Ok, here it goes......

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Gaia, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Gaia

    Gaia New Member

    I don't know where to start this. My difficult child is my son, he is 5 years old. I had a feeling that he was different from the others for a couple of years, but never knew it was something that would affect the entire family. I will try to give you all a little background, without getting too wordy. There is so much bottled up inside, it may just come pouring out. So thanks ahead of time for reading.

    When I was pregnant with Eric, we had it all planned out. He'd go to the neighbors while I was at work. That only lasted a year. I could not handle working full time and they got mad when I cut their hours back. When he was one, I changed my hours to work only 3 (long) days a week. I was home with him for 2, and mother in law was home with him when I was at work.

    When he was 2, I took him to a Mommy&Me class. In this class, he made friends and seemed to have fun. He refused to participate in circle time and craft time. He had no problem with free play or snack time. I was told this was normal, he was only 2, some kids don't like crafts, etc. Since my daughter was not like this, I believed what I was told, that boys and girls are different, and this was normal for a boy.

    When he was 3, I took him to a preschool in our local church. He was there maybe 3 hours on 2 days a week. He ate snack there, played, made friends, but still would not do the crafts. Again, I was told this was normal for a boy. He participated in the Christmas concert they had, although I am not sure he actually sang, he definitely got up on the stage with the whole group.

    When he was 4, I started him in a full day preschool/daycare. Kindergarten will be full days, and I wanted him to get used to it. He was assigned to the Pre-K room. This time, he stopped eating. So now, not only was he not participating in the group activities, he was also not eating. He never disrupted the class, was always very quiet, played nicely with the other children, and stayed on the edge for all the group things. Most days when I picked him up, I found him sitting right by the door, waiting for me. He'd take the snack they offered with him in the car. This was the year that he slowly got worse. Loud noises/music/sounds bothered him, and I noticed larger crowds bothered him as well. The school had some prescreening for kindergarten, but it was on a day that he didn't go to school, and they never said to me that he really should do it. I had no idea how serious this problem was until he got into kindergarten.

    At the pediatrician's office a few days before kindergarten started, Eric was out of control. This was the first time he acted this way at the doctor's office. He was screaming, crying, kicking, trying to get out of the room. He refused to do anything the doctor asked. At this point, she recommended taking him to a social worker.

    He refused to do the public school's prescreening for kindergarten. I was lucky they placed him with a nice, soft, warm teacher. She is really concerned for Eric. She called me on the third day of school. I have been in constant contact with the school ever since. He won't do any work in class, even if before school and it's just him, the teacher and maybe one other child (I began sending him to extra help 2 mornings a week). He won't do work during the day, even if sitting away from the other children. He still does not disrupt the class, but she has no way of assessing him. He won't do anything for her. He has no problem doing the classwork and homework at home though. In fact, he seems to really love it and loves to learn. He must be picking up some things from school, while he watches from the edge. He won't participate in gym, art or music either. The social worker says he has a form of selective mutism and general anxiety. We see her once a week, and she says what she is doing is behavior therapy.

    I have my first meeting with the school team (the school psychologist, school counselor, prinicipal, assistant principal, special education coordinator, and the teacher) on November 15th. The social worker will be available by phone for that meeting.

    I am sure there is more to say and if you have any questions, let me know. My hand hurts and it's getting close to bedtime. Thanks for reading this far.
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi and welcome again. Glad you felt up to sharing tonight!

    Well, none of us are doctors, but as I read your post, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) went running through my mind. Don't know if you are familiar with it, but many of "our" kids on the board have it. It is sensory integration dysfunction (or disorder). A child who has it processes sensory input differently. Things that may sound fine to us may be very loud to them, for example. Certain textures may cause a problem (does he have an issue with certain items of clothing? Request the same ones over & over? Food texture issues? Chewing on clothes or toys?). They may avoid (or, they may crave) motion. Many kids with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) can suffer from "sensory overload" if there is too much stimulation in one place. I walked into a craft store the other day and was assaulted by the scent of cinnamon, the sound (loud) of Christmas music, and the sight of Christmas lights everywhere. If I had my daughter with me, she would have flipped.

    It is good that you have him seeing a social worker. Many mommies here advocate seeing a neuropsychologist for an accurate diagnosis. I have not gotten one for my child yet (can't afford it! Whew!) but she sees a psychiatrist monthly. She also receives therapy from an occupational therapist, who helps her with the sensory issues.

    I hope you pouring your heart out was relatively painless. I also hope you get a few replies tonight. If you don't, please don't worry. This place will be hopping tomorrow!

  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Gaia, Welcome to our forum.

    I have a child who had serious school anxiety and one thing I would suggest is to not send him in for extra time at school. School is EXTREMELY stressful for these kiddos. Concentrate on getting him settled in for now and hopefully the academics will follow. He's only 5 and it wouldn't be the end of the world for him if he had to repeat K or spend the next year in a transitional class. I wouldn't add onto his stress load by spending even more time at school than he already has to.

    I'd also recommend backing down on expectations at home. This isn't a time to make demands about picking up clothes, pushing manners, etc. Outside of safety, don't push issues so as to not add to his stess.

    We had the same issue with large rooms/noises/crowds, etc. Check out this link to see if anything here sounds familiar. If you do any more searching, Sensory Integration Disorder is also known as Sensory Processing Disorder.

    If this were my child, I would probably want a medical opinion by someone other than a social worker, unless that social worker comes very highly recommended in child development. A developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsychologist would be appropriate.

    What kind of interests does your son have? Do they seem like typical 5 year old boy interests or are they unusual and/or extremely obsessive?

    Also, have you seen him do much in the way of lining up toys or household objects in lines or making formations out of them? The reason I'm asking these questions is that there is a lot of overlap in the diagnoses he's been given and the higher end of the Autism Spectrum. It's frequently missed by doctors in younger children so you'll want to be sure and do your homework on Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

    I'm glad your pediatrician took you seriously and that the school has moved quickly.

    Oh, I should mention that we are all just parents here--we obviously can't diagnose but we can help point you in some directions to research.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Rather than guessing, or asking us (we can only guess too...lol) I'd take for a neuropsychologist exam. Obviously, something is going on. We don't know what is causing his anxiety. Sounds like some sensory stuff, but sensory stuff rarely is a stand alone diagnosis. NeuroPsychs do complete, intensive evaluations and I think that would help him a lot. My own experience is that school districts do a crummy job of diagnosing. They have an agenda--if your child has a disability, that costs them $$$. I would go outside the school district.
    NeuroPsychs can be found in Children's and University Hospitals. They are not usually listed in phone books. They can have long waiting lists, because they are good, but in my opinion it's WELL worth it. You would end up with a much better understanding of what is going on with your son. Good luck!
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I have to say in my school district's defense that I think they do a thorough job and don't skimp on services just to save money. But what's important to understand about school districts is that 1) they aren't medical specialists and shouldn't be expected to assess or treat medical conditions and 2) they are only required to evaluate and treat for issues that impact the child in the educational setting. What is going on with your son has serious far reaching implications beyond the educational setting so you want to be as thorough as possible in your initial rounds of evaluations. Let the school district do their job but don't stop with them.

    In thinking on this some more, I also would suggest talking to your pediatrician about having him seen by a pediatric neurologist.
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Welcome. He does sound pretty anxious and overwhelmed. Is he eating at school now?