking out at your library? Unfortunately I do not have any answers, just commiseration.

OPs post almost exactly describes our son, however he's not yet in Kindergarten (he's 4.5), and he was adopted at 3.5 so we have an added uncertainty of where the emotional/behavioral issues manifest and what his history of them are.

We are on month #2 of weekly behavior therapy.  At that young age its about 1/2 parent discussion with therapist and 1/2 child therapist 1:1 time.  I highly recommend the therapy route to try some behavior management techniques that maybe you haven't, or revisit ones that didn't work in the past. 

When our DS was in daycare I often worried about how other kids were affected by his behavior (he also experiences full day meltdowns) but they assured me that while he has rough patches, he was not disrupting the class.

I think as parents, we're so worried about anticipating problems that we can tend to overreact.  The school is (hopefully) full of professionals, and if they feel your child is too disruptive they will tell you.  As the parent you are not in the classroom and not the one who is responsible for looking out for the other 25 kids.  Stick it out, stay strong, and take care of yourself!

ETA: that I just checked out the spirited child book this week as it also came recommended.  PM if you need/want more moral support
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 07:37:09 AM by aneel »

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #104 on: January 12, 2018, 08:50:47 AM »
School psychologist here--ask for your school psych to do some observations in the classroom.  He/She will look at both your child and the makeup of the room and the interactions among the peers.  Environment is just as important as the "target" student.  Too often teachers or parents focus mainly on the individual student and not the whole picture. 

The information you said does sound ADHD/ASD/sensory-ish.  He may also be somewhat bored if he's picked up reading so quickly and his classmates are still learning letters and sounds.  Of course, I am not diagnosing anything! If your child were in my school, those would be the areas I'd be focusing on. 

You may want to check out the website www.interventioncentral.org   There are lots of behavior and academic ideas for teachers and parents.

@spookytaffy  , Just wanted to add a thanks for this excellent suggestion - we requested this and I had the meeting with the assistant principal and school counselor yesterday. The AP said they had identified two very specific trigger points for my kid.  We are going to start working on a plan with the teacher/AP/and StarKid next week.

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post because I think this is going to make a huge difference for us.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 09:48:54 AM by StarBright »

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #105 on: June 11, 2018, 02:18:51 PM »
Thought I'd update this post in case anyone ever searches the forums for similar issues.

We finally received a full evaluation from the school (we are actually still on a waitlist to see a developmental pediatrician and occupational therapist). We ended up with accommodations for OCD, GAD and giftedness (but we're not sure how gifted because he had a panic attack while testing). Also, these aren't official diagnoses - but he apparently checks enough boxes for behaviors that he can be accommodated for them without the medical diagnosis since we're still waiting for an appointment.

He also did tick a few boxes for ADHD but because the anxiety levels are so high they feel that that the impulse control is more a symptom of anxiety as opposed to ADHD. Apparently "Anxiety or ADHD" is a big debate topic right now and it comes down to what the root of the problem for the child is.

After some classroom observations it apparently became quite clear that his acting out had to do with deviating from a normal schedule (lockdown drills, substitute teachers, etc) or quarterly evaluations (he had major meltdowns every time during evaluations.)

He's "passed" his therapy which was nice but didn't end up being that helpful - but it was specifically for children with ADHD and ODD. We were just trying to get him into therapy and that was the only one they offered for his age. But now that we think we are looking at OCD, we think he'll actually need a different therapy than he's gotten.

We are grateful for the summer off from school, nervous about summer camp starting this week, but ready to move forward. Thanks to all for the input, sharing and commiseration.

« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 03:01:13 PM by StarBright »

reeshau

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #106 on: June 12, 2018, 06:08:53 AM »
It's good to hear you are getting some specific language for his situation.  We just went through testing with our 3-year-old with a specialist we found through a web community for gifted education in Michigan.  (we went to the Center for Neuropsychology, Learning, and Development in Ann Arbor)  Besides confidence in her specialty, I will say she did a lot to make the test successful--that is, to make sure our son was comfortable, and to pace the elements of the test to his needs.  While you would expect a school to understand these things, I think testing for giftedness, particularly in very young children, is enough of a specialization to warrant seeking it out.

It still freaks me out a bit at all the specialists, language, etc. around this topic.  But as long I see my son happy (fortunately, he is just jazzed about school--another learning environment--still novel for him) and I believe we are doing things for his good, we will press on.

Good Luck!

StarBright

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #107 on: June 12, 2018, 07:25:58 AM »
@reeshau  - good to know you liked that facility. We are in NW Ohio and there seems to be a major lack of resources here (only two dev peds in the whole NW region). If we continue to be stuck on waitlists I will look into going to Ann Arbor.

The biggest issue with getting into a developmental ped or even occupational therapist here seems to be that he isn't falling behind in school. The places around here have basically shut me down when I say he is testing above grade level rather than below. I get that gatekeeping is important when resources are scarce - but it is supremely frustrating that it is so hard to find help for my kid.

