Extreme Meltdowns and Night fits.

by Mary
(Minnesota)

I am at a loss for words at this point in time. My son who is 4 1/2 has SPD and is very angry with me, not sure why it's towards me but when he meltdowns all me wants to do is hurt me.

We have been seeing an OT for a also most two years now, and it doesn't seem to be doing that much for the SPD.

We have also had some changes in our lives and along with that we are moving to Portsmouth,Va.
He is not willing to be brushed at all and wont do his therapeutic listening. Tonight he woke up with having to go to the bathroom and I helped him like I always do and he got mad which sent him over.

He than wanted to hit me,kick me slap me, bit me. I have been told by his OT to hold him and give him the hard pressure while he is having these fits, but the problem is he will either head butt me or I am not strong enough to hold him.

His behaviorist has tried to get him to take his anger out on pillows a punching bag, anything but me. Its not working. I am at a total loss. Please help is there anyone who has the same problem?

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Extreme meltdowns
by: Katrina

We are going through this same thing. We moved to Virginia last summer and my son's behavior is getting worse. Just took him to the doctor and doc said it is typical behavior. He is seeking out attention. When he gets mad he kicks and punches me. My son craves touch and has other symptoms, should I get a second opinion?

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Continued....
by: Julie

The meltdowns mainly happen at home OR if I do not transition him properly. I am finding I really need to tell him a set time before something happens. But if he wants something and I tell him no then the screaming and hitting and kicking starts up. While I am relieved to see your situations here I also feel in my heart for each and every parent who is dealing with this. It is heartbreaking and only parents who have kids dealing with this can truly understand what another parent is going through. I appreciate any advice or suggestions. Also if you have purchased any type of sensory products that you feel have helped with the meltdowns PLEASE let me know. I am desperate to help him in any way possible that I can. Thank you so much!!!!

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At my breaking point....
by: Julie

My 5 year old (kindergartener) was born 8 weeks premature (as was my 9 year old). 9 year old was determined by Child Find/Developmental pathways when he was about 2 1/2 - 3 to have Sensory Processing Disorder. 5 year old seemed to be doing good. I thought we had dodged the bullet with him but he started Kindergarten and the teacher started noticing that he had trouble holding the pencil and issues with writing so she wants to get an OT involved. Then I started to read up on SPD (discovered this is quite common for Preemies to have this). As I read the checklist I realized that he too has SPD (but has not officially been diagnosed). Have found tools to help him with writing so that is getting better. The biggest problem is the meltdowns....screaming at the top of his lungs, hitting me, kicking me, screaming at me, pulling my hair. I try a lot to grab him and hold him in a hug. I notice that besides the screaming he kind of laughs also.

I try not to let it bother me, I try to realize that this is out of his control but it is sooo hard. When I do break down and cry then it makes me cry really hard. Also he is one of those types of children that can throw up really easily when upset. I also find myself screaming back sometimes or saying stupid stuff like do you want to go to a new home which I would never do...I guess I just kind of hope that it will shock him in to stopping which I realize his little brain isnt working right so this is really stupid and hurtful on my part but I am so exhausted and heart broken. I love my little boy so passionately. My 9 year old got help at an early age and is doing really really well now but I am scared since this is coming out later with my 5 year old.

Since it is the holidays and he is now on break so we cant work with the OT. I have talked with her though and told her I would write out exactly what is going on with him so when she starts working with him she will have a lot of info. Mainly I am hoping that I can get help with how to help him during these meltdowns. Thankfully he does not have too many issues at school. His teacher is wonderful and understands that there is more going on with him and he does not hit or kick any of the kids or the teacher. He might get a little mad but she understands and walks away.

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Wild Horses
by: kennysmom

At least we can put them in a pen and walk away - a bit hard to do with a crazed child (and certainly frowned upon!). I find I am a MUCH better Mother when I get lots of time either away from my kids, or with help (Mom-inlaw, or hired Mother's Helper). Both of mine have some VERY challenging behaviors, and they wear me down. Get rest, and talk to other Moms as much as possible - they often know more than the pros. Oh - how old is your boy, and did he have Reflux or any other medical issues as a baby or now??

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Correction
by: Anonymous

Yes... you are correct...It is Per"c"eptual Motor Development. I was a bit eager to type after finding this dialog and made that mistake in my speedy response. I appreciate your tips and will try the "time out" for myself. We do not deserve to be hit and try to keep a safe distance. I feel like we are taming a wild horse sometimes! Thanks -

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Stop Being Hurt!
by: kennysmom

You Poor Thing!!! Trust me, I understand the dreadful Mommy-beatings. I can offer a little advice from my experience, but some of this may only work as your son matures...First: I used to be my little boy's punching bag. Recently, we acquired a Foster daughter who does NOT deserve to be surrounded with this behavior. After many hours of watching Supernanny lately, I have taken on her attitude about hitting: IT IS UNACCEPTABLE, no matter what the child is feeling inside.

