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Old 02-26-2013, 11:52 AM
 
Location: North Dallas
368 posts, read 845,732 times
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Disclaimer: we have not yet been to a doctor and frankly, we're afraid to because we don't want our son to be labeled and/or medicated, but we *think* we know what's going on (finally) with our older son.

I found a website on Sensory Processing Disorder and some of the so-called signs are (which all apply to our son):

•Do you wonder why they are excessive risk takers - jumping and crashing into anything they can ?

•Why they don’t like to be touched or can’t be touched enough?

•Why they will only eat macaroni and cheese and pizza?

•Why they will only wear certain clothes or need you to cut the tags out of their shirts?

•Ever wonder why you can’t seem to calm them down or get them to sleep?

•Why they won’t put their hands in anything messy or use glue, Play Doh, or play with mud? (in his case, it's spilling just a little water on himself - he MUST change shirts)



I think my son is a mild case but the above signs were an eye-opener for me. He had a very bad day at kindergarten last Friday where the teacher sent a note home that he was being fresh in class, walking around the classroom when everyone was supposed to be seated, and when warned about the note being sent home and being put on "red" for the day, he said "I just won't show the note to my dad.." etc. etc. After I cut through the "I don't care" and the bravado when he got home, during a quiet moment, I just asked him what was going on (at the risk of getting a shrug back). He said he literally cannot pay attention to the teacher if other kids are whispering beside him, and then when he misses the instructions, the teacher thinks he was goofing around. He's constantly asking the other kids what was said. He said he can't retain information easily and starts thinking of how strongly he has to go to the bathroom, his Skylanders, everything, and is too physical for the classroom, diving under tables to get things other kids have dropped, even though the teacher tell him not to worry about it. In fact, I found out that the reason he was walking around the classroom on Friday was that he spilled some water and "needed" to get a paper towel. When the teachers told him not to get up, he couldn't stop thinking of the water and got up anyway. Then he "got mad" and decided that "everyone hated him."

I reminded him that he's a very bright, compassionate (he has always helped younger students or students with disabilities of his own volition), boy with a great sense of humor and that no one hates him, but he needs to try to focus and show respect to his teachers, no matter what is pulling him inside to do "x" (organize the library books, clean up the floor, stack all of the legos). However, in the light of researching more about SPD, I'm wondering if he needs some bolstering with additional vitamins or minerals that will help him calm himself down and focus. Labeling him ADHD is too easy and we don't want him medicated. DH thinks it's a combination of mild autism (he jumps up and down when excited or gapes uncontrollably when playing an exciting game) and this SPD. Someone recommended Kids Calm to me which contains magnesium which helps you calm down. DH and I decided to try this route before we entertain medication, because at this rate, his behavior in class is not getting better despite his strong academics (excels at math and loves it). Any other ideas?
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,990 posts, read 49,487,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razz2525 View Post
Disclaimer: we have not yet been to a doctor and frankly, we're afraid to because we don't want our son to be labeled and/or medicated, but we *think* we know what's going on (finally) with our older son.
Hoo boy ...

I applaud your persistence with your son.

One of my older children has similar "issues" for which I've had to advocate nearly 17 years.

The part I highlighted above, though, is very troubling.

I appreciate that you don't want to jump to labels and medication. But as a parent you cannot let FEAR and assumptions get in the way.

In fact, you have already sort of diagnosed him with what you found on the internet. And the "vitamins" are really only one step away from medicating him. So don't kid yourselves.

In truth, you have the ultimate say over what happens to your son (medically), and his pediatrician absolutely needs to be involved with these issues. But the RIGHT doctor can be a GREAT help to you. My point is not to let your fear of him being WRONGLY labeled/diagnosed/medicated get in the way of getting REAL help for your child.

It does sound like he has some sensory issues.
I believe in starting with the basics: diet, sleep, water habits (vs. juice/soda)
Parent interaction: How much? What kind?
Peer interaction: How much? What kind?
Electronics? When and how much?
Physical activity? When and how much?

I won't try to diagnose what I'm sure is a complicated situation from here. But I strongly recommend that if you don't trust your pediatrician, you find one that has a conservative (step by step) approach but with an open mind to spectrum disorders.

