Originally Posted by winnie
Sorry I haven't gotten back to this thread sooner...thanks so much to everyone for all of your thoughts and suggestions.
Although I certainly do love and accept my son for who he is - he is very unhappy, angry even, and I want to help him so that perhaps we can make some aspects of his life easier and more enjoyable.
From my reading I think he fits SPD, anxiety/OCD, and ADHD. However SPD could possibly be causing the anxiety, aggression, and hyperactivity. None of these really cover any social stuff though...the fact that he rambles on about a single topic without pause, and doesn't seem to understand the give and take of a conversation. Hmm.
Kids with those diagnoses often have social communication and self-regulation issues. There's so much going on internally that it's hard to pick up on and respond appropriately to external information. They live like the radio is blasting loudly, everything feels like sand paper, and they can hear the lights humming and the kid four seats back clearing his throat. That doesn't leave a lot of attention and judgement available to deal with the social world or think before responding or to feel settled.
Anxiety is frequently secondary to a primary diagnosis, an outcome of the child's confusion and frustration navigating their world with their unique processing challenges. OCD can be a primary diagnosis, but it can also be an extreme approach to trying to make the difficult world work for you by trying to control it.
It is also pretty common for complicated kids to not settle into a diagnosis until they're 8-10, and to have diagnoses change over time.
I found this book very comforting when my son was around your child's age: When the Labels Don't Fit.
You might also like the Eides' work. There's a lot of detail, but they address all sorts of processing issues (ie SPD, also ADHD).
Even if your son doesn't have SPD, the approaches in the book The Out of Sync Child Has Fun can help keep his engine running "just right" so he feels better. We all have sensory issues, so these approaches can help even if our sensory system isn't past the threshold of a diagnosis.
This is an interesting read:
I really like the materials by Garcia Winner, and your son might really enjoy Super Flex, which is a comic-book style curriculum for social thinking and self-regulation: