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#1 of 20 Old 01-24-2013, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, 
our situation is getting worse everyday. Our very cute, very loving son has a severe sensory processing disorder. At the moment, I cannot get out of the house with him, because I can't dress him. I try to dress him, he screams and cries, it's heartbreaking. He pulls everything off, as soon as I release him. He even refused to go sledding with his dad, something he was looking forward to for days and days. And he is heartbroken about it, it is really horrible.
Today he wanted to take a shower, but stayed only a couple of seconds, cause the drops hurt him. Than he lied on the floor, screaming, because he was wet. Even though he was wrapped in a towel. I was not allowed to rub him. Afterwards he continued screaming, because he was "sticky". 
 
I talked to a psychologist today, who saw him last year, and recommended OT (which we do) and a parenting course, a specialist course for kids with defiant disorder. (more for my daughter, who is a bit intense :) ). We started the course, but stopped going, because it was really, really redundant to what I know already, plus, not our parenting philosophy at all. More into the : 1-2-3 magic line. 
 
The psychologist recommended that we do this parenting course again - but: I don't feel that Vince is defiant at all, I feel that he is seriously overwhelmed by his own sensations. I have an appointment with her, but I am not sure if she is the right fit for us, pushing this parenting course. 
 
I believe that I am very good with parenting techniques, I think I could even run this parenting course for them. 
 
But, I cannot go on like this either. I am supposed to start working again after being at home for a year with the youngest. 
I loose my temper after hours and hours of screaming and temper tantrums and throwing things and being hit by my little son. 
 
Any help?
 
P.S. We tried all diet changes already. Nothing changed. At all.

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#2 of 20 Old 01-24-2013, 07:42 AM
 
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Taket this FWIW, but it sounds like this is much more than just a "pscyological" issue that a parenting course can help. It sounds neurological to me. If he were my child, I would persue alternative treatments. Your poor DS, I feel so bad for him, I am sure he doesn't want to feel this way. 


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#3 of 20 Old 01-25-2013, 02:44 PM
 
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Maybe you should be looking into a full assessment by a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist.  With SPD that severe there could be other things going on, too.  it's worth covering the bases.  I actually found with our own son that those in medicine were more open to looking at possibilities than many of the psychologists we saw.  No offence to psychologists, I'm sure many are great.  It's just that many psychologists exclusively look for the environmental, including parenting, and not at the biological.  Medical practitioners start the other way around.  If you are pretty sure of your parenting, then working with a professional used to dealing with biological issues might be the route.  We had a great pediatric psychiatrist for our son for a while and she was great as she really looked at the whole spectrum of things affecting him at the time.  He did end up having neurological issues, so it wasn't a forever fit, but it really helped us in the interim more than the three psychologists we had gone through.
 


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#4 of 20 Old 01-25-2013, 05:17 PM
 
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Just seconding what FarmerBeth said.  I'd say a good developmental ped evaluation is in order.  If you feel strongly that his pain and discomfort are legitimate, I would take offense at the implication that it's parenting or his defiance that is the problem.

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#5 of 20 Old 01-25-2013, 05:25 PM
 
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I know you said that you have tried diet changes but have you looked at the GAPS diet?
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#6 of 20 Old 01-25-2013, 05:38 PM
 
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What a tremendous amount of energy you must have - to raise such a sensitive child.  It takes much fortitude to witness a child suffering so much.  The SPD Foundation may have a list of practitioners in your area.  I would also look into a good classical homeopath if it were my child, and start doing some constitutional support.  Many blessings on your journey!  I hope other parents who have been in your situation will pipe in with some good info.

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#7 of 20 Old 01-25-2013, 07:13 PM
 
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I agree that an evaluation might be in order... though to be honest, I found DS's eval to be absolutely useless, and the neurodevelopmental pedi didn't really know much about sensory issues or psych stuff. So it would be more to rule out neuro stuff, than to actually pinpoint what it is if it's not neuro.

What kind of clothes do you normally dress him in? Have you tried compression clothing, or something like those silk long-johns? What does the OT have you doing, as far as the sensory stuff?

Does he have any contact allergies? Have you tried any supplements?

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#8 of 20 Old 01-26-2013, 10:30 AM
 
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My son has severe sensory issues as well, but he is on the autism spectrum.

