Trouble in School

Updated on October 09, 2008
D.S. asks from Layton, UT
27 answers

Once on a weekly basis I am getting phone calls from my son's kindergarten teacher telling me that he is wont sit still or stop talking. She said that during quiet times, he is up talking to friends at other tables or just making disruptive sounds. No matter how many times she tells him to stop, he still continues to do it. At home he is usually quiet, plays by himself and if you are playig with him he wants to talk about what you are doing together. I've tried taking toys, T.V., video games away, but he just doesn't care. It just seems to be getting worse and worse! I feel like I am a bad parent or that their is something wrong with my child. The teacher sugested that I call his pediatrician and see if she has any suggestions. I feel so lost! Any suggestions?
D.

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S.W.

answers from Peoria on

HE IS 5!!! that is why he wont sit still or atop talking. DO NOT let the teacher make you feel that there is something worng with him!
kids are very different at home than they are at school...he is an only child for the moment, so this is a newer experiance for him, to be with all the other kids all day, new toys, new everything.
what has the teacher imposed as a conciquence for his not listening to her? you shouldnt have to take things from him at home, it wont register with him that his school behavior is whats doing it.
ask the teacher what the rule is as far as him not listening...does he have to sit out, or loose and activity? ask her to send a note home when he has a problem with listening, then maybe try a sticker chart at home.for each day the teacher says he listened well, he gets a sticker, so many stickers, he gets a prize. this system works for almost anything!
try other things before you go to the doctor....my guess is there is noting 'wrong' with him, he is just being 5!
good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Wichita on

I would talk with his teacher and see if she would be willing to sind home a daily report calendar, we had to do this with my son last year in the 1st grade. It was a monthly calendar and each day there was either 2 stars, 1 star or a line. This really worked with my son, I focused more on the rewards for being good, if he got so many stars in a row then he would get to go out for ice cream, dinner or whatever you wanted his reward to be. This was I was not focusing on the negative but showing him what he gets when he is good.

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V.M.

answers from Oklahoma City on

D., I had the same problems with my 5 year old son. He was diagnosed with ADHD. He has been on meds for three weeks and it has helped. I didnt want to do that but I tried everything just as you have. Have his teacher or the counselor at school administer the Conners test. It is a test they use to find ADHD or ADD. Let me know.

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J.M.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Wow, reading your situation was like hearing myself talk. I have a wonderfully energetic, very loving, yet very talkative 5 year old son. Last year, he was in PreK and it was not fun for any of us. His teacher was very young and very new to teaching. She used a green, yellow, and red light system. For the entire year, my son consistently got yellows and reds. It was so frustrating and eventually, we would just throw them away before we even left the daycare. We had meetings with her and it became evident that it was more the teacher than it was our son. She's not teaching this year, if that is any clue. Needless to say, sometimes it's not the child as much as it is the teacher. Please do not rush to put him on any meds. Boys are supposed to be boys. I couldn't stand the thought of my son behaving unlike HIMSELF. He is in Kindergarten this year with a fantastic teacher(who has 4 sons) of her own!! That was music to my ears. We did get a phonecall on the first day on his inability to sit down and respect for the teacher. We addressed it firmly and it has worked so far. It is a daily reminder of respect for your teacher and others and he is getting it more and more each day. His teacher said something in our conference that hit the head on the nail. Five year olds are ego-centric and they want everyone to hear what important thing they have to say. This describes my son to a tee.

I had scoured the internet looking for an answer. Boys mature slower than girls, some parents keep their sons from starting Kindergarten until they are six, just to give them one more year to mature. Only you will know if this is right for your son and your family. Our son is doing wonderful now, but for a while I was beginning to wonder if it was going to be another bad year. So please, have patience with him, don't stick him drugs just yet, and stay firm with punishment for bad behavior. Our son is a people pleaser and it was punishment for him to hear our disappointment when he'd not done well that day.

It will get better and the phone calls from the teacher may or may not stop, just encourage your son that you know he's a good boy and you know he can do it.

Best of luck!

