Aggressive behavior in school

by Nathalie
(Otterburn Park, Quebec, Canada)

First of all, I need to express what a relief it was to find this community!!! I am the mother of a 8 year old boy, diagnosed with sensory modulation disorder last year. He is over sensitive to touch and light. The diagnosis was a life saver because I was finally able to tell people (especially the school...) that my child was NOT a violent boy, he was a sick boy !!


I live in the french speaking province of Quebec, in Canada, and finding resources here has proven to be very difficult, and left me feeling very alone. When I stumbled onto your site, I was literally in tears to know that I might have a place to turn to after all. I cannot begin to tell you how much this means...

My concern is the following:
My son has a huge problem with impulsivity, which translate in him hitting and pushing children at school. This happens everyday, sometimes many times a day. The school has been tolerant with him because they know that it is not premeditated since they are aware of his diagnosis and have been providing resources. The problem is that the situation only gets worse, and, since he is very tall and strong for his age, he sometimes hurts the children pretty bad. He has even hit his best friend.

He is now rejected by all the children, his self esteem is dropping (he keeps saying he is nothing but an idiot ...) and he is miserable. The school has just informed us that they cannot be tolerant anymore, and they cannot do more than they already have to help him. So they are facing us with the following choices: we either consider medicating him to see how it might help or have him transferred to a special class (in another school) for children with behavior problems where he will get counseling.

I need to know: Has anyone experienced aggressive behavior to this extent? Has anyone tried to use medication to deal with impulsivity issues? Any comment or advice is welcome, I really do not know how to help my son through this and that leaves me feeling as miserable as him.
Thank you for your help.

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May 15, 2014
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Never lose hope
by: Anonymous

I know these posts are pretty old, but I was compelled to reply. There has to be someone out there! In reading your post & correction, I have to emphatically answer yes, yes, and yes! People only have so much patience with your child/family when your child acts out aggressively. We are frequently shunned & misunderstood. There are so many things to consider when you have children with the problems that ours do. Medication is one of the things you will need to consider possibly for both the child's AND the families' overall well-being. I am here to tell you that even if you and your doctors find the right med for the child, there is still no 'magic bullet.' My son is diagnosed with ADHD, SPD, and a mood disorder. We've been fortunate enough to have caring medical providers, counselors, & teachers in our lives at various times. Even so, the challenges & stress are never-ending. My son has been found to be a danger to other children in school even on medication, we've aged out of OT, & have mixed results w/ ongoing behavioral counseling. Still, I never lose hope that our families' solution is out there and that other families like us can connect & share.

Mar 20, 2010
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parental denial
by: Anonymous

I can understand what your going through , what concerns me the most is that parents tend to think that nothing is wrong with their kids are refuse to seek help,
teachers and community workers are there to do so much but will need the parent to meet half way...How can we help your child if you don't seek and understand what needs to be done...
so parents that are in the dark will only get some support at school ( when they deny their child is perfect with no issues)


Jan 03, 2010
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get him tested
by: Anonymous

Sounds similar-our 4 year old is the same-school denied any behavioral issues but we clearly saw it at home. Fast forward one year-we paid to put him into a private preschool and they immediately saw it-recommended he be seen by neuropsych and he was immediately diagnosed with ADHD-obvious.

Sure i cried but i had something to work with. He is aggressive and frustrated and we have not tried meds yet but i am open to them. My gut says we will do meds with him-i can see him already slumping into the low self esteem thing and i dont' want that for him. He is being seen by neuropsych, neurologist, and i am looking for a psychologist to work with him/us. He is also being looked at in 5 months by a developmental pediatrician to go through him with a fine tooth comb-can't hurt. It's a label. I'm fine with that-they are adjusting his IEP to meet his needs and setting up a behavioral program. good luck and get him tested. He will benefit tremendously from it.

Nov 19, 2009
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Aggression and violence. RAD?
by: Anonymous

My son is very aggressive and violent at home towards me. He has already been diagnosed with SPD and aspects of Aspergers but now also with Reactive Attachment Disorder. He is 8 and the violence, depression, self harm and low self esteem have all finally led us to medication. He has just been prescribed anti psychotics ie risperidol. We haven't started it yet but I could see no other way as we were in crisis.

Nov 18, 2009
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Hi
by: Anonymous

Hi,

First of all I really understand how afraid you are for your son suffering from low self esteem due to his SPD. My daughter suffered feeling stupid and hopeless, she was only in 4th grade when she said she didn't want to be alive anymore. Please don't feel like a bad parent for wanting to try medications. My step mother is a retired special education teacher of 30+ years and can tell me countless stories of children who've been put on meds. for ADD ect. and have made dramatic improvements. I was so scared for my own daughter we decided to try meds. for her ADD (she also has Auditory Defensive/SPD) The results were dramatic. She was able to focus at school therefore improved her grades from C's and D's to A's and B's. She had more energy throughout her day and energy to due her homework. She was calmer at school and able to engage with the other children and make friends. I very much wish I would have tried meds. sooner she deserved to always feel good about herself.

Nov 18, 2009
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Aggression
by: Jessi

Hello.
My son is also a hitter. Has yours been tested for ADHD? I always rejected this with my own son because he wasn't hyperactive (just pretty much normal active for a 5 year old). However, his impulsivity is off the charts and he was getting in trouble at preschool (when he was 4) almost daily for aggressive behaviors (hitting, pushing, kicking, etc).

A couple of things we found out - I took him to his developmental pediatrician when he turned 5(she's been seeing him since he was 2 and is the one who diagnosed him with SPD when he was 3) and after she tested him for ADHD it was quite apparent that he had that too. She explained that often SPD and ADHD can go hand-in-hand. She wanted me to put him on medicine - I was reluctant but what she told me next changed my mind. She told me that all my son was hearing all day was, 'no, stop that, go to timeout' etc. In other words, constant negative feedback. She explained how over time this would be detrimental to his self esteem and could lead to other problems.

So we started the medicine and it made an immediate difference. He even wants to take it because he knows it helps him behave. He started Kindergarten this year, and I can't say at all that he never gets in trouble. He still has trouble regulating himself and has gotten into trouble 2 or 3 times for hitting. Only one of these cases was bad enough that he was sent to the principal's office and 2-3 times in half a year as compared to almost every day is much better!

I also have my son seeing a therapist (in a psychologist's office) to work on his behavior. She talks with him about things like bullying and respecting other people's space, etc.

Hope this helps!

Nov 18, 2009
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correction
by: Nathalie

I posted this question and just realized that I made 2 mistakes, so I am going to add precisions here (I do not know how to edit my post, sorry...)
1) His sensitivity is to touch and SOUND not light (sorry but english is my second language and I did not translate correctly)
2) We already went through many months of OT but the therapist said that it is a treatment that lasts a few months and all that had to be done was done, that we did not need to continue the treatment.
I am sorry for these mistakes and thank you again in advance for your help.

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