The therapists office that we were able to get into won't do cognitive therapy because he is "too young", but he was clearly too old for the therapy that they provided him. We'll just keep chugging on :)

reeshau

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #108 on: June 12, 2018, 08:57:22 AM »
I just finished reading "Giftedness 101" by Linda Silverman, and that was something she pointed out:  that spending on below average performance outpaces gifted spending 100:1.  On a personal level, some might think "you are doing fine--you can't complain."  But on the level of maximizing potential of the population, it's pretty dumb.  So, you basically have to approach it like a luxury:  something you really want, and are going to fund yourself.  Which is ironic given the forum we're in.  But on the other hand, being generally frugal, as well as older parents, gives us the resources to do this important thing, even if the system is ignorant or unfair.

Here's the full list in Michigan:
https://giftedinmichigan.wordpress.com/links-and-references/local-iq-testing/

mm1970

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #109 on: June 12, 2018, 09:07:15 AM »
I just finished reading "Giftedness 101" by Linda Silverman, and that was something she pointed out:  that spending on below average performance outpaces gifted spending 100:1.  On a personal level, some might think "you are doing fine--you can't complain."  But on the level of maximizing potential of the population, it's pretty dumb.  So, you basically have to approach it like a luxury:  something you really want, and are going to fund yourself.  Which is ironic given the forum we're in.  But on the other hand, being generally frugal, as well as older parents, gives us the resources to do this important thing, even if the system is ignorant or unfair.

Here's the full list in Michigan:
https://giftedinmichigan.wordpress.com/links-and-references/local-iq-testing/
I see both sides of this issue.  My older child is gifted, and our kids attend an underperforming school.  We opted to stay at this school rather than transfer him to the magnet gifted program at a different school (filled with upper middle class, wealthy families.  With attitudes. Some of them anyway.)

As someone who has been on the PTA board and the site council, I see a lot.  I have friends who get angry and frustrated at the money spent on the lower performing students.  "They are ALWAYS doing that, what about MY KID."  Well, yeah, your kid is going to be just fine.  I see why you don't like that attitude, but you can, in fact, transfer somewhere else. 

It's a delicate balance.  The school does their best.  The teachers are fantastic at challenging the kids.  We had a special GATE class last year for robotics.  Here's the thing:

- 20% of our kids are classified as homeless
- 50% are bussed
- 65% are on free or reduced price lunch
- 45% or so are English learners

It's effing HARD to teach to a combo of UMC kids and poor EL kids.  We get specific money from the district and state that specifically HAS to go to our lower income and EL students, by law.  It's freaking HARD for the PTA to raise money for field trips, classroom supplies, music, art, and PE when only 20% of the families can afford to donate or have time to volunteer.

You know what happens when you have a robotics program for gifted kids, or a field trip for gifted kids?  The parents of the non-gifted kids bitch and moan too.  "What about MY kid??"

The system itself isn't ignorant or inherently unfair.  The system can only do so much when you have a wide disparity in ability / readiness and only so much money - the money HAS to go to get those disadvantaged kids to read.  Do I like it?  No.  But did I like that my 4th grader was doing 7th grade math, and was in class with other 4th graders who were only doing 1st grade math?  No.

I'm already seeing that the extra effort the school is putting into in early reading, especially for the native Spanish speakers, is making a difference.

reeshau

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Re: Solutions for Rambunctious, Emotional, Bright Kindergartner?
« Reply #110 on: June 13, 2018, 03:14:47 AM »
The system itself isn't ignorant or inherently unfair.  The system can only do so much when you have a wide disparity in ability / readiness and only so much money - the money HAS to go to get those disadvantaged kids to read.  Do I like it?  No.  But did I like that my 4th grader was doing 7th grade math, and was in class with other 4th graders who were only doing 1st grade math?  No.

I'm already seeing that the extra effort the school is putting into in early reading, especially for the native Spanish speakers, is making a difference.

mm1970,
For sure, I do not view this as a zero-sum game; that way lies the trap that pits parents against each other.  More money to maximized gifted potential shouldn't come from funding for disadvantaged kids; both needs are valid.  Education in whole is in a mess in the US, much like medicine, where for a period of time we threw more money at it, but once that reached a certain level of pain, the funding is legally capped in many places, and scarcity rules start to apply.  And in all this mess, many other countries spend less and get better results.

One other thing I would say is that I've never imagined fully outsourcing my kids' education to a school.  In fact, it's quite a change for me in the last year to be looking at private schools / programs.  I settled in a good-not-great school district, determined not to chase the test performance (which can change drastically, by the way) and pay out the nose for a house.  Rather, I had committed to myself to be involved, and to step in if I saw gaps in the education, grades be damned.  I was worried about what my kids would know, and how prepared they were for life.  (e.g. personal finance)

Then I saw, and confirmed through testing, that my son is gifted.  And there is this whole parallel world where people could help with that--not that it absolves my of my commitment to myself, but that it could ease the burden:  I can work with him on differential equations or experimentation at home (catapults and lasers, anyone?) rather than more basic topics.

So, my view is evolving along with my child.  I am definitely still learning.