I really need some help from any teacher, parents or psychologist

United States
January 19, 2007 6:35pm CST
Please help me if you can. My grandson, who is 6 and in the 1st grade, has a problem with being touched. I really think he has a medical problem but so far no concrete diagnosis. When his mother went unexpectedly to his school to pick him up the other day she found him wearing a neopreen vest. When she asked the teacher why he had this on she said that he had been wearing it since school started and that it was suppose to help when there sensitivity issues by making the child feel hugged. His mother told the teacher that she had no idea that they were doing this and it had never been discussed with her or her husband and when she had come for parties, lunch visits or field trips he had never had it on. Does anyone know why they would do this and why wouldn't they have discussed it with the parents first and gotten permission to do it. No other children were wearing one and he has been coming home saying that he has been teased at school but has never told his mother or father he has had to wear this vest. That is part of his problem also, not being able to communicate specifically on a problem. I would appreciate any input that anyone has on this.
4 people like this
15 responses
20 Jan 07
Did she give a name to the problem? It sounds like Sensory Integration Dysfunction (or Disorder). The Disorder can go 2 ways, the kid I had in my class would touch everything, run into stuff, was very loud, wanted to smell and taste everything. His senses were almost numb, he was always wanting more. My son is more like your grandson. All of his senses are on overdrive. He sees, hears, smells, feels, and tastes everything going on around him. If he's sitting in a chair he can't tune out the way it feels on him, he hears all noises in the house as well as outside, he sees everything around him, smells everything that is around, etc. When you add in one more thing (touching him) it sends him over the edge. The neoprene vest will help the child focus, when my son is getting overwhelmed, I will put pressure on his shoulders and it helps him relax a little and to focus. Never just go up and grab your grandson, always ask him to come to you to give hugs, etc. I have had my son in occupational therapy once a week for about a year so if you have any questions please send me a message. I will also look up the book that I read to find out more info about this, and give you the name of it.
2 people like this
20 Jan 07
The out of sync child is the name of the book.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Jan 07
Thank you so much. I will get the book. Yes he sounds more like your son. If we touch him unexpectedly he will jump and say don't touch me, but if we ask for a hug he will briefly hug us. Should they have discussed this with the parents before using the vest?
1 person likes this
20 Jan 07
Definitely! I don't know why they would do things without talking to the parents. There are a few sites online about it too that give some good information. There are many things that the parents can do at home, too. My son was having trouble sleeping in his room, we'd find him in the living room in the morning. His therapist said that we needed to clear everything out of his room so he could relax in there. He now has bunkbeds, he sleeps on the top, the only other thing in there is the dresser with TV on it. The toys are in the playroom and he now sleeps fine in his room. We taught him how to ask people politely not to touch him, he would react by pushing people away which would often hurt people's feelings, we have "trained" our family to always ask before touching him. Once you learn about SID you might find that a whole lot of his other "quirks" are caused by it. For example, my son will eat nothing that isn't room temperature or colder, as a baby he drank cold bottles and everyone freaked, but that's just him. Now we know why he does that! The best thing for your grandson is to get informed and help him learn to deal with the way he feels, he can't change it, and he may not outgrow it. Things get better with my son every few months and then he goes back to being oversensitive. And if you all know how to deal with it you will know what you can do for him to make him more comfortable. Like I said anytime you have questions feel free to ask me, I've been dealing with this for 5 years. Also, one thing a lot of the sites will say is that it's often in addition to ADD, ADHD and Autism. My son has none, and he's got above average intelligence (no I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom *smile* he's been tested during his therapy) so don't let that put you off if he doesn't have any of the other disorders, he CAN have it alone.
2 people like this
@sylviekitty (2083)
• United States
20 Jan 07
I'm not especially familiar with the term "tactile defensiveness", but that does seem to make sense. When I read your post, I immediately thought that there must be an issue with Sensory Processing or Sensory Integration. My son has this problem, although generally he has no problems with being touched. His occupational therapist had told me about the use of weighted vests with some children, but I would have been shocked if something like this was used on a child without the parent's/guardian's knowledge or consent. If the school feels there is an issue with the child, they had better talk to the parent, and at least refer them to a therapist or somebody who is best able to explain what is going on, and what may be a good way to deal with it. Going to pick up a child and discovering the use of a vest (or anything else like that) is just so wrong to me. I hope that your grandson's parents are seeking intervention/help for him. The sooner these issues can be addressed (especially the communication, but definitely the sensory issues as well), the better. :)
• United States
20 Jan 07
It was a big shock to his mother when she saw it. They are meeting on Wed. with school officials to discuss why this happened without their consent and why they felt it needed to be done. I hope this will help my son and his wife to see that there is something that is not right with Joseph. I think his mother is more open-minded about it than my son is. As you stated, my main concern is that they get the proper help for him. I hope the school wasn't doing something that made his problem worse. Thank you so much for your input!!
