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Old 10-21-2007, 03:12 PM   #1
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ms_c HB User
Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

I am absolutely dumbfounded at my 12 yr.old son's recent aggressive behavior in school (virtually overnight). For the last two weeks we have been receiving notes about how he was "non-compliant", said bad words, and threw a pencil across the room. The most recent incident was last Fri., right after an ARD that my husband and I were attending. Just as we were about to go home, someone came in and told us that our little guy just had another outburst. This time he had to be restrained. Restrained? Oh, my goodness. We nearly collapsed.

He has NEVER exhibited this type of behavior from preschool thru 5th grade. He is not aggressive at home. It is so like a Jekyll/Hyde thing. So when we are asked by his team at school what they can do to help him get thru these 'outbursts', we are unable to, because we have no past experience of which to base anything.

Our gut feeling tells us (as many past posts on this board also suggest) he is going thru puberty...he has just started middle school...he is testing his new boundaries, etc. But how long will this last? He can't continue this behavior at school--so how do we help him succeed and get thru this very difficult time in his young life?

Any experiences or advice that any of you have would be so helpful and appreciated. Thanks kindly.

A very sad and confused mom ...

 
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Old 10-23-2007, 03:11 PM   #2
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Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

I have never even seen this message board before, and yet suddenly your post was on my screen, so I have registered.

I'm a Texas mom of a "regular" 27 year old man and a Down Syndrome son who is now 21. From what you have described, I wouldn't let people try to tell you it's just adolescence kicking in. Yes, there will be times of frustration and "incidents", but what you have described is too sudden and can be too closely tied to a new school setting for it to be just another case of male puberty. Do not let the school excuse his behavior by calling it adolescence. Something is going on there to make him act this way so suddenly, and it's not just hormones.

Depending on how well your son is able to communicate, I would try to find out if he is being teased, bullied, or is frustrated because of something he is being asked to do that he just can't do.

What has triggered these meltdowns? Are they at the same time of day? Is he in the boys' locker room changing for PE class? What's going on there? Is he taking any kind of medications that may need to be adjusted since his hormones are changing?

I know it's worrisome to think that he might have someone being mean to him, but the sooner you can get to the bottom of it, the better. Does your school have any type of peer tutors or students who help in his classroom who might be able to confidentially tell you what has been going on? Perhaps a session or two with a play therapist might help?

My heart goes out to you and I wish I could be of more help.

You sound like great parents and I am sure you will make good decisions for your son.

 
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Old 10-23-2007, 04:19 PM   #3
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Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

From one Texas mom to another--thanks for the encouraging words. I so agree with you.

My instincts are telling me that it is not just puberty, etc. I do think something is frustrating him--m/b the staff? They seem very helpful, but I just can't put my finger on it. It's as if they are pushing him so hard, with an attitude like "ok, you're not in elementary anymore, you're in middle school, and you must WORK!" A strong demand for adherence to rules seems to be contributing too.

We do see a pattern. The meltdowns are always after lunch. Always when told to do a fine motor task like tracing letters, etc., and then told if not finished--can't do a 'fun' activity. And more frustration meltdowns when put in time-out. Happen ONLY in his special ed. classes. No problems in his 2 reg. ed classes. Not on meds.

I just spoke with the asst principal this morning, and told her no paper and pencil activities after lunch--at least for now, and no more timeouts. And guess what? It was an outburst free day!

Luckily, our fella has a brother 16 mos younger than him, also in the 6th grade, and he is with him in PE. And they have many friends from the elem. school scattered throughout. So I think the likelihood of major, consistent bullying is low--although not out of the question. I will tell brother to be on the look out.

Play therapist--good one. I will suggest that. Admin. has requested observation by school psychologist and behavior therapist from central office.

It looks like there's some stormy weather ahead, but we got our sleeves up and are ready to take it on--'cause this boy sure is worth it. Thanks again.