 

I agree a neurodevelopmental evaluation is in order to at least rule out other neurological and//or other developmental issues. My son receives sensory integration therapy daily from his OT in school and they suggest the following for us at home:

 

- Brushing technique (several times a day)

- Weighted Vest/blankets/lap pads

- Compression clothing

- Joint compression

- Trampoline

- Body Sox

- Swing 

- Hug machine

- Vibrating massager 

 

I hope you're able to get some answers or appropriate help soon.


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#9 of 20 Old 01-27-2013, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to make him a weighted vest, a lap pad/pet, maybe a bodysock (there might be actual a reason why he is always under the cover when I try to make the beds ;) ) 

 

I am trying to find compression clothing, but I find it hard to find any. We are not in the u.s. maybe I could make them myself?


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#10 of 20 Old 01-27-2013, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

I am going to make him a weighted vest, a lap pad/pet, maybe a bodysock (there might be actual a reason why he is always under the cover when I try to make the beds ;) ) 

 

I am trying to find compression clothing, but I find it hard to find any. We are not in the u.s. maybe I could make them myself?

 

My son loves his body sox - we just had to get him a larger size now that he's getting bigger. I have found compression clothing here and they ship worldwide: http://www.especialneeds.com/search.php?mode=search&page=1 They are spendy, so it might be worth seeing if you can make them yourself.

 

Honestly, what works best for my son is the brushing technique, joint compression, and a weighted vest. We also have a trampoline and an indoor swing (http://www.playawaytoy.com/3piececombinationkit.aspx) that he uses when he gets overwhelmed and needs to self regulate. 

 

I wish I could afford a hug machine, they are amazing for some kids. My son's school has one and it's so calming for him - but unfortunately that tend to run in the thousands.


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#11 of 20 Old 01-27-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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If this hasn't been tried, add omega-3 and b-12 to the diet. It can't hurt, and might help.
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#12 of 20 Old 01-30-2013, 08:26 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

 

I cannot get out of the house with him, because I can't dress him.

....
I talked to a psychologist today, who saw him last year, and recommended OT (which we do) and a parenting course, a specialist course for kids with defiant disorder. (more for my daughter, who is a bit intense :) ). We started the course, but stopped going, because it was really, really redundant to what I know already, plus, not our parenting philosophy at all. More into the : 1-2-3 magic line. 
 
The psychologist recommended that we do this parenting course again - but: I don't feel that Vince is defiant at all, I feel that he is seriously overwhelmed by his own sensations. I have an appointment with her, but I am not sure if she is the right fit for us, pushing this parenting course. 
 
I believe that I am very good with parenting techniques, I think I could even run this parenting course for them. 
 
...I loose my temper after hours and hours of screaming and temper tantrums and throwing things and being hit by my little son. 
 

 

My answer won't be popular, but there is more going on with your son than sensory issues. Sensory issues are not the reason that your son is throwing this and hitting you. The situation is out of control; he is out of control. How you are parenting him isn't working for him. That's not to say that your parenting techniques are wonderful techniques, just that they are NOT the appropriate techniques for YOUR CHILD.

 

We all have to parent the child we have in front of us and no special need is an excuse for violent behavior. Ever. A parent not realizing that and parenting as if it is true means very scary things for their child down the road.

 

When my DD was little and her sensory issues were control our lives, I revolved our lives around providing her with the appropriate sensory diet. You said you have him in OT. How often is that, and for how long? And what are you doing day to day?

 

What kind of sensory input is most helpful to him, and what are you doing to help him get that input?


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#13 of 20 Old 01-30-2013, 09:33 PM
 
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In what situations does he function well?  When things are working better--even a little better--what's contributing?

 

I had to be a MUCH different parent than who I wanted to be for my ASD ds.  When he was younger I dealt with physicality by restraining him.  He does not get physical any longer except in tiny outbursts things like stomping around.  But I have always had t be extremely assertive with boundaries. 

 

Are there any clothes that do feel comfortable?  Can he take a bath instead of a shower?  (My ds takes baths and he is the pickiest person in the world about setting his bath temp and doing everything in one particular way.) My ds would not like rubbing either, haircuts freak him out, he wears one kind of socks, one type of underwear, never never never wears shorts in any season except while swimming, and sleeps under a heavy heap of blankets.  For a short while he decided to sleep bundled up under his desk.

 

Does your ds ALWAYS have a problem with the shower, with the towel, with the clothes?  Can he establish a mostly-comfortable routine of some kind? 

