I am livid and need help fast...

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
I am livid and need help fast...
Thu, 09-04-2003 - 1:06pm
Well, school has started. And Catie's first day was Tuesday and it seemed to go well. For some reason Early Intervention has put her in a school that is a mile away, and we pass two other elementarys to get there. But you know, i thought ok, whatever. They had to change her class from mornings to afternoons because they put her in a class full of boys. I told them THAT would be a problem. So it was a rocky start for us as parents to get her enrolled and get her to school.

She had no problems the first day of school. She said bye and took off and never looked back. I would call it successful. Yesterday i went to pick her up (now they only have her for two hours a day for three days a week) and we already had a little parent/teacher talk. Catie is already "in trouble".

She apparently isnt transitioning and following intructions. :gasping: NO!!! You don't say! Well, she wouldnt do circle time. So they gave her the option of sitting in the circle or sitting in the chair. She would do neither. She went into a tantrum where they had to "restrain" her. The other kids went to the play ground and she was devestated because she couldnt go too. But they told her she couldnt go until she sat down in the chair. They said in the usual compliance of a preschooler, it usually takes 30 seconds to 2 minutes for them to finally comply to get the incentive, in this case to go outside with the others. With Caitlin, it took 12 minutes.

Well, this is no shock to me. I have been dealing with this for 2 years now. But what REALLY irks me is that it was presented to me in a fashion of "i know WE can work TOGETHER to get this corrected and i will be sending notes home and i know that consistency at home and at school is the best thing for her"

HELLO?? MY GOSH. Did these people not READ her file?? I have been complaining about this for 18 months TO Early intervention. I told the preschool teacher LAST week she has a transition problem. I told the new case worker on Tuesday when she came to our home that i have tried spanking, time outs, incentives, ignoring... i mean, what ELSE can i do??

I told the lady during the conference that i have TOLD EI about this multiple times and they told me to and i quote "pick my battles, offer incentives, and ignore" and that is what i have done. Now i have a preschool administration making me feel like i don't discipline my child.

When she was 2, both my husband and i felt like WE were the parents and if we told this kid to jump, she should. It took alot for me to let go and become more laid back and to accept Caitlin for who she is and to work with what i have. Now at 3 1/2 i do feel at times that things get out of control, but again, i have never been given the tools to know what works with her and wait doesnt. Her latest thing is telling me no. I will tell her to do something and she screams NO at me. It infuriates me and makes me want to knock her head off, just because i feel like she is starting to be a brat. But i know spankings don't work. I can't sit down and reason with her. I can time out her, and i do, but that ends up turning into a 20 minute temper tantrum.

I am frustrated and exhausted at the circles i am going in. being 16 weeks pregnant doesnt make this easier. THe thought of having to sit on her, or restrain her, just isnt in my daily routine of fun right now. I kinda feel like this is THEIR problem now since i have tried to seek help from them in the past and they seemed to think it was just me. NOW that THEY have her for 6 hours a week, it really is a problem that needs to be addressed right now!! TODAY! Grrrr...

I know it is only the second day of school, but i want to yank her out of school so fast. She hasnt started montessori yet because we are still having potty training issues. My dad told me to just give her a little more time and i can't quit at every little bump in the road. But i am to the point where i can't tell what is hurting her or helping her. I am lost.

She goes back again today for the last day of the week. The lady who i talked to put a new label on her (i missed the label cause i was more surprised and my ears were ringing) and said she would be going to her boss and discussing this issue with her on how we should handle Catie.

As soon as i sign off of here, i will be making a new appointment with her Psychologist. But i thought i would ask you guys what you think. Any thoughts on this??


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Thu, 09-04-2003 - 6:24pm
That sounds just like problems we had with Tim for a few years.

Don't you LOVE the way they make it sound like a discipline

problem at home.. ARghhh!!!

With Tim, I did and still do the time outs at home. Even though he

throws a tantrum I learned not to give in. He comes out of it on his

own eventually. He even damaged some vocal cords from a certain pitched yell he does.

Have you considered a marble jar or ticket reward system chart.

For example. At school and at home create a chart of good things

that you expect her to do. 1. Do circle time. 2. Not throw a fit.

(you can word them however you want). She can put a marble in

a jar when she does the things she's supposed to and let her know

when she gets up to 5 (or your choice) of marbles, tickets, stars etc..

that she will get a prize. (something cheap but what the child will like..

or even some special outting). If you start the treats too big

then it will be harder to accomplish in the end. But you can maybe

get her One special toy a month if she gets so many marbles(tickets, stars)

a week.... This worked very well for Tim in Kindergarten to 3rd grade.

sometimes the school can do this and provide the rewards.

