Occupational Therapist

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    An Occupational Therapist (OT) whom I had contacted a long time ago rang me back this evening (she apologised, saying she has been ill). She asked me to describe what was wrong and seemed a bit surprised when I talked about all his sensory "fussiness" - to taste, smell, textures, etc. I explained he was hyperactive though we didn't know fully why. She asked about motor skills and I said he possibly had some fine motor skills difficulties. She said we could have an evaluation and that that would perhaps reassure me that all was normal...
    I kind of feel like I am starting things that go nowhere, or nowhere much. From what I read, early interventions are key, but on the other there is really very little, I am being told, that anyone can "do" for J at this stage.
    How tempting, as Ktllc spoke of, just to put my head back in the sand and pretend that J is perfectly fine except for the fact that he moves about all the time (and has temper tantrums, and can't deal with frustration, and gets verbally and sometimes physically, albeit mildly, violent). I'd really like to do that!! Just shut up about the ADHD "or whatever it is" and just imagine that I have an ordinary child (who doesn't get invited many places and whom I cannot take to social events because it just turns into mayhem).
    What's a body to do? :)
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We didn't need sensory testing... but maybe others who have had it done, can post the actual tests used? Then, you can tell the Occupational Therapist (OT) that you're wondering if she's aware of any of these tests...

    Testing for motor skills - see if she'll do M-ABC.

    She's right... IF it comes out with no issues, it will set your mind at ease.
    However, that might be a pretty big IF.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, IC, she mentioned some specific test for fine motor skills and that's when she said it would put my mind at ease...
    I feel as if I am living between two camps. One of the camps is saying there is nothing "wrong" with J and I am a neurotic mother imagining all sorts of exotic stuff no-one has heard of and the other is saying he is ADHD or hyperactive but not actually offering any concrete help with that. I don't see the medications issue arising while he is coping with school (which he does, in class better than out of it).
    I want what I am sure we all want... to know with accuracy what is going on for my son. No-one here seems to care very much :) This really isn't a pathologising society - it would rather call J badly behaved or badly brought up than it would stick a "medical" label on him.
  4. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    it seems like you want a definitive diagnosis. But for many of us, there is no definitive diagnosis as this whole medical/behavioral thing is a major can of worms. Your son sounds like he has impulse control and issues of self regulation. You will never probably know why--whether it is fetal alcohol, his wiring or whatever. If he can maintain reasonably well, then you probably don't need medications right now, but one day as his peers progress and his developmentally slower or school demands increase he may. You can deal with that when the time comes. Right now what he seems to need is a reasonably caring environment that doesn't punish him every time he can't behave the way other kids might be able to. Yes, teach him to control impulses and regulate himself, but not in a punitive way.

    It sounds like you are searching for a magic bullet or a magic diagnosis that will unlock everything. Mostly what many parents on this website have learned is that it is just one foot in front of the other, deal with the issues as they arise, and try to get help for the issues at hand. As he gets older you may see things more clearly. But right now he needs a loving environment that helps to socialize him appropriately and you seem to have that where you are, albeit with some issues.

    Sorry, this might sound harsh, I don't mean it that way. Part of what we learn is to tolerate ambiguity, lack of clarity, trial and error approaches to our kids problems. It would be nice to find the magic approach or medication or whatever, but I suspect that many of us are still looking and probably will be for time to come...
  5. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Oh, Honey I hear your frustration!! Yes: early intervention would be great but too young to be diagnosis!
    Instead of pretending, which I honesty cannot do, I try to tell myself that "loosing" a year or two won't be a disaster in the long run... :groan:
    You are right: no one really care besides you and this forum! They will care if their lives becomes affected by it (ie: behavior at school).
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator


    My Duckie is one of the higher functioning children on this forum, in fact. she's virtually a easy child most of the time except... when she isn't, lol!

    She's always been sensory-defensive but we didn't realize how much it truly was affecting her until she had a massive meltdown in school last year. She'd always managed to hold it together in school before this because she's highly motivated to fit in. But it did come out sometimes: she'd lash out verbally at a classmate when overwhelmed or frustrated, she'd pull away from the other children or do some minor calming rituals when school was in session (rolling the hem of her shirt, pinching her erasers, etc). Usually, she'd just explode at home.