 

We had a few clothing battles when kids were little.  It wouldn't be unheard of in my neck of the woods (where it is rarely extremely cold) for one of us to take a child having a clothing fit and walk out the door with the child partly dressed or undressed and then put the clothes on in the car or after we reached our destination.  Assuming it is warm enough he would be expected to choose: sit in the car seat without the clothes or put the clothes on.  Not every place a family needs to go is optional, just like teeth brushing isn't optional.  I became quite experienced at simple physical restraint when it came to things that weren't an option.  Top strategy was to wrap my arms completely around him from behind and hold still.  And if it's a wrestling match to get clothes on either the clothes are important enough for me to wrestle and win or I don't bother with the clothes.  Although for years we stayed home a lot too.  I definitely learned that I HAD to be in control sometimes and made sure it happened.  I hope this doesn't sound too harsh because it really isn't and it is not meant as direct advice but just things to ponder on. 

 

I know your ds is young and agree with Linda and others about the aggression being another problem entirely and unacceptable.  When you are 4yo, you can't always fix things to be the way you need and you don't always understand your own need in order to tell others, but that is something that does get better and you can help him.  Even as he gets better at telling you what is wrong he will also get better at telling himself that he has some tools for helping himself as well.  (There is hope, and growing more mature can make such a difference.)  Please don't write his hitting behaviors off as part of his sensory issues.  Hug him firmly until he stops or move him away from you but don't accept it at all and especially don't let it manipulate your choices so that it "accomplishes" things.  Clearly he is frustrated and doesn't know how to get what he wants and hitting/screaming should not be what gives him power.  Give him other powers. 

 

I would be looking into whether dietary sensitivities could be making his skin feel irritated--that there could be a physical factor esp. since it's so intense. 


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#14 of 20 Old 01-31-2013, 04:04 PM
 
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I agree with the OP that violence can be a reaction to being overwhelmed though. I have two kids with sensory issues and mild ASD who respond to being overwhelmed and frustrated by striking out physically. DS3 aims that at himself, DS1 strikes out at others. He started hitting us at 4 and there was NOTHING we did that stopped it. It was NOT a parenting issue. I never, ever tolerated it, I got him all the help he needed, I provided structure and guidelines, I gave him other options and outlets, we gave consequences and rewards, we did meds, we did therapy, we did special schools, we did everything.... it didn't make a damn bit of difference what we did. He hurt = he hit. As a teen he can better articulate what triggers him. (he's always been extremely verbal, just not when it comes to introspective emotions stuff) Lots of loud noises, any type of physical pain, and just generally feeling irritable all contribute. He can intellectually know a better route to take, but his default setting is striking out and it takes a LOT of work and self-control to take the other route. Only maturity has allowed him to do that. 

 

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#15 of 20 Old 02-01-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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I agree with the OP that violence can be a reaction to being overwhelmed though.

 

I agree that violence can be a reaction to being overwhelmed, but that doesn't change my point. It doesn't matter what the causal reason is for the violence, it is of PRIMARY concern that you see the violence as a completely unacceptable behavior and train your child out of it or it may have serious consequences down the road for your child.

 

Kids, even kids with special needs, can learn that it is NEVER ok to hurt another person. And not teaching them that risk them being place for school (and eventually for housing) based on the likelihood that they will harm another.

 

When a child is a toddler, simply seeing it for what it is and denying them comfort/contact for a few minutes and then telling them why (you hit mommy. you can never mommy) is enough to start laying the ground work for this very basic skill. Continuing to coddle and placate a child (of any age or ability) who is being aggressive is doing them a disservice.


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#16 of 20 Old 02-01-2013, 06:36 PM
 
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Linda, I TOTALLY respect and mostly agree with your opinion.  However, I feel that the idea of "training" a child out of violence without addressing the root cause can be just as damaging in the long run.

 

I speak as a person who had serious sensory issues as a child.  My mother was very willing to help me find ways to accommodate my sensory sensitivities (thank goodness!!) but there were still times when I was literally unable to control my reactions.  They were rarely violent, but when I did act out physically, there was no way for me to stop myself, I was so far beyond myself.  What I needed more than anything was reassurance that I was not an inherently bad child.  My mother always responded to my violence with loving attention.  She made it clear it the behavior was not ok, but she also never turned her back to me when I was frightened and out of control.

 

For a child who has no intrinsic social motivation (for example, a child with fairly severe Autism) I can see how removing attention might be the only way to train a child to stop (if they  but for most children, hitting and aggression is a normal developmental stage that they will grow out of.  If there is serious, ongoing violence, then there might need to be behavioral intervention, but hitting mommy because they are overwhelmed is exactly what I did and the only thing that really helped was consistent assurance, plus neurological immaturity providing me with the ability to deal with my responses better.   

