Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My daughter is the mean kid

Exasperated is what I am feeling right about now.  I had been so worried about kids being mean to her because she is different that I never thought about Ellie being the kid hitting and shirt pulling.  I was so worried that kids wouldn't want to be friends with her because of her Down syndrome that I never thought she'd have her aggressive, grabby behaviors would prevent her from forming friendships with kids in her class.


My daughter, while her intentions are innocent and are not maleficent, is not very kind to her fellow classmates, therapists, or her own mother.  When she doesn't want to do something, she lashes out with her hands.  Slapping at us.  She doesn't want to wear shoes, I get hit.  She doesn't want to work on that book with her therapist, the book gets hit and shoved violently away.



She has something the school and I call the "arm sweep".  It isn't exactly shoving, but rather a sweep of an arm to move a child away from her.  Some of these kids are up in her personal space (although Ellie has no concept of other people's space--sure, let me climb all over you and sit in your lap) and she performs the arm sweep to move them away.  A child may be on top of the slide waiting to go down, but my impulsive little angel performs the arm sweep and goes barreling down the slide.

Then there is the shirt pulling.  It used to be she grabbed a kid's shirt or hoodie if it was brightly colored.  Or sparkly.  Especially if it was sparkly. Now she does it to physically pull the "friend" to her. It is her not-so-very good way of saying "play with me".  What child wants to be strangled with their shirt by a grabby little 4 year-old?

If you are an adult, hold onto your glasses.  Many times Ellie steals glasses to perform a "trade".  An, I give you my necklace, hat, or sunglasses for your glasses or hat.  She likes to use my glasses for a trade.  She also likes to remove my glasses in a huff because she is angry at me.  She knows it irks me so I am trying to be much calmer and use a nice soft voice.  It may or may not be working.  I cannot tell.



Yes, she has communication difficulties.  Yes, she has social deficits.  Yes, she has a naughty temper.

I have the mean kid at school.  The kid that "arm sweeps".  The kid that is "grabby" and "can't keep her hands to herself".  The kids that pulls shirts and slaps at adults.  I have the child that will have trouble making friends because who wants to hang out with the kid that might hit them.

I have learned that immediate consequences do not change her behavior.  Immediate scolding.  Immediate time outs.  These do nothing.  She repeats the undesired behavior. . . immediately.  We are working with Ellie's ABA therapist and have started a Social Story on the iPad.  This story has sad and happy pictures of Ellie and myself.  It has audio that goes something like this "hand are not for hitting.  hands are for eating.  hands are for drinking. hands are not for hitting.".   We are also showing her how to use "soft hands".  The school and I worked together to find a PEC that Ellie can use to say "I want to play." rather than shirt pulling.  The kids at school are told to say "Ellie, hands down".  I do not know if any of this will work, but my heart is broken.  I want my daughter to have friends and to be loved.   Plus, I am tired of getting beat on.

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14 comments:

  1. Ellie and Kimani would make the best of bullies friends, lol. Hard to believe such sweet faced girls can be so rough, but I know... oh yes I know they can. I like that no hitting PECs symbol you posted. I need a BIG one.

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    1. Have you seen the "no biting" PEC? That one is a bit creepy! Yes, Ellie and Kimani need to be paired up together. Could you imagine? A phase maybe? Hopefully?

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  2. I'm sorry you're both going through this. I'm guessing it's a phase and all about communication and attention. Owen is currently doing a "toss everything I don't like" thing. If I tell him to put on his shoes and he doesn't want to do it, he'll pick them up and throw them down the stairs and then give me this look like "there, I told that lady off" or he'll throw himself down on the floor if I say it's time to work on drawing or put the Kindle away to go to bed. It's exhausting, but I at least know why he's doing it. When he does it, I walk away or bring him downstairs to collect his shoes and then make him put them on. But I know that it's not that simple for you. Just want to say that I understand your frustration.
    I hope that with ABA therapy and the other things you've implemented that Ellie starts to understand and make some changes!

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    1. Ah, the throwing! Ellie does that too. She picks them up immediately but I just wish we could avoid the whole throwing in general. You are correct. I think that communication is a huge cause of these behaviors. Both Owen and Ellie have such a hard time making sounds and words so throwing and acting out are what they do instead.

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  3. Samantha will give me a whack every now and then when she gets really angry about something (usually it's me trying to enforce something she doesn't want to do). She kind of explodes a bit and either pinches me, or shoves me. It's nothing terrible, and certainly better than the biting she did at ages 2 and 3, and as quickly as it comes on, it often dissipates. She knows what she did was wrong. Hopefully age and maturity and communication skills will lessen the bad behaviors in both of our girls. :-(

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    1. I am relieved to hear that I am not alone. I cannot picture Sammi pinching you, but I know you don't lie!

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  4. After seeing your little angel crying in that chair I could no longer think all my brain would allow me to think is 'Someone quickly give that poor little girl a cookie'. She's just too cute.

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    1. Ack! no cookies! This child wants cookies and cake all the time which is funny because she rarely gets those items. She wakes up from her nap and always asks for a cookie or cupcake!

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  5. And also, whatever that thing is on the other side of the glass window, kind of under Ellie's left elbow is creepy. No wonder the poor kid is crying.

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    1. Oh my goodness! you are right! It is creepy! It is one of those Step 2 push cars and the front has a face. I never noticed that until you pointed it out!

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  6. That Social Story on the iPad sounds like a great idea. I used to be the mom of a mean kid. I dreaded the walk down to the office whenever I had to sign off on the notification form of what my child had done to a classmate. I remember coming so close to him being banned from the gym childcare. Take a deep breath, try to stay calm, and remember what a little angel she can truly be at times.

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    1. Your boy? No! I cannot picture him misbehaving. I get nervous going to parks because she shirt pulls the little kids and tries to barrel past them on the slide. I have to be right on top of her and faster than her which is difficult because she is fast!

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  7. I don't really have any advice but I'll tell you my girl went thru a walloping phase - she do it in day care and to me, but the worst was the random kid we were just *walking* past. She'd just reach out and swat them as we strolled down the hall. ACK. (Did I tell you this already?). It was horrible while it lasted but I can tell you it has passed so don't despair! xoxoxo

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  8. I am just reading this now......I know, a month late. But, I was wondering....how is it going now? Madi does the same stuff and we are really struggling with her. We have done the Social Story on the IPAD too. It seemed to work for a little while but now we are back to hitting. Today alone, I think I have been hit 10 times, her OT 2x that and a little friend who dropped by, probably 10 times also. I am at my wits-end!!! The immediate time-outs/other disciplines do not work on Madi either.

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