Intense Nearly 2 Year Old - Help Me Troubleshoot, Please! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 02-15-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS has always been a high needs baby and a spirited lil guy - persistent, intense, sensitive, energetic, and on and on. smile.gif  We've developed alot of Raising Your Spirited Child like behaviors around that, to set him up for success (informing him of the schedule, upcoming transitions, etc.).

 

Right now, I really need help - we are having major conflict more often, but also, the intensity of his tantrums is really concerning.  I feel like I have a decent arsenal of GD tools at my disposal, but increasingly, none of them is working.  Two typical battlefields are putting on clothes (he does often say his clothes hurt, even though they are all cotton, oversized, sweatpants, etc.) and getting in the car seat.  Here's my current go-to list...

  • distraction (TV, toy, "hey, look at that truck!")
  • playful parenting (general silliness or pretend play)
  • give 2 choices about ways to do the thing I'm asking (including, the "doing it yourself or mommy will do it for you" route if it comes to it)
  • acknowledge feelings (calmly, down on his level - How to Talk So Kids Will Listen style)
  • ask for his help with a task or ask him to demonstrate skill
  • reminding him of something fun we can do once he does xyz (or something fun happening later in the day)
  • collaborative problem solving (this is difficult with a 22 mo. old kid, even if he is pretty verbal - usually it works best in situations with an obvious solution that he can take ownership of, e.g. "what do we need to do to get these germs off?" "wash hands!")
  • offering snacks
  • trying to tune in to his needs, and see if there is something I'm missing that would create a more peaceful solution (like letting him play in the car for a few minutes before settling in)
  • simply not going somewhere (this is fine if it's the playground - but it's harder when there is no food in the house, and we need to go to the store)

 

If none of these approaches works (and I try to give them each their due, not run through them quickly), I can try to wrestle him into his clothes or carseat.  There are two problems with this: 1.) if he really fights me, I can't overpower him easily.  He's off the growth charts, and this is a kid who at 15 months old liked to carry a five pound weight around in each hand for fun.  The amount of force required can end up with one of us hurt or it just flat out doesn't work.

 

2.) The times I can wrestle him in lately, he has one of his epic meltdowns.  These are different, at least in my limited experience, from a normal tantrum.  Normal to me means, some red-faced screaming/crying/yelling, lots of tears, punching/hitting/kicking that lasts about 10 minutes.  Impervious to even calm communication on his level.  He usually just needs me to get out of the room (or he leaves) so he can settle himself, then come to me for hugs and nursing.  

 

The kind of meltdown we've had more and more frequently is scary to me, and scary to him.  It is the normal tantrum PLUS he's just so out of control that his hair and clothes are dripping wet with sweat, he can't even breathe, turns blue, and/or almost throws up (makes puking noises), his face is contorted and his eyes are just wild with fear.  The only way I've found to help him find the reset button in these instances is to restrain him in a firm hug.  That seems to turn the tide (though it takes a long time to calm down).  These tantrums also can rage on for upwards of 30 minutes.

 

So...given that that is how things escalate, "just wrestling him into the car" or whatever feels overwhelmingly wrong to me.  It feels an awful lot like CIO in this case, and my kid is the kind who wouldn't calm down, but would only continue to ramp up in intensity.  

 

I try to limit our trips out and about, but beyond that, I don't know what else to do, and would appreciate any suggestions.


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#2 of 27 Old 02-15-2013, 07:27 PM
 
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That sounds tough! My 22 month old DD has ramped up her tantrums lately too and any little thing will set her off. Today she had a 20 minute screaming fit because I flushed the toilet without her help eyesroll.gif. I dont have much advice, but lots of commiseration. my only meager idea is do you have a grocery store within walking distance? My DD is always happy to leave the house, but not necessarily get in the car. We are a few blocks away from an ok grocery store - certainly not my preferred store. I usually toss on a mostly empty backpack, grab a bag or two and walk over with missy if it isn't too cold. I let her dawdle and point out each tree, car and house and at the store she puts the produce in the little baggies and helps me by getting things off the lower shelves. I then pack it all up and we walk home. Sure, a 10 minute errand turns into an hour but she isn't miserable and we get necessities into the house. Your kiddo may not be into it but for mine the walk is enough motivation, exercise and stimulation to get her to cooperate. I always bring a snack and some water though. That's an easy maintenance habit I got into.
Good luck and I'll be following for ideas. This is a tough age but we will get through it.
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#3 of 27 Old 02-15-2013, 08:14 PM
 
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I see flags in your post for sensory processing disorder.