1 person likes this
@blueskies (1186)
• United States
20 Jan 07
It sounds like he may be tactile defensive, that is an extreme sensitivity to some textures and to being touched. I'm familiar with the use of weighted vests to decrease tactile sensitivity. However, therapy tools should not be used on children without the parents' consent and a diagnosis of some sort. My child, for instance, was tactile defensive. In his case, the weighted vest only added to his feelings stress and was a bad choice for him. The parents need to demand a meeting with the school personnel to discuss this. Sensory issues are not something that you should ignore, but they must also be dealt with in the proper way.
• United States
20 Jan 07
You are so right!!!! I am afraid this may be hurting him more and not helping him since he is so adamant about not being touched. They did schedule a meeting with his teacher, counselor and principal on Wed. I hope this will be fruitful to him. I went to his little basketball game this morning and when he is on the court, he is oblivious to what is going on. The only thing he will do is try to get the ball even if a team mate has it. When his mom tries to explain it to him it is like he is not even listening to her. We have to take him somewhere with no distractions to get him to look at us and listen to us. His daddy is constantly saying that he just does not pay attention when I try to talk to him about it. Maybe the school will be able to convince them that there is indeed a problem. Thank you so much for your help in this matter which is so dear to my heart!!
2 people like this
20 Jan 07
It is hard for them to pay attention when there is so much going on. My son is wonderful when he's alone or with his brother but when he's around more kids it gets very hard to get him to pay attention to me. He starts school in Sept. I'm very worried about it. But if he doesn't handle it well, I will work something out with the school where he can go there to get interaction with other children and I'll teach him at home, and slowly transition him into full time school... if possible. How is your grandson doing in school?
2 people like this
• United States
20 Jan 07
mom2rottie....He has a hard time at school. He is very smart and when they give him spelling words on Monday he can spell them by Monday night when his mother goes over them with him. He does not interact with other children very well and of course is disruptive in class at times. He does have a special teacher who comes in and works with him every day at school for an hour or two. He also had this in kindergarten. He speaks really well but they all say at school that he has problems with focusing so gets in trouble for not following directions or not being in his seat etc...
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
I'm not a teacher, parent or psychologist but I am someone who knows a little about this. It sounds to me as if something has happened at school to make him skittish like this. It does not sound like a medical problem but could very well turn into one if it is not taken care of soon. You're grandson's parents or legal gaurdians should have also been informed that they were having him wear this vest. My opinion is, this vest made him feel more like an outcast or seperated from his peers. Think about it. If you were made to wear a vest to make you feel hugged because of a teacher thinking he needed to how would you feel? I know that if it were me I would feel very seperated and left out.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
Well, it's bad enough that they used the vest w/out informing the parents. But if something happened at school to "make him skittish", and they then decided to put a vest on him, .. well first off, it doesn't make much sense. Secondly, it definitely singles him out, which is wrong. There would be no reason to. I think there is an issue with this little guy, and they are simply going about things the wrong way. And hopefully the upcoming meeting will straighten everything out.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Jan 07
Thanks for responding steph8216. You are right about him feeling he was an outcast. I really think he felt different from the other children but just did not know how to express this to his parents. He would simply tell them that the other children did not like him and he had no friends. He never once mentioned to them that he was wearing this vest. His parents have tried so hard to instill into him to do what the teacher says and follow directions so that he would stay out of trouble that I think the thought this was just something that he had to do and was a normal part of his daily routine at school. He definitely has some issues as sylviekitty stated. It is really hard to go into everything that he does without writing a 50 page book, but ever since he started talking and communicating it has been evident that something was not right. As I said before the parents had him tested for several things when he went to preschool because they said there were issues at that school and when they were told by the specialist that he did not have ADD or ADHD or maybe just a mild autism they quit worrying about it, but as he got older I noticed his symptoms seemed to be getting worse. I really think he needs to be evaluated again now. I hope and pray that his parents will do the right thing. My son is sort of a know-it-all and very rarely listens to his father or me. That is why I am hoping that when the teachers at the school meet with him they will be able convince him that there is a problem that needs attention now. Hopefully if it is dealt with now it will save him from a lot of heartache latter in life.
1 person likes this
@cjsmom (1423)
• United States
21 Jan 07
Your daughter needs to take him to a child psychologist that deals with behaviors. They will be able to diagnose what's going on. We did when our son, CJ was 2 1/2 and found that he had Autism. Not liking to be touched is one of the symptoms of Autism and other same-type conditions. Each school district and state are different but they had no right to not talk to the parents about what was happening at school. They cannot put a vest or do anything to the child without discussing or asking you for permission. Sounds like you may very well have a lawsuit on your hands if your daughter wants to persue it. Please, feel free to request me as a friend if you'd like. We can talk when you need to and perhaps I can help a bit as well. We're still trying to get more help for our son and he's 8 already. Bless your family.
