Need advice on Preschool child's behavior

BeadaOctober 25, 2002

We have a 3 1/2 year old preschool child with Down Syndrome who has been a "pill" lately. His teacher happens to also be his mother and since I am the lone special ed teacher at our school, she has come to me for help. She feels like he is doing it at school because she is his mother but the behavior is also carrying over at home. He is doing things like getting off his cot at nap time, not cleaning up after playtime, etc. This may seem minor, but apparently it is disrupting the class and he did not do these things at his former preschool class. (This is the first year we have had a preschool class at our school so everything is totally new.) I suggested she saturate him with rewards for compliance and gradually wean him off of them. However, he really doesn't have any concept of cause/effect, so he wouldn't understand what he would have to do to get the reward or why he doesn't get it. I have absolutely no experience to speak of with either preschool aged children OR children with Down Syndrome. Does anyone have any advice for us? Is this typical behavior? Could it be developmental? What can we do to turn this around? Any suggestions would be welcome. TIA!

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I think this behavior is typical when mom is the teacher, even with non-Downs kids. I teach Sunday School - team teach w/several other people. On my weeks, my son acts like a monster, doesn't listen, doesn't do the activity, etc. Other weeks, he's great. When I teach, everyone else's kids are great, but when one of their moms teaches, they act awful. I think thye are trying to get mom's attention away from the other kids.

My only advice is for mom to talk to the kid all the way to school every day about how he expected to act. That's what I do with DS - not that it helps much during the situation!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2002 at 12:05PM
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I am thinking the same thing-that it has everything to do with mom being the teacher-especially since he doesn't act that way for substitutes. However, she also worked at the other facility that he went to before coming to our school and she said he had no problems. Today I went in to observe the behaviors myself and guess what? He was an angel! Mom/teacher and the aide were both dumbfounded. He is beginning to get a cold and I don't think he was feeling well, but I still had to laugh. Isn't that always the case-when someone comes to see what you are talking about-it doesn't happen. (It's kind of like the noises women hear in cars that the men can never hear.) LOL Anyway, I will keep popping in to observe. Aside from mom resigning so that son will behave, does anyone have any other suggestions? We aren't sure how much he is understanding when mom talks to him.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2002 at 6:43PM
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I don't think the Down's syndrom is the issue. I think kids really test their limits at that age & this child is testing his mother.

Is the mother willing to try a "tough love" approach? That would involve having someone available to come pick up her child from school and keeping him until she finished with work. If he acted out a set # of times, he would have to "go home" and could not participate in class for the rest of that day.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2002 at 1:11AM
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I had the same problem with my youngest when I helped in his classroom. Finally, I had the teacher explain that I could not help if he was going to continue to misbehave. That did it. I feel for you and have not answers. Would it help to ask him to help her be a good teacher by being the best example of student behavior in class?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2002 at 2:49AM
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I am thinking about Carlotta's suggestion of having him leave after a number of "misbehaviors". I am not sure that she has anyone who could pick him up and take him home, BUT I am wondering if a trip to the office to do his Time Out rather than in the classroom might do some good too. I mentioned before that mom doesn't think he "gets" the cause-effect thing, but if he doesn't, wouldn't he figure it out real quick if he sees others getting rewards and he doesn't?????? This little boy is also a twin to a non-Down Syndrome brother. The twin without Down doesn't have any problems with behavior. However, the twin with Down is fuctioning at approximately a 2 1/2 year old level, so it could be age related as Carlotta said. Thanks again, everyone, for your suggestions. I'll pass them along and see what kind of response I get.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2002 at 4:25PM
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I found one website related to child behavior. This is very useful for your questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Child behavior

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 4:21AM
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Maybe he is not ready for preschool? 3 1/2 is pretty young (especially for a boy) and if he had downs maybe that complicates it.

There were many boys in my child's 4 year class that did not sit at circle time to the end of the preschool year.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:52AM
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