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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

...  Two typical battlefields are putting on clothes (he does often say his clothes hurt, even though they are all cotton, oversized, sweatpants, etc.) and getting in the car seat.  Here's my current go-to list...

 

 

... 1.) if he really fights me, I can't overpower him easily.  He's off the growth charts, and this is a kid who at 15 months old liked to carry a five pound weight around in each hand for fun.  The amount of force required can end up with one of us hurt or it just flat out doesn't work.

 

2.) The times I can wrestle him in lately, he has one of his epic meltdowns.  These are different, at least in my limited experience, from a normal tantrum.  Normal to me means, some red-faced screaming/crying/yelling, lots of tears, punching/hitting/kicking that lasts about 10 minutes.  Impervious to even calm communication on his level.  He usually just needs me to get out of the room (or he leaves) so he can settle himself, then come to me for hugs and nursing.  

 

The kind of meltdown we've had more and more frequently is scary to me, and scary to him.  It is the normal tantrum PLUS he's just so out of control that his hair and clothes are dripping wet with sweat, he can't even breathe, turns blue, and/or almost throws up (makes puking noises), his face is contorted and his eyes are just wild with fear.  The only way I've found to help him find the reset button in these instances is to restrain him in a firm hug.  That seems to turn the tide (though it takes a long time to calm down).  These tantrums also can rage on for upwards of 30 minutes.

 

Here is a link:

http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/

 

I have a child with extra sensory issues as part of being on the autism spectrum, and I work with special needs kids, some of whom have sensory issues. (One of the girls freaks out and I calm her by hugging her firmly) This isn't a discipline issue, and no form of discipline will improve the behavior. It's a reaction to how he is experiencing the world.

 

If, after you read a bit, you feel that it is a sensory issue, this is really a question for the special needs board. There are things that you can do and specialist you can see. You can tweak his experience to work better for him.

 

Most all 2 year old have tantrums and like to be naked, but this is different.


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#4 of 27 Old 02-16-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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skycheattraffic - thank you for the commiseration!  I do think walking to the store will be helpful, especially as it gets warmer outside.  We keep hoping for a closer grocery store, but we can walk to the drugstore and soon, our local coffee shop will be selling fresh produce (YAAAAY!).  Farmer's market isn't too far to walk, either, on the weekends.

 

Linda on the move - I have wondered about SPD with him since he was tiny. We recently took him to see a band for Mardi Gras - he was fine when the band was outside, but when they moved in, he was shell-shocked and finally found his voice to say it was too loud (like a fire truck) and that we needed to leave. The other little kids were carrying on like the noise level was normal (I found it atrocious, too, but I'm a more sensitive person - DH was fine).  He is easily overwhelmed by family functions or playing with lots of other kids (there is almost always a huge fall-out tantrum, on the way home, or later in the day).  We've learned to make some days really low-key at home days after a day out, and we take lots of breaks from the action when with family.

 

It's hard for me as a first-time mom, because as you said, some of these things are similar to normal toddler behavior.  Wanting to be naked, not liking the car, etc.  He also LOVES to be swung upside down and tousled around - spins until dizzy all the time, and is a total daredevil - but again, could be normal.  He has always been really drawn to water or "heavy work" to calm himself, and that's actually where I got the idea for giving him a firm hug from - from the special needs board.  And it does work.  He also has loved really, really spicy food and strong flavors since he was a babe (jalapeños, olives, ginger, very dark chocolate, etc. you name it).  It's hard for me to determine what's really something and what's nothing.

 

Is it common, in your experience, for kids to have a mix of sensory seeking and hypersensitive behaviors? Also, why are things often too loud for him, but he cracks up at his own screams? It seems somewhat contradictory. (And I may post over there, thanks!)


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#5 of 27 Old 02-16-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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Yes, sensory seeking and sensory avoiding behaviors often go together! My son has both, with his seeking usually being stronger. And yes, the whole thing is contradictory and inconsistent. Maybe in the case you mentioned, due to what was under his control vs. what was unpredictable. Can also change day to day and hour to hour. Just seems to be the nature of sensory stuff.

 

The flags that Linda mentioned jumped out at me too, especially because some were so similar to my son's (esp. the carrying heavy weights). I highly, highly recommended visiting an OT, who will help you sort out his specific mix of needs and sensitivities - i.e., what he needs more of and what he needs support with. And also do some really fun activities with him that you can learn.

 

Once you start getting into it, it's all pretty interesting - a new way to look at how we ALL experience our worlds.

