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Old 11-06-2009, 10:21 AM   #1
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destiny dawn HB Userdestiny dawn HB User
my 5 year old. his delays, emotions, abilities

my son is the sweetest boy in the whole world. he's kind, considerate, empathetic and loving of his friends and family. He regards his two little sisters with respect and patience.

he didn't walk till about 18 months, didn't talk much till about 20 months, and has always been a time-taker from putting on his boots to getting off the bus.

he's very emotional and often cries at school.
he also tends to spend most of his time alone in his room and enjoys manipulating things like pipe cleaners and belts into dinosaurs rather than playing with actual toy dinosaurs.
he's very imaginative and has difficulty focussing on lessons in his class (he's in grade 1)
he's not really falling behind on his school work but does write sloppy compared to his classmates.
he's had evaluations in the past which determined he just seemed 'young for his age'.

i love him to death and wouldn't change a thing about him (except ease his emotions when he finds them overwhelming) I think he's young and just needs room to grow at his own pace. at this point i think more damage would be caused by placing any stigma on him or pressure/stress.

he reads very well and gets along with the other kids (although the roughhousers don't take much interest in him since he's not into bullying or loud games. He also runs slow which makes it hard to keep up with gym or recess activities)

has anyone had a similar child: emotional, empathetic, slightly delayed in motor skills and also late meeting basic toddler milestones?

I really do want to make sure i'm giving him every opportunity to succeed but don't want to push the envelope as he is already quite emotionally susceptible to stress. he never lashes out in any forms of anger or violence.

any tips/advice/resources? thanks so much

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Old 11-06-2009, 08:20 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 379
roses4lace HB User
Re: my 5 year old. his delays, emotions, abilities

My son (now grown) is very similar to what you describe. It sounds like he may be overwhelmed at school, with all the activity, kids, and noise. Staying in his room in a quiet place can calm him down. Is there a reason for the crying that he can articulate, is there a consistent situation that will trigger it, or does he just cry for seemingly no reason? If it's situational, he can be taught skills to deal with it. If it is from being overwhelmed, he'll either have to get used to it, or be given a quiet place to go so he can recover his composure, preferably before he falls apart. Bullies tend to target kids who cry, so they need pulled out of the situation, in my opinion.

The sloppy writing may be from small motor skills problems. My advice is to continue to treat him gently, give him guidance in areas where his social skills may be lacking, perhaps with story boards. Occupational therapy may help with some of the slowness/ movement issues.

I would encourage his imagination with art, painting, finger paints, clay, perhaps music, if he tells stories, record them so he can play them back, or help him write a picture book. But be sure he knows the difference between reality and fantasy. Often, we have our own special interests that we can focus on for years, but if someone wants us to focus on THEIR interest (school books) we have a difficult time doing it. It would be similar to forcing a "girly girl" to learn all about sports or the names of all the bugs in the swamp. The interest just isn't there. Nothing wrong with it, unless you're a little kid, and grown ups are forcing you to learn something you have no interest in. So the trick is to show how it's related to what one does love to do.

Learning can happen by making the lesson plan wrap around our interests, but this is best done via home schooling, rather than public schooling. Public schools tend to turn learning into a boring chore rather than the life adventure it really is. Just follow his interests, and assist him in pursuing whatever he seems to enjoy, and he will learn what he needs to learn. There may come a time when he doesn't "get it" on a subject, and you'll have to step in and find some techniques to help him relate to it in a way that sinks in. My son had a horrible time with multiplication tables. We struggled for weeks, but one day he came home all beaming, and said he finally "got it". He went on to become a math whiz, and loved calculus and trig, and all the formulas in physics and chemistry.

I once read that every school subject can be taught around an archaeological dig. Think about it.

Old 11-07-2009, 09:28 AM   #3
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destiny dawn HB Userdestiny dawn HB User
Re: my 5 year old. his delays, emotions, abilities

thank you so much, roses.
i enjoyed reading your suggestions and feeling like you understood my son. you have allot of great ideas and it was nice to feel as though someone understood the way my little man operates
did your sons' delays/quirks remain apparent all through his adolescence?
when my son gets upset it is usually over a change in plans or activities, and we did use the storyboard when he was younger but found it to not be very effective for his emotions, although it did help with his language development. he definitely has more episodes of tears when at school and often says it's because he misses his mom we have little support in the family and my kids rarely leave me since childcare is too expensive for one and we haven't any family with the means to care for the kids which really is unfortunate. but he has allot of "playdates" as I frequently meet friends with kids at the gym or pool or a park.
I really am pleased to hear that your son turned out to be a math whiz. I can see this kind of thing blooming in my little man as well, he really is very sharp but you'd never give him credit for it. I will continue spending time trying to help him find interest in his lessons and will also remember what you said about teaching him ways to cope with his tears. Although it's at a point now where he is really trying to fight them back because his dad tells him that big boys don't cry! Of course, I'm more nurturing and assure him there's nothing wrong with tears but if he feels like crying he should try to talk to someone about it or if he doesn't want to talk about it to take it somewhere safe. I love that last part about the dig. it's so applicable to my son! haha. Thanks so much for taking the time to share, i really am very grateful for your words.
take care

