Yes, let's not get carried away extrapolating context from one line that could easily have been delivered by a 4 year old who felt threatened on a sensory level by the movement/presence of others.

Originally Posted by kdoelit
The issues we are having with him now are that if his mind is not engaged in something that he finds challenging or fascinating, he finds inappropriate outlets to get out his frustrations...he can be physically rough with other kids and excessively loud and disruptive among many other difficult behaviors. At the same time, he can be completely content and focused on his work for hours at a time and be a joy to be around. It is so variable and frustrating! I feel like I parent 2 separate children sometimes....It's like if he even has more than 1 minute of time that he can't figure out something interesting to do, he falls apart...he can play by himself but likes to have something specific to do... Have any other parents dealt with behavior issues?

I'm a SAHM to DS3, with suspected SPD, and I see this degenerative pattern of behaviour when DS plays with other children. Because I have the luxury of being around him 23/7 one-on-one (two-on-one when DH is home from work), I think I can offer some insight based on what I see in my DS.

1. Conflict is usually precipitated by the other child not understanding DS, either in vocabulary or in social gestures. DS converses and mingles like an adult.

2. DS will usually verbally object to something once or more before lashing out, in a pattern of escalating volume or more forceful language. After one or two objections, I usually intervene to stake out DS' space and explain to DS that the child simply can't understand.

3. We stop and do a post-mortem of his behaviour, highlighting where he did well and how a well behaved child who understood him would have been expected to respond. I try to be vigilant, as I don't like to leave him fending for himself once he's exhausted the acceptable responses he's been taught.

Where I suspect your DS is getting into trouble with hitting is in step 2. This is my personal opinion, but I don't think teachers can reasonably keep up with the nuanced developments of play in HG children and effectively teach them appropriate responses. Because their attention is divided, they miss the triggers that elicited the acting out and fail to witness the child's attempts to self-advocate.

With close attention, when the child's impulse control is overloaded, he knows he can rely on the backup of a trusted adult. With spotty attention, he's faced with a binary--and, might I add, totally rational--"choice" between passivity (and pain) or going on the offensive. I put choice in quotes because, truly, there is no choice when the child is threatened. For an SPD child with various manifestations of sensory defensiveness, the threshold at which threat is perceived is simply lowered.

What is to give light must endure burning.