 

And, he's also a toddler with toddler behaviors! I often need to remind myself that just because my son is still acting 3, that doesn't mean the strategies I'm using aren't working, it just means he's still 3 wink1.gif

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#6 of 27 Old 02-16-2013, 02:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post
Is it common, in your experience, for kids to have a mix of sensory seeking and hypersensitive behaviors? Also, why are things often too loud for him, but he cracks up at his own screams? It seems somewhat contradictory. (And I may post over there, thanks!)

 

yes, it is common for kids with sensory issues to have a mix.

 

I think with the noise thing, the level of control he has over the noise could really make a difference, as well as the size of the space where the noise is happening. Also, sometimes loud noises we don't control (such as concerts) are accompanied by other sensory input -- too much to see, to much movement, etc.  Sensory overload can build up -- so what might not be a problem on a day that has been very calm, could be overwhelming on a day that has already provided a more sensory input that he can easily process.

 

An Occupational therapist could be very helpful in sorting out what is going on with him.

 

Figuring out a sensory diet that helps provide the kind of sensory input he most needs could also be helpful. I found the book "The Out of Synch Child" extremely helpful for this. When my DD was little, my goal was to spend an hour day just providing her with her sensory diet. Gradually it shifted to being a natural part of our lives. For her, swimming was the perfect "therapy," so she swam competitively for years and enjoyed the heck out of.


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#7 of 27 Old 02-16-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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So...given that that is how things escalate, "just wrestling him into the car" or whatever feels overwhelmingly wrong to me.  

BIG hugs, mama!  hug2.gif

 

I totally agree with your instinct that this isn't typical "toddler doesn't want to get in the car" and encourage you to look into some of the suggestions above. One other thought about the car is possibly car-sickness. 

 

P.s. we were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras this year - I can sympathize with your little one listening about the intensity of listening to a marching band inside. ;-)  


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#8 of 27 Old 02-17-2013, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone, for your input!  I'm probably going to do some more reading first, and maybe find out OT options...it's still hard for me, because things can seem so inconsistent.  Or one day, the gentle discipline ideas will work, and I'll think I'm just imagining things.  Then we're stuck in the parking lot for 30 minutes with an absolutely hysterical child who can't calm down (this happened today with DH, but it wasn't quite as severe as usual...even so, nothing worked, and in the end we had to strap him in - since I was in back, I tried to nurse him, and as soon as I could get him to latch on he passed out into a limp as a ragdoll sleep - this seems to be a pattern, and very different from a normal nap or bedtime, even if he's cranky...he has a hard time switching to sleep).

 

DH thinks he's fine - my mother (who knows nothing about it but means well, and raised me, a pretty sensitive kid) reinforces that he's fine if I mention it.  They just write it off as normal toddler tantrums (I don't - it feels out of control), because he doesn't want to be strapped in...but they have no idea how to make it easier on him, either.  I feel like everyone around me thinks this is some fad diagnosis for label lovers, and that dragging heavy things around means he's just strong, that not liking clothes or the car is normal, that it's cool he loves spicy foods, that it's no big deal if he completely freaks over the sand touching his feet, because he can just wear sandals, and on and on.  There is a general acceptance (that I also share, to some extent) that he is just a very bright, quirky, intense, sensitive kid.

 

On the other hand, I feel like if SPD tools and therapies can help him, what is the harm, really?  He bangs into things and falls down repeatedly on purpose (or bangs on his head), notices the slightest noises or tiny visual details, and I'm pretty certain he thinks the only reason other humans exist is to function as jungle gyms for him to climb...the more I read the more I wonder if this really could help him.  

 

eta - this 30 lb. kid spent a lot of time today carrying around a 10.5 lb. bag of compostable kitty litter...and dragging the full to bulging diaper bag up and down the hall - these type of things give me pause... :-\


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#9 of 27 Old 02-17-2013, 09:16 PM
 
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In addition to all the great thoughts already posted:  I found that keeping blood sugar swings to a minimum made a world of difference for my DD.  If I wasn't on top of getting good protein into her at breakfast or missed a snack time by 5 minutes we would have unbelievable tantrums (yes, sweaty hair and clothes and concerned neighbors peering our way . . . for 30 minutes to an hour).  I eventually found that a spoonful of honey would help answer if the fit was a toddler fit or a low blood sugar fit.  

 

As she has grown older I have worked on having her recognize signs of hunger (even if she doesn't feel hungry) and helped her to know what snacks she can get for herself.  Growth spurts are the hardest now because the regular routines get mixed up as her fuel/food needs adjust.  