 
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:58 AM   #4
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Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

I just happened upon this web site and saw your posting. It's amazing! I, too, have a son with Down Syndrome who has been exhibiting the same kind of behavior in the last 3 weeks! He is 10 yrs. old, has begun puberty, and also started a new school in September. I have been at a loss to explain his sudden aggressive behavior; I've been playing the guessing game:
1. can't handle the transition to new environment

 
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Old 10-24-2007, 02:08 AM   #5
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Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

I just happened upon this web site and saw your posting. It's amazing! I, too, have a son with Down Syndrome who has been exhibiting the same kind of behavior in the last 3 weeks! He is 10 yrs. old, has begun puberty, and also started a new school in September. I have been at a loss to explain his sudden aggressive behavior; I've been playing the guessing game:
1. can't handle the transition to new environment/new teacher
2. hormones
3. teased/bullied
4. being asked to do what he just can't do
5. the death of grandpa
I'm sorry that this is happening with your son, too; but I am glad to have found someone else who is dealing with the same thing.
Another sad and confused Mom.

 
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:15 PM   #6
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Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

It feels so good to just connect with someone who doesn't create a "them/us situation".

Everything on your list certainly contributes to these behaviors. Besides Grandpa dying (I'm sorry), those are our contributors too. However, since our son's behaviors are just during a certain period of his school day, I am 100% certain that the sp.ed. team and their reactions are the main contributors.

Went to pediatrician today to rule out any health issues. He has given our son a clean bill of health. Bloodwork, sleep and vision issues--all normal. He added that he thinks someone or something is making our son feel threatened (real or imagined), and he is reacting in a very 'normal' way. He isn't putting too much stock in the puberty thing. He says we need to get our guy out of there asap, until we can figure out the catalyst. And he is absolutely against the restraint technique.

So our next plan of action is to call an ARD for some scheduling changes. I will take him out of school at lunch and return him the last hour for a regular ed class. Hopefully as time progresses, he will be able to better handle the new school, staff, content, rules, etc. Our priority is get him well adjusted to his overall surroundings. In time, we can add one afternoon back--slowly.
I was thinking just 3 days a week, my husband thinks we should do it everyday. Don't know yet...

What do you think? Would something like this work for your kiddo? It's just so frustrating when you don't know what is happening. I guess it eventually boils down to our gut instinct and what is within our ability to help our GREAT kids. Good luck to you.

Last edited by ms_c; 10-24-2007 at 12:17 PM.

 
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Old 10-24-2007, 01:35 PM   #7
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Miss Picante HB User
Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

This discussion brings back so many memories of the rocky year we had when our son started middle school. We didn't have aggression issues, but it was still a very difficult year. For what it's worth, here are some questions both of you might want to ask the special ed teachers:

1. Who else is in that special ed room when your son is there doing pencil
and paper work? Are there other, more severely affected special
students that he has perhaps not been around? Are there seizures,
tantrums, acting out by other students, or other types of behavior
going on that perhaps are making him threatened or uncomfortable?
Teachers may not want to talk about how this affects other students.

2. Conversely, is he being pushed too hard by the special ed teachers
in an effort for them to have a small class of special ed students all
doing the same thing at the same time? This is something I recently had
to go over to the school and clarify (and our son is 21!) and I had to
remind them that it was an INDIVIDUAL education plan that is to be
implemented. Administrative convenience of everyone doing the
same thing at the same time is not the point here, particularly when they
are spending part of the class time on things not even in my child's IEP.

3. Does your son have a level of self-awareness that is causing him to
gradually understand that he is not like the regular student population?
Our son has no idea of this (truly a blessing), but every boy is different
and this might be something he is noticing but unable
to articulate.

4. Ask to see the curriculum (readers, workbooks, written work) that is being
used to implement the crucial IEP goals in language arts and math.
See if you can tie them to the IEP goals. Insist that written work be sent
home every week. (I finally made this part of the IEP.)

When we moved up to the middle school, I was horrified to learn that the
district had not provided the teachers with ANY materials to teach
reading. (at that point, I realized I had an administration problem, not
a teacher problem. Got it fixed with a lawyer or two-whole other story).

Checking to see that the curriculum is available and appropriate should
not be a parent's job, but unfortunately sometimes it is. Our son can
read TV Guide and his birthday cards today only because I kept after
them. So don't hesitate to wade in there and ask to see the specific
written work and books, worksheets, etc. Do they look appropriate to you?