This is what you do...GIVE YOURSELF A TIME OUT; stand in the corner, DO NOT SPEAK OR LOOK AT HIM, say repeatedly, calmly, "MOMMY WILL GIVE YOU LOTS OF HUGS AND KISSES WHEN YOU CALM DOWN, AND TELL ME YOU ARE SORRY" to get the message across. He may start to hurt you more at first, but trust me, he'll start to figure out how to self regulate right-quick, because the person he needs most in the world is teaching him to get in touch with himself, and in the end, YOU WILL BE DOING HIM A FAVOR. If he is very emotionally immature (or neurologically immature) it will take time, patience, repetition, and consistency. Don't rule out a second opinion on his diagnosis, or meds either. I am apprehensive to get too excited, but I think the Ritalin has really helped my son get in touch with and start to control his senses. Best Wishes. Oh - and have a drink with a friend!!!

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Perceptual Motor Development
by: kennysmom

Hi! I believe you spelled it incorrectly - PerCeptual is the word, and YES we are having progress with the OT therapy that is focusing on this also. Kenny is also on short acting Ritalin, and we are about to try it 2x daily, as opposed to the Long-Acting (which he cannot 'come down from' to sleep at night). The Ritalin seems to be helping with his anger. It's very interesting that your son is also set off by bladder / bowell signals! There HAS to be a correlation for the "Sensational Kids"!!!

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So Thankful For All of You
by: Kimberly

We have a 5 year old son that goes through the exact description as the initial description. Our son has struggled with this since birth and at age 3 we figured it out. "Figured it out" is so a misnomer. We are far from figuring it out. I was DELIGHTED to hear that all of you experience this RAGE that I see from my son. He is normally the sweetest little guy aside from an unruly strong will. This rage is off the charts and most do not understand what we go through. I have had many tears over this as many friends have said, "You can let him hit you etc...or you just have to make him." They have no idea that he is physically stronger and has been for years. He broke his car seat at age 3 in a sensory fit-busted the plastic buckle right off as he was strapped in. We have found a direct correlation to his bladder. We know that if he has had too much stim. and now has to go to the bathroom, we may be in for a huge fit and lots of violence. As many have mentioned, he too feels bad after and I realize it is out of his control. We worry what people think we are doing to him as he screams in that rage. I have had people even stop and stare like I am hurting him or abducting him. Once a store manager was called. Yes there is an answer to this. We have found a great therapy that specializes in Perpetual Motor Development. We notice a decrease in issues if we are consistent with these exercises. It is such a long hard road, and I am thankful to hear from others like you that have been through this too. Thanks for writing about your experiences.

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meltdowns
by: Anonymous

Im sorry to hear that i am suffering from sensory processing disorder and i have meltdowns just because i have to go to school or i fell bad that my family has to deal with me and i use to through things but i don't anymore i just hurt myself and my mom gets mad and starts blaming herself which make me feel guilty i say anything and ends up in a big mess and its all about the sounds(i think i might have misophonia with this) and u just need to have him go to his room and let him calm down then when he is calm go talk to him and let him tell u about what its like or whats going on

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SPD Progress
by: Crystal

Hi; I just read the most recent comment, and had to re-read it because I thought I was my own! I know exactly what you are feeling, although we are starting Sensory OT therapy in 2 weeks, so I haven't experienced that frustration yet. I read once that extreme colic can alter a developing baby's neurology...I wonder if anyone has done a study to confirm this, and offer suggestions??? FYI: Ironically, we are also fostering a little girl now (trying to keep her safe from his fits, of course). Thankfully, she has not been diagnosed with RAD (reactive attachment disorder), but the symptoms are very similar!!!!! I can't help but wonder if my son kind of has that because he was so uncomfortable as a baby - which is now sparked by sensory overload!

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meltdowns.
by: Anonymous

Some of what is described in all these posts is very familiar to me and my son has SPD. I think you are a "safe" person and so they tend to target you. My mother commented one time that she did not like the way my son acted toward me. I try to handle it the best I can and not let him see it affecting me or not respond to it until he can be nicer. It's tough.

My son used to hit me a lot, esp when he was five, and he would kick me, pull my hair, scratch me, etc. IT was hard, sometimes it would make me want to cry.

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5 Year Old's Sensory 'Fits'
by: Crystal

I believe I am a 'Safe Target' for my son as well. He is an only child. His colic as a baby was awful; he finally slept through the night at 14 mo. He is big and strong for his age now, at 5; and I have a VERY hard time holding him the way the therapist showed us. He is especially violent when he is tired + needs to pee / or hungry / or whatever. Our rule of thumb is "Two things is Two much", so if he's bombarded with loud noise and has to have a bm - it's toooo much, and he has a meltdown (usually at me: scratch, act wild, spin, hit, kick, punch, run around like crazy, jump, fall out of his chair a lot, growl, bite). Any combination of TWO strong sensations is our constant trigger, and I am exhausted. Our family is seeing a therapist for it for the 1st time, and he's set up to be evaluated soon by the school system, and we are on a waiting list to get into a local hospital's OT evaluation. Please send us your prayers, as I do the same for you. Thanks.

