Friday, September 21, 2012

Anxiety and Behavior

My son has always had  what we thought as cute but a quirky behaviors but as he gets older its not so cute anymore.  However, isn't it a known fact that  with anxiety comes behaviors?

Looking back his anxieties have always been there but once he reached second grade these behaviors turned into things like kicking (tapping), bolting and maybe a few curse words here and there. Obviously in school he needs to be safe so there were a lot of  "time outs" this past year which just have just  increased his anxiety.

However, its wasn't long before he learned that trips to the principals office would also get him out of  doing work he didn't like. He now just acts out then marches himself to the to the principal and get a time out.... No one ever said he was a dummy!

The school brought in a child psychologist  to consult, his findings were...(making a long story short) .... most of his anxiety stem from his complicated medical history, he has mostly "attention seeking behaviors" and the plan is "ignore and redirect"...unless of course he harming others such as  kicking (tapping) and then its more of an "in-house suspension" where he sits in a room for 30 minutes (also known as an extended time out)....hmmm,   A child with anxiety who is afraid to be alone and they are suggesting 30 minutes!  I'm pretty sure this plan will backfire, but we were willing give it a try...

At home, we didn't see these behaviors, was was overall more anxious tho.  Didn't, want to be  in his room alone or away from me.  It could of been a as simple taking the dogs just outside the door, he would go into complete panic mode, pacing, chewing on his shirt, sweaty palms, completely freak out.

Aside from his anxieties from his complex medical history my theory is, he's getting older, life is getting more challenging, things are more fast paced and there  are more demands expectations of him. Developmentally he just can't keep up on so many levels and puberty is just around the corner.

I have tried talking to him about it asking him why he does behaviors they are seeing at school like he will respond with things like "I don't know why", "because I'm worried" and sometimes he will even  say "mom, I don't know why and want to talk about "....

So we have been creating social stories.  And I have bought some great books through on worries, anxiety and keeping calm, through Social Thinking website.

My favorites so far are When my Worries get too big and Keeping Calm. He has enjoyed these books so much that, he asks "can I bring them to school and show my teachers".

And, since he "likes" to talk about it,  I think the plan will be to continue with the social stories and find  a child therapist, for some cognitive behaviors therapy and of course, one day at a time....

7/14 Update.  The behavior plan to put in a room for 30 minutes back fired on us, my sons behaviors increased, during Christmas break that year, he was happy and engaging and on way back to school Dry heaves, stomach ache, I didn't have to be hit on the head anymore.   It was school that was making him ill.  I wish Angelsense had existed during that school year.    Thankfully we got thru it and into a  better program where he started to thrive, but hasn't been same kid since pre-4th grade.  Never again.  Another example, always go with your gut (mummy tummy)..

Pley - Rent Preschool toys

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