Six year old behavior- is this anything to worry about?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Angela41, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    Hi- I have a question about younger children. I have noticed over the past year or so that my six year old has developed an odd habit(?) or tic. So, here it is:

    When he was little (can't remember when it started, maybe around three) he would hum. Not musically, more like a buzzing fly. My husband and I learned to be wary of the "hum" because it usually meant he was about to go bonkers (run, scream, push buttons, become defiant, or launch into a tantrum).

    Skip forward- he still hums, but usually just when he's tired. However, I noticed a few months back that he was constantly clearing his throat. I asked him if he didn't feel well- nope, "he just needed to clear his throat." He didn't go wild on me, during "throat-clearing" but it was frequent.

    We ignored it, and the throat clearing has stopped. But now, he has just started blinking his eyes rapidly. We asked if his eyes were bothering him- no, not really, they just "feel heavy."

    I don't think that this is Tourettes because it's not severe, and it's transient, and he seems, on some level to be in control of it (i.e. it's not involuntary, but he's obsessed with doing it).

    Impulsive behavior is significantly better, and he is rarely aggressive or deliberately rebellious. He doesn't listen to verbal instructions well, but for the most part, I don't think he's defying me on purpose. He is also more accepting of consequences and will apologize for anything hurtful that he has said or done-- in his words, "even if he can't clean the slate (i.e. regain the lost activity/toy for the bad behavior), he's still sorry." He is "obsessive" about what he is in the middle of- last night he wanted to draw the planet Mercury at bedtime, and freaked out when we told him he would have to wait until morning (yes, we gave in). This kind of occurrence is very common in our house. He is an extreme perfectionist and until recently would throw things across the room that weren't to his satisfaction.

    He is also very concerned about a few other things. For awhile, he became very adamant that he didn't want people touching anything that would go in his mouth because he was worried about dying from the Avian flu (heard on the news that some babies in China died of H1N1). He would go ballistic if I touched his water glass or his toothbrush and he would put toilet paper on the seat to use the bathrooms in our house. Thank goodness this is improving and he's willing to let me touch his things when I have assured him that my hands are germ free. He no longer puts down toilet paper. He is not an obsessive hand washer (in fact he could use a lot of improvement in this area). He's fine with eating in the school cafeteria because he has noticed that the lunch staff wears gloves.

    He is highly sensitive- there was an accident on the road yesterday, and he became upset- and he read about a "beggar" in the Magic Treehouse series and became upset and tearful when he realized that some people don't have homes or money. Maybe this is common for kids? He's my "only" so I don't know.

    I'm so happy that he's handling his feelings better, but I don't know what to do or think about this emerging sensitivity. Maybe it's always been there, and he's now old enough that it shows itself for what it is? Any thoughts?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you need to get this child a total evaluation, both with a neuropsychologist AND a pediatric neurologist to see if he does have Tourettes or something similiar or if he's on the autism spectrum as well. Your own feeling that he doesn't have Tourettes really isn't a good enough reason not to have him evaluated. This is not common for kids. I've raised five plus half the neighborhood. He is not typical acting, but that doesn't mean it's a BAD thing. However, your child is wired differently and needs help, especially with those tics that come and go. He is little and can't do it on his own. You need to get him help. You need to find out what is wrong with him so that you can work with professionals and medical people to help him. Why is it that he hasn't been evaluated before? If it's is better to know than to watch it get worse. The older the child is, the harder it is to get these differences under control. Just thought of it...he could have epilepsy too. I'd really get him to a pediatric neurologist very soon.

    Welcome to the board :)
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Some people don't want evaluations because they are afraid of labels.
    I don't know who on this board, but somebody has a statement like this in their signature: "I don't care what label you put on my kids as long as they get the help they need." (going from memory... not exact)

    Knowledge is power.
    We've gone through over 3 comprepensive evaluations, and close to a dozen dxes.
    Every single diagnosis - even the not-quite-accurate ones - gave us more knowledge, more tools, and more backbone in fighting for accommodations, interventions, etc.

    Six is not too young - and certainly not too old - for a comprehensive evaluation.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome Angela41.
    I totally agree. Get a total evaluation. Not just a 5 min. opinion. I see Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviors on the spectrum here.
    He sounds like a cute kid. I'd get him a diagnosis and interventions asap and keep him as sweet as he sounds. You don't want him going off about insignificant things when he's older and the hormones hit. Not to mention, you want him to be able to cope and function.

