I have a couple questions. My 4 (almost 5) yr old little boy exhibits some odd behaviors and someone mentioned Bipolar? I did not think that could be diagnosed until teen years? I am scared for him and us. He stresses our whole family out and there has been a strain for yrs He is so sweet when he wants to be but when he has a meltdown, forget it! He says mean things, screams and screams, throws things, hits me, siblings, whomever is in his way, I am not sure what to do or how to help him? He does NOT sleep well at all...it takes him about an hr to fall asleep and then we will wake up throughout the night, it is exausting! I also feel he has some sensory issues. He is VERY smart, he loves clocks! When he is sweet and nice he is super sweet but its like someone flicks a switch and he turns into an angry little boy He also has anxiety issues, he tells me "Mommy, I can't control it" He knows there is something not right, it breaks my heart He is constantly asking if I love him and I answer of course w/lots of hugs and kisses. I think he is just wired differently then my other kids...he is always looking for stimulation from somewhere! He doesn't exhibit ADHD symptoms though.
I am at a loss and just wondered what should I do next? I am getting him assessed w/an OT and speaking w/a behaviorlist. Thanks for listening and if you have any questions...feel free to ask
Mom to 3 boys + 3 girls = PERFECTION
Collector of TOYS!
My DS is similar. He's 8 and dx ADHD, Tourette's, and has a mood disorder we have not yet fully identified but definitely has anxiety/depression -- we are also considering bipolar for him but are not there yet. In any case, we have done occupational therapy for the sensory stuff, regular therapy for the mood stuff, and see a neurologist for the Tourette's/ADHD. We've tried a variety of diets and supplements and he is now on medication. It helps, but we still have many days we struggle. I wouldn't have made it this long without our wonderful pediatrician and therapist.
Hang in there, mama, and get help! Really figuring out what is going on (and really, there is so much overlap between behaviors in the different things it could be, you need to do the testing to really know) will make all the difference for being able to help him. Be sure you are getting enough time to recharge and refill your own fuel tank, too.
Anyway, yes, as the PP said, your best bet is to consult an expert, be it developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, behaviorist, etc. But all the things you describe--difficulty sleeping, explosiveness, impulsiveness, unusual interests (clocks)--all sound like ASD kids I know.
What are the symptoms of ASD....that didn't even cross my mind at all. I am waiting on my appt w/the behaviorlist and also the OT.
Mom to 3 boys + 3 girls = PERFECTION
Collector of TOYS!
My 4 year old daughter just had an OT evaluation. She is extremely hard to control, will run into parking lots (no fear) , and needs lots of stimulation.They think she will calm down when she starts school and gave me lots of suggestions on different kinds of safe stimulation I can introduce. Even simple things like having a tire swing that goes around instead of just normal up and down swings. I know your son's behavior sounds more intense. But the OT is what I would suggest, the OT evaluation was easy and my daughter enjoyed it because there was a lot of playing involved. I think the person who told you bipolar probably doesn't really know what bipolar is, go to someone who can do an actual evaluation.
Good Luck. I know how tiring an extremely active child can be.
|A. A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:
(1) often loses temper
(2) often argues with adults
(3) often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
(4) often deliberately annoys people
(5) often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
(6) is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
(7) is often angry and resentful
(8) is often spiteful or vindictive
Note: Consider a criterion met only if the behavior occurs more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level.
B. The disturbance in behavior causes clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
C. The behaviors do not occur exclusively during the course of a Psychotic or Mood Disorder.
D. Criteria are not met for Conduct Disorder, and, if the individual is age 18 years or older, criteria are not met for Antisocial Personality Disorder.
(you can also find the diagnostic criteria for autism and PDD-NOS in a user-friendly format here).
I would also not eliminate his reactions as being caused by anxiety. Also, SPD.
A good assessment will include the use of at least one assessment scale completed by his parents (ideally, each does it separately). If he attends preschool or daycare, ideally the main teacher would complete one as well. The scales provide an opportunity to tease out which behaviours are happening and what they might signify.
This is a very informative site:
Good luck to you.
Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.
As with some of the previous posters, I would not go with bipolar or ODD. It will be much more helpful and fruitful if you focus on sensory, anxiety (find the roots), sleep issues and provide firm guidelines. You mentioned he is very clever, but do not let that lead you into a debate with him for non negotiables.
And The Mislabelled Child is a very good book to look into. I second the recommendation.
I am a clinician by training...I agree with the other posters who are directing you to consider an atypical autism presentation, like aspergers or pdd-nos, given his strong and unusual interest in the clocks and what appears to be sensory integration issues. He is sorry for what he's done afterward, he is generally sweet natured and feels he can't control himself when he acts out in a rage. That is NOT ODD. Often anxiety presents itself hand in hand with a person on the spectrum. Almost always, individuals on the spectrum also have some level of sensory integration dysfunction so you are going to want to explore with an OT what his sensory issues are and meet his needs on that level. This will help alleviate any anxiety and anger he is feeling. So will good healthy limits and structure for him, that take into account his unique way of viewing the world. My son who is on the spectrum used to also ask me all the time if I love him, almost always after I was angry at him for misbehavior. At that time I had no idea exactly what was going on for him and when he acted out angrily which he also would do at 4 and 5, I would set very firm limits and get angry at him for his misbehavior. He would see my reaction and feel very sad and upset at himself. I've learned over the years not to meet his anger or frustration level with my own feelings but to stay calm and steady for him and teach him other ways to manage his frustration. Part of this, is learning how to parent a child who reacts to their environment differently than you expect.
As you sort it out, it does get better. But, it is work, parenting strategies and good supports when you need it. I would also consider, if I were you, if he is food intolerant or allergic to anything, and if he has any triggers you can eliminate this way. I have found with my child that if his diet is free of his triggers his sensory issues and anxiety wash away and he exhibits a more typical amount of self control.
Good luck to you....