Old 11-07-2009, 11:45 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 379
roses4lace HB User
Re: my 5 year old. his delays, emotions, abilities

Unfortunately, at age 54, I am still one of those who cries when stressed about something. Changes are really stressful, even if they are good changes. The way to handle it is slowly. The first minute you "think" some change may be imminent, let him know that things may not go as planned, and you will let him know the details as you find them out. This helps us "change gears", which can take minutes, hours or days depending on the magnitude of the change. We have to psych ourselves up to be disappointed, do something different, go somewhere new, meet new people, etc. Many of us older ones have a running conversation with ourselves, such as "calm down", "we can do this", it's going to be ok", "the first time's always the worst, you'll get through it", etc. to help us cope. As a parent, you can help your son by verbalizing these kinds of positive comments. My counselor still does this for me, but I have learned over the years to do it for myself.

Giving him opportunities to be away from you for short periods of time will help him too, even if it's to leave him at someone's house for 30 minutes once a week or so, or let him go out to eat or a movie with a friend. Everything's about building up slowly.

If he's "really sharp", you his mother may be the only one to see it sometimes. Don't lose that knowledge, regardless of what doctors or teachers say. My experience was that teachers focused on what my son "couldn't do", rather than praising him for what he could do. He joined Mensa, which did get their attention, at least for a short time.

Last edited by roses4lace; 11-07-2009 at 11:48 AM.

Old 11-07-2009, 02:58 PM   #5
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destiny dawn HB Userdestiny dawn HB User
Re: my 5 year old. his delays, emotions, abilities

i just hope his teachers can understand his needs. i've explained that he prefers solitude activities and that it might take a bit of encouragement to get him involved in group activities. i've also made them aware of the fact that sudden changes can throw him for a bit of a loop but they assure me that they are very sympathetic to his needs and that someone usually hints about activity changes before they actually happen. i guess that all goes back to what you said about school and how homeschooling allows a more personalized lesson/teaching method. my daughter, who is four, is actually quite opposite and is very loud, personable, and witty. my son is very smart but prefers to keep to himself and doesn't display his abilities even when asked to, and also doesn't respond well to praise (he gets annoyed when i tell him how much i enjoy his artwork-which i really do) so i rather than tell him i think he's done a good job, i ask if it would be ok if i hang it up where i can look at it often and this seems to make him smile. He's just very particular and strange and i mean that in a loving way. i find it mind-boggling though that he differs so much from his sisters who are truly handfuls while he's hardly been scolded for anything ever (other than missing the bus or still being in his underwear-staring at the tv or the toy in his hand- after being told to get dressed some half hour before)
again, your advice is very helpful and yes, i get pretty upset about a change in plans or unexpected events too! thanks again for the reply

Old 11-07-2009, 08:19 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeastern USA
Posts: 379
roses4lace HB User
Re: my 5 year old. his delays, emotions, abilities

Being annoyed with praise . . . This sounds familiar. It has to do with certain things that are easy for me, but not for others. The praise sounds insincere, it's like they are praising me for walking around, because I don't see what the big deal is. My brain makes assumptions that everyone can do what I do, and I've had to learn it just isn't so. I had to learn that my "dismissal" of other's compliments was actually quite rude and was a reflection that I truly didn't know my skills and how they compared to others skills. Sometimes my son and I do things the same way, and marvel that others don't understand us. Other times we do things differently, and I explain how my way is different from his to give him the knowledge that each person can accomplish the same task, but in vastly different ways. My son thinks in 3D images, I don't, so we'll never see the world quite the same way.

You're doing exactly the right thing with him. We like for our work to be acknowledged in quiet ways. Kinda like, praise our accomplishments, not us the person. Show enjoyment of our results. For example, the program runs so fast; this new process makes it so easy to use; I like this picture/ drawing/poem, I'm going to hang it on the refrigerator/wall; let's take a picture and send it to grandma; how did you figure out how to do that, etc. (I use that last one a lot!)

Your son really does sound much like mine. Mine was never any problem, never getting into trouble. Always wanted to please his parents and be "the good boy". The only problem he caused was refusing to do homework, which he called "make work", and considered totally unnecessary. When we finally had to start home schooling in the 11th grade, I told him to do whatever homework he felt necessary to learn the subject well enough to make at least an "A" or "B". Once he was on his own schedule, working at his own pace, he never made under a "B", even in the advanced placement subjects. He processes information slower than normal, but fortunately with home school, this didn't matter.

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