Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ktllc, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    V is really not doing well right now.... He cannot handle ANY kind of seperation (husband or myself). Every Morning, at preschool, it is a drama. He shakes, flap his hands, tries to contain tears and eventualy REALLY cries with desperate calls. I take the time he needs 'cause I know it is not an act. It is A LOT more than "he'll stop as soon as you'll turn around". He even asked me why he can't stop crying. He also asked to see Ms. T, his behavioral therapist. I explained we'll see her next week, and he replied by "is it long? Can we see her tomorrow?". At night, I'm back to using melatonin despite: weighted blanked, white noise machine, night lamp, scented lavender candle and the never ending routine. He litteraly paniced knowinng that husband has to go to work tonight. We are able to calm him down, but it is sooo hard on him. And it is only getting worst.
    I'm progressing with the sensory room, but even that is a problem. Full tantrum because hos brother was playing with a new ball while V was getting a cookie! He would just scream, shout, cry and yet not move from the cookie jar. We asked him to go to his retreat and husband did some yelling (REALLY rare for husband). Anything sets him off.
    When he is like that, I just don't know what to do besides trying to be as patient as I can be. It is really wearing me off.
    I'm reading the "out-of-sync child " along with "the ou-of-sync child has fun". I learno a lot about sensory processing disorder (SPD), but all the suggested (a lot of them) activities: he already does them on a daily basis! It is not structured in the sense that I just let him play, but he does have access to a lot of intuitive therapy already. It's great and it's probably why he has not gone out of control already, but how can we make things better? Will 1hour/week of Occupational Therapist (OT) really make that much difference?
    And to top it off, my parents are coming back in November. Way too soon!! It will be more transitioning and disruptied routines for V. I did have a talk with my mother though. And really explained that V cannot collapse at every of there visit. Now they know the problem is real, they will have to follow my lead NO MATTER WHAT.
    Can't wait for therapist next week.
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    What does the psychiatrist say about it? If the anxiety is that bad and he is not being "taught" how to handle it, is it worth it for him to be going to preschool right now? I found out last spring that sending my difficult child to school DESPITE is exponentially growing anxiety and lack of ways/people to deal with it led to such a severe depression that I don't EVER want to go "there" again. That is why I have pulled him out of public school. His mental health means more to me than that.

    Does he have an IEP at preschool? What do they do to help him? What coping strategies are they teaching him to help with the transition? Telling you he'll be fine if you just walk away is not necessarily going to help. Have them tell you what they would do if you DID do that and he DIDN'T calm down.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} to you and to difficult child.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    You are doing so much for him....huge cyber pat on the back.

    in my opinion for some things, it can but for us what made the difference was when we did what they did at home....over and over and over and over.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Occupational Therapist (OT) weekly may, in and of itself, not make a HUGE difference.
    But a dozen little things, done consistently, can make all the difference in the world.
    The trick is to find them... and then to do them consistently.
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Kttlc. Sorry you are going through this difficult time. What happens after you have left your son - how long after does he settle down? I ask because I think my son also suffers from anxiety (though many would not guess this) and he has always had difficulty separating from me, though it is better now. There have been occasions when he seemed almost hysterical when I left him at a childminder or activity centre and sometimes I would hover around after to listen (where he couldn't see me) and he stopped almost immediately! And the childcarers would always tell me he had been fine and happy during the day. So I am just asking this to clarify what is happenng with V.
    One thing that does occur to me - and please throw this out the window if it just doesn't feel right or applicable - is that children are so absorbent of our moods and of what they perceive happening around them. Is there any possibility with all the therapists and specialists that V is seeing right now, that he is beginning to "see" himself as somehow different and more fragile than other children, as if this is a script he now has to perform? Again, if this is way off, just forget it... At any rate, keep on in there - you are working so hard at this and really being such a great mother to him. Hugs.
  6. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    (forgive me if i have you confused with someone else, lol)

    i STILL think his anxiety stems from transition difficulty and the inability to anticipate....and from what you typed above, clearly he has no sense of time yet.

