How do I know if there is a problem or if my son is just being 8?

by Laura

I am struggling to figure out if my son is just an 8 year old boy who like most people has a couple of the identifying behaviors of a person with a sensory disorder or if I am being an overprotective mom who fears what someone else may say about my son.

My son turned 8 in January 2008 and attends private school rather than public school purely out of choice and desire to provide a solid learning foundation for him. He excels in most subjects especially math, spelling and reading. The teacher has him doing all third grade level work, entering 4th grade level for math and reading. Since kindergarten, his teachers have wanted to move him ahead academically. We resisted because we want him socially around kids his own age. I think this is important now but critical as he gets older. We also recognize that while he is advanced academically now, this may level off as he gets older and we don't want him needing to work harder than everyone else just to keep up with a higher grade than is age-appropriate.

His dad and I met with his teacher and with the school director because we see frustration in my son at times when he does his homework. He generally has one math page plus a spelling assignmnet for homework but sometimes he also has a writing assignment such as 'use as many of the 19 spelling words in at least six sentences and then form the sentences into a paragraph.' The writing piece of this assignment is hard for my son; hard to the point of frustration and sometimes tears. Understand that if we help get him started he is able to complete this task without frustration. He just needs guidance to get over the initial step of where to begin.

His teacher is gently indicating she thinks he may have a sensory disorder. Her gentle suggestion led me to research her suggestion, which led me to this site. I did the questionnaire and found that most things don't apply. In fact, in any area of the questionnaire, my son had no more than 2 of any symptom/ behavior and in most he had none. I think there were 11 total items in the entire


For example, hyposensitivity to movement: my son doesn't sit still well (unless he knows that he has to, or if he's eating, watching TV, playing a game, etc). If sitting and listening in circle time at school, he doesn't consistently sit still. He also sometimes runs or hops instead of walking. Not always but sometimes. I can't help but think that most 8 year old boys do this. On the other hand, he goes to church and behaves, has attended weddings, parties at friends houses etc. where the other adults have commented how well behaved he was, how quiet he was, etc.

The only fine motor skill he needs to work on is his handwriting. He writes messy. He does puzzles very well, colors, draws, uses scissors, ties his shoes, gets dressed, zips his jacket. His printing is messy unless he thinks I will make him rewrite it and then it is miraculously neater.

Socially he is quiet until he knows the children and tends to shy away from trying new things. At the same time, if there is a new student in class, my son is the first one to introduce himself and show them around the classroom. He has many friends both at school and at his after school care. We do not live in a neighborhood with many kids but he plays well with those we are near.

I don't want to minimize her thought but she is a young teacher and she has yet to offer feedback on her experience or education on identifying these things.

I also want to mention that my son has asthma so takes an inhaled steroid at times for his lungs, takes albuterol, takes a daily allergy pill plus Cingulair. We definitely see a change of behavior when he is getting sick, or if he is on his breathing meds. The pediatrician said that is normal and is the result of the medication.

I am not sure if I am suffering from 'willful blindness' or what. The parents in this post seem to be able to point to recurring frustrations in both themselves and their child which I don't see in my child. I know no one can give me a diagnosis based on this post but any feedback is appreciated.

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Apr 24, 2008
by: Candace Warner

WhenIi knew that my son had something wrong with him I thought he had Autism. But then they told me that he has SPD and now there is arguments over Aspergers Syndrome and SPD, or both.

If your teacher is telling you this get an assessment done. It is more calming to understand what you are dealing with than just guessing. She can assume a lot but until you get an assessment done neither of you will know.

For years people told me my son was slow... took him 45 mins to get dressed... pants, shirt, underwear, socks. Then I found out what the real issue was and now I can deal with it. No more guessing, no more ooohhhh your son is slowwwwwwww. He might be slow but he is smart, funny, cute, adorable and just like every other kid out there.!!! Email me if you want

My sons name is Keo and he is also 8 years old.

Candace Warner

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