Social sensitivity

by Juliet G.
(Boulder, CO)

My three year old is very sensitive to other children. He does not like when they come near him and he hates when they look at him. He is quite a hitter. When someone comes to close (as in sharing a seat), he sits up really stiff and is completely preoccupied with their presence. Any suggestions anyone? My son is enrolled for preschool in the fall and I am getting scared.

Comments for Social sensitivity

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 01, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Reply
by: Bonnie

Yeah I hear you about what to do. I have often myself thought since we have added social issues to the mix of things we struggle with that perhaps once he is in school regularly he will possibly be diagnosed with other things like aspergers or something similar.

Is the preschool in the school system? If so they should have recommendations once he starts there regularly. The fact that he plays with his brother is good. My son will too. He doesn't really show signs of aspergers but many children high on the spectrum aren't diagnosed until grade school age. Anyway it might also be some better next year because he will be only with kids his age and with structured schedule and activities.

My son has a speech delay as well which is why he is being served by the school system and had the opportunity for the classroom in the fall. We are also taking him to a child psychologist this summer and have had him evaluated by a private speech and occupational therapist at our children's hospital as well as child find and the school system. You might try a child psych as they will know what to look for and will go off your observations as well as those of the teachers at his day care now as well as with what they actually see him do. Perhaps with that evaluation you will have more to present to the school system if you end up needing more help than the preschool you have him at can offer or if it doesn't go well there. At the very least you will be able to have more info to give those teachers.

I totally agree that to remove our children completely and all the time from the situations that cause them anxiety is not what is best. They have to learn the social things and will have a better childhood if it is spent with at least some social interactions every week. I guess we as parents just find out as much as we can about what is going on, get as much help for them as we can and then help teach them the coping skills they need to deal with the anxiety. Glad to know there are others dealing with this too. I often feel like he is the only one here in my circle of friends and acquaintances.

Jun 01, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Reply to Bonnie
by: Juliet

My son has been in the same drop-in child care center where I work since he was six weeks old. He will play with his brother there, but has not developed a tolerance for the other children. Yesterday he smacked an 11 month old in the face with a towel because he didn't like her near him and didn't like her looking at him. It seems like he is in total "fight or flight" mode around peers. He will sit near other children if I facilitate an activity, but otherwise he seems pretty stressed out the majority of the time because kids are too close, kids are looking at him, kids are touching his toys, etc. He maintains his composure for a while, than something will trigger what I call "the tipping point" and he will completely melt down to the horror of the other teachers.

The team from Child Find has evaluated him, but the screening took place in a quite office with no other children present. They also did an observation at the drop-in center where I work, but it was unusually quite that day and they didn't get to see him "having a moment". Anyway, Child Find couldn't qualify him for services, so he is still enrolled at a relatively quite and peaceful pre-school in the fall. I'm scared how it will go, but I don't feel like being with me all of the time is going to help him learn coping skills.On the other hand, I don't want to overload the preschool teachers with a fragile/explosive child. What to do?...
Thanks for listening,
Juliet

Jun 01, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
my experience
by: Bonnie

So I have a 4 year old who is similar although his reactions have changed from time to time. The current reaction to other children is to hide or stay in the back or side of the room or play area. It used to just be with large groups of children but has recently become present even with just one or two children. We have been to OT but since she can't bring other children in she couldn't really help him there. (The therapy did help with his meltdowns in general and help my husband and I know how to implement things that would help him at home so totally worth it.)

My son will play with other children though if it is one or two children he knows. But he takes several minutes to get warmed up to them (even if we have seen them 4 times that week) and even then doesn't talk much and often seems anxious and almost too wound up. He is enrolled in preschool in the fall as well but I am hoping it will help him deal with this. The teachers are trained in special needs things and so I am hoping they can help him. (Our school system offers a Head Start class that is a middle step between a special needs preschool and a regular ed preschool so they are working on things like this.)

Does your son play with any other children? Family? Could you join a play group or just start having another mom and child over to play or meet them at the park (some children with spd don't like having other children in their "space" or play with their toys)? Maybe watch how he is with them and so you will be able to tell his teachers what you have learned that helps. Also we are starting my son in preschool just a few mornings a week even though the class is actually everyday all day. I just don't think he will be able to handle being with a large group of children for that long at the beginning. Maybe see if you could ease him into the situation.

Also one last thought have you noticed if he does better with you present or without you? Does he do differently if you facilitate the interactions or just let him do his own thing? This may not be much help but I just thought I would share you are not alone and what we have done so far! Good luck!

May 30, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Therapy
by: Deborah

This is very typical. Is he seeing a Occupational therapist that deals with sensitivity issues? If not I suggest you get a therapist before school or there will be problems. But hang in there, we've all been there!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Behavior Problems.