    if i have you right, your husband has the same job as mine, and quite frankly *I* need a calender to keep straight when he works. mine has a fluid schedule that changes week to week, and i'd imagine, at 6, its virtually impossible for yours to know when dad is going to be home or at work.

    i really think you'd see some of these behaviors lessen if you did a visual picture schedule for him so he knows what is happening around him. its just not enough to say "i'll be back later" or "i'll be back after work"...he needs much more so he can anticipate his transitions.

    depending on his cognition, i'd probably tie a visual schedule into learning to tell time...i'd buy him a watch (buy a few of the same for the inevitable loss/breakage/water damage) and if nothing else, show him "when the hand is on the 5, i'll pick you up" and put that exact symbol as your timeline on your you'd have a picture of a clock down each column with the appropriate time. (even though its harder, i'd go with a traditional clock over digital time--its more visible to see oh, its only on the 4, i have to wait to the 5, or etc).

    i know its hard, but it does sound like you have enough constants in your life to make it work. i really think he needs that visual cue to know whats going on. honestly, its not an unusual issue for a LOT of kids that age.


    and as for Occupational Therapist (OT)....mine is much older, and its a different situation, but frankly, it was the best money i ever spent. trumped "talk therapy" by a mile. we were able to set very tangible goals and actually see progress. we did a tiny bit of focus on sensory issues and mine absolutely loved that part--swinging, deep pressure, brushing, etc--probably more because it was plain old fun instead of work (typing, writing, sewing, etc).

    and we only did 1X...we did 2X over the summer to bang out some stuff, but 1X was enough for us.

    we also had a spectacular Occupational Therapist (OT), so maybe that influences my opinion :)

    but in my humble opinion, its worth doing.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    confuzzled... Just to say that the watch is a brilliant idea! For myself, why didn't I think of it before? :) Whenever I leave him anywhere (apart from school), my son is always asking what time I will pick him up. If I can show him on the watch, it will reassure him (and perhaps help him with the concept of time...)
    Anyway, not to hijack the thread but I did just want to say that! Only concern is that I'm not sure how safe a watch would be in my son's hands or how long it would last...
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Ktllc. Welcome to NC/America from France!
    My heart breaks for your little one.
    You seem to be doing many of the right things, and I think you should continue with-Occupational Therapist (OT). I agree with-Insane, that a bunch of little things, done consistently, VERY consistently, make a huge difference. I also like Confuzzled's idea to do a visual picture. Show him the clock, draw a picture of a clock, etc. (Ooops, just went back and read about the watch. Great minds think alike. :) )

    When my son was little, he would freak out when we'd say we're going on vacation and staying at a condo or hotel. I finally came up with-the idea of giving him an online tour of the room and grounds. The first time he seemed calmer, the second trip even calmer, and by the third trip, he said, "That's all? Just normal rooms?" and walked away. Ta-da! Okay, it took a few yrs, but it worked. :) Also, he didn't know what the word "vacation" meant until we went to Disney one year. All of a sudden, he said, "Are we on vacation?" "Yes." "Can we go on vacation again?" lol!
    You will come up with-many of your own ideas, but don't let his anxiety make you anxious, Know what I mean??
  9. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    ::looking sideways::

    which would be exactly why you need more than 1 or 2. ROFL. i wouldnt buy an expensive watch--i'd get cheapo ones that actually keep decent time (even the dollar trees here sell watches, but i think they are mainly digital ones, I don't know)

    i would make a GIGANTIC deal over "now that his is (4,6), he's a big boy and this is his special watch" and play it up huge.

    imagine yourself not knowing what is happening next in your day, and someone swooping in at some random time and essentially just informing you that they are leaving, you are staying, you are going here, or there--all on the drop of a dime.