    She isn't sensory-seeking so isn't one of those kids in constant motion. Implementing the Wilbarger Protocol (a brushing and joint compression therapy) has made a world of difference here. Is she a easy child? No... but she's becoming the person I always knew was in there somewhere. :)
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is very interesting. It was like this in the US when I was young. Obviously something was wrong with me and even I knew it, but they preferred to call it "laziness" "underachievement" and the like rather than trying to help. It is too bad that in your society (or maybe just the area you live in) there is this bury-your-head-in-the-sand type of feeling. If he were here, he'd be getting help. And early intervention IS important, even if the behavior does not have a label. Intercepting the behavior, addressing it, and helping the child is sooooooooo helpful to a young one. I feel your frustration and I am sorry about it. J. deserves better from society :/
  8. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Malika, I hear your frustration too. I think I may have been in your shoes when my difficult child was that age. In fact I probably still am - only 5 years has gone by.

    I copied the following things from your post because that is EXACTLY how my son started out and was at that age. He is 9 now and I can add depression, poor self esteem, more severe physical/verbal aggression, sucidal talk and more to the list now. We sought help for our son when he was 5 in Kindergarten. We went down the path of "oh he has ADHD and ODD so he needs to take stimulants". We have tried every stimulant there is (not Straterra) and we still have the same problems plus more. If I had to do it over again, I would start with a developemental pediatrican and neuropsychologist evaluation, or Occupational Therapist (OT), or Auditory Processing tests, etc. I am trying to do all that now. I feel badly because we have wasted 5 years on stimulants and I don't think that is the answer. I am not sure we will get answers with this other testing but it can't hurt to try. I think thatever "it" is that makes our difficult child's difficult hasn't been discovered yet. I don't think it is ADHD/ODD. There is so much more to it. I probably wasn't much help but I wanted you to know I completely understand what you are saying and I too want difinitive answers. It's the way my brain works. I don't do well with ambiguity.

    sensory "fussiness" - to taste, smell, textures, etc.
    some fine motor skills difficulties
    he moves about all the time
    has temper tantrums
    can't deal with frustration
    gets verbally and sometimes physically, albeit mildly, violent
    doesn't get invited many places and whom I cannot take to social events because it just turns into mayhem
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the validation and understanding... Always helps to know one is not crazy :) Jules, what makes this particularly difficult, I think - and I am sure this is true for your boy - is that J is actually a great kid with lots of potential. I don't want to stick a label on him (particularly if it's not an accurate one) but I would like to know what is happening to cause these difficulties. If someone could say, for example, "he has frontal lobe damage" or whatever. I agree, pepperidge, that that may be an unrealisable goal.
    It is good that you are getting the evaluations now, Jules - it's never too late and 9 is still young (though I understand of course your frustration that it could not have happened earlier). Unfortunately, developmental paediatricians and neuro-psychologists as you would understand them are not on offer here. Perhaps in Paris, but that may as well be New York... I actually think I'd be worse served in the UK, though, for all their more detailed understanding of these issues because it is a country that is experiencing such extreme financial pressure at the moment, severe cuts in all sectors and almost impossible, so I hear from friends, to get decent services in these areas now. At least here things are funded, there is some kind of access to services, however limited in terms of what you may have in the States.
    I've done a lot myself in terms of educating myself and gathering tools and that is important, obviously. I am J's primary caregiver. I've also gone some way to getting the teacher to understand that constant punishment is just counter-productive. My main dilemma is honestly whether to move and where to - a city in France or back to Morocco... The services in Casablanca are not going to be as good as what I would find here, I suspect. On the other hand, it would be good/better for J to be with fellow Moroccans, not to feel like the "outsider twice over" (because of his nationality, because of his differences).
    Jules, I'd be interested to know more... how does your boy get on at school? What have you found works for him in terms of behavioural methods?