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T.K.

answers from Kansas City on

Some teachers make me CRAZY!!!!!
You know what it means when a teacher suggests talking to your pediatrician about classroom behavior? It means the teacher thinks your child is ADHD. Because what in the world is a pediatrician supposed to do about your son's misbehavior? Send him to his room? Take away his toys? Of course not! The teacher wants him drugged!
Teachers usually have 20-25 kids in their classes. That's a lot of kids to keep in control. So just one kid who makes extra noise and is especially active gets can cause quite a disruption, and frankly, if the teachers were honest, it plain gets on their nerves, and TOO MANY teachers automatically want to put kids on the ADHD wagon.
But if your child is NOT this way at home, then he clearly isn't ADHD. You're either hyper or not. You're either able to focus or not. The brain is either producing enough neurotransmitting chemicals or its not.
The truth is, kids pay attention when the like something, and they don't pay attention when they don't care. We can all remember that from our own education, right?
We paid attention in the classes we really liked (for me that was choir and band) and we wrote letters to our boyfriends, passed notes, and tuned out the teacher in the classes we didn't really care about. (Chemistry and physics)
That's why a kid who's "supposedly" ADHD can't focus for even 5 minutes on their math homework, but can play Nintendo for 2 hours and be SOOOO focused, that they don't hear you call them for dinner even though you've shouted for them 5 or 6 times.
How is it that an ADHD kid suddenly has a miraculous ability to stay focused and concentrate when they're doing what they WANT to do?
Someone who is TRULY ADHD, can't focus, even when they WANT to focus. They can't sit still, even when they want to.
And they get frustrated at their inability to concentrate and stay focused on a task.
The fact that your son isn't having these problems at home shows that his problem is an environmentally triggered behavioral problem, not a matter of brain function. There's something about the environment at school that's the problem.
I imagine this is simply a matter of your son learning proper behavior for school, and learning a little self control. At school, there are likely too many distractions. What 6 year old wants to talk about the sound letter "F" makes, when there are 20 kids to play with and a room full of puzzles, block and fingerpaint? Self control, putting aside the need for immediate gratification, and prioritizing are NOT 6 year old qualities. Some kids have higher levels than others at such a young age. But generally, these are things that are learned over time, and usually take until the 3rd and 4th grade before they're mastered well enough for a classroom. That's why for decades, kids didn't start school until they were 8 years old. It's only been since women started entering the workforce that kids started going to school at such a young age. So the self-control and prioritizing skills aren't even very well developed at 6. And THAT's something your Pediatrician can verify. Your son's teacher should know that too if she paid any attention in HER classes. (but maybe SHE was ADHD and couldn't focus either :)
The teacher, ( especially for Kindergarten) needs to have an "incentive program" for good behavior. A sticker, a piece of candy, they get to be teacher's helper the next day, first in line, etc. She also needs to have immediate
in-classroom consequences for misbehavior. And she needs to be consistent. You taking things away at home is a little far removed for a Kindergarten student.
His place in the classroom makes a huge difference as well. If he's causing problems in class, he needs to be sitting up in the front of the class, close to the teacher. (We all know that it was the kids who sat in the back of class who were always in trouble, right?)
Kids are much more likely to maintain self control when they're right under the teachers' nose.

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M.L.

answers from Rockford on

Does anyone in your family have ADD or ADHD or any other learning disablities? If so maybe that is what is causing his disruptive behavior.

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J.L.

answers from Wichita on

I would try a reward method both at home and school. Keep in close contact with the school. Just try different things until they find something that works. I was a very talkitive child and now to get me to talk to people is like pulling teeth. He will eventaully settle down. please keep me posted at [email protected]____.com on what happens and if you find anything out.

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H.P.

answers from Oklahoma City on

don't jump on the ADHD wagon yet. he's just in kindgergaten. the idea of a behavior chart every week is a great idea. it is even someting you can do at home. if the teacher will send you a note home about how the day went. even is it just a green, yellow, or red stamp or card that would be great. my oldest is 4 and is in pre-k every day we praise her and at the end of every week, if she had done very good then she will get a prize. most teachers will work with you to get a system that works for your child. As a former teacher I know it help with class room behavior for the parents to reinforce everything that happened at school at home. if after you have tried everything you can think of start the ADHD testing process, but start with the diet stuff b4 starting on meds.if you do a googgle about ADHD you will get some good sites they will give you ideas of what to cut out of his diet that may help. I had a student who was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten, it's not common at that age but it will help him later in school if the problems get ironed out now. I hope this helps you good luck!

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M.A.

answers from Wichita on

The suggestion to call the pediatritian is a code for they want him on medication. Be very careful about that. That is so common. It sounds like he is too immature for kindergarten. At that age, 6 mos makes a world of difference. Also, the behavior sounds like attention seeking since he isn't that way at home. My kids were first public or private schooled, then home-schooled. Now that they are grown, I work with Resource kids in the public school. I've seen it from both sides. I'd look into a reward/behavior system and more focused seating. Good luck.

