New here and struggling- is it sensory processing disorder (SPD)? ODD? Or other?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DeepWaters, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. DeepWaters

    DeepWaters New Member

    Hi all,

    Our son who will be 5 next month has been uncontrollably angry at school when reminded to listen to his teachers and or to follow the rules. He has been hitting, kicking, and saying very hateful things to his teachers and classmates. He has been kicked out of school 3 times for escalating behavior and has received at least 12 incident reports over the course of 7 days. It is like a switch got flipped right after the holidays. We are so upset, angry, confused, lost, and struggling to figure out what has caused this seemingly sudden behavior change.

    He was an awful 3 year old with some of the most extreme temper tantrums I have ever seen, but we were able to help him calm down, make good choices, and we rarely have issues at home. At school, he tells me that when he is upset his heart has changed and he doesn't know why. He can tell us what he should do to calm down but he can't seem to physically choose to do so. It all stems from him not listening to the authority figure, getting mad, and then lashing out physically. The school has been supportive but I fear their patience is running out. I don't know what I would do if he was kicked out for good.

    We have an appointment next week with an Occupational Therapist (OT) who is SIPT certified as we suspect it could be Sensory Processing Disorder, but we just don't know. We also have a call into a play therapist to see if we can get an appointment. as well.

    I'm so so so scared something is very wrong with my son and I feel powerless. I am thankful to have found what I hope will be a safe place to talk about our challenges and not hear "it's just a phase" or "he's just being a boy" or "spank him, that will set him straight"...

    - DeepWaters
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My opinion?

    He could have one of t ten diagnoses and an Occupational Therapist (OT) won't catch them all. In fact, I don't think they are allowed to diagnose.

    If t his were my child, and I knew what I now know in hindsight, I would want him evaluated by a neuropsychologist. They do the most intensive testing in every level of function. At his age, he would likely get just a "working diagnosis" because other things tend to emerge as they get older so it is hard to diagnose a three year old accurately. But you can find out what areas of function are the issues and t hen be referred to somebody who can help him.

    Many of us don't believe ODD is a useful or stand-alone diagnosis. It doesn't really mean anything other than the child is very defiant (which pretty much covers most of our kids). It doesn't tell you why there is defiance though or what you can do about it. I'd go with the neuropsychologist.

    Can you tell us more about your son. How was his early development? Does he live with both bio. parents and does he have any siblings? Any big traumas? Any psychiatric problems on either side of his genetic family tree? Substance abuse? Any children on either side of the family tree with Aspergers or any form of autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)?

    Wishing you lots and lots of luck!
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hello and welcome, ..... YES you have found a soft place to come and talk about this stuff. sometimes our kids do have typical moments, but it is really insulting to hear someone tell you that ALL of this is a phase or if you would just do X or Y or Z then he would be better. No child wants to be that upset. Now that he is in school, many of the challenges he would never have had at home will happen, new directions, new routines, doing things that are new and maybe really hard.

    In addition to the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation, I would see about a neuropsychology evaluation and a sp/lang evaluation to see if he has any issues with understanding or processing language, any short term memory issues (for directions) and other issues like that. make sure the Occupational Therapist (OT) also checks for fine motor skills because there may be things that make it tough for him to do the work compared to other kids and it may seem subtle. Visual and auditory processing can be issues to pay attention to over time as well.

    Poor boy, sounds like he is really miserable at times. In school to help avoid the "kicking out" issue please put in writing that you want a complete developmental evaluation done on your son. You need to put this in writing and send it certified mail so you get a return receipt which will start a federal time clock. This makes it so that they can't just kick him out. There are rules and procedures. Once the date has started they must do an evaluation to look at all possible contributing factors. You will have input on which tests they use and if they dont propose enough, you can add (or you can remove) any. You can come here too to ask as the process unfolds.

    I will be looking forward to hearing how things are going for you . Welcome and glad to have you in this crazy corner of the parenting world.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    What Buddy said!! Draft a brief letter stating the behaviors you have seen at home and heard about from school. Tell them you "don't know what the cause is and would like a thorough evaluation for special education services. This evaluation should include academic, behavioral, Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech, and psychological testing." As Buddy said, send it Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested. That WILL keep him from being kicked out of school at least until the testing is all done. You might also want to see if they have access to an Autism Specialist that can evaluate him for any form of autism (there is a whole spectrum). That would about cover all the bases THEY can check.

    While they are doing that, I would have him evaluated by a neuropsychologist as well as an outside Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist. These professionals do a much more thorough evaluation than a school will do. The more information the better.

    In the meantime, I would find a reputable child psychiatrist. I have been where you are and wish I had known then what I know now. MANY things could have been helped and improved before we got to where we are now. Keep us posted. There are many, many WISE parents here that have been through it all.
  5. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Just want to say welcome. You have already educated yourself on possible diagnosis. Keep on reading and exploring. And launch the evaluation process, the sooner the better. It is a long process and you don't want to wait anymore than you have to.
    Keep on talking to him in order to understand what is going. You are lucky that he can put words on his feeling such "heart has changed". It is a good start.
    Come to the forum and ask specific questions, many will have ingenious and novel ideas.