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What works for me (sometimes)
by: Anonymous

Well, you could be describing my five year old son. We have the same problems when he tantrums - he seeks me out to hit, kick, spit, name call, etc. We've tried punching bags, "hulk hands" that he uses to hit his bed, etc and I really find that they get him more enraged. One thing that has worked for us is that I hold both of my hands up and tell him to "push me". He pushes my hands as hard as he can. I sit on my knees to do this so I am at his level. Sometimes I will allow myself to be pushed back where I gradually fall onto my back (my own doing, not because of his strength). This really tends to calm him down to the point that I can then sit and hold him and later talk to him. From a sensory perspective, it makes sense because he is getting proprioceptive input. I think having a child push against a wall or something heavy (vs hitting) would do the same, but me being involved seems to help him.

We've just started seeing a behavioral therapist, but his first take was to teach us slow breathing exercises which my son completely refuses to do on a normal basis and especially when he's starting to get angry. We do, however, try to do the breathing after he has calmed from a tantrum which tends to be the only time he'll even consider trying it. I hope some of this helps. It's a long, confusing journey.

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6 years old and having 2 year old meltdowns
by: Anita

I will say that I'm glad to hear that my child isn't the only one having extreme meltdowns so I don't feel as alone in this journey.

My son will be going into first grade in the fall and he's still having meltdowns at the littlest things - his teacher asks him to run laps, he can't manipulate his toy accordingly (i.e. it won't do what it's supposed to do), he can't get his carseat buckled. He's been suspended several times for kicking, hitting, spitting and trying to run off school property and has even been kicked out of daycare. With us he kicks and hits but he also throws things at us, says mean things, yells and screams. The director at his new daycare has a degree in special ed and has a lot of experience with kids with SPD but even she thinks he's too old to have tantrums this extreme. We have an appointment with his behavioral psychologist but are still at a loss at to what we can do to lessen these occurrences.

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We got through that stage
by: Anonymous

Hi, my daughter who has SPD went through a stage of hitting, kicking and screaming at me to the point where I used to have to lock myself in my own room as she belted on the door to get at me. I realised of course that she was attacking the one she loved the most because of her frustration at not being able to handle all that was going on in her world. We eventually went to a psychologist who did cognitive behaviourial therapy every week for 3 months. She targeted our whole family so that our daughter didn't feel as though it was her fault. Through this process we learned a lot particularly as parents especially how to control our own emotions through the melt downs so we weren't yelling back at her. My daughter still has melt downs but there is no violence anymore and a lot less yelling on my part. I really recommend that you find a psychologist who does CBT to work out a strategy to assist you and your son. Best of luck.

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Meltdowns
by: Anonymous

I have wondered whether my son who is 6 has tantrums like that is just mean or if there is more to it than that. He has lots of mood swings and be just down right disrespectful to me and my husband. It is usually in connection with him not getting his way. That is why I question whether it is SPD. When we point out his mistakes or what he has done he goes into a fit and denies. We got to see a psychiatrist in about 2 weeks to see if it could be ADHD.

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My DD did and does
by: Anonymous

react violently sometimes to me. She tries to hit and punch me when she is having a sensory meltdown. She screams at me to Help me "Make her clothes feel better..." I am so sorry that I can't help her besides just being there to help her get through it.

I think that doing something physical distracts and helps her to get through the moment to the next phase that allows her to deal with what is causing the meltdown.

After the meltdown, she is always contrite and sorry and needs me to tell her that I love her and don't hate her.

So you are not alone in this. It is so hard to deal with this issue at any age.

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Hang in there.
by: Anonymous

I wish I had a solution for you but I don't. I wanted to at least let you know that their are others out there with SPD kids that take out their frustrations on their parents. I think that is pretty common actually!

My daughter is five and when she has a meltdown she will say the most horrible mean things to me. It is really hard to not take it personally. I think I am just a safe target for her, not that she blames me for anything.

I have found that she needs me to constantly tell her that I love her when she is upset. She REALLY seems to come unglued if she thinks I am mad at her during a tantrum, so I try to let her know Im not angry with her even if I am disturbed by her "behaviour". When she allows me to I wrap her tightly in a blanket to help her calm down.

Don't know if any of that is helpful to you. I know it is so hard, heartbreaking and exhausting when you feel like nothing you try to do is working. Hang in there and know your child loves you and is not trying to hurt you intentionally.

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