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S.C.

answers from Tulsa on

My son was one of those kids. He just needed a few more months for maturity. Some teachers do not like going that extra little to keep a boys attention and it is easier to "put him on medication". I would consult your physician if you are that concerned, but a child that is ADD at school is also ADD at home. When my son was in Kindergarten we had a teacher that said the same thing and we moved him to another class & he did great. The teacher grabbed his attention with learning. Check things out both ways, try to sit in on the class or ask the school counselor observe him in several different settings. Maturity doesn't come by medications.

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N.M.

answers from Peoria on

It sounds like he might just crave interaction with other kids. How often does your son invite friends over to play? If he's disrupting class so he can talk to other kids or make noises (which probably gets him attention from other kids) he might just need more face-to-face time. You also mentioned that he'd rather talk about an activity than actually play when he's playing with you. So my guess is that he might need more social time.

When my son misbehaves, the first thing I take away is being able to invite friends over for a day or two. You said you take away toys, tv, and video games, but your song doesn't care. Could it be that he doesn't want to be doing those solitary activities? Maybe you could try getting your son together with a friend from school or neighbor kids a couple times a week, and see if that makes a difference in his school behavior. At some point, being able to have friends over could be contingent on his having good behavior in class.

I hope things get better for your son!

N.

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J.W.

answers from Kansas City on

I agree with Billy Jo. My husband and I have been dealing with the same problem with our 6 yr.old son since pre-school. The teacher and princapal has came up with a system that has been working so far,the teacher keeps a behavioral chart for him every week and if he don't get more than one frowny face a week he gets an award from the princapal after school on Friday. That might be an option for the teacher to try. Keep doing what you are doing and don't give up.
Good luck
J.

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E.K.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I have a four and a half year old who does that same thing in school. You are not a bad parent. The problem is your son does not receive enough one-on-one time at school. He is not being challenged enough and he is not being kept busy. You said that you do not have problems at home. That is because he is kept doing things to occupy his time. Before you take him to your pediatrician, talk to his teacher about the possibility of giving him more things to do at school.

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A.P.

answers from Peoria on

My son was the same way two years ago, at the age of five. He was one of the younger kids in the class and it was all about socialization to him. His teacher was so very patient and I saw her at garage sales several times and she would point out something she was purchasing that she thought would help Josh. When they would have quiet time on the carpet, Josh got to sit next to her and he would have something in his hands to keep him busy, usually related to what was going on. It helped him get through the year, and he really enjoyed himself. We made a decision (the teacher, principal and I) to give Josh one more year in Kindergarten, and he was a completely different kid the next year at 6. One of the older kids, and he just plugged in. He also did summer school in between. They expect so much of kids in these young grades now. I remember kindergarten when I was little, big blow up letter men, and we did one letter a day. Now they are supposed to read and do math, etc.

This year he is in first grade, and doing well. I think it is too early to call your child ADD, and I also think that is diagnosed too quickly sometimes. Like another poster said, ADD at school is ADD at home. You are doing fine as a mom, and if your little boy just isn't ready, no punishments at home are going to help. Make that his fun, safe place, without expectations that he can't meet yet.

Good luck. If this teacher shows no patience in dealing with a little man who isn't ready, I hope there is a different class you can get him into, or you could bring him home, if you don't work outside the home. Good luck.

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K.H.

answers from Tulsa on

Believe me I know exactly how you feel. I'm not sure I have the answers but this is what we figured out and what we did to change it. We experienced the same constant barrage of negative feedback from not only our son's teachers but from the director of the daycare/preschool. Everyday it was something. I too felt like a bad mother. After talking to many mothers and one child psychologist, we determined the responsibility and reason for the continuing bad behavior lay with his teacher and director. They had constantly been reinforcing the negative behavior in my son and he simply was living out their expectation of him. The kids in his class started to socially reject him because they were experiencing him as a "troublemaker", thanks to his teachers/director. This just made it worse. What my son needed was positive discipline, reinforcement, redirection, and another chance to prove that he could do what was asked of him. We took him out of said daycare/preschool after they demanded we meet and proceeded to tell us all the negative things they could. They strongly suggested us taking him to a therapist and implied he he would have problems down the road if we did not straighten him out.--------------------------------
That was last Spring. We have since enrolled him in a public pre-k program in Tulsa where he is doing well and his teacher is qualified and knows how to appropriately and positively guide and discipline him. We had our parent conference last week and we were pleased at the balanced approach she presented in his academic and social skills. He wants to do well and we have seen a huge improvement in his behavior at school and at home.

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K.Z.

answers from Peoria on

Don't go the medicatin route. It is a short term solution to a long term problem. Schools are not what they were when we went to school. Between crapy budget, testing, & teaching to the lowest iq in the room, intelligent children are often bored & act out to relieve the boredom & get attention. Observing your child in class is a great idea, but try to fix the situation not the child. We can not change people, but we can drug them into submission. We can teach them to make good choices, but we can not make them make good choices. Life is a balancing act.