Just a suggestion. Hopefully in a few weeks she will feel more

comfortable and co operative at school. Rebecca

Avatar for littleroses
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 09-04-2003 - 8:21pm
I feel your pain. I absolutely went through the same ordeal. I had trouble with my oldest dd since she was 18 months old. She was an awesome baby and it seemed she metamorphasized overnight. I thought "Hmmm, terrible two's have come early. There was no improvement down the road and her behaviors seemed to escalate. I had her in 2 years of preschool and she was hard to handle. I took my dd to Early intervention. I was told she didn't qualify for help by 1 point. 1 point between success and failure sure is slim margin to gamble with on a child's future.

Kindergarten was awful, 1st grade was a nightmare. She had homework everynight in K and 1st and that was HELL. The teachers had all sorts of interesting names to call my dd. Flaky being one in particular that I'll always remember. In 2nd grade, they called me in for a meeting and there was the teacher, principal, school counselor there pummeling me with questions. The counselor in particular seemed focused on drawing out of me that I let her do whatever she wants. She kept basically trying to blame me for my dd's behavior. I told them I was taking her to a psychologist to evaluate her for ADHD. The counselor appeared skeptical and said, "But children with ADHD behave as though their motor is constantly running." (Duh, Coco is super hyper). She believed and hinted that Coco's problems were completely parent sponsored. The more I learned about ADHD subsequently, the more I realized the lady had NO idea what ADHD was. Coco (nickname) is completely compulsive. If you tell her "No, don't lick the table" In her mind, all she hears is "Lick the table." Therefore, doing exactly the opposite of what you've just asked. Her executive functioning is impaired and she has little or no ability, to control her impulsiveness even at the ripe old age of 9. It took her an hour to write 5 simple sentences for homework at night. After medication, she could do it, neatly, in 15-20 minutes. She has a whole list of problems that all added up to a learning disability. Transitioning was super hard for her, therefore the big tantrums from one activity to another. She has a rigid way of thinking and a strong need for structure. Your average kid may need a little time to comprehend transition, maybe our kids need more time to understand that a change in activities is about to happen.

I am a very rule-oriented person. My dad was a soldier. I know what discipline and respecting authority is about. I know that I am guilty of imperfect parenting, but I know in my heart my dd didn't throw tantrums or be so animal-like at times because I didn't have boundaries. When she kept misbehaving on the school bus in 1st grade and was being threatened to lose bus privileges, I made her put on comfy shoes right after she got off the bus one day and walk right back up to school which was 2 1/2 miles away...one way. We only had one car and this would have been the results of her losing bus privileges. I try to incorporate a real understanding of consequences and learning instead when I can. This doesn't sound like a parent who doesn't care.

I am very angry at what happened to my oldest dd and angry at myself for not knowing any better. I believed everyone telling me that she'd outgrow it and it was because I was doing something wrong. I'd regroup and find a different way. Poker chips, charts, special attention, and so on. Well, I was ignorant of disabilities. I didn't recognize the signs that I can easily see now in retrospect.

Now, my dd is on medication which has helped her so much. She still has a lot of problems, but she's able to control herself more. She can do her homework now. I read your post and it so much reminds me of my dd with the circle time and non-compliance and teachers thinking you don't do anything.

I wish I had advice for you. I don't know how we've gotten through what we did. Then we learn our youngest dd is autism spectrum. I do know that the teachers were always surprised at how non-combatitive I was. I was well-spoken and didn't become angry and I knew that made them pause. I could see I wasn't what they expected. I guess they were expecting me to be a Jerry Springer guest, I don't know.

My biggest argument was a child that has this much difficulty in kindergarten can't be right. What do you do in kindergarten? Play, paint, color, listen to stories, make friends. Does a child that young NOT want to learn? I doubt it. My dd is highly intelligent, but the paperwork and sitting down makes was impossible for her. If your dd is taking far longer to become compliant than the average kid as they pointed out...isn't that another little red flag to take note of then? Or do we just chalk it up to her being able to be more bratty than your average kid? (No, of course not.) Even brats can do well in kindergarten and still learn.

I wish I could help you more. I understand the frustration of your dd telling you "No." The only advice I have about that is kids are excellent at reading you. You cannot let her know this angers you no matter how badly you want to knock her block off. Even a small kid can learn fast that "she who angers you, controls you." They are master button-pushers and we are only human afterall. She is learning how you handle this and will copy this herself later on. However you deal with each particular "No!", just don't let her see the intensity of your emotions. Only reward her with intensity of the positive emotions when she is even making little steps. I'm not saying this because I'm one of those blaming you, but from a place of having been there with that particular behavior.

