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Finally Made the Call to the Ped

579 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Jennifer Z
My middle son has been showing strange symptoms since birth. It started with staring at bright lights, progressed into delayed speech and sensitivity to sounds, along with violent outbursts as a toddler, and arm flailing and refusing eye contact. I never wanted to admit there may be a problem and told myself he was OK because he was affectionate (on his terms, and sometimes OVERLY, like 'petting' strangers). When school started I figured the teachers or speech therapist would say something, but no one did. He's a good student, who has difficulty staying focused and is disruptive in class (cries a lot). My family has been telling me he was autistic since he was 2 and every time I half-heartedly talked to doctors they said "oh, he's fine" and brushed me off. I don't think its autism, asperger's MAYBE.

The other day I was searching the web for an explanation of his 'sensory issues' being just normal for who he is and I found a web page on SID and grew concerned when I saw that out of his common eccentricities, he displayed 19/33 almost daily and one or two of them often (listed below).

Anyways, I called my ped's office earlier today for a referral and was just curious what kind of doctor is able to make a dx?

What are the advantages of a dx? I hate the idea of my child wearing a special 'label'.
I also feel like a bad mama for waiting so long to be proactive, I am just torn.

I am in need of support, I hope more than anything they tell me my child is just an odd-bird, but part of me knows he's having a hard time.


Anyways, these are the issues I noticed (in *'s only, the ones without *'s he does not display).

Sensory Symptoms

*Responds negatively to unexpected or loud noises
*Holds hands over ears
Cannot walk with background noise
*Seems oblivious within an active environment

Prefers to be in the dark
*Hesitates going up and down steps
*Avoids bright lights
*Stares intensely at people or objects
*Avoids eye contact

Avoids certain tastes/smells that are typically part of children's diets
*Routinely smells nonfood objects
Seeks out certain tastes or smells
Does not seem to smell strong odors

Body Position:
*Continually seeks out all kinds of movement activities
*Hangs on other people, furniture, objects, even in familiar situations
Seems to have weak muscles, tires easily, has poor endurance
Walks on toes

Becomes anxious or distressed when feet leave the ground
*Avoids climbing or jumping
Avoids playground equipment
*Seeks all kinds of movement and this interferes with daily life
Takes excessive risks while playing, has no safety awareness

Avoids getting messy in glue, sand, finger paint, tape
Is sensitive to certain fabrics (clothing, bedding)
*Touches people and objects at an irritating level
Avoids going barefoot, especially in grass or sand
*Has decreased awareness of pain or temperature

Attention, Behavior And Social:
*Jumps from one activity to another frequently and it interferes with play
*Has difficulty paying attention
*Is overly affectionate with others
Seems anxious
*Is accident prone
*Has difficulty making friends, does not express emotions
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For a dx of SID, you need to see an Occupational therapist. For a dx of autism/aspergers, you need to see a developmentla pediatrician or pediatric neurologist or a peds psychologist.

Given the way you describe your son, it sounds like he DEFINITELY has sensory integration issues, I would push for an OT eval first, and then go on to a developmental ped.

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Thank you for the info! I found 7 OTs in the area that take my insurance and I will call them today to see who is best with children. I also found both a developemental ped and a ped neurologist in my plan who I will use as plan b. THANK you so much! I just had no clue where to go from his primary care ped and it was stressing me out.
No problem. Good for you for being proactive.
Keep us posted!
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Call the neurologists etc now. There is usually a long wait to get in so you don't want to decide you need to see them and then wait 3 months for the appointment.

I did!
I asked my ped for a referral to an OT, but he wanted him to see a pediatric neurologist first, something about it being able to rule out a greater number of problems. He did not even ask to see him before he referred him, he agrees with me that it sounds like something is up. I found one that my accepts my insurance and the referral woman at my ped's office is working to get it through, she said I should have my appointment date/time by Tuesday. I am so happy I finally found a group of physicians who take me seriously, are not rushed in visits, and actually LISTEN to me.
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They can start treating the sensory issues without the dev ped dx. If the wait isn't too long for the appointment, then I would just go with the flow. However, if it is like it is around here, where the wait for a dev. ped appointment can be a year out, you might see if there is an OT that can do an evaluation just for the sensory issues and develop a treatment plan. OTs usually work on specific issues, reguardless of the diagnosis. (whether it is caused by autism, SID, or other diagnosis isn't relevant to them)

I would also recommend the book Out of Sync Child has Fun. It is great because it basically shows fun ways to play with your kid that has theraputic benefits. Even a typical kid would enjoy the activities and they can be relationship builders for all kids/parents/
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