    sounds pretty stressful, huh? :-D
  10. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Just a little bit about us ;): we have a trucking company and husband drives the East coast. We never know when he will be home and even less what time of day or night. He is only "only" gone 3 or 4 days at a time (used to be more in the past) but like confuzzled said: V has no concept of time.
    He is only 4 years old and I would say it is quite normal at that age. But yet, he really struggles with the separation, whereas my oldest (5 years old) never did. He knows Daddy alaways comes back. V does not seem to get that.
    I will make some "clock cards" to help him know when things happen. Although I do tell him: pick you up after snack time. But then he asks if I can pick him up befaore nap time. Nap time is indeed his new source of anxiety. He tells me he's tired but cannot sleep. He took his weighted blanket with him today.... fingers crossed.
    After I leave, the teacher said he calms himself down but won't talk until breakfast. That means it takes him about 30minutes to get over the seperation/transition. After breakfast, it's not unsual for him to "space out" because all the kids go to different centers and he gets overwhelmed. I did explain to the teachers what to do (body contact, talk to him at eye level and explain what he needs to do).
    Somehow, V manages to go through the day but I wonder at what cost. I honestly don't know if the problem is really bad or not so bad since his way of coping is to internalize and escape in his own bubble (when I'm not around that is).
  11. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    here's a good link for picture symbols that might help.

    (oops, did have you confused with someone else--but your husband's schedule is similar)

    but your description of overwhelmed at "centers" kinda drives my point home. he can't anticipate what is going one--i'm guessing if the kids are left to choose their centers, its a free-for-all.

    a picture schedule can, and should be used to even guide that--there is no reason the school cant implement it for him.
    he should have an actual piece of paper in front of him that plays up his choice of centers...i cant think of any reason why he cant start center time with say--1. art center (clock, 15 min) 2. block center (clock, 15 min) 3. music center (clock, 15 min) so he knows what he's supposed to do. he'll learn to anticipate that oh, teacher said center time--let me go over to the art section. as he gains confidence, he can be given a choice for empowerment--say, two cards with 1. art center and 2. block center and asked which he would like to do first. it would seem to me though, that it needs to be pretty scripted with no choice initially so he gets the concept first. in all examples, be aware that at some point you/they DO need to introduce some limited flexibility skills to him or else at 1:45, he'll be standing in the art center, lol.

    to just say its center time to a 4 year old, with no structured routine to it, is pretty much a recipe for disaster--for even typical kids.
  12. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    one more thing......sorry i'm blathering on today.


    possible Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

    not that i'm an expert by any means, but now i want to drive over to you and make you a ton of crafty visual aids.

    because if you are seriously suspecting this, i'm pretty sure all your auditory "telling" him is wasted breath....and since he's really too young to diagnosis it formally (usually around 8 i believe), i'd honestly operate under the assumption that you need to modify for it asap. the younger you start teaching compensatory skills, the more it will become second nature for him. and that will serve him will through school and life.

    just my opinion of course :), but that jumped out at me when i scrolled back.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I didn't have time on my last post to go into details, but the "dozen small things" goes something like this (not exactly a dozen, but...)
    - sensory issues
    - hearing
    - visual (does he need glasses?)
    - motor skills (fine/gross/both - yes, you can tell at this age... how long to learn to ride a bike? tie shoes? do buttons?)
    - auditory processing issues - Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), other stuff - cannot be diagnosed this young - too many other things to rule out first, which would invalidate the testing... BUT as a parent, YOU can start trying stuff, documenting as you go. In particular, watch for ... consistently "getting it" in a one-on-one, quiet environment, but "misses it" in a noisy group - this is a different problem than difficulty processing verbal language.
    - LDs are hard to catch at this age - but may be there... dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalcula, and so on.
    - mood disorders
  14. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Confuzzled, the website/software you suggested is FANTASTIC!!!
    I almost have V's visual schedule completed. I showed him a few "cards" I've creayed and he really gets it. He canno wait to have his own watch instead of looking at the clock.
    I'll do some kind of little book (fash card size) so he can carry it with him. I will teach im how to use it at home and then he'll go to school with it. I'll ask the teachers to help him use it as well. It really should not be any inconvenience for them.
    It really is such a brilliant idea.
    Insane, he does have those issues: motor-planning, sensory, all the red flags of Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).
    I wish I could just help him not bubble and then explode. I seem to handle the tantrums better but somedays, it's all I do: put fires out... sigh...
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    Just a thought on those routine flash cards. If there isn't already a provision, have "change" cards handy. Mostly for you and teacher. When there is an unanticipated change of schedule, you give him a change card. Ideally, you will have thoroughly prepared him for change cards, with instructions of staying calm and using whatever coping skills he has available to make it through the change. Fire drills, substitute teachers, etc. For days when you have planned changes, use sticky notes to make the change.

