So we've been having some "hitting" and "scratching" issues with Reese lately. She and her sister will get into it from time to time but she usually would leave other kids alone....till recently. Her behavior and lashing out is getting out of control.
This past Sunday we went to get her out of the church nursery and were told that she hit one kid and scratched another pretty badly. When asked what we were doing to correct this, we had to ask ourselves really what are we doing? In the past we just tell her no or attempt time out but neither seem to work. I will admit, she is still my baby so I tend to be more lenient. However, I know that is a mistake and I need to be more consistent and firm in my discipline with her. Can't give her special treatment just because she has Down Syndrome. That is not doing either of us a favor.
So, after discussing it further with her Speech therapist, she concluded what I already suspected. Reese is most likely frustrated because she is not as verbal as other kids her age and unable to communicate a lot her wants and needs. She can't ask for a toy back when a kid takes it from her. She may think that walking up to a kid and hitting them will get their attention to play with her. So we are working on teaching her simple words to express her wants. For instance, if Grace is in her space or trying to get her to do something she doesn't want we want her to say something like "don't want" or "leave me". If she wants something we want her to sign want or say want. Right now she just points and points and gets frustrated when we can't figure out what it is. She is getting very good at repeating words and her vocabulary is growing but we still have a long way to go.
Then the issue of sensory awareness or sensitivity came up. We are going to have an OT evaluate her to see if there is anything we can do to see if that is an area that needs attention. From what I understand that could consist of brushing (using a soft brush to rub on her arms, legs, feet, etc) before going into public places, massage therapy, etc. I'm really not sure about too many of the details but am anxious to see if any of that helps.
Overall, most of her behavior is consistent with a typical 2 year old behavior and like any 2 year old they need to learn what is acceptable behavior and what isn't. It's our job as parents (even when we feel like we don't have a clue what to do) to give them those boundaries and be consistent.
Time out is now taking place in her room, with the door shut, for a total of 2 minutes. She needs to be removed from people and the situation and be alone for it to be affective. Then she must apologize (she signs sorry) to whomever she has hurt. This mostly is her sister. We just need to get a hold on this and correct it, especially before baby #3 arrives in Nov. I want my sweet Reese to be sweet to everyone but she is human and goes through her emotions just like anyone else. I just want her to be able to do it in a non-violent way.
Anyone go through a similar scenario and what did you find was helpful for you? I am open to trying different things till we find something that works for her.