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B.S.

answers from Rockford on

My son was like that too. He was very social and got bored easily because he wasn't challenged even in kindergarten. His K teacher suggested I have him tested for the gifted program so I did and he was in it from then on. Have you noticed his vocabulary being larger than those of other kids his age? My son was quiet at home too and would go into his room and "read" books to himself. He could watch an entire movie by age 2 without getting up and running around, liked to take things apart and figure out how they worked, and he had a detailed memory. If you have noticed any of these signs, you may want to have him tested.

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J.M.

answers from St. Louis on

I see a lot of responses that might be helpful if it is ADHD or just a behavioral problem. What I didn't see is anyone addressing the fact that in your bio you said that you have a baby due in January. Perhaps your son is acting out in school as a way of getting attention. Things are obviously going to be changing with you and at your house in preparation for this new baby. It could be that he is scared that the baby will get all the attention and not him, or it could be that he doesn't understand everything that is going on. I would try and sit down with him and explain that a new baby doesn't mean he will get less attention or be loved any less. Explain the importance of being the big brother and how big a role he will play in this baby's life.
My daughter is four years older than my son, and she DID NOT want a brother UNTIL we told her all the things that a big sister would have to do. IE: Help him learn to walk and talk, show him how all the toys worked, show him how to swing and climb up into the tree house. After learning about all these cool things that she would get to do as the Big Sister - she was all for it.
Best of luck,
J.

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A.B.

answers from Lawrence on

My son had the same problems from time to time. I have found now (he is in 3rd grade) that it depends on the teacher he has had. In 2nd grade there were problems non-stop that he didn't have the other years or that I at least didn't hear about all the time.
I find it hard to control problems that my son has at school from home, you can talk to them until you are blue in the face, but often times the discipline has to come at the time of the problem (not hours later when they really don't remember what happened). My son often missed recess and was moved to a seperate desk away from the others so the tempation to talk was removed. We (the teacher and I) just tried to re-enforce that he can't interrupt others while they are trying to learn.
I think your son's teacher should do more then just tell him to stop. Take away recess time, remove him from the situation (put him across the room from the others he is trying to talk to), start removing privledges away from him at school as well as at home.

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N.V.

answers from Joplin on

I know this is going to sound crazy but what is he eating in the mornings? My son is so energetic that he even wears on me sometimes but we found out that part of his trouble with schooling was his allergies.

Come to find out he has a behavioral reaction to sugar, milk and cinnamon. With Cinnamon he is actually stoned. His vision blurs and he gets real bad headache and so on.

Now he has eggs and toast with Soy milk for breakfast and his schoolday is much calmer. He still has pancakes with syrup on the weekends but he has to eat a protien like sausage with it.

Also some children who are auditory learners learn better by repeating something to someone else in order to remember it. Who knows if he is wanting to talk to everyone maybe he will be a great professor or public speaker someday. I agree with checking out all options before jumping on the pediatric meds wagon.

Maybe homeschooling is an option? We homeschool and the kids get so much more hands on and action type activities. They have more social experiences than I ever did as a public school kid.

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T.H.

answers from Bloomington on

I would hate to lable him.. but did the teacher say anything about him maybe having adhd or anything..

How is he at home.. will he listen and do things at home for you??

I hope that he will behave in school for you soon... He could just be a social butterfly like my son... heeheh Just found out last week all his teachers love him.. just he is so chatty during free times. hahahahaah HE is 14.....

Good luck hun.. I am sure all will work out!

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B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

I got the same thing from my daughters teachers, until this year - she is now in 4th grade. I tried to talk to her and nothing seemed to change. They had me put her in reading lab because when she changed schools from a private to a public she was behind grade level in reading ( 2nd grade) - and her reading teacher was an older woman, I think she is now in her 80's ANYWAY - she said that my daughter was just a child that would she would just have to keep her finger on but that the other teachers were wrong in wanting to changer her, that would break her spirit, Kimberly would talk to anyone ( or even herself)- now that she is getting older she has gotten better,
I guess all I am saying is hang in there and he might outgrow it, but dont let some teacher talk you into something you dont feel is correct for your child.