5. Finally, I'd be careful about taking him out of school for very long.
Not only does it send a message to him you don't want to re-enforce
(act out and you get out) but it lets the teachers off the hook. Out of
sight, out of mind. They need to be working to help with a solution.

Hope I didn't sound too much like the bossy big sister I am! Let us know how it goes.

Miss Picante

 
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Old 10-24-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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ms_c HB User
Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

Thanks. I am like a sponge--trying to soak up all advice, so the bossy big sister thing is quite welcome.

I agree with all you have shared. I am setting up some observation times, folder review, etc. Never thought of your #3. I don't think so, but with brother being so close in age and in the same grade with many friends, I wonder if he feels left out at times.

Yes, I do wonder if taking him out is ok. But the need to remove him from such negativity and protect him is SO overwhelming, that I admit, I can't think clearly. Deep breath. Weekend family pow-wow, and then we will act.
To be where you are with your son would be a nice goal.

 
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:36 AM   #9
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Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

Hi I am new to this web.But it seeems as if everyone notices these new behaviors starting at school.My son started at 5yrs old and by dropping inton the school unannounced I found them restrAINING my son in a rifkon chair so he would learn to sit on the carpet at circle time.This behavior is learned from the way others are treating them.When my son was 7/8 in 1st grade they decided to physically restrain for prevention,Once again further teaching of aggression and not to mention illegal.My sons behavior has improved but not 100% due to the fact when he is confronted or they get in his space they have taught him to fight back.I feel everyone needs to check unannounced on their children at school because our children cannot communicate to us what is going on and the schools know it.I wish you and your child luck.dlm

 
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:49 AM   #10
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Thumbs down Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

Hello,
Well part of the problem may be -Downs don't like change, they don't like the change of a different school or teacher but also you may want to look into how he is being treated by the aids and teachers. We had this one aid who should not have been with specail needs children, If my son would fall asleep for 15 minutes in the afternoon, when I would go to pick him up, she would say to me, your son was bad today, bad bad bad, he did not listen to me, bad bad bad, I could just tell by the way my son looked at her, he didn't like her. I would go to talk to the teacher and she would say he was just fine. Well as time went on, this aid kept badgering him and my son had a outbusrt. I also voulenteer at Easter seals, there are there aids who come from a home to help out with the kids from the home there are from, they did the same verbel abuse, one of the downs had an outburst with them, they kept saying paint or you not going to get a snack, your not getting a snack-constanting badgering her, she snapped and had an outburst. I do admitt teens years are hard, there hormones are bouncing off the wall and they don't understand why they feel this way, but many times they are not in a good situation, I had such a hard time with the schoold system threw middle school and high school, I ended up pulling him out at the age of 17 instead of 21, to much Bull was going on and I just got to the point when I said enough is enough, we are so done.
Karen
Karen W.

 
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Old 07-10-2010, 06:53 PM   #11
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gusgus84 HB User
Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

Hi, I have a 24 year old sisiter with Downs syndrome, and in the last few months she has been having outbursts where she will grap and pull on someones hair, and 2 adults cannot get her off. she cries and looks very angry and distressed. she has done this twice to me, to my mum and to the careers at her day program. my mum wants to keep her home because she is worried she might really hurt someone, she is very strong.
any suggestions? we wanna have her seen by a psychiatrist.

Shannon

 
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:15 AM   #12
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dermorris12 HB User
Re: Sudden aggressive behavior in 12 yr. old DS son--any advice?

Hi Mom.

I just wanted to encourage you that I care about you and your family, because we are all part of God's family which makes us kin. If you just need someone to talk to about your frustration and what is happening with your child, feel free to post me.

You should definitely keep your spirits up as much as possible and make every effort you can to get your team at school to find a better alternative to deal with his aggressiveness rather than restraining your son.
I am a graduate student and I am trying to get a better understanding of down syndrome as I believe in an inclusive classroom and making every child a part of the learning process.

I will look for your posts, and if it is all right, I would very much like to keep an eye on what is going on with your son. Keep your head up, and you and your family are in my prayers.

 
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