Back to school concerns

by Gina
(Massachusetts)

Do any of your SPD children have trouble when school starts up again after the summer. My 8 year-old son has been having trouble sleeping and he is a bundle of nerves. He keeps crying and saying he can't believe summer is over. I keep trying to reassure him but it has been a difficult time for him. Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be very appreciative.

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Oct 07, 2010
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Back to School
by: Owen's Mom

Owen is 5 next week and in PreK at a Montessori school. The first few weeks were really rough on him. What we ended up doing with him was getting a copy of the daily schedule for each day of the week and making task cards for him. Each part of the day has a card. We put the cards on rings and go through them at night and then again in the morning. Once he knew what to expect the next day, things changed drastically for the better. (In addition to SPD, he also has Aspergers.) The changes in his behaviors at school went from constantly being in trouble to being a delight literally overnight. To make the cards, I just took regular index cards, punched a couple of holes in the top, drew a picture of the activity and wrote what it was at the bottom of the card.

Another thing we do is ask him at night if he needs to "Rackit up" (which is wrapping him up in a heavy blanket and making him work his way out - giving him deep pressure input). He is aware enough of his internal needs to be able to verbalize when he wants/needs it. At the beginning of the school year, he was so out of sorts inside that even deep pressure wouldn't work.

Oct 03, 2010
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Back to school concerns
by: Anonymous

We had similar issues this year with our 7 year-old son. He saw the calendar change to August, stopped eating, playing, and was highly anxious about school. It didn't help that he had a less than understanding teacher the year prior. We did start meds for the anxiety, which seemed to help a bit. Other thing was meeting with school staff prior to the school year, meeting the principal, walking around the building, and even meeting the teacher before school started. This year, the principal "matched" him with a great teacher. She has really tried to understand and be sensitive to our son's issues. They even worked out a system that he can let her know he is overwhelmed by putting something on her desk so other kids don't hear them talking about it. So far, he is less nervous and sleeping better.

There are nights we still have trouble sleeping. I made a weighted blanket for him this summer. Big help to make him feel safe as well as calm his body. We also leave something on the windowsill at night so when he wakes he can see we've been in the room to check on him after bed. We still find him sleeping in the hall from time to time, but overall, there is improvement. Family don't understand what we go through. Bottom line is we have to offer our son support when he needs it and make him feel as safe as he can.

Sep 23, 2010
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anxiety/spd and sleep
by: Hazel

I noticed you said about WEIGHTED Blanket, before i bought a weighted blanket (very costly) i tried a sleeping bag and that has worked for my daughter because she is feeling secure and wrapped. It's a cheaper option to try first!
My daughter has SPD, 6 years old, I too am having big problems at the moment with getting her back to school but a different classroom, 2 different teachers each week, its all change of routine and has upset her so much, she cant sleep, has the runs, cant eat, is constantly walking on tiptoes, our doorbell hurts her ears and it didnt used to, incessant chatter, smells make her feel sick. I have tried talking to new teachers and supplied medical report but they dont understand at all. A guitar that was really loud in assembly last week for my daughter hurt her ears, i mentioned this to the teacher and she said it wasn't that loud and dont you have music and tv on at home it was just as loud as that! I know its a difficult thing to understand but at least it would be nice if teachers tried!

Sep 02, 2010
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a good night sleep makes all the difference
by: Anonymous

Have you tried melatonin about a 1/2 hour before bed time? This is the only thing that helps our daughter settle down enough to get sleepy. We give our 7 year old a 1 mg dose. we've also been using a homeopathic "nerve tonic" to help with the back to school transition that seems to help. Also, some people have good luck with Epsom salts bath just before bed. It doesn't seem to help my daughter any more than a regular bath, but others seem find it helps.

Sep 02, 2010
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anxiety/spd and sleep
by: Anonymous

with the anxiety and his sensory overload, my son has trouble going to sleep often at night. he lies awake saying he can't go to sleep and can't stop thinking about things....we put him to bed at 7 bc he is a kid that needs his sleep..and often he is awake until about 8:30...and then is up at like 6:15 in the morning. if he would sleep it a bit later in the morning i wouldn't be so worried about him going to bed so early...but he needs the sleep. SOOO, my question is if you guys have this issue...and if you do have any of these troubles have you tried any solutions? my son has a fan in his room...and likes to listen to music...but i am considering the weighted blanket. i think the blankets are often for more severe spd kids, but at this point i am open to anything. he needs to find a way to calm his body and his mind and i am looking for any ideas!

Sep 01, 2010
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I understand!
by: Anonymous

I feel both of you on this. We don't even have a diagnosis yet, just a 504 for my 6 year old daughter that actually needs a TON of adjustment. I didn't get the 504 accommodation plan until 2 days before staff who wrote it would be gone for summer! I am trying to get all paperwork and time to get her into professionals (neuropsych/ developmental pediatrician) that can help us figure out what is going on, but having to spend more time figuring out how to help her in the immediate at school. She's 1st grade this year and attended a private preschool/kindergarten last year. Needless to say, she's had a long week. We got left in the cafeteria (yah) and class was on playground already (still don't know how this happened at this point...plan to find out). Yesterday she got separated from her class during FIRE DRILL and of course, she was terrified when principal intercepted her and had her stand with a staff member until drill was over. She thought she had done something wrong!

So ...today we get to everywhere we need to get to but she had a rocky day in class emotionally responding to everything (uh, can anyone say SENSORY OVERLOAD from teh week). She also slept in longer than she ever does this am as I think she is just completely exhausted from the week. Of course, my goal is a 730 bedtime but alas...we made it by 815.

Anyway, I feel you. I'm trying to figure this all out myself and get help for it. WE are in OT and have our 2nd session tomorrow with a sensory diet plan. That should be good. I hope something begins to help!


Sep 01, 2010
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anxiety....i'm with you!
by: Anonymous

I also felt/feel your concerns. my son is 2 weeks into kindergarten and it has been anything but easy. waking up in the the middle of the night crying, REFUSING to get on the bus amidst a massive meltdown (this has happened a few times!) which would result in me driving him to school where i would have to leave him screaming for me as i walk out of the building (talk about heart breaking) and then poof, out of the blue there are other days where he will strut onto that bus like he has been doing it all of his life. this has been a very emotional couple of weeks and there are few people that really understand him, so it is a pretty lonely feeling. i certainly hope your back to school story is a happy and successful one!

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