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S.G.

answers from Springfield on

I agree completely with Tracy's response. I was that girl who gazed out the window, and was a "chatty cathy". But, I could do the work, and do it well....when I was interested!( Not a cop-out, just a fact.) I was bored, and the style of teaching in public school wasn't the best fit for me. I was used to more one-on-one attention that I had in Montessori and Private school. Smaller class size is best, if possible. I often was the girl that got moved to the front row, so I could focus on the teacher, and not the rest of the class. Everyone is different, and they learn differently.
PLUS, he's 5! He's a boy! They (in general)have a harder time sitting still, and "being quiet". Could it be that his teacher lacks in experience? Or are they teaching our teachers to expect "robots" in the classroom?! Are her expectations reasonable for the age group? I remember in 5th grade having a "token system" of rewards that everyone benefit from. (and we all were 10 yrs. old!) His teacher should be offering suggestions..... other than he's automatically labeled ADD/HD!!
Good luck, and continue to be his advocate & loving MOM!

W.Q.

answers from Tulsa on

Hi D.,
I can totally understand your situation because I was there when my now 13 year old son was in preschool and elementary. I strongly suggest that you take him to your doctor and explain the situation. It is quite possible that he has ADD or ADHD and just cannot sit still because his brain is wired diferently. With the diagnosis comes diet changes and possibly medication but mainly a different outlook from you and your son's teachers. With an ADD or ADHD diagnosis your son would qualify for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and the teachers would have to rethink their approach to his teaching.

To help you determine if your son possible has ADD or ADHD the common traits are:
difficulty sustaining attention
is easily distracted
often does not seem to listen
often does not complete activities
loses things
often interrupts or intrudes on others
has difficulty awaiting turn in groups
often blurts out answers to questions
often engages in physically dangerous activities
without considering the consequences
Talks excessively
has difficulty playing quietly
has difficulty remaining seated
often fidgets or squirms in seat
difficulty following instructions.

If you answered yes to at least 8 of those questions you should get a professional diagnosis and then start the IEP process. I'd be happy to share some tips and guidelines with you regarding an IEP if it reaches that stage. You can contact me at [email protected]____.com

There is hope and your son might just be going through a stage but you owe it for your own peace of mind and to take advantage of potential services available if the test is positive. You can manage and treat ADHD effictivly and help your son get a good start on his school years.

Good luck.

W. Q.

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B.S.

answers from Joplin on

It could be ADD.
Two of my children had ADD. One had the obvious classic symptoms of ADD. There was no problem diagnosing him. One of my daughters, however, was not classic, but had the same troubles that you are describing. A psychologist finally diagnosed her as also having ADD. He said that some children "self medicate" with non-stop talking and socializing. I think who ever told you to visit with your child's pediatrician gave you excellent advice.

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P.B.

answers from Peoria on

What happened to spankings for bad behavior? Hell, we got em!!! It might help him reconize what he does is not good. Try it and see. Punishment might work too, time out since he doesn't like to be still. It worked for my grandbabies and they are 2 and 3 years old
[email protected]____.com

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D.T.

answers from Tulsa on

First don't ask your Pediatrician they have an answer, medication and they aren't equipped to handle the emotional aspects of the medication.

Observe your child in class. Then you can teach him ways to handle his compulsion to talk, like learning sign language.

I've been having the same trouble, although my son is more physically aggressive.

In the class room I learned that my son does have impulses he cannot control, but he also has other children goading him and a teacher that doesn't have an intimidating voice or attitude.

We've struggled with weeks and weeks of daily behavioral reports, stripped him of every belonging and privilege even left him for hours in an empty room and nothing has helped. After one day in there I knew what our answer was.

My son is very advanced academically but too emotionally immature for school. I don't want to keep him home so we're going to find a medication to help him control his impulses. We will not be doing this through a pediatrician. We are going to have him monitored by a pediatric psychiatrist so she can evaluate him for depression or BiPolar when those feelings arise or are triggered by the medication.

After several pm's explaining my choice I am updating this. Since the 3rd week of school my husband and I have been been in a behavioral plan meeting with other staff members of the school system and have tried limiting his time in class, switching the teachers, changing the class room setting to just him and a teacher, nothing has seemed to work to control his lashing out at anyone who annoys him or makes him do something he doesn't want to do. We've had medical tests run after we invested in an herbal remedy and he had a bad reaction to it. We've tried supplements until they flared up his iron. We've done the things that Dr.Phil suggests and had brainwave patterns tested and we've chosen to go ahead with the medication to keep him from being the 19 year old that can't play football his sr. year because he's too old. We're using a medication that is tirated specifically for the chemical imbalances shown in his tests.

I am not advocating just sticking her child on any old medication.

I am saying there are several things she needs to evaluate before she makes the choice and where to go to actually get the medication that is appropriate not samples from the pediatrician that just happens to have them.

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