 

Just offering as something to think about.

 

Much love to you as you sort through this!

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#10 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 06:34 AM
 
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I feel like everyone around me thinks this is some fad diagnosis for label lovers, 

You know? I would be sensitive to that too if I were your DH or Mom. I have an aversion to labels in general...

 

If the label thing resonates with you and makes you feel more in control and better able to handle things and get the help you and your son needs - great and judgement be darned!  BUT, if you feel like the actual label isn't necessary and is causing some friction between your and your DP and family, you can always implement the suggestions for SPD without getting too involved in the label. 

 

I was actually at the tot lot yesterday with a man who has a 4.5 year old with SPD and he needed to talk. orngbiggrin.gif  So we talked about his son a little and the label and how he felt that everything his son did was something all kids to -- his son just did it x10, yk?  And you could see it. I mean, all kids jump around but this boy JUMPED AROUND.  


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#11 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know? I would be sensitive to that too if I were your DH or Mom. I have an aversion to labels in general...

 

If the label thing resonates with you and makes you feel more in control and better able to handle things and get the help you and your son needs - great and judgement be darned!  BUT, if you feel like the actual label isn't necessary and is causing some friction between your and your DP and family, you can always implement the suggestions for SPD without getting too involved in the label. 

 

I was actually at the tot lot yesterday with a man who has a 4.5 year old with SPD and he needed to talk. orngbiggrin.gif  So we talked about his son a little and the label and how he felt that everything his son did was something all kids to -- his son just did it x10, yk?  And you could see it. I mean, all kids jump around but this boy JUMPED AROUND.  

 

I think that's the route I'm taking...learn more and see if it makes sense or can make a difference...just like the blood sugar idea - thanks, OrmEmbar!  That gives me something else to be mindful of (and his dad is VERY sensitive to blood sugar, so could be a culprit - I can try to make sure he's eaten something recently before predictable problem areas, since once he starts to balk, it's a no go).

 

I'm label averse, too.  I don't like them at all.  It took me a looooong time to feel comfortable describing DS as a high needs baby/spirited kid (despite it being quite obvious), but once I finally bit that bullet, I did find resources that helped him and made sense.  And DH came around to it, too.  So I guess, pragmatism trumps my discomfort, at the end of the day - I just want to help my kid.

 

I think more reading and trying to implement some SPD techniques would help me get more of a handle on how I feel about it, and would help DH evaluate as well (for what it's worth, DH is a scientist, and veerrrryyyy slow to accept any new conclusions).  It's further muddied by the fact that DH's nephews received no discipline and very little attention - and had epic tantrums as lil kids, one would constantly stop breathing and pass out, and once had to be taken to the hospital - and DH not only equates the parenting with the tantrum, he also thinks it's fairly normal in general for tantrums to look like that.  

 

He thinks it's a discipline issue, but I can't get anything GD to help, and DS is obviously terrified...he has no answer, other than that DS can't get out of it by flipping out (well, ok, he never does because we'd be living in a parking lot somewhere...and further, DS is so distraught, I can't imagine he's just doing this for the heck of it - when he's having a normal tantrum, it's very obvious that he's angry - these are dominated by fear).


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#12 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 10:48 AM
 
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He thinks it's a discipline issue, but I can't get anything GD to help, and DS is obviously terrified...he has no answer, other than that DS can't get out of it by flipping out (well, ok, he never does because we'd be living in a parking lot somewhere...and further, DS is so distraught, I can't imagine he's just doing this for the heck of it - when he's having a normal tantrum, it's very obvious that he's angry - these are dominated by fear).

 

My now 11 year old have a few true temper tantrums in her day. What worked for her was me recognizing that sweet spot when she was ready for me to offer that small token, consolation, compromise that helped her get out of it. So if it were the clothing issue and it was prompted by me telling her she needed to wear socks because it was cold outside (for instance) and a huge, out of control tantrum started, she could usually be drawn out of it with a little, tiny compromise from me. That may be wearing the favorite dirty socks that I fish out of the laundry bin, or bringing socks to put on in the car, socks without shoes or whatever. I DID NOT find that my willingness to "give in" encouraged more temper tantrums - to the contrary, actually. 

 

I don't know if I think the idea of 100% consistency is all that important for some kids/families. I think I know one family for whom the message the kids take from unrelenting consistency is that of modeling stubbornness. I think it's good to occasionally model that it's ok to change your mind and be flexible if someone is really stressed out by your choices. 