• United States
21 Jan 07
I am hoping that this is the good that might come out of this situation. He has had previous testing but several years ago and he seems worse now. I thought that they could not do this without permission first, especially since there are so many things that are not allowed in the school now. I think this is what we really want to find out is why did they feel it needed to be done and why did they do this without consulting the parents first. I will certainly request you as a friend. This is the one thing that I think mylot helps out with. If you can talk to someone with a similar problem it can be so helpful. Experience is always a good teacher. I ceratinly appreicate your help. I will look forward to talking to you about how your son is doing and maybe some of the things that you felt helped him more than others. God Bless your family also.
21 Jan 07
I've never seen so many people who have children like this before! I even had to explain to the 1st therapist what the problems were, until we found one who knew all about it. I hadn't heard of these other books but I will be getting them. Anything to make my sons life more comfortable. As for your son... my husband is a very loving father, but he really had a hard time thinking there was something wrong with our son. I took him to Occupational Therapy, my husband wasn't against it, but not for it either. Once he saw the changes in our son he became much more supportive. So encourage your daughter in law to do what needs to be done for your grandson and your son will come around, hopefully! The therapist gave us lists of stuff to do at home, and my husband will now pick something off the list and do it with our son each evening.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jan 07
That is so encouraging. I feel like my son really knows that something is wrong with Joseph but just won't admit it for whatever reason. He really seems to try at times to do things with Joseph but gets frustrated and mad when Joseph starts racing on to another task that has crossed his mind. He just cannot stay with one thing very long. I pray that this may be what needed to happen for the child's benefit and for the parents to recognize the problem and seek help for him. You have been so helpful and I really appreiciate it.
• Canada
21 Jan 07
Im none of those but I do think there is something you should do. Someone should set up a formal meeting with the school and discuss exactly why they feel the child should be wearing this device, and ask them why they didnt ask anyone at home if it was okay. Is is really necessary. Maybe kids teasing him can only contribute to the problem and make it more complicated?
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jan 07
You are right. I am afraid the teasing has not helped his problem. They are having a meeting with school officials on Wednesday and hopefully they will explain why they chose to do this without first consulting his parents. Thank you for your response and help.
1 person likes this
@shaz6611 (951)
• Australia
21 Jan 07
Sorry I am not a teacher,I'm a child care worker, though I have had some teacher training. I would be highly concerned with what is occurring at your grandsons school. If he were my child I think I would be looking very quickly for another school for him to attend. No matter what issues your grandson has, singling him out like this will only esculate the problem.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jan 07
You are so right. I think that this has esculated his problem because it seems to have really gotten worse just this year. Another school may be what happens if the officials cannot give them some good answers on Wednesday. I appreciate your response and help in this matter.
• United States
21 Jan 07
His mother should speak to the teacher and the principal of the school regarding this matter. They had no right to put this vest on him without consulting his parents first. If he has a problem with being touched, they need to discuss this with his doctor. I have heard that autistic children do not like to be touched. But that may not be his problem, it could be something else. But he needs a physical exam to find out.
• United States
21 Jan 07
I agree they should not have used the vest without consulting his parents first and I think this is what is so shocking to all of us. They are meeting with the principal and others Wednesday and we will see what they have to say. I hope that the parents will take him again for testing at a children's hospital with specialist for these problems. Thank you for your response and your help.
• Philippines
20 Jan 07
Where'dhe get that vest? You should bring your child to a psychologist.Or better yet talk to him and tell him he'll get a treat if he tells the truth. This child needs attention.The teacher should have told the parent what is happening. They stand as a second parent to our child when we are not around and they should have observed and reported this. If his classmates is teasing him you should try to talk to them and tell them that is not right or better yet let the teacher do this in front of you or your child.
• United States
21 Jan 07
The vest is the property of the school. The vice principal told the mother that she was aware that the school had one of these vests but was not aware that it was being used with Joseph. Thank you for your response.
@albert2412 (1782)
• United States
20 Jan 07
Please excuse me for asking some questions. Does your child not like eye contact? Does he talk very much and socialize? I suspect that your child has a mild form of autism. It would seem that your child may have sensory imtegration problems. I would be glad to forward to you some information if you email me privately.
• United States
21 Jan 07
He will have eye contact if you get down on his level and make him, but does not seem fond of it. He does talk a lot but most of the time if we are discussing something, what he is saying does not even pertain to the discussion subject. It is like his little mind is racing and can't stay on one subject. I will message you with my e-mail address and would appreciate anything you can provide. Thanks again for your help
@katyzzz (2902)
• Australia
20 Jan 07
see a children's specialist - a medical one
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jan 07
I hope this will be the parents next step. I am going to encourage them to do this and hopefully that will listen.
• United States
20 Jan 07
Thats bad. If the school doesn't tell you, then well, i don't know, but thats horrible. Thats possible whats causing all the teasing like you said. You should have a stern talking to to the school.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Jan 07
Thank you for the response and I think his mother will be doing just that on Wednesday.
• Philippines
21 Jan 07
i had a problem like u, i hav a kid hyper,,but be patient and teach him very well bcoz u are a monther of him!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 07
WEll, as a psychologist, i suppose just leaving him alone...