2.5 year old with sensory processing and behavioral issues...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by hope9, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. hope9

    hope9 New Member

    I'm new to the group and I'm hoping that some of you with slightly older children can help me to figure out what I can do now to deal with my son's behavior so that it doesn't get worse.
    Here is the background:
    My boy/girl twins are now 2 years 8 months old. They are both strong personalities and very stubborn and opinionated. But the defiance is a newer development for my daughter- I think she is just a relatively spirited toddler going through the terrible twos. With my son, things have been difficult since he was about 15 months. Starting at that time, he tests limits constantly. As a younger toddler he would climb furniture even when you told him no a million times, run away from us in the playground (sometimes trying to escape the playground), and have big tantrums. His tantrums don't last long (maybe 10 minutes at the most), but they are intense. Now as a two+ year old he has gotten better in some respects- he still wanders off from us, but he stops or comes back when we call him. He can sometimes respond to limits (counting works sometimes). But he is still very defiant and wants to do what he wants to do. sometimes this becomes obsessive- like he wants to close the door, put the scissors away, etc....something that may or may not be appropriate or safe. So many daily things are a battle with him- diaper changes, bedtime, sitting in his seat for meals (not climbing on the table), leaving the park. Transitions are always the hardest. This weekend we went to the beach and he didn't want to leave. We carried him kicking, screaming, scratching, to the boardwalk only to have him run half way across the beach as soon as we put him down. I do not see many other toddlers doing this sort of thing.

    He is seeing an Occupational Therapist (OT) who says he has sensory processing disorder, but she thinks a lot of it is behavioral as well. So we started working with a behavior therapist. It is so hard to change his behavior! So far I am working on ignoring his tantrums (sooo hard because he throws things and sometimes bites and scratches- I put him in his room when he does this, but again, just that response feels like I am paying attention to the tantrum) and teaching him that I mean business when I give him an instruction or set a limit. Ugh, this is so much harder than what friends go through with their kids. I feel like it is parenting 4.0 while others are still breezing through the intro course. I know I shouldn't compare, but I can't help feeling frustrated and resentful.
    Were there specific behavior techniques that worked for you in cutting down on the complete chaos at home? My daughter has picked up so many bad behaviors from him- at this point I need to set good limits with both of them. Time outs haven't been all that effective. We put them in their cribs for time outs, and i know for sure they wouldn't stay in a time out corner or chair if I implemented that....
    Thanks for any and all advice.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    An Occupational Therapist (OT) can ttell you if your child has sensory issues, but can't diagnose why. Sensory issues rarely stand alone. They are normally a symptom of a bigger problem. I would take him to a developmental pediatrician. The kids whose parents end up here are usually hard to parent because their brains are wired differently and each child responds differently to parenting methods. You need professional help. I'd have both of the twins tested. The earlier the better. You can all start living better lives once they are diagnosed and getting treatment. The chaos is not your fault. It is the result of parenting maybe two neurologically different children. Don't try to do it alone. Is there a husband around? None of us can diagnose. The boy does have spectrum red flags. Most of us have heard that our kids are acting out behaviorally. I think maybe 99.9 percent of the time that proved wrong...something is up with your kiddo that he can't control. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can not diagnose/test/evaluate. Let her handle the sensory stuff, but don't ask her opinion about the big picture. That's not her field.

    Good luck! And please don't let it ride thinking it will go away. Early intervention is the key to a good overall prognosis. Welcome to t he board, b ut sorry you had to come here :)
  3. hope9

    hope9 New Member

    Thanks for the feedback Midwest mom. We have an appointment with a developmental pediatrician next month...it was a 3 month wait.
    Question to all- what will happen in that first meeting with the devel. pediatrician? I'm nervous that his symptoms are not extreme and she will send us away and I'll feel like we're over reacting. I kind of know he's not on the spectrum (great eye contact, social, imaginative, etc), but of course I could be surprised...
    Can anyone let me know what to expect? Also, at what point do you do a neuropsychologist evaluation? Is that something the devel pediatrician might recommend?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does he make good eye contact with strangers too? Does he play with toys on his own or does he mimic things he sees on cartoons? Spectrum kids can be tricky.

    At any rate, I was sent away a few times, but I lived with my son and knew something was wrong so I kept going until it became obvious. It took me eleven years to get the right diagnosis., but I knew he was on the spectrum all that time so fought for his school services. Your school district should have Early Education for differently wired kids.

    Obsessiveness and inability to transition are huge red flags of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can be very social. But they don't know HOW to socialize. They go up to any kid, may get in the kid's face, take a toy, start talking nonstop about something that has nothing to do with what is going on, ask inappropriate questions, hit when mad, just be unable to connect in a normal peer way with others. My son seemed very social too when he was young, but things slowed down for him when he got older and kids got irritated with his inappropriate comments, his noises he makes (another symptom), how close he would stand, how he'd spit at th em and laugh, he'd think it was funny. He is almost 20 now and doing really well, but h e got A LOT of help from before age two.

    Because my son isn't isolated or always into himself, it was hard to get him diagnosed right, but he really took off once it happened and he got the right kind of help. His actual diagnosis is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, which is atypical autism. He has become much higher functioning as he gets older. He just got his first real job. He never acts out...he's a mellow, happy young man, although still differently wired.

    We never took him to a developmental pediatrician. He went to the university hospital twice for total evaluations by a team and then he went to a neuropsychologist. So I'm not sure what the DP does. Whatever you do when you see the doctor, don't minimize your son's symptoms to the doctor or she won't have a real picture of who your child is and how he can be helped. I'd take your daughter in too.

    First diagnosis. are usually ADHD/ODD. They are rarely the final diagnosis. Be careful of that.
  5. hope9

    hope9 New Member

    Thanks for your response....it is definitely thought provoking. I will make sure not to minimize his symptoms when I see the developmental pediatrician. I am curious if others have kids with atypical Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)...social kids who have been diagnosed.
    To answer your questions, yes, he makes eye contact with strangers and seems to like interacting with new people, although he's gotten a little shyer recently. He likes to play by himself and in general is very independent- he can get wrapped up in doing something like connecting two of his trucks with a shoe lace that has somehow made it's way into the toy collection...but he also likes to run and dance and do stuff with other kids in the playground. But he is more often doing things on his own. He is also fairly creative in his play and in general- he does like to repeat things he's seen on his favorite show, but he also likes imaginative play and had recently been enjoying pretending to bake a cake and serving it (we have the melissa and doug one with the candles).
    Anyway, it's not a clear cut case for anything yet- ADHD (he's hyper and active and frustrate easily but can focus on a task), ODD, or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I guess the first step is seeing the devel pediatrician, right?
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Right. And it will probably be years before you get the right diagnosis., but it will be a start.