Discipline

How do you Discipline your sensational kid? My son is five years old and has SPD and I am wondering how you discipline him when he hurts someone impulsively. How do I discipline him without a complete meltdown?

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May 14, 2012
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Solutions to help your son/daughter with SPD
by: Anonymous

At school develop a color coding chart for your child to review throughout the day -- my engine is running green, yellow or red. Give each color an easy to understand defination of each color. If they are "yellow" list 3 simple things they can do to help them get back to "green". For example, put on your weighted vest or lap pad. Do a heavy chore in class for 1 or 2 minutes - move heavy books from one side of the classroom to the other.

Chewing gum helps - this calms that "oral" fixation they have. This really helped my son stop bitting when he was small and it helps him now and he's 8 - he's not grinding his teeth as much.

No public punishment or consequence in front of the other children in class (there self-esteem is already down and making friends is difficult, so we don't need to add fuel to hte fire by calling any attention to his/her outbursts in front of the toher kids. You can have the teacher tell them that they are "yellow" and when that happens the child automatically knows what they should do as this is their 1st warning, so they look at the chart and try one of teh tool "put on weighted vest or move heavy object". When the teacher says they are "red" meaning the warning didn't work, then the child know they will lose 5 minutes of recess time or something. Teh teacher doesn't need to go into a big long explanation becuase the child already knows what the consequence is and they also know the time will increase if they still don't comply.

The trick though is having the child be "self-aware" before they get to yellow or red and to work the steps you've outlined. Some things won't work and other things will work, and you can't try everything out at once. Pick 2 or 3 things for a week and monitor. Tell your child what it is too -they can't be guessing.

Have them set a small goal for the day or week and have a reward system (something small).

Do role playing with them when something happens, show them a different way of handling the situation -- do role playing with stuff animals or something with funny voices like a puppet show. You do it first (play good kid vs. the bad kid or event) and tell them what to say and how to handle it, then let them do the puppet show repeating it back. Now they know what to say and how to act thru role playing.

This is a constant battle and definately schedule an SST Meeting with your school -- it's the law "Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act" that your kid get appropriate educational services and interventions - don't let them treat your kids as one size fits all.

Note: They don't grow out of it, they just learn how to cope and control/manage it. This is a long journey and if you start now figuring out what works for your child, it does get easier, but it never goes away.

Oct 26, 2009
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Gordon Neufeld's Approach is Fantastic!
by: Betty

We too have a daughter with SPD. She is now six years old and we have used Gordon Neufeld's approach to discipline for the past year. All too often what looks like trouble with discipline is actually a very frustrated child who needs our help.

Gordon Neufeld's "Power To Parent" dvds explain clearly where the child's frustration stems from, what we need to understand about it and what we as parents can do to help manage it. He takes our (society's!) interpretation of the "bad behaviour" and turns it on its head. He then gives you the child's perspective and then follows up with suggestions as to what the parent can do differently in order to make things better for us all.

It has made a world of difference to our family and once we got used to using his principles, we don't need to look for anything else! It has definitely made for happier times in our home and would recommend that you google his site.

I think you can tell I am a big fan! All the best!


Oct 25, 2009
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5 yo also has SPD
by: Anonymous

My 5 year old son also has SPD and punishment has been really hard. I get so overwhelmed with his sensory seeking behavior because I can never seem to tell what is SPD behavior or if he's doing something out of disobedience. We handle things a little differently here. Even if it's behavior caused by SPD we still handle things bc when he grows up the behaviors are not going to be found acceptable AT ALL.

For instance, he will throw himself into ppl (I know this is a sensory seeking behavior) but it has to be handled. Otherwise, when he grows up and gets a job he will probably get fired for such behavior. I feel it's my job to help him learn between right and wrong, good and bad, etc. Instead of allowing him to bump into ppl I let him know the things he CAN do when he feels the urge to "sensory seek". He has a bag of fidget toys and also things such as indoor trampolines, etc. that help him.

Anytime he does misbehave though he is required to go to "calm down time". It's called calm down time because I try to emphasize to him that he's not really in trouble, he just needs to calm his senses down so that he doesn't hurt or bother others. He usually takes sensory items to calm down time with him and it usually seems to work. Since really enforcing this, his impulsiveness has been cut in half. He still does things but as his mother he knows what's acceptable behavior and what's not.