 

For the OP, I would definitely get an evaluation from a respected developmental pediatrician.  It really sounds like something is going on, and it can only help you to have a good sense of why he is acting like this.  I know how exhausting parenting your DS must be (our DS is also very challenging in his own way) so I send you hugs and support.  I hope you are able to find some things to help him (and help you all have a more calm, peaceful life)!

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#17 of 20 Old 02-01-2013, 07:47 PM
 
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I didn't say to not adress the root problem. My first post on this was mostly about addressing sensory issues.

I said that violence needs to be treated like a behavior problem because for some children, their mothers failing to do so has serious consequences.

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#18 of 20 Old 02-03-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

I agree that violence can be a reaction to being overwhelmed, but that doesn't change my point. It doesn't matter what the causal reason is for the violence, it is of PRIMARY concern that you see the violence as a completely unacceptable behavior and train your child out of it or it may have serious consequences down the road for your child.

 

Kids, even kids with special needs, can learn that it is NEVER ok to hurt another person. And not teaching them that risk them being place for school (and eventually for housing) based on the likelihood that they will harm another.

 

When a child is a toddler, simply seeing it for what it is and denying them comfort/contact for a few minutes and then telling them why (you hit mommy. you can never mommy) is enough to start laying the ground work for this very basic skill. Continuing to coddle and placate a child (of any age or ability) who is being aggressive is doing them a disservice.

I recognize that this is the truth as most people see it, however, there are some children, who as the PP described with her own child hood experiences, who are so "beyond" themselves that they don't really have the conscious "choice" not to hit. Esp if there are developmental delays and the child is young. Its like they regress into wild animal mode and they cannot see reason. There is a science behind this. I know that at least with autism the amigdala - the reptilian part of the brain responsible for fight or flight - is enlarged when seen on MRI and this makes sense to me why they can be overcome so easily with fight or flight reactions. The reasoning part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex is an area often challenged in special needs kid; this is the part of the brain responsible for reason, making decisions, judgement, breaking a task into steps. It doesn't mature until later adolescence and early adulthood. So you can see how the stage is set. 

 

So do you do nothing? Of course not. All children need rules, guidance, and to learn the consequences of their behavior. Some parenting styles could potentially make the problems worse. But sometimes the BEST parenting doesn't make it better. Sometimes our ability to "train" them out of a violent response due to biology is thwarted by that very biology. My experiences as a mom of multiple SN kids is that beyond the basics of good parenting (structure, firmness, kindness, love, etc) we cannot place the blame too heavily upon our own shoulders. Sensitive issue for me, I admit, as I come out on the other side of a very, very difficult road. DS1 is turning 17 this month and well on his way to a "normal" life. He wants to be a psychologist and help kids like himself. No one better than one who's BTDT I think. I even consult him sometimes now when DS3 (my other kid who goes into overload mode) is having a hard time and I appreciate his insight and find it quite intuitive and useful. :) 


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#19 of 20 Old 02-03-2013, 12:39 PM
 
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OP - what does your LO wear to bed at night? Is he sleeping w/o clothing or is he wearing pajamas? If he will wear pajamas, I'd adjust your expectations of what "getting dressed" means and just let him keep pajamas or whatever on to go out. DH works in a grocery store and sees kids shopping in PJ's or Halloween costumes all the time. Its no big deal. Now at 16 that might turn heads, but at 4 I think you could get away with it easily and then you can maybe get out a bit.


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#20 of 20 Old 02-04-2013, 10:44 AM
 
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Just in response to PP and the pajamas: It could also be acceptable to change at different times.  My youngest child (I really don't know why, he has some special needs but I'm not sure there's any relation) is a total wreck about changing in the morning but will bathe at night and wear the change of clothes for the next day.  he doesn't wear jeans, just sports type clothes, so he can sleep like that.  I stopped worrying about it because at least he gets changed.  In fact, while looking into a developmental or neurological pediatrician, it might be a good time to review a lot of what stuff is big stuff and what stuff is small stuff.  Certainly, dealing with violent behavior is big stuff (although I doubt not using 123 Magic has much to do with it) and your expectations, perhaps more than any parenting technique, matter a lot.  But activities that may be triggers for violence and unrest are not always necessary.  A sponge bath can replace a shower, for example, and seamless clothes with no tags can help.  Also, while you already do the recommended OT, it might be a good time to look into whether re-evaluation by the OT or new avenues need to be explored.  Sensory needs are fluid and change quickly in young kids.
 


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