 

This is not to say that you don't already to that...and I am speaking more from some observations of parents who feel super strongly that "giving in" means the end of any sort of "power". I just think it's good to think about the message that kids are getting in that case. In addition to the message that "crying and tantruming won't get me what I want" is the message of "never give in, no matter how upset someone feels". 


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#13 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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No, I think you are on target for where DH is coming from, and I completely agree with you (you put it so well!) - I often will re-evaluate and make concessions if it seems helpful (especially in this territory), but DH is more focused about consistency and drawing hard lines.  

 

You also made me aware that I tend to lead our family on many things - from extended breastfeeding to GD, EC to cloth diapers, and so on - with DH supporting me but hanging back, until he fully realizes why it's awesome - then he's equally enthusiastic. smile.gif  I think this is not much different (in that sense). Also, upon reflection, I realized my mother is very reticent to get kids help, and this was actually a big problem for me growing up - I didn't get the help I needed until I was an adult - so her input is "grain of salt" category, too. 

 

The more I read, the more I see DS - the more memories come back vividly, and the more I realize, that we've been making concessions for him since birth, learning so many work arounds/preventative measures, leaving early, missing out on events, and so on - that I think we do it on auto-pilot.  Family and friends are very aware that we live differently, but we kind of just roll with it.  He's all we know, and, yes, he's awesome - but that doesn't mean he doesn't need a little extra help, ykwim?  

 

Labels and calling things disorders are big turn-offs for me, but if it ultimately helps him, it's worth it.  I think that's where I'm at right now.

 

I found these old threads that were helpful...

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/816794/whats-spd-and-whats-a-tantrum

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1152206/spd-support-thread


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#14 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 05:54 PM
 
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The things about labels is that they are a way to communicate and to access help. Children who qualify for labels but whose parents refuse to allow them are treated as bad children who need more discipline. It's unfair to them.

 

If your child had diabetes would you be upset about the label?

 

Different kids with sensory issues find different things helpful. It isn't as straight forward as "x sets him off and y is very helpful to him."  If it were, then you could just avoid x and do y every day and everything would improve.  But x and y are different for different kids with sensory issues.

 

If he does have sensory issues, then the world is at times an overwhelming and scary place, and he is looking to you to help him feel safe and be able to cope. The more OK you are OK with the label, the more you can access experts and help for him, and hopefully, the safer he can feel, and the more he will be able to cope.

 

As far as your husband, if you have to chose between keeping your husband happy and letting your child feel safe, is it really a hard decision? Is this worth a martial argument?


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#15 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

The things about labels is that they are a way to communicate and to access help. Children who qualify for labels but whose parents refuse to allow them are treated as bad children who need more discipline. It's unfair to them.

 

Actually, I have some experience with this issue for my own child. My 11 year old has a mild learning disability - maybe dyslexia or some sort of reading LD. For us, I think the right choice was to not seek out the label and official services. This choice was made for a huge variety of reasons and a lot went into how and why we choose to take that path but I think it was a good choice for her particular situation. Mainly, I didn't want her to internalize having a LD and I didn't want her to be treated differently by her teachers (they already differentiated every student's education). It was a bit of a crap shoot but I was willing to take a risk of delaying the label for 6 months (under close supervision) to avoid some of what I felt were negative effects of the label. 

 

Now this is different because we're talking about a toddler and a different thing but I wanted to share where I was coming from so that you (or anyone reading) had some perspective for where I was coming from personally when I talk about not liking labels. 

 

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#16 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 06:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

Labels and calling things disorders are big turn-offs for me, but if it ultimately helps him, it's worth it.  I think that's where I'm at right now.

 

I don't know anything about SPD but I think there are some things a parent can address just by individuating your child's needs and being the right kind of parent for that child. But, I do think there are some things that need much, much more than that. I think you and I have similar feelings about labels - that they aren't helpful if they...aren't helpful!  But if they help or if they are needed inorder to get your child the help she/he needs that's what you do. 

 

I agree that ultimately the label may end up helping. Plus, there is always the option to pick and choose how you use it and when. 

 

As you read about SPD, are you feeling more and more like this is something your child experiences? In a way, I bet that will feel like a relief because you can get specific ideas about how to help him, right? Let us know if/when you decide to try something specifically developed for children with SPD. It will be so interesting to hear how it goes. 


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#17 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

The things about labels is that they are a way to communicate and to access help. Children who qualify for labels but whose parents refuse to allow them are treated as bad children who need more discipline. It's unfair to them.

 

If your child had diabetes would you be upset about the label?