Good luck, and stay strong.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: North Dallas
368 posts, read 845,732 times
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Thanks for your post. I guess you're right about not kidding ourselves - we are "medicating" our child. Given him a "supplement" whether it be herbal or Rx is medicating him, since it's beyond the normal multivitamin that he's taking.

Just in my own personal experience, even with an understanding doctor, the minute you bring up a "disorder" rather than the symptoms, it goes right into the child's file, and follows him around for the rest of his life. Different doctors get access to those medical records and make their own conclusions about his medical conditions and then it explodes from there. Perhaps we will just talk about the symptoms with my pediatrician rather than our own layman's diagnosis and allow her to provide her own opinion. We like her very much.

Another option we were told about was a behavioral center for children where they are observed playing games and other activities in a safe environment and the behavioral psychologist can make an assessment. For the longest time, we thought it was defiance, emotional immaturity, etc., that people said was common in a gifted child, but we're beginning to take the blinders off and think there's something more to this rather than simply not listening to anyone.

Diet: likes to eat the same thing all the time (organic oatmeal, yogurt, deli sandwiches, PB&J, mac & cheese, fruit, hamburgers) - getting him to eat vegetables is a huge struggle, one of those "I'm going to sit at the dinner table near tears until you give up". Drinks tons of water, very little juice. Milk at night a half hour before bed.

Sleep: despite a very full day at school and after-school activities like karate and soccer, he is NEVER tired. The only time I've seen him truly tired is after a day at Disneyworld after the fireworks! It's a struggle getting him to bed and getting him to stay in bed. He's always worried about something. He had a president's day lesson at school and was worried that the guy who "shot Lincoln in his ear" was still alive!!!

Peer interaction: usually a leader and kids gravitate to him (although I know some parents don't like him because he's so dominant and usually wants things his way), but when kids opt not to play with him to play with someone else, he thinks "everyone hates him" and can't stop thinking about what he did wrong to make them feel that way. He *never* forgets or lets something just roll off his back.

Electronics: definitely a problem and has had to be severely limited in the evenings and on weekends. If not TV, he asks for his LeapPad, if not his LeapPad, he asks for my iPhone. This is where I see the tensing of his body (toes curl or he kicks his legs , the unusual gaping, and when he gets really upset when interrupted mid-game). He seems to gravitate to electronics to "calm down" which does the opposite, so we turn him to books and he reads to us. This achieves the effect he's really looking for.
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Old 02-26-2013, 12:46 PM
 
11,831 posts, read 9,752,110 times
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I have not been following your son's story here, but has obsessive compulsive disorder been mentioned? His need to arrange things precisely, strong preference for certain foods, clothing, toys, etc. seems to be similar to some of the usual elements of this disorder. OCD can vary in intensity from very mild to overwhelmingly severe.

Your son's self-awareness is very encouraging, now matter what may be the cause of his difficulties. Good luck to him and to you, too.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:04 PM
 
32,525 posts, read 32,892,838 times
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What do you mean you are "medicating" your child? You mentioned giving him herbs. What are you giving him? (Herbal does NOT equate to healthy.) Is he taking a multivitamin now?
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:50 PM
 
Location: East Coast
55 posts, read 82,629 times
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I have a lot of experience with these kinds of issues: ADHD, SPD, Anxiety disorders, LDs with two of my kids (now 13 and 8). I highly recommend getting a professional evaluation done by a child neurologist, developmental pediatrician or child neuropsychologist. No one is going to force you into putting a 5 year old on medication. In fact, many parents use meds as a last resort, following years of behavioral mod, therapy and other interventions.

Information you gather is that...information to help you make further decisions. Information you can use to take to the school to help get services for your child and accomodations to prevent him from being put on 'red' for a whole bunch of days and making school a stressful situation for him. There are many resources available following a diagnosis or 'label', as you call it, both in and out of the school environment. The benefits of a label on a child in the school environment is to accomodate the child's learning differences. The early years in elementary school, where the professionals work both in and out of the classroom is where he'd receive the support of an Occupational Therapist and others to help him learn to better be able to filter out the noise and distractions and to use tools/resources to maintain focus/attention. Without first getting a label, there is no way to obtain these resources. Waiting too long can be problematic too as by 3rd or 4th grade, there is less opportunities to address and risks him being labelled anyway with a not very good label..."a behavioral problem". He also probably already feels different and has to work a lot harder than the other kids. Kids that have to work harder end up developing anxiety, low self esteem and become more socially isolated. You need to think about what are the things that are causing you fear.....and to think about the consequences of avoiding a proper diagnosis for your child. You should also know that schools re-evaluate services yearly and diagnostic testing is done every three years. The school or doctor will drop services if the child no longer qualifies as needing the services, i.e. they drop the label. With both of my kids, their diagnoses have changed somewhat due to age/maturity and treatment. SPD in particular is treatable with OT, if identified and treated early. Several LDs are treatable/curable completely as well.

