Hey Readers, It has been a while since I gave an update on RB40Jr. Last year, I wrote more often about our son because we had a lot of problems at the beginning of Kindergarten. He had a difficult time adjusting to the new environment and he hit a few kids (and a teacher once…) It was a tough first year and the school office staff got acquainted with RB40Jr quite well. Fortunately, things got better as he became more familiar with school and made some friends. By the end of the year, he was behaving much better and didn’t get into much trouble. Thankfully, he continues to mostly behave himself in first grade. He still has some issues, but this year has been much smoother than last year. The familiar environment and good friends made a huge difference for him.
The first problem is a health issue. Earlier this year (March), RB40Jr didn’t do very well with the hearing test at school. We followed up with his primary care physician, ENT, the audiologist, and had many tests done. It turned out there is nerve damage in his inner ear. Now, his left ear has permanent moderate to severe hearing loss. This could come from loud noise, genetic, head trauma, high fever, or a number of things. I really have no idea how it happened. We didn’t notice anything unusual before the problem began. The kid already had selective hearing and we had to repeat ourselves anyway. He got sick a few times, but he didn’t have super high temperature or anything like that. As for family history, my dad and aunt have hearing loss, but that started when they got older. This hearing issue was a big surprise for us because he was fine earlier. I was down for a while, but we got on with it and focused on helping him function normally with the hearing impairment.
It took a long time, but we finally got his hearing aid in October. The audiologist wasn’t sure if this would really help much. In the lab, RB40Jr could detect louder sounds, but had a difficult time making out the words when using just his left ear. The hearing aid would help him a bit, but he’d need to rely on his good right ear to understand what people are saying. I guess any little improvement is better than nothing.
We also got help from school and they have been making observations to see if he is functioning well in class. From what I’ve seen, RB40Jr seems to be doing okay with his hearing impairment. He speaks well and doesn’t have any speech issue. Sometime when he learns a new word, I’d have to repeat it a few times until he says it back correctly. Other than that, the hearing problem doesn’t seem to be much problem. He is sensitive to loud noises. The school will follow up with us soon with the result of the observations soon.
Anyway, I think he will be okay as long as his hearing doesn’t decline further. He is dealing with it fine for now. The bigger issue is the inability to control his emotions…
First grade is going much better than kindergarten, but RB40Jr still gets into trouble occasionally. Last week, he got into several scuffles with a boy in class and was sent to the principal’s office on Thursday. He maintained that the other kid started it in every occasion and I believe him. Well, I believe that’s what he perceives. It really could have been an accidental bumping or something like that. RB40Jr insists that the other kid meant to bump him or pushed a chair into him.
You can listen to this while reading the rest of the post. (RIP Tom Petty)
I think RB40Jr’s issue is that he won’t back down. If anyone does something to him, he will get the other kid back, no matter what. Honestly, I don’t know what to do about this. Deep down, I don’t want him to back down either. You need to stand up for yourself to get ahead in life. But, he’ll keep getting into trouble at school if he doesn’t know how to back down occasionally. The teachers don’t care who started it and RB40Jr has a track record. He’ll get sent to the office if there is a scuffle. We need to help him figure out how to control his emotions when something happens and back down when appropriate.
Here is an example. At soccer practice the other day, the kids were playing “kick the ball” away from other guys. One kid kept kicking the ball away from Junior and after 5 times, RB40Jr slugged him in the shoulder. I’m sure there was some contact, but this is sports. You will get hit occasionally. RB40Jr always think the contacts are intentional and he’ll try to get them back. I imagine this is what it’d be like if Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump have a soccer match. He needs to be tough and concentrate on the game instead of try to get revenge.
Changing the default response
RB40Jr’s default response to stress is to hit first and then deal with the consequences later. We’ll need to change his response to think first before hitting. I think this is going to be a tough ordeal for us. RB40Jr has always been a very emotional kid. It is very difficult for him to control his impulse in the moment. I think this is called reactive aggression.
Anyway, we asked the school counselor to do more observations and we’ll see what she thinks. He’ll probably receive a referral to see some kind of professional. I heard Occupational Therapy is really good for these behavioral issues. We’ll see what we can do to help him regulate his emotions better.
Being a Stay-at-home-dad has been much easier since school started. I have time to go to the gym and work on my blog. The separation is good for Junior too. He is learning to be more independent. He is getting better at controlling himself, but it is just a slow process. First grade is a huge improvement from kindergarten, though. Funny enough, many kids are having more problems in first grade. They liked kindergarten much better and don’t like first grade. I think there is more schoolwork and less play now. RB40Jr never liked kindergarten so it’s all about the same for him.
Alright, that’s it for today. Sometimes I wish our kid is more normal and follows directions better, but every kid is different. All in all, he’s a pretty good kid with a rebellious streak. It could be a lot worse. He is doing fine academically so at least that’s good.
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