I have a pet parrot that has been biting me. I talk to him, make him fresh salads everyday and I'm sooo good to the little featherduster. One of the things I was reading is that you never hit the bird, hit his beak, or even cry out in pain because this makes the behavior worse. (I have never hit him, by the way, but I have cried out in surprise!) Crying out in pain or yelling at the bird even gives him some sort of perverse pleasure of being in control of you. It just SO reminded me of my daughter! I was laughing when I was reading that. Maybe she was a parrot in a past life.

So, I didn't mean to take quite so much of your time up and not offer you any real tips, but oh do I know what you're going through and let me tell you...It's NOT you! I believe you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Thu, 09-04-2003 - 10:33pm

I'm sorry you are going through this. The school sounds a bit questionable to me. Is it a dedicated special preschool? Are the teachers qualified and certified Special Ed instructors? If not, you should bawl at EI. for sending her there. Actually, at this point, most kids are out of EI and in a district-administered program. Maybe you should contact your district if you haven't already? They may be able to arrange a more appropriate placement for her.

I ask you all this because her school doesn’t sound very professional. They are supposed to be teaching her to be less rigid, and yet they are being so rigid themselves. Also they have started out on an adversarial tone on day one (two?), and that JUST DOESN'T WORK with many of these kids.

Have they tried any other methods? Or are they a total one-trick pony? Timers worked very well for my boy who has a LOT of difficulty transitioning. We learned this trick from his first special school: Give him a warning: “OK in five minutes we have to clean up the toys and then we are going out” Then set the timer for five minutes. He is forwarned that a change is coming, and five minutes was actually *five minutes* ! Easy! The best four bucks I ever spent! I sometimes worry that both my kids now respond so well to a timer. I think of the whistle in ‘The sound of Music’ but there is always time to wean them off it. I’m sure they won’t be taking a timer with them to college (and if they do, what harm?)

I hope this helps.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Fri, 09-05-2003 - 3:30am
Well, I had this nice response all typed out...one of my usual, long, detailed, ranting extravaganzas(sp?); another chapter in the book I'm not writing. But then my computer crashed and it took me all day to get it reformatted, reinstalled, and restarted. So now I'm back and find that everything I was going to say has already been said....LOL. I love it.

Anywho, I agree with the reward system idea on this one. That, and asking the teacher if she has had her hearing checked lately. I went through the same stuff with Jade when we put her in public school, or rather, with the teachers. They all needed hearing aids as far as I was concerned. I also think they couldn't read. We had how to handle every single behavioral issue clearly outlined in her IEP and when the issues came up in class they would talk to me as if I *must* not know my child does this or that I must not know this is abnormal. The first IEP meeting was so incredably one sided and ridiculous that I walked into the second one with a complete transcribed copy of her medical records just so they could *see* that I knew more about her issues than they did. It took 3 people to carry the file....all 137 folders. LOL, but it was well worth the looks on their faces.

I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said. (Wow, did *I* say that? LOL) I hope things get better for you and Catie. I have a replica of an ancient war hammer over the door to my office. It has "The Bigger Hammer" incribed on the handle. You can barrow it if you need too. ;)



iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Fri, 09-05-2003 - 9:10am
Helen -- I'm livid, too, for your sake. Isn't the whole point of EI to help your DD to learn the correct behaviors. If she could manage circle time and transitions on the second day of school, she probably wouldn't BE in EI, for heaven's sake. They're supposed to work with her--and you--to begin to learn these behaviors, and it might take some time. (I especially don't like the idea of physical restraint on a little one. That gives me the willied.)

I remember when my DS was about 4 (pre-diagnosis, he's now 10) and was in preschool at our daycare (they offered a preschool curriculum). He couldn't handle circle time (sensory issues with sitting on the carpet, combined with being too close to other people who might touch or jostle him). But did these folks tell me he was a problem child? No. They allowed him to sit under the table where he was most comfortable and listen to the lesson from there. Very flexible and accommodating. And you know what? He learned just as well from under the table as he did if he'd been sitting in the circle. He also had trouble with transitions, but over time, we worked on "countdowns" (5 minutes, 2 minutes, 30 seconds, time to go) and visual schedules to help him out.

I think these people need to learn their jobs better. They're not doing you or your daughter any favors by being so rigid and difficult. Keep us posted on what happens.


mom to Chris (10, AS)