As for schooling, I now homeschool him becuase I was getting adverse reactions from our school. The teacher was putting him in a closet and also made him the outcast of his class. She encouraged others to make fun of him but when he responded or even cried he was sent to the closet again. With homeschooling I can control his sensory environment and I now have a child that's on a 5th grade level in reading, 2nd grade level in math and he's only 5!!

There are great online sites, etc. for sensory homeschooling so if you are ever in the boat of wanting to take control of your child's learning I strongly recommend homeschooling. People never seem to hear of the wonderful positives. With co ops my child gets more socialization than a child in school anyday!

Nov 29, 2008
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try GORDON NEUFELD
by: chloe

I strongly encourage any parent to read a book called "Hold On TO Your Kids"by Gordon Neufeld.
My 4 Y.O son too has SPD and I have struggled with the discipline issue also. However, if you read his book and if you can afford the video's that come with it ( called power to parent) you will truly understand that usually any and all aggression/outburst ALWAYS STEMS FROM FRUSTRATION!! In his video he explains this very clearly and what you can do to help before the frustration becomes aggression.

I know this may not work all the time (as my son too hits/bangs etc... with no warning) but it at least helps you understand how frustration works(also you can relate this to yourself as I am sure all of us parents with children with SPD have felt at one time or another)


Chloe

Jun 03, 2008
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Our Saying
by: ELLI

My little boy is 5 and has just been diagnosed with SPD. I never understood why he was so rough and just put it down to being a boy. In saying that, most of my friends had girls and we had a little saying that we did. I would ask "What are girls?"

He would answer "Princesses"
Me: " What do we do with Princesses"
Him: " We are gentle" and I would gentle rub his tummy, so he understood the touch.

We also now have little Princes.
It was something that helped me explain and helped him to understand. It doesn't always help but we just remind him when going places and sometimes also while there.

Good luck

Apr 10, 2008
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Impulsivity at School
by: Craig

Hi Joseph,

I can relate. My daughter's impulsivity at school has been a problem - especially in regards to getting frustrated/anxious and leaving the classroom and school.

The first task has been the hardest - educating the school/staff on SPD. It has been a huge hurdle, but we have made great strides over the years. While it is not perfect, we have come a long way in that regard. I have spent a lot of time over the years getting to know the administration and her teachers. They at least know that I am actively involved in her life and want the best for her in school as well as in life. I've tried to let them know that we are partners, not adversaries and that I want to work with them.

I brought in copies of "The Out of Sync Child" and also a tape/cd on helping teachers understand children with SPD. I asked them to at least read the introduction to the book and listen to the first 10 minutes of the tape. Then, I explained to them that my daughter simply gets overwhelmed at times and needs a cool down pass to go to a safe place. She goes to the office with her work at these times and it has worked out rather well. She doesn't need to do this as much as she did in the past.

The next step is trying to get them to understand the things that cause my daughter to get overwhelmed and implement an appropriate sensory diet that helps her before the meltdown occurs. And, of course, I am trying to get them to help her develop better social skills so that she doesn't feel so out of place with her classmates. The school has been good about involving her in friendship groups.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure that your child gets OT by someone certified in SI and also consider finding a counselor who understands SI and can help your child emotionally. A great, comprehensive treatment program is offered by Brainasium - (http://www.brainasiumworks.com/BrainasiumWorks/Home.html). They cover it all including the educational component that is key to helping SPD children in educational areas that they are prone to having problems with. Perhaps you can find a similar facility in your area. My daughter has been going there for a few months and the results are amazing. Treatment is expensive, but when done right, it is well worth the cost.

And, finally, there is no magic bullet fix and your child will have SPD forever. Keep working on patience, understanding and value the unique and special qualities of your wonderful child.

Good Luck and Many blessings,

Craig

Apr 10, 2008
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What about in school?
by: Joseph Krok

Craig, you wrote...

"My daughter is 9, has SPD and acts impulsively quite often. I have learned that acting out impulsively is something that most individuals with SPD have problems with. With age and time, they get better at handling the impulsivity, but the urges to act impulsively remain.

For me, I came to the conclusion that she can't help acting out impulsively. To punish her for doing something she can't control does no good, it actually harms her self-esteem. And, she really feels terrible about what she has down after she acts out. So, here are my rules:

1. If it's a safety issue, deal with it any way possible immediately.

2. Try to better understand the triggers that cause him to act impulsively so that you can intervene and re-direct him before he acts out.

