Later onset SPD?

by Louis

My son, who is 11, has this past year begun to experience repetitive disturbing thoughts that bother him a good bit. Mostly thoughts about causing himself pain. In the past few months he has progressed to one obsessive thought of gagging himself with a straw, fork, what have you upon every encounter with those things. I found a counselor who practices behavioral cognitive therapy, who thought this was likely attention seeking behavior.

He is a great kid, only child, honor student, and socially well adjusted.... A little on the anxious side for sure though. In the past few weeks he has progressed to actually gagging himself with anything that looks like it might work. Straws, French fries, a piece of stryraphome... Bizarre things. This past weekend it turned debilitating when he could not eat at a family gathering for fear of gagging himself. He was terrified to take a shower saying he wouldn't be able to stop himself from letting the water hit the back of his throat to gag himself, and he was scared of choking. He says he can't stop himself from doing it, and Sunday night had a complete meltdown saying everyone thought he was just looking for attention, and he just wanted help!

I put in a call to the counselor, and she has decided to refer him to a psychiatrist. I spent all day trying to research this bizarre behavior, and while nothing exactly like this popped out at me, I did stumble across the spd checklist. He checks off right down the list in multiple areas, but especially in anxiety due to tactile defensiveness, and poor perception and discrimination. None of his symptoms were ever a roadblock to his ability to function, they certainly have made things difficult for him and us as his parents many times.

At around six months of age he went from a solid sleeping routine that he had been developing from the time he was three weeks old, to resisting bedtime, and waking up multiple times per night. It got worse and worse so that "bedtime" began to last hours, and he didn't sleep through the night again until he was almost 5 years old. Bedtime is still hard by the way. The pediatrician never could give me any real helpful info as to why, or how to help him. I KNEW something was wrong because he HAD been such an amazing sleeper before. From there he also went from a super mellow easy going baby to a pit more high strung about some things.... But we blamed it on the sleep issue.....

Grooming activities like combing hair and brushing teethe were a daily battle, and still are difficult, because it "hurt". I thought he was just being contrary, and over reacting.....
Trips to the dr. and dentist were full out nightmare ordeals. Shots were the end of the world, and we finally had to resort to a dentist that would anesthetize him. I thought he was just very anxious, and some kids reacted that way....
He could not fasten pants or button shirts till first grade, or tie his shoes till third. Honestly he still can't do that well. He flat out avoids utensils, and still has trouble using them correctly. His handwriting has been the bane of his existence since he started kindergarten, and he would tell me in tears, that he "was just made that way" and couldnt fix no matter how much he practiced. Despite these things he was an excellent student academically, and except for CONSTANT talk, he was ok behaviorally too. We thought he was just rushing through his work, and could do better if he would just take the time to form his letters more carefully, or practice more with te other things....

As a toddler he was terrified of loud noises. As he grew older he began to manifest symptoms that were more in line with hyposensitivity to sounds. He also had signs of auditory input processing disorder.He was constantly repeating facts or stories learned in school where he would get the word just slightly

wrong. So often it was cute. "tomorrow is hotdog day. A hot dog is going to look for his shadow." or "Hammerhead Lincoln can't tell a lie." He also had his personal volume turned way up, listened to tv way too loud, and was constantly making noise, even when he was alone. We had his hearing tested, and it was fine. He had always been a chatter box, so we chalked the rest up to him being a quirky kid...
Then we made a big move when he was 6, and he took it so hard emotionally I almost wanted to go back! For about a year everything that was hard was impossible, and he was CONSTANTLY upset. Transitioning activities on a daily basis was a nightmare.... His behavior was bad, and suddenly my somewhat quirky, but mostly easy going kid went into hyperdrive. He was like the Tasmanian devil, and I didn't recognize him at all. I just couldn't understand what happened, and I even tried to talk with teachers, and even his pediatrician, and I was blown off as overreacting to a phase. Granted they didn't have ALL the info, because I didn't realize all of this was related. We finally chalked it up to the trauma of the move, and that he was just the kind of kid that for,ed strong attachments to people and places.... That was a good thing yeah?

He finally began to calm down when we began devoting more time to direct interaction with him. My husband and I bought a bunch of board games, and played them with him a few times a week. Friday night became family movie night. Several things we did helped the major issues, but the minor symptoms were still there, and still are.

Fast forward to his recent onset of new issues today, and my discovery of this checklist, and here we are. We have an appt scheduled with a psychiatrist Wed. I don't really know where we will go from there. My heart is breaking for this precious child who TOLD me so many times that we didn't feel things like he did, and things hurt him more. He TOLD me so many times that brushing his hair and teethe hurt, and I told him he needed to be a little tougher! He told me once when I asked him if he could make himself be absolutely still that he was made this way, and his body made itself move.... He couldn't help it. Over and over he told me how hard he was trying to write, and that this was just how he writes. I told him to keep practicing.... He told me over and over and I didn't listen to him. The only one who was supposed to really have his back, and I didn't listen! Plus his father and I so so so so selfishly went through a rough patch of arguing and yelling in front of him, which I know traumatized him completely.... He also has MAJOR empathy, and feels what others do. I told him this evening on the way home from his sports day amp that I know he told me things like shots, bumps, bruises, scrapes, and even brushing his hair hurt him more than it hurt other people, and that I was sorry I didn't believe him, but that I did now. He got tears in his little eyes, and a look of astonishment on his face, and said you believe me? He even said he was a little scared because I've never once said that in "11 years". I asked him why it scared him, and he said because he didn't know why I suddenly believe him now, and he started crying! I've handled him absolutely backwards up till now, and now here we are.

Now he is dealing with something much more severe that is disrupting his ability to function normally.... Can we reverse this? Have I sabotaged my precious little man's awesome potential to be a smart, healthy, and happily functioning individual? I just don't understand how I didn't know!!!!

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