 

I've acquired a great many labels in my lifetime that have been useful to me, in terms of seeking appropriate help.  But I'm also sensitive to the ramifications they can have for a child's identity and development, as well as how he is perceived within a school system or other community, etc.  This is also likely colored by seeing up close the polar opposite of what you are suggesting - a zealous approach to apply labels to a child that don't exactly fit, that are used to "explain away" behaviors that merit a closer look, and which have generally caused more harm than good to his identity. All of these things lead me to being cautious, and making sure the shoe fits - if it does, then the benefits may absolutely outweigh the risks, and I do believe parenting counts in terms of how the child processes the label.

 

Different kids with sensory issues find different things helpful. It isn't as straight forward as "x sets him off and y is very helpful to him."  If it were, then you could just avoid x and do y every day and everything would improve.  But x and y are different for different kids with sensory issues.

 

This is where I do think an OT eval may be helpful.  I feel like we've made alot of changes to help him out on our own, and need help to go further.

 

If he does have sensory issues, then the world is at times an overwhelming and scary place, and he is looking to you to help him feel safe and be able to cope. The more OK you are OK with the label, the more you can access experts and help for him, and hopefully, the safer he can feel, and the more he will be able to cope.

 

This especially is how I feel when he has the worst of his tantrums, and I want to be able to do more, which prompted this thread.

 

As far as your husband, if you have to chose between keeping your husband happy and letting your child feel safe, is it really a hard decision? Is this worth a martial argument?

 

I'm not really worried about DH - I think he will be fine with an eval, and will support the idea of therapy if it's recommended.  It's just that he's skeptical at this point, and somehow doesn't see what I see - so I second guess myself, and don't really have anyone supporting my gut feeling that something isn't quite right.


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#18 of 27 Old 02-18-2013, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

 

I don't know anything about SPD but I think there are some things a parent can address just by individuating your child's needs and being the right kind of parent for that child. But, I do think there are some things that need much, much more than that. I think you and I have similar feelings about labels - that they aren't helpful if they...aren't helpful!  But if they help or if they are needed inorder to get your child the help she/he needs that's what you do. 

 

I agree that ultimately the label may end up helping. Plus, there is always the option to pick and choose how you use it and when. 

 

This is very much how I feel. smile.gif

 

As you read about SPD, are you feeling more and more like this is something your child experiences? In a way, I bet that will feel like a relief because you can get specific ideas about how to help him, right? Let us know if/when you decide to try something specifically developed for children with SPD. It will be so interesting to hear how it goes. 

 

It does sound familiar, but it is a terribly inconsistent thing.  One minute, I feel certain, the next he seems to be handling things better, and I second guess (I have a habit of intensely questioning my own perceptions...but I don't want that to result in vacillating and doing nothing, like I feel my mother did on other issues).  I think an OT eval should be helpful, if we can swing it - it doesn't seem like that could hurt (hopefully!), and it could be validating and beneficial.


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I often feel conflicted about labels too, but I've also found that as I've pursued support for my son, the labels really don't come into play very much. (This may change - he's only 3.) But when we visit our OT, we don't talk about SPD, we talk about helping him feel more confident using his body and switching activities. When we visit his developmental ped, we don't talk about any particular dx, we talk about how well he's functioning at daycare, home, etc and any additional support he may need.

 

One more book you may find helpful, often recommended on here by Lindaonthemove, is http://www.amazon.com/Quirky-Kids-Understanding-Helping-Doesnt/dp/0345451430. It addresses much of what you've mentioned - your uncertainty, questioning yourself, family members with different perspectives, the potential lines between typical and not-typical quirkiness. Very supportive.

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Pickle, as you work out whether this is "typical or non-typical quirkiness" (I love that Baltmom!) it may be helpful for you to post a little in the special needs forum. I imagine a lot of parents grapple with a lot of the same things you're experiencing.  


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#21 of 27 Old 02-19-2013, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I often feel conflicted about labels too, but I've also found that as I've pursued support for my son, the labels really don't come into play very much. (This may change - he's only 3.) But when we visit our OT, we don't talk about SPD, we talk about helping him feel more confident using his body and switching activities. When we visit his developmental ped, we don't talk about any particular dx, we talk about how well he's functioning at daycare, home, etc and any additional support he may need.

 

One more book you may find helpful, often recommended on here by Lindaonthemove, is http://www.amazon.com/Quirky-Kids-Understanding-Helping-Doesnt/dp/0345451430. It addresses much of what you've mentioned - your uncertainty, questioning yourself, family members with different perspectives, the potential lines between typical and not-typical quirkiness. Very supportive.

