Connecting The Dots

by Kyana

I have been trying to make sense of my 9 year olds behavior since he was 2. I have always dealt with his behavior as something that will pass or just an idiosyncrasy. Since he was 2 he would often run off, not concerned with where he was going or fearful of losing me. When he began preschool his teacher recommended he be evaluated for Autism. His evaluation discovered nothing and I was told that all of us are somewhere on the spectrum but nothing was found to be extraordinary with my son.

Growing up my child has always been content to play on his own. Once he reached elementary he blossomed, having several friends. He has always done well in school and receives compliments from parents and teachers on how polite and well-behaved he is. At home is another story. He upsets easily and often fights with his siblings. He has become increasingly frightful of leaving the car to walk to the house at night because of wild animals. He often turns on all lights before he goes to be and complains that he is not sleepy refusing to go. He angers easily for the simplest things: leaving the house, when told to complete a task, when asked to get ready in the morning, when asked to brush his teeth or tie his shoes to name a few. He often complains of stomach aches or headaches and shows anxiety over his school uniform ( preferring certain polos, shorts or refusing to wear certain socks). Although he keeps most of his behaviors at home he has displayed them in public for example while we were waiting in line he became increasingly agitated and began whining and getting loud. He has had public outburst, yelling at me or his brother and walking off.

I am not sure which route to take with him; if he needs to be further evaluated but having read through this checklist I have found several behaviors to coincide with his in emotional, smell, touch... Any suggestions or experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thank You

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Sep 21, 2011
Outbursts at home and angel to the rest of the world
by: Anonymous

Sometimes what is going on in this situation where a child throws a fit at home but not in front of other people is this... Your child is in distress and overwhelmed, but knows the "outside" world will judge her if she starts screaming. However, at home she knows you will love her unconditionally and she trusts you all enough that she releases the pent up emotions and throws that enormous hissy fit.

With my daughter, she may start screaming about some minor little thing (like dinner), but it's never really about the minor little thing. It's hard but what usually works in the end for us is to excuse her from the current situation and talk to her about what is really bothering her. For example, last week my daughter was snapping at everyone and just being a big old pill. We finally said "What is really bothering you?" and suddenly she spills that "I got a 78% on my math test, I've always been great at math, but what if I can't do this new Algebra class?" Tears flowed and she just was feeling stupid and was full of self-doubt. We talked her through the problem, helped her figure out a plan for how to proceed and she was much better for the rest of the evening.

So while it stinks to have these tantrums, screaming fits and outbursts, the silver lining is that your child trusts you all enough to show that he/she is feeling horrible. Keep the lines of communication free and open.

Jul 20, 2011
by: rbc303

Your child's behavior sounds VERY similar to my daughter! When she was younger, we had a problems outside the home with the outburst, but as she started school she was always fine in school, but would only have the outburst at home. She is now 9 years old and while these outburst don't affect her school life, they affect our home life. The most recent example of an outburst just happened last night. Dinner was on the table, her plate in front of her. She continued to say how hungry she was even after we all started eating. She started screaming that she was so hungry. We told her to leave the table and she proceeded to throw things around and slam doors. NOTHING will turn her around once she gets to this point. So we all ignore her. Then there was an unexpected knock on the door. She looked scared and went to sit down and immediately stopped the screaming. It was my sister and her family and if they had not heard the screaming from the outside, you would have never thought anything was wrong! She continued to sit and eat by herself and then joined in the conversation in the living room. She is like Day and Night! My biggest fear is what an outburst at 15 or 16 would look like. So I have taken her to get tested and just found out that the doctor feels like she has Sensory Processing Disorder, which is how I found this forum.

I just really can't understand why it is only at home? It is like she knows enough not to behave like this at school, but it is ok at home? This is why I have always leaned towards the idea that she is just spoiled or there is something wrong with our parenting. Although we have never had any issues with our two older sons.

The doctor is recommending Occupational Therapy. This is all very new to us so I will see what happens in the next year.

Jul 19, 2011
by: Anonymous

hello there. sounds like you've got a boy like mine. :) so many things you've just listed here are challenges that my son has as well. very bright, social, kind, tender-hearted, etc. but struggles with day to day life.

first of all, chin up! there is much time and so many resources and if you're willing to advocate and put the time and effort into helping your son, he will make improvement!

my son was a challenging baby and toddler to the point that he was easily overwhelmed with the most simple tasks and events in his environment. angry a lot, anxious, easily distracted, needed to have control over everything, didn't seem to understand danger, ran away a lot, cried over little things, gave up easily, loud noises bothered him, didn't like certain movements, etc.

he had tactile, auditory and proprioceptive issues (and more) from the get go, but it took a while to put it all together. at any rate, we sought out an occupational therapist and have benefited GREATLY from working with her over the past few years.

i would suggest seeking out an ot who has some knowledge and understanding of spd and go have an eval done. there is a link on this blog to help find qualified ot's in different areas.

there are so many types of therapy and so many resources to help these children learn positive and effective ways of dealing with the things that set them off or that they struggle with. we have done listening therapy, food therapy, social skills therapy to work on boundaries and to help him understand the amount of force he some times uses, etc.

for a while i thought he might be on the autism spectrum. but we have since learned that because autism and spd are both neurological conditions, they can look a like and can have many cross over features. and that just because you have spd, doesn't mean you are on the autism spectrum, but actually if you have autism, you most definitely have some sensory processing issues. make sense?

at any rate, i suggest that you seek help for the concerns that you have. he will need you to advocate for him until he is able to do it on his own. here are a few great resources, i don't know that they all apply to what you're looking for, but many of these sites have helpful links to other great resources. :)
this is a panel similar to this sensory blog, which allows you to join and share information and exchange ideas (about all types of health issues).
my son loves music and responds well to it. these cd's have been a great resource for us to be able to teach and talk about some issues that we've had concern over.

much out there. many moms, care givers, educators, etc. walking the same path. good luck!

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