help, with behaviour with down syndrome child
September 26, 2006 2:19pm CST
my friend has a down syndrome child the same age as my younger daughter, both age 6. she is being a nightmare at the moment with running off, biting, and people think she don't understand but my friend said she does. is there anybody who can help if they have had the same experience.
• United States
5 Mar 07
My son has DS. He is 16 years old now. When he was around age 6 he did the same thing as your friend's younger daughter. He would run off down the street, and disappear. We installed a lock at the top of our doors so he couldn't get out of the house (beware, they are clever, he could trip the lock with a broom!). My son once disappeared and was no where to be found. Came to find out that we weren't watching what he wanted to watch on TV so he went in search of another TV- he snuck into a neighbor's house and was hiding behind their couch watching their TV. They never even knew he was there until they saw his tiny little hand reach for the popcorn. If you think that wasn't a heartstopper, think again. Raising these kids is not for whimps. They are given to those who are strong enough to love them when they are unloveable, and those who can be more stubborn than they are. These kids are so incredible. It would help your friend a lot to cultivate a real good sense of humor because she is going to need it. Not that running off and biting is funny because it's not, but other things the child does that are so funny will help get her through the rough spots. She will have to find some creative ways to deal with the little biter in her midst. For example, lock the doors with a lock the child can't trip. When she bites, hug and kiss her. Tell her you love her no matter what. Tell her that biting hurts and that you know she does not want to hurt you. It will take a while, but the child will probably grow out of the biting and the running. I have found that when my son does some weird behaviors it is usually because he has something in mind and thinks we "don't get it." He has to get our attention somehow, and it's not always pleasant. Even if we do understand what he wants and can't always give it to him. We have learned to anticipate throught the years what he wants, and try to find alternatives for those things he wants but can't have. The most important thing we have learned to do is to tell him how wonderful he is. By the way, we adopted our son, and have never been sorry, not for one moment, although we been very challenged at times. He does not think the way we think. Just yesterday he took a little girl's jacket at church, stuck it under his shirt and ran around to the back of the church and then hid in the crawl space under the fellowship hall (by the way, my husband is the Pastor). That may seem like strange behavior from a 16 year old. But with further consideration it occurred to us that he was wanting that little girl to chase him, and this was his way of trying to get her to play with him. The only people running around acting like fools were myself and my husband, trying to get him to behave. When I finally stopped and asked him why he did that he said "I play Mommy!" He was so happy with himself that he thought that "game up all by himself. While I, on the other hand, was close to a meltdown, worried about what someone was going to think. Then it occurred to me- he is a special needs boy. He didn't set the world on fire, he just played a joke. And the funniest part was that he was laughing-at me! I guess I was pretty crazy looking, my hair wild, flying in the breeze as I ran after him in my clogs (can't walk and chew gum, much less run in clogs). This is pretty much what a typical day is like in my house. I don't know if any of this has helped or not, but I do wish your friend the very best with her child. She has a gift even though she may not know it right now or at times when the biting is happening. Please convey to her my best wishes.
18 Jan 07
Down Syndrome children are very stubborn. They all tend to be that way. The best way I find that works with my nephew of 4yrs is talking to him very sweetly and saying please and thankyou. The more they notice you are irritated, the more they do not obey. Sometimes you have to close your eyes and calm down before talking to them because it only gets worse.
• United States
5 Nov 06
Hi there - I have two kids autism and my site has lots of behavior resources: http://autismspectrumdisorders.bellaonline.com Also there is a Mom to a son who is in his early 20s now who has DS and autism. She wrote a book called Parenting your complex child and she has a blog spot you can share with your friend: http://parentingacomplexchild.blogspot.com/ Good luck Bonnie
• Anderson, Indiana
4 Nov 06
My guess is that one of two things (or, perhaps, both things) is happening. Either this child was raised with excuses constantly being made for her instead of having her behavior corrected (and, by "corrected," I don't mean spanking) she was simply allowed to get away with unacceptable behavior. or This child has been mainstreamed when, in her particular case, mainstreaming wasn't the best thing for her. One of my cousins (second cousin's grandson) is a special Down's angel, and he has always been mainstreamed. However, he has always been of above-average intelligence in most ways and makes friends easily as well. However, there are some kids who are put into mainstream classrooms when they would do better in a special education classroom. I've seen documents about a couple of such kids (both boys), and they both seemed to "act out" a lot when they were younger by hitting, biting, and being antisocial in other ways. Putting these boys in the mainstream was supposed to have been a learning experience for all of the kids involved. Sorry! I'm not buying that. I have lots of love and compassion when it comes to special people, but I still don't think that kids going to school ought to have to go through being hit and bitten while some little dream is supposed to be coming true about all of these kids getting along. With one of the boys, I saw him in a sequel as a teenager, and he was, on top of everything else, coping with depression. He went to a psychiatrist who gave him a bunch of pills to take. Instead of trying to mask his emotional problems with meds, I think that somebody should have asked him the honest question re: whether he might not be happier going to school in a special education room. I think what was going on was that, instead of sensing a message of acceptance re: his mainstreaming experience, he was getting a message that his parents weren't accepting him for himself and were trying to mold him into something that he wasn't--much like taking a homosexual and trying to put him/her into a heterosexual marriage.
• United States
2 Nov 06
None of my children have down syndrome but I have worked with children who have had it and this is my opinion. Each child developes on their own and there is no way to know how much or how little each one is capable of. I will say this... most of the time the primary caregiver is one of the best ways to gauge what the child can or can not do. If she believe that the child understands right from wrong then she can be taught that some things are not OK (biting or whatever). The child also may be expressing her frustration if she isn't able to express her wants and needs. I've noticed quite a bit that biting is a way for them to express frustration with an issue so have her see if there is a trend to it.
• United States
22 Oct 06
I have a sister with downs syndrome. She used to do the same thing. My sister is 9. They do understand but they dont cope with their feeling like other children. It is much harder for them. Most of the time they act that way because they are frustrated. Tell ur friend to be patient and to keep teaching her child right from wrong. It is difficult but its possible. Tell ur friend to give her child lot of love! Good luck.
16 Oct 06
I have only had personal knowledge of one child with down's syndrome and she was a bright thing. Yes, she too knew what was right and what was wrong but sometimes it seemed that this little 'imp' would emerge. In the end the parents just put her into a room by herself and then ignored her till she learnt not to do things she knew were wrong. It took them such a long time though to get her to behave and she did regress from time to time.