 

Thank you so much!  I really appreciate the link, and I really like this approach.  It feels organic (and yes, transitions around here are incredibly difficult). And that is really the root of it - he's struggling, even if I'm the only one who feels how much, and I need more tools to help him.  I will look into that book.

 

And you're right, IdentityCrisisMama - I think I will post there soon.  Just reading old threads in there has already been helpful.


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#22 of 27 Old 02-20-2013, 08:25 PM
 
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I've acquired a great many labels in my lifetime that have been useful to me, in terms of seeking appropriate help.  But I'm also sensitive to the ramifications they can have for a child's identity and development, as well as how he is perceived within a school system or other community, etc.  This is also likely colored by seeing up close the polar opposite of what you are suggesting - a zealous approach to apply labels to a child that don't exactly fit, that are used to "explain away" behaviors that merit a closer look, and which have generally caused more harm than good to his identity. All of these things lead me to being cautious, and making sure the shoe fits - if it does, then the benefits may absolutely outweigh the risks, and I do believe parenting counts in terms of how the child processes the label.

 

There's really no way to know if the shoe fits or not without bringing in experts. The only alternative is to attempt to diagnosis your own child based on what you read on the internet. A lot of parents do that, but I really don't recommend it.

 

Baltmon did a great job explaining how labels have worked out for her child. My real point is that it isn't wise to let fear of a label stop you from getting the best information and help for your child that is available. The goal is to be better able to understand your child so you can better meet his needs. For us, the other information that came out of the evaluations have been more helpful than the labels.

 

I also feel there is no risk with a diagnosis of sensory issues for a young child because no body ever has to know that diagnosis unless you tell them. As far as schools go, in most states, a dx of SPD does not qualify the child for any accommodations under a 504 plan unless it is co-morbid with another condition -- such as autism. So, there's no reason to tell the school unless you want to tell a specific teacher to help them understand your child better.

 

I've helped my DD make peace with some VERY heavy labels, far bigger than the little things you and the other posters are talking about. She is comfortable with who she is, but understanding that she is on the autism spectrum has been an important part of making peace with herself. If a child is bright, they will figure out they are different. Being open and honest and getting them appropriate support (including in my DD's case, a talk therapist to discuss how she felt about her diagnosis) is part of accepting the whole package of who they are.

 

If you can really keep it a secret their whole childhood without them labeling themselves as stupid, weird, lazy, etc., there really must not be anything very significant going on. The topic of how to help a child make peace with being atypical in some way is a big one, but really truly deeply NOT a reason to refuse to get a small scared child real help.

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#23 of 27 Old 02-20-2013, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've helped my DD make peace with some VERY heavy labels, far bigger than the little things you and the other posters are talking about. She is comfortable with who she is, but understanding that she is on the autism spectrum has been an important part of making peace with herself. If a child is bright, they will figure out they are different. Being open and honest and getting them appropriate support (including in my DD's case, a talk therapist to discuss how she felt about her diagnosis) is part of accepting the whole package of who they are.

 

If you can really keep it a secret their whole childhood without them labeling themselves as stupid, weird, lazy, etc., there really must not be anything very significant going on. The topic of how to help a child make peace with being atypical in some way is a big one, but really truly deeply NOT a reason to refuse to get a small scared child real help.

 

Thank you so much, Linda!  Your responses are right on target, and have been truly helpful to me.  First of all, I have to say I'm so impressed with the many ways you are helping your daughter and meeting her needs, on multiple levels.  I certainly don't mean to blow this issue out of proportion - and you've opened my eyes more to how my own experience may be coloring how I've approached this.

 

The more I read, the more comfortable I am in pursuing this, and the more confidence I'm building in my assessment of the situation. It's also been helpful to find other parents discussing my same feelings of uncertainty, second guessing, and perhaps a little denial born of simply being adjusted to DS and trying to constantly accommodate him.  But at the end of the day, if I can get over myself, what matters most is a little boy who wants to go to the playground but can't because he can't get dressed.  For whom the mere prospect launches him into wounded, frightened epic tantrums that scare me, too.  In spite of our best attempts and workarounds, it's seriously impacting his life, and he deserves better.  Sleep is incredibly difficult, and transitions, in spite of our efforts, are so hard.

