My 4 year old son

by Winifred
(Alberta, Canada)

I don't know what to do. My son fits the auditory checklists and emotional checklist, but has no trouble with socializing or making eye contact. But it's seriously draining me. I'm emotionally and mentally at the end of my rope every day from the constant tantrums, ignoring and all the other auditory symptoms. He's been in speech therapy for several months, and he's had special help from his grandmother up until he turned four and we moved cross country. I'm with him constantly since we moved and I never realized the extent of it until it was just me and him all the time, every day. I've been talking to other moms and just now finding out that his "behavior" is not "normal" to other's experiences. They have 2 or 3 or 4 kids, and I can't imagine having more than one!


Where do I go from here? The doctors believe there's nothing wrong with him, but they see no need for a full work-up so he's never had anything more than a cursory exam.

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Jan 09, 2011
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Been There! (Continued...my post was too long) :-)
by: Colleen Devlin

So, go see a clinic where they diagnose everything from mild learning delays to ADHD to full blown low functioning autism. This is what you want MINIMALLY, get an evaluation from: psychologist, a doctor, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a speech therapist. After they meet with your child individually, ask that they meet as a team and discuss with you their thoughts. The appointment will be an all day thing, but at the end of the long day, you have a firm diagnosis of what it is and what it is not. Ask for documentation of their opinions. Getting this appointment is VERY IMPORTANT!Oh, the documentation has the added benefit of being able to share this with family and friends so they understand your child's needs. It also stops so many debates between you and your husband on whether this is a growing thing or is your child really outside the bell curve of other kids.

I have no idea where you live, but I did the above process at the University of Iowa Medical Center for Disabilities and Development. (By the way, don't worry about the stigma of the word disabilities, if it is SPD, many kids, after working with an OT, go to school and live very productive lives without issue.

Next, if it is SPD, find a good OT and read the book the Out of Sync child. Get a highlighter. I recommend this book above all the others (and I have read them all...with a highlighter). The Out of Sync Child one is really written for the parent. All the books are good, this one is just excellent. Other books I have read and would recommend are: The Explosive Child, Sensational Kids, Growing an In-Sync Child, and Raising a Sensory Smart Child.

Last, last week, I was at lunch with a friend who is not crazy religious, but is pretty into it. She said something that really stuck with me. I was saying that I wish I could take this frustration and hurt from my son (because that is why you see the explosions...he is frustrated). She said she firmly believed we all have a purpose in life, and if I took that burden away he might not be able to fulfill his purpose. She threw out ideas like: It may be something that he will have to reflect on years later of how he overcame something...It may be that he inspires someone else or perhaps becomes an OT or a researcher in this field. I don't know why, but it brought me comfort. I hope that thought brings some to you too.

Hope this helps a little.

Jan 09, 2011
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Been there!
by: Colleen Devlin

OK. I have a 4 year old too. I also had a fairly unhelpful doctor. I really wish someone would have given me a road map of how to get started.

By the way, this is totally overwhelming. The fears you are feeling about your childs future, the questioning you are doing about your parenting skills, the concern that you can't handle any more, AND I bet the doubt that is this really SPD or just a normal kids, wondering whether he is going to grow out of it...all of this is very normal. (Or at least I hope so because I am going through the same thing. :-) ) So deep breath and here is what I know.

If I knew now, what I didn't know then, this is what I would do:

First step, get a diagnosis, find a Development and Disabilities clinic that sees pediatrics. There may or may not be something else going on (probably not). This helps for a couple of reasons. First, peace of mind so you can say "Yep SPD is all I am dealing with." My experience is that everyone around you becomes an expert at diagnosis: you need parent classes, your child needs a discipline expert, call super nanny in, see Dr. Phil,etc...etc...AHHHHHH!!!


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