3. While he is calm, continue to remind and re-inforce that hitting and hurting is not allowed and practice better ways to handle anger and explosiveness - hit a pillow or bean bag chair, stomp your feet, etc.

4. Find things that really work in getting your child out of a bad mood - music and dancing work with mine, introducing a pleasant taste or smell - whatever works. Use those techniques to get your child out of the impulsive mood before it takes a really bad turn.

5. After a bad episode and when your child is calm, remind your child that it is not OK to hit and hurt and then go back to role-playing what is a better way to handle anger. If you feel it is necessary to give him a consequence, make it something that makes up for the action, not just punishment related. For example, my daughter recently broke a vase when she got angry. After our cool-down talk, she agreed that the replacement cost should come out of her allowance.

I'm no expert. This is just the strategies that I have developed and learned over the years. For the most part, they work pretty well. But, it takes time and a lot of patience, so my last rule is to forgive yourself when you act out and don't follow the rules - keep trying and it will get better over time.

Best of luck and many blessings!
Craig"


Now I am wondering Craig... how does this get addressed in school? My son is going to be 6 in July. His teacher is having difficulty seeing him as a child with SPD rather than as a behavior problem. Any suggestions? As far as not being an expert, this is the best outlook on SPD I have ever come across.


Apr 09, 2008
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In the same boat
by: Anonymous

Oh, I am so in your same boat! My son is also 5 and has SPD - he is also gifted, which makes things even more interesting. He does have a tendency to go through times where he honestly seems to have no control... we will be laying in bed together and all of sudden he will reach over and just hit me... or my husband or I will be doing something and he will out of the blue hit, kick or knock into us. These seem to happen at really bizarre times - not the usual time for a child - like when they are mad or upset about something.

I also have a really hard time punishing him for something that seems to just happen out of the blue like he can't control it, but I also want to let him know that it is not an acceptable action and to help him come up with other ideas... such as the need to feel deep pressure (the main reason I feel he is kicking/knocking/punching us). We are still floundering in our area to find anyone who offers sensory OT - the nearest is over an hour drive which would be really tough on everyone! I am curious to see how others deal with behavior issues as well.

Apr 06, 2008
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SPD disciple
by: Anonymous

My son is 3 years old. I started putting him in a time out chair so that he knows that he did something wrong. It took a long time for him to comprehend that the time out was because he did something that was wrong. It is hard task because my 14 month old, when I say no, he understands that he did something wrong, and my 3 year old it takes him a while. He had a real meltdown with me the first couple times but now he knows that to come out he has to apologize and either give the sibling a hug or clean his mess. It takes a while but if you have a good support team working with you then it is not as hard.

Apr 06, 2008
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Discipline and Impulsivity
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 9, has SPD and acts impulsively quite often. I have learned that acting out impulsively is something that most individuals with SPD have problems with. With age and time, they get better at handling the impulsivity, but the urges to act impulsively remain.

For me, I came to the conclusion that she can't help acting out impulsively. To punish her for doing something she can't control does no good, it actually harms her self-esteem. And, she really feels terrible about what she has down after she acts out. So, here are my rules:

1. If it's a safety issue, deal with it any way possible immediately.

2. Try to better understand the triggers that cause him to act impulsively so that you can intervene and re-direct him before he acts out.

3. While he is calm, continue to remind and re-enforce that hitting and hurting is not allowed and practice better ways to handle anger and explosiveness - hit a pillow or bean bag chair, stomp your feet, etc.

4. Find things that really work in getting your child out of a bad mood - music and dancing work with mine, introducing a pleasant taste or smell - whatever works. Use those techniques to get your child out of the impulsive mood before it takes a really bad turn.

5. After a bad episode and when your child is calm, remind your child that it is not OK to hit and hurt and then go back to role-playing what is a better way to handle anger. If you feel it is necessary to give him a consequence, make it something that makes up for the action, not just punishment related. For example, my daughter recently broke a vase when she got angry. After our cool-down talk, she agreed that the replacement cost should come out of her allowance.

I'm no expert. This is just the strategies that I have developed and learned over the years. For the most part, they work pretty well. But, it takes time and a lot of patience, so my last rule is to forgive yourself when you act out and don't follow the rules - keep trying and it will get better over time.

Best of luck and many blessings!

Craig


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