I posted a couple of times in the December thread but didn't get around to actually introducing myself properly. I have one child, Toby, who is now 3.75. He has certainly been hard work since birth! I can identify with many of the issues that crop up in this thread, mostly:
shocking sleeping (though this has gotten better since about 3, with some environment tweaking and just maturity)
intense emotions, frequent explosive meltdowns, inability to cope with many (most) social situations, finicky with clothing, terrible at transition times.
It has taken me quite a long time to fit pieces together, and I'm sure I'm still missing part of the puzzle. I've read up on just about everything from temperament/introversion/giftedness/autism, but I think I'm on the right track with SPD. (I am partway through reading 'the mislabelled child' and the boy described in the SPD section was almost exactly a description of Toby).
I have started the ball rolling to get some help through our local early intervention service (well, actually, I work there, you'd think I'd have gotten help earlier, but like some of you have expressed with your dc's, Toby would go through a smooth-ish patch, and I'd think that he was maturing out of his issues, but then similar issues would just re-surface, perhaps manifesting in a different way, often in a more intense way. So I'd go back and forth between "He is fine, it's just his temperament" and "He REALLY has issues and I need help with this!")
I've filled out a sensory profile and am looking forward to discussing this with some OTs to see if there are any strategies I can use to help:
keep him on an even keel and
help him cope better with social situations.
At home, he is comfortable, and we don't have huge problems unless I am too busy to play with him, or if we don't have time to do some physically tiring activity. But when we are out - ESPECIALLY if there are other kids around - just about guaranteed meltdown or at least very challenging behaviours that do not allow me to chat for a few minutes or do what I need to do without majorly bending over backwards.
Gosh, I could go on forever, but this was just meant to be an intro! At the moment, we are having quite a nice patch as we have just been on holidays (camping mostly) involving lots of time outdoors, fewer transitions and rush times, a lot of swimming and having both me and dh available for interaction.
Before holidays though, Christmas with dh's family was stressful. Ds did reasonably well I thought, he lasted a good 2 hours before he took himself to the car wanting to go home. He didn't interact with anyone (to be fair, he doesn't see his rellies on dh's side often), except to yell at, then hit his uncle who insisted on picking him up and tickling him, despite ds yelling out "I don't like it!". He then got told off for hitting of course - fair enough, but PLEASE! You're an adult, LISTEN when the child tells you that he doesn't like something and STOP DOING IT!!! Sheesh.
Of course, this uncle's own son is almost the exact same age, and is outgoing, easy-going, says "please" and "thankyou" and gives kisses on demand, even if he doesn't know the person. Have a guess who the family favourite is??
I'll sign off before I rant further. I will follow this thread with interest. Thanks for getting it started.