Wednesday, February 6, 2008

So let's get back to what's truly important...choo choo trains

When we met with the local preschool special education team last week to have BOY evaluated for a possible learning disorder, we were exposed to a lot of great information on the development of boys. Some of which I had heard before, some I hadn't. Even though they concluded that BOY didn't have any learning issues, and was developing "typically in all domains," the visit was certainly not a waste of time. I came away with two jewels: my instincts are good - always listen to them and it is always better to check, just to be sure. I would much rather have a preschool teacher who is aware of each child -both their strengths and weaknesses. And I am glad that BOY's teacher met with us and expressed her concerns. She is paying attention, and that is a gift.

Because the teacher had suggested we have BOY evaluated, we had the opportunity to meet with an entire team of child development professionals. And that enabled us to get reinforcement for our parenting skills, and also provided a chance to learn about our son. E and I left the evaluation team meeting feeling empowered. We have real tools and ideas that we can give to his lead teacher and information that can be shared with all the teachers in his class. Everyone benefits.

The most important thing to us is that BOY is loved and respected for who he is, not compared to other children in his class [because he isn't at their maturity level yet], and that he feels good about himself - just because he is BOY. We see the incredible progress he is making and we are focused on the fact that he is maturing at his own pace. He may be a little behind the other kids in some aspects, but the important thing is that he is moving forward. Comparisons will come later, and that is part of life, but life shouldn't be too intense at this point. Overall, I have been thrilled with his daycare preschool and have had very few issues. The teachers are amazingly gifted and creative. Best of all, they love the children. I feel confident that we can work with his teachers and that he will mature. He has another year and a half before Kindergarten. He has time to be a 4 year old boy. So, let's get back to what's truly important....choo choo trains.

In my recent reading, I came across this fascinating information about boys:

What About Those Boys?
By Dan Hodgins

Boy Statistics:
1) Last year, 34% of preschool children were expelled, 87% of them were boys
2) 81% of children “kicked out” of school last year were boys
3) Boys are 6 times more likely to be “misdiagnosed” with ADD or ADHD
4) Boys are 4 times more likely to be put in special education
5) Boys are 7 times more likely to be labeled with reading or language delays
6) Boys are more likely not to complete high school
7) Boys are 9 times more likely to be labeled with a behavior problem
8) Boys are 4 times more likely to commit suicide

Developmental/Structural Differences:
In most cases girls brains mature earlier (boys can be 12 - 18 months behind)
Girls acquire their complex verbal skills as much as 1 year earlier
The corpus collosum in females is up to 20% larger
Girls take in more sensory data
Boys have a thicker skull

Functional Differences:
The resting female brain is more active than the activated male brain
Male brains turn on (like a machine) to do a task, then goes in to pause state
The male brain is overwhelmed by stimulation more quickly
Boys respond better to loud noises
Six times more girls sing in tune
Males have better night vision
Girls have better long term memory

Language Differences:
Communication among boys is 55% facial expressions; 38% voice tone; 7% voice alone
On the average, females produce more words than males (by 5 years of age girls have 5,000 - 7,000 word vocabularies;
boys have 3,000 - 5,000)
Girls use words as they learn them
Boys tend to work silently
Boys work out codes among themselves
Boys relate language with action

Use of Space:
Boys tend to need more space when they learn
Girls usually stay within a confined space
In block play; boys build tall; girls build low and wide
Boys move more objects in space

Preschool boys can have up to 5 testosterone spikes an hour
School age boys can have up to 7 spikes an hour
Adolescent boys can have up to 10 spikes an hour
Boys engage in more motor activity during a spike

Feelings and Emotion:
Boys process and release feelings in quick bursts of energy
Males are wired to have delayed reactions to problems
Male feelings are expressed more physically
Males can go into a “cave” state for protection
Boys do not talk about their feelings

Bonding and Attachment:
Bonding and attachment must occur before the age of five
Roughhousing is essential for bonding
Hugging, handshaking, back slapping, punching, pinching are modes of bonding
Gun play, sword fighting, kicking games are not violent initiators
Bossy kids are healthy kids
Give choices that are powerful

98% of information we receive leaves within 5 minutes unless it is real, hooked to an emotion, relevant to the child
Movable objects are needed
Power play
Firm adults
Time to solve problems
Visual guidance

Mmmm...I wonder if this information will help me to better understand the BIG BOYS?

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  1. That last line - was exactly what I was thinking as I read all this great information. Amazing, isn't it - AMAZING some of that information. I have always held to certain beliefs about boys - not really knowing facts - but some of what I thought I believed was here in your lists - very interesting. I'm glad to hear your Boy is doing well - glad you put your mind at ease. SEe you soon - Kellan

  2. allow me to smile and hug you from afar because i've been through all of this. granted, i did not get the all clear for my little D, but he's still the most perfect son i've ever birthed.

  3. Great information, and I've seen a lot of this first hand in the preschools I've taught. The girls were sitting at a table during freeplay, doing puzzles or drawing, and the boys were building forts, and flying airplanes around the room LOUDLY! I am fascinated by it all - more! give me more!

  4. Thank God bossy means healthy! The information is great. I get to be such a mother bear sometimes about some of those details. People just don't get it. Boys are loud and need to play rough. If they don't get that time, they start slowly destroying everything and everyone around them. They have such difficulty sitting still, they have such trouble enduring something boring, they loathe anything that lacks action. I am so relieved that you found good professionals because not all I have run into are quite as enlightened. Unfortunately, alot of boys fall through the educational cracks and end up with diagnoses and drugs that may not have been needed. Thanks for all the information--what a treat.

  5. So much great information. This was good news, too, about the Boy. I've been through some of this with mine, and it's better to know than not, and it sounds like he's doing great.

    And choo choo trains rock.

  6. I'm so thankful that we can now accept that boys and girls are different and structure our teaching and environments to that. My house is a loud, rough and tumble place and I I really wouldn't have it any other way!

  7. Yes it does help you understand the big boys!

    May I recommend you read anything and everything by Michael Gurian (The Wonder of Boys, A Fine Young Man, among others). I've read his books, and heard him speak, and I've learned so much.

    Knowledge is power--the more you know about your kids, the more you can help them help themselves!

  8. I'm glad I have one of each sex. I can't imagine a household with all boys...or all girls. Too much of a good thing.

    Thank you for sharing this interesting information.

  9. Thank you for posting this - DeBoy is only 2, but I'm sure all this will come into play soon enough!!

  10. What fantastic information. One look around my house and you know boys' minds and bodies worked differently than girls. Thanks for breaking it down.

    Hope you don't mind, I'm linking to this from my blog. I've already shared it with one friend who got an unsettling opinion from a know-it-all.

  11. Grrr...just wrote a really long comment, then got into a stoush with Blogger and lost it.

    Here's the short version:
    Great info for mamas and lovers of boys.

    Another good read is Stephen Biddulph, Aussie author of "Raising Boys" - just re-read it, and think I need to have a copy to hand for future reference.

    After all, we need this information - our boys may not be from Mars, but they may well be speaking another (mental & emotional) language!


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