 

I think you also hit the nail on the head about this being why discipline techniques just don't work.  I'm looking into our eval options, which so far appear expensive (hopefully not prohibitively).  He's young, but I'm not sure an EI eval would be any help at all, or even applicable, given that he has no other delays.  I'm just trying to figure out the logistics and how to pay for it (it doesn't appear insurance will help...).  In the meantime, I'm reading what I can get my hands on from the library (Quirky Kids, Sensational Kids, and Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun) to see what I can learn/apply.  I'd prefer not to play OT alone, though.  Ideally, we'd at minimum have an eval and some kind of plan, if this does indeed fit as well as it seems to at the moment.


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#24 of 27 Old 02-21-2013, 04:35 AM
 
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Pickle, 

 

A couple of suggestions from someone who also grappled with some of the financial concerns...

 

  • Call your local universities and ask if their OT or whatever department that educates the service providers you need has some sort of training program that includes clients from the community.  They are sometimes offered at a discounted rate and would be a good first place to get some professional evaluations. Also, maybe put a flyer up at the uni. A student of OT/SPD may be willing to babysit (if you can afford that) and offer some student/professional help. 

 

  • Talk to your pediatrician. I was surprised that my ped was so knowledgeable about LD. She/he may also be able to help you navigate the insurance situation.

 

  • If you do end up knowing that you're going to drop a bunch of money on some evaluations and can raise the money, I would ask around for all the medical tax relief and savings programs available. 

 

Keep us posted! 

 


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#25 of 27 Old 02-23-2013, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quick update: I really love the Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun smile.gif! This will be immensely helpful in between now and whenever we can get an OT eval (DH has agreed to pursue it when finances allow - probably around the time of DS' 2 year check up, so we can talk to our ped). All the activities are the sort of fun things I remember from pre-school, but clearly have potential to help DS with his triggers as well.

 

I was beginning to panic and feel a little like I'd fallen down the rabbit hole. Between doctors and diagnoses and insurance and so on - information overload.  I stress, I second guess...so I returned to my old standby, Raising Your Spirited Child (since this book could have been written about DS - it fits him to a T!). Her tone is so warm, casual and helpful.  In the chapter on sensitivity, she describes the spectrum of normal kids to sensitive kids to possibly SPD kids. She simply states that kids who fall into SPD territory may benefit from OT.

 

Something about the simplicity and positivity of how she stated that really helped me clarify my thoughts and feel better. 

 

Also, we got a shirt on DS today! Which is progress, since we've been stuck in the house all week greensad.gif - he was visibly anxious and upset, but not violently so. I just got on his level and gave him firm hugs and told him I knew he hated it, but asked him to just try it - and he really was trying.  He responded by nearly instantly falling asleep (just tired? shutting down? a little of both?).  Anyway, it's something!

 

Thank you for the advice, IdentityCrisisMama!

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#26 of 27 Old 02-24-2013, 04:01 PM
 
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on paying for therapy --

 

once we figured out what sorts of things were most helpful for my DD, we were able to find low cost ways to make those happen. A HUGE thing for her is having her body move through space in different positions. Gymnastics classes through parks and rec filled the bill for awhile. Swimming became very important for her -- it was the perfect therapy, and eventually she got to be such a good swimmer we put her on a team!

 

It's different things for different kids, and while this type of movement was what my DD needed most, it could be something very different for your little guy. Whatever it is, once you know what it is you can figure out how to make it happen without breaking the bank.

 

In the end, my need to find cheap therapy options for her worked out well for her. She loved being on swim team and never thought of it as OT therapy, which most likely helped with her sense of self. thumb.gif 
 


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#27 of 27 Old 06-25-2013, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd been meaning to update this thread, but I have little to add. redface.gif  I was set on investigating our options (because his sensory issues were affecting our lives pretty significantly) when suddenly he turned a corner and started handling these things (clothes, car, transitions) better.  My best recollection is that we spent an entire week inside, without forcing the issue, before I started firmly working with him and encouraging it again - and it went much better!

 

By his two year check-up, I didn't think anything of it, so didn't mention it.  Hoped it was water under the bridge.  Now, though - he's been having lots of issues with hurting people (biting, hitting, pinching, scratching), banging into things on purpose, jumping on people or smashing into them - generally bouncing off the walls, climbing everything, people included (regardless of outdoor activity time).  Carrying heavy objects, destroying things.  Also, needs to be physically attached to me nearly all hours of the day (nursing or carried).  He did cut some molars recently (unrelated), and I got him some licorice root sticks to chew on - sometimes that seems to help, as a safe thing for him to bite - also, fruit leathers or chewy foods. 

 

So, yeah...think I may revisit the advice here. upsidedown.gif Thanks!


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