Good luck.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:36 PM
 
Location: North Dallas
368 posts, read 845,732 times
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DewDrop, I put "medicating" in quotes because DH and I think that giving him Kids Calm or any kind of vitamin supplement is medicating if we're trying to achieve a specific behavioral result. Perhaps I'm wrong. Kids Calm is basically a liquid vitamin but has a higher concentration of Vitamin D and magnesium than the average kids' multiV. He's been taking Flinstones multivitamin with extra vitamin C for years, and that has hardly any Vitamin D or magnesium, so we were considering it as a means of helping him focus and making sure he gets a more substantive multi-V.

We will look into a child neuropsychologist to help us. The funny part about our son is that he's on his best behavior with strangers (more shy than his usual self) so I'm wondering that whatever assessment they make won't have a realistic result. The closest we got was with a child psychologist who was testing our son for the gifted program and said that he wanted to finish a timed task and get it "right" even though time had elapsed. But unlike with us, he didn't push the issue. She also said that when things get difficult, he starts showing physical signs like rubbing his eyes and pinching his nose, but he doesn't do those things anymore from what we can see.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:56 PM
 
32,525 posts, read 32,892,838 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razz2525 View Post
DewDrop, I put "medicating" in quotes because DH and I think that giving him Kids Calm or any kind of vitamin supplement is medicating if we're trying to achieve a specific behavioral result. Perhaps I'm wrong. Kids Calm is basically a liquid vitamin but has a higher concentration of Vitamin D and magnesium than the average kids' multiV. He's been taking Flinstones multivitamin with extra vitamin C for years, and that has hardly any Vitamin D or magnesium, so we were considering it as a means of helping him focus and making sure he gets a more substantive multi-V.
I'd urge you to talk to his pediatrician before you do that. Your doctor can tell you if he needs extra magnesium. (I don't believe in giving kids - or adults - extra supplements willy-nilly. They're costly and they can have adverse side effects.)
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Geneva, IL
12,977 posts, read 13,030,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razz2525 View Post
Disclaimer: we have not yet been to a doctor and frankly, we're afraid to because we don't want our son to be labeled and/or medicated, but we *think* we know what's going on (finally) with our older son.
I don't understand the logic of not taking your son to see the appropriate professional because you don't want him labeled. You may be preventing him from getting the care and treatment he needs, and if he is wild and uncontrollable, he's getting labelled anyway. Armchair diagnostics may be fun, but is seldom helpful.

ETA: Be very careful about giving any medication without medical supervision.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:39 PM
 
Location: North Dallas
368 posts, read 845,732 times
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I'm sure we sound like absolute dolts for being leery to go the professional route - we've been to so many doctors for ourselves and our children for physical issues that have resulted in a 5-minute diagnosis and a pill, particularly here in Florida.. If we were still in New York or New Jersey, we wouldn't think twice but the medical care and specialists down here have been abysmal. Even our pediatrician has said a few times that "it could be this" or "could be that" and we're left shaking our heads - as I said, we like her because she's actually willing to talk to us during an exam with the kids, but beyond that, she's disorganized with the children's records and sometimes may not show up for an appointment. Prior to that, the pediatricians we saw were too quick to prescribe antibiotics and not really address issues that weren't chronic.

We're going to take a chance on a child neuropsychologist or perhaps even the same psychologist who tested him to see if they can assess what's going on better than we can. We were hoping that changing our style of parenting, conferencing with the teacher frequently to work together, and making sure he got more sleep and less electronics time would help him. Although he's gotten better, I could tell his K teacher was a little concerned about him going into 1st grade with his distraction issues.
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