    That cookie/ball incident reminded me of DD1. It like a self created conflict they make for themselves and they cannot find any reasonable resolution. Often there isn't one because they desire two opposing things. In V's case he probably could have finished his cookie AFTER he rescued his ball, or finished his cookie and THEN rescued his ball, but if he's anything like DD1 (sounds like he is) he wanted both NOW, thereby creating the conflict. DD1 still does this. So far, therapist has been absolutely useless in trying to address this. Logical arguments/discussion/plans/ideas make sens when she's calm, but they don't work when she's IN the conflict.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    So... what accommodations, interventions and medications (if appropriate) are in place to deal with "those issues"?

    I know. I sound like a broken record.
    But... we got nowhere except farther downhill, faster every day... until we got to the bottom of "those issues".
    Finding solutions to the issues, was the only path that solved the behavior problems.

    If you're trying to fix the behavior... and the issues keep driving him downhill... the absolute best you can do is stay even - and that isn't likely because school gets much harder in "chunks".

    If the behavior issues are NOT driven by other issues... then of course, fixing anything else would not have the impact. You have to know which came first... the behavior? or the other issues? It is NOT always obvious.
  17. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I'm pretty positive the behavior is a consequence of his issues.
    Right now, there is no "official" accomodations or support at school. Just some verbal advice and explannation of what he does and how to bring him back. Since there is no tantrum at school, they listen but are not too concerned.
    But those 2 teachers this year must somewhat listen 'cause V (despite the morning crying) told me "I like my school", twice!
    But like you said, school just gets harder and more complexe and I NEED to know what works and what does not.
    This year is good for testing, next year we need a solid plan from the get go.
    I'm waiting for the Occupational Therapist (OT) report and hope I'll find some guidance in it. We will then have a second meeting with the 2 teachers and the disability coordinator.
    As far as actual learning... academic learning... his teachers do test every now and then. But it is too early in the year for that. We'll see what advice they have when he obviously falls behind.
    I know I sound pretty pessimistic, but I know V.... I have actually stop teaching him those stuff after school. He is too tired and eager to jump around. Then when he cannot do it, he gets upset. Not good for sef-esteem. When things are more quiet, maybe he wil be ready for this. Or, maybe we'll uncover an Learning Disability (LD)...
    Just too young right now.
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    At this age, there should be NO homework. Period. Elementary? 10 minutes per WEEK, per grade... kindergarten being grade 0. So grade 3 would get half an hour of homework per week. That's not per day, that's per WEEK.

    It always drives me crazy that the kid has to be essentially failing in school, before these issues can even be looked at... and while we're waiting until things are "bad enough", all sorts of other issues get added that don't need to be there... like anxiety, and depression, and behavior issues.

    When kids are burning out at school, the worst thing you can do is add to that by trying to do school work at home. Home needs to be a place to recover, a place to do things that work, to expand basic non-academic skills... extra bike-riding practice? Shoe tieing? bed-making? Plus the fun but important stuff, like helping with things around the house (yes, cooking is fun)