Special Needs

Becoming a Better Mom

I have posted here on occasion but not regularly so I hope my seeking advice is okay.  I have a son who will be three this summer.  Without giving too many details, he has a medical history that may affect his ability to learn and he does have a gross motor delay. Currently he is experiencing some challenging behaviors.  I struggle to know what is related to his development vs. what is typical.  I often think it is typical challenges magnified.  I feel the need parent at a higher level and very intentionally.  Often in the moment I am unsure of myself.  I am looking for ideas to become the type of parent I need to be for my boys (I also have an infant son).  I have the books ?SOS Help for Parents? as well as ?123 Magic?.  I struggle at times knowing if my expectations are reasonable. I have used timeouts effectively however he began to use them as an escape (ie. Hitting a therapist to get out of doing something challenging).  Books or other recommendations are appreciated.

Besides recommendations for how to grow as a mom does anyone have ideas for teaching a child personal space?   I find with other kids he is unaware of physical space and hugs and touches his friends constantly, he can be pretty rough. 

Re: Becoming a Better Mom

  • Thank you auntie for the quick reply, I hope it is okay if I elaborate to take full advantage of your insight.


    He tends to be very social and likes to be around people so time outs worked for many occasions but once I used them during his pt sessions which he dislikes I believe he decided he would rather sit to the side then put on his AFO's and try to jump.  I started a positive reward system for just during pt where he earned stickers for every activity he did.  This seems to have helped.  The question I then have is if I don't use time outs for a behavior displayed during pt (hitting) and do use it say when he hits a friend to gain access to a toy will the inconsistency be confusing?


    In terms of the hugging, thank you for the idea about sensory input I will try some of the suggestions.  He does this with close family and the friends his age he sees most regularly,  I don?t want to implement a no hug rule with everyone because he is three and I do feel hugging me and his dad is appropriate but when he hugs other kids he literally knocks them over because he has poor balance, also he gets to close etc. and bothers them.  I have been trying to implement an arm?s reach rule with people who aren?t family but I?m not sure he gets the difference.

  • Can I just tell you that I literally could write your post word for word?  My son has SPD as well as speech apraxia so it's a true struggle.  I am in constant struggle with myself, with him, his daycare providers (who are amazing but still human) as well as his sp-ed teachers (again, only human).  I get so torn.  I am also eager to hear what others think.

    I will also say that what works for a month or even two may not work on month three.  So know that change (especially at that age) can be quick. 

    You are in great company on this board!

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  • d.fd.f member

    I've followed the lead of DS's team at school for similar behaviors.  They use the phrase "elbow room" (move arms like a chicken)and "clap in front clap in back" to teach space boundaries.  They also implemented "thumb kisses" (touching thumbs and making the kiss noise) because he was I inappropriately kissing people (last year just teachers, this year his close school friends).

    We also do a sensory diet including brushing, joint compressions, a trampoline in the back yard (is Winter over yet it snowed on Mon-Tues), parks, a gymnastic gym with open gym times, and any heavy work I can throw at him.  His touching, hugging, and crashing have greatly decreased. 

    DS 09/2008

  • I could have written this post a year ago.  My son will also be 3 yrs this summer and has an SPD diagnosis.  I read a bunch of books and was directed to 123 Magic.  I did it very diligently and had no luck with it.  It almost made things worse for my son, which in turn made it worse for me.  Timeouts lead to bigger tantrums.  I was also making my son look at me when I would re-direct him.  My OT said this could be counter-productive.  With SPD kids, don't make them look at you when you tell them not to do something. Because if they are looking at you, they may not be hearing you.  It's like they shut off one to do the other.  I found that once I did this he did seem to listen better to me.  I put away the timeout chair and gave it a little bit of time. As far as personal space, my son did the same thing.  We showed him high fives and so when he approaches someone to give a hug, we say high five and he will stop and do this and it keeps him at a more appropriate space.  His boundaries have much improved since this.  We also give him tons of proprioception, so like bouncing, wheelbarrow walks on hands, row-row-row your boat, while physically rowing, pounding on a pounding toy, trampolines, joint compressions, lotion massages, weighted belt are all great things.  My son has now graduated from OT a few months ago and his behavior is so much more improved.  He is a new kid.  As a matter of fact, if he is doing something I don't want him doing I will start with 1. Pls stop ... if he continues, then 2... and I have never gotten to 3, so no timeouts.  He now knows when I start 1,2. I mean business.  It's similar to 123 Magic.  I think at the time I originally tried it, it wasn't working but I tried to do it again and I am finding more success now.  Pls don't beat yourself up about being a good mom.  I did the same thing.  I would be so worried about what everyone else was thinking and to be honest I still don't like it if someone looks at me with a side eye if my son does something like throwing himself down in the middle of a store or something.  But I have adopted the attitude of I really don't care, or shouldn't at least.  I will probably never see them again so whatever. I think we all question our being good parents at some point and with kids like ours, it's even magnified.  Trust that you love your child and are doing what you think is best.  I am sending hugs your way.
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