My son hits and bumps into other kids while in line at school

by Valerie
(Copperas Cove, TX, USA)

My 9 yr old son has been getting in trouble for hitting other children and kicking and bumping into them in line at school. He has been diagnosed already with SPD and I've explained to the school that he has this. I have suggested the school keep him close to the teacher while in line, as well as give him something somewhat heavy to hold onto or a task to do.


However, yesterday he got in trouble for doing it again. I realize it was Monday and this kind of behavior only happens usually while in transition or if he is overstimulated at lunch time or at recess.

Can you offer any other advice for me on how to help him in this situation? He is not in physical therapy because the wait time to get in here is over a year long. I'm desperate to help him and get any suggestions and advice I can. Thank you!

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Oct 15, 2011
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My son hits and bumps inyo others too
by: Anonymous

Thanks for all the idea's my son 5yrs has the same challenges. I have spoken with his KG teacher about where he is when lining up.(Pref back or front) However she is not as on board as I would like. All the children have weekly rotating jobs'so having him be "Door Holder" line leader etc.each week is not feasible.(Although it certainly helps him *getting a bit of heavy work in the day!I am currently not working with an OT as mine told me he had made huge progress last year(Private OT)First week of school I was called because my child punched another at lunch.When questioned about the incident,my child stated the lunch room was noisy etc..(Bit of sensory overload)I am going to research the books recommended by an earlier post. The monster arms sounds great however I am afraid in my childs case he would extend his and touch others! I am going to research How does your engine run as his response to why an incident has taken place is usually his motor was too high I'm looking forward to hearing what worked for you! Thanks

Oct 10, 2011
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to be continued...
by: Anonymous

made me split my message into two parts, guess that means i have too much to say. ;)

anyways-

one other thought, maybe having a class discussion about physical proximity and personal boundaries would help the other children be more on the same page as well, because i don't doubt for a second that he's the only one in a classroom or lunch line with issues like this.

(we used examples of when it was okay to touch and not okay to touch others, for example when you're playing tag at recess it's okay to touch as compared with other examples. we also used phrases like 'robot arms' and 'frankenstein arms' in relation to how much space should be between you and another person in different situations. for example, in line at school, you need to have robot arms, like from the bent elbow out. that's the space you need to have to be comfortable and not be in someone else's space. frankenstein arms which is arms straight out all the way, is used for larger proximities like in the grocery store with people you don't know, etc. you could come up with all kinds of examples when you could apply these concepts.

good luck on your journey. you're a great mom, i can tell from your posts. stay plugged in, fight for him, help him learn and advocate for him until he can do it himself.


Oct 10, 2011
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been there.
by: Anonymous

thought the previous post was helpful and insightful, isn't this a great way to exchange information and ideas?! my son too, is a body bumper and can be physical when he feels like he is not in control of his environment or the people in close proximity to him or as mentioned when he's feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated.

things that have helped my son along the way in this journey you are also on: a program called 'how does your engine run', which can be found online at http://www.alertprogram.com/index.php.

a great program for teaching children about how their bodies can feel and help in teaching them to recognize and identify what's happening and then about ways of dealing with them in effective ways.

also, chewing gum has made a difference for my son. for changes in routine, when having to really concentrate on testing or projects that are intense or even gum chewing as they are lining up and the commotion is too much for him some times.

also, his teacher has made allowances for giving him a job like dumping the trash or erasing the board to do while kids line up and then letting him be last and making it sound like his job then is to make sure he's the last one and that everyone else made it in line.

we did some social & play therapy with my son about boundaries and it proved to be very effective. you may want to investigate that option as well. there are all kinds of ideas and games that can be used to help them understand what is and is not okay. oh, also there's another website we have used a couple products from, it's called, www.modelmekids.com. it's social skills training materials. there's also another one i've heard of but not used personally, but it's called, http://www.socialthinking.com/. and it's based on the idea of super heros so if he's into that at all, that might be worth looking into. i wonder if his teacher would be opposed to putting little pieces of colored tape/stickers on the floor where the kids line up to help them have their own 'space'. that as proved helpful too.

but anyway, i do agree, they absolutely have to learn boundaries. our children are neurologically atypical, living in a neurotypical world and "i hit him cuz he was too close to me", isn't gonna cut it. :)

to be continued...

Sep 28, 2011
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Thanks Anonymous
by: Anonymous

I actually work at the YMCA and they have started a Tae Kwon Do class and my son will be able to do that for free. That is a great idea. Thank you very much for the advice. My aunt actually suggested him being at the back of the line as well, because then he won't feel sandwiched between people and nobody can mess with him from behind. We will try that and see how it works.

Sep 28, 2011
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Some things to try
by: Anonymous

My son's teachers have had him at the front or the back of the line,which helps because there are fewer wiggly little bodies around. I think being the "door holder" helps too. It's heavy and keeps him away from all the other kids a bit.

My son is nine, too and he has grown out of most of this behavior, so yours probably will too.

Of course the hitting is probably in response to close proximity of the other kids and the noise, movement, etc. However, hitting is not acceptable.There are certain behaviors that our kids must learn to control no matter what the cause.
I see it this way. one day he will be out in the world on his own and he has to live by the same rules as everyone else without excuses. College professors and employers won't accept "I hit him because . . " So no matter what the reason for this, we have to have consequences for hitting until they get more control and find ways to cope with their sensory overload in certain situations.

He's probably old enough and SMART enough to learn deep breathing or how to walk away when he feels overwhelmed. You could ask him how he feels--physically (boys are very large muscle respondent)--right before he gets so overwhelmed he wants to hit or run. Then teach him how to use that "feeling" to recognize what is going on, then find a way to move away from the other kids or do something to calm him self (a stress ball, pencil grips, which are not so "odd" to the other kids, or some other small token in his pocket might work.
If he's not enrolled in marital arts, consider trying it at a low cost facility like the YMCA. Martial Arts teach our boys all kinds of control, relaxation,and meditation skills that I'm convinced has made a huge difference for my son. Best wishes to you.

Sep 28, 2011
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SPD help
by: Anonymous

Can I suggest that you should report to a specialist neuropsychiatry or a behavioral psychologist for advice and then inform the school.explain they that your child's behavior is cause to a disturbance. Ask if the school is expected to support. greeting.

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