    6 is not too young.
  5. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    I would look into further, even if that meant starting out by reading up on some of the disorders associated with tics and obsessions, the ones that came to my mind when reading your post were: Aspergers, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and tics (not Tourette's necessarily because he needs to have multiple tics, motor and verbal).


    My difficult child has had those exact tics plus different ones. The one he has now and has had for awhile is opening and closing his mouth. I have had him evaluated and they don't think it's Tourettes and neither do I. He is obsessive about things and very sensitive. They have diagnosed him with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or Aspergers but whichever, he is definitely on the spectrum. And six is absolutely not too young. My difficult child has shown signs since about two. Good Luck.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Some teachers and I used to affectionately say to each other, we have a This was when I was an Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) in a variety of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) classes. I have worked with kids with many disabilities, but where I have heard this has been in the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) classes. From preschool through highschool I have had a few students who did this. I think you are insightful to be aware that it may be when he is on edge. We often felt it was a self soothing kind of sound.

    Of course it could be from other things, but I just thought that I'd share where I have seen this, and more than once in case it helps.

    I totally agree, it would be a good thing to have him evaluated in a really good comprehensive way. One thing that research is solid on....the earlier the intervention (if it is found to be needed) the more positive the outcomes. There are kids who actually do qualify for services at a young age and eventually do so well they dont need as much support.

    Knowledge is power. You do not have to tell anyone, nor do you have to act on it, but looking back and wishing you had started earlier is an awful feeling. I'm guessing you wouldn't be posting here if you were not concerned, so I fully support your instinct to check things out further.

    Sounds like a super kid by the way! No matter if there is ever a label of not, he will always be the same kid you love and adore. The labels are just tools to get therapy, interventions, and to help people understand if ever needed in a school setting or other type of situation where people are more understanding and can accommodate things better if you let them know.
  8. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    I appreciate the thoughtful feedback. I know when I describe him that it sounds like ASP. I have a brother with diagnosed Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and I know that my son shares some traits- mainly in the obsessive and anxiety areas. My kid's social functioning and language is much better than my brother's, but interestingly, my bro was rarely aggressive or enraged. Many things have improved drastically now that he is six.
    He rarely hits or becomes destructive, he is awesome in public 99.9% of the time, and I have only had two reports of a "bad day" from his K teacher for the entire school year. Believe me, if his temper had continued at home, or shown itself at school, I would have had him evaluated at the beginning of this year. It was a horrible ordeal.
    His biggest issue right now are the things I have described. I really believe that because he is maturing out of his "episodes" that we are getting to the heart of what may have caused them in the first place. I have a parent teacher conference coming up and want to discuss how C is functioning socially. She has reported nervousness, but I want to know how serious, how often, what circumstances? Is he making friends? Is he showing age appropriate social skills? He doesn't "refuse" to do things that make him nervous, he just acts out when he knows it's imminent. (e.g. he'll get on the diving block and jump in at his swim meet, but will be impossible during the ride to the pool:) I don't think he does much to support Tourettes, although I do think he gets into tic habits because he's tired or anxious and trying to soothe himself. The germ obsessiveness was the most worrying to me, but I ignored it and I notice that it's better (he's no longer eyeballing me when I touch his utensils and water glasses, and still seems fine to eat and drink:) I read a book about childhood anxiety and the author made a good point that there can be "obsessive" without "compulsive." It's somewhat new, so I want observe carefully to see if it develops (is he truly getting over it, or is he stealth in his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviors because he senses that they aren't "normal"?) All of these things will inform whether we continue with our psychologist or whether we need a full evaluation. She's not a "doctor" but she sees kids all day long, and I trust her to tell me if she recommends a formal evaluation. Right now, she's with me on the fence.
    Again, you folks are awesome, I appreciate the feedback, and will keep you updated.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) runs in families. Your brother having it puts him at a higher risk.

    Often the kids do grow out of some of the traits only to pick up new ones, not the least of which they have no idea how to make or keep friends. I'm still worried about the tics and I think you should still take him to a neurologist. I don't think school knows much about either Tourettes, epilepsy or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). All Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are different. Teachers are educators, nothing more. They don't know about medical things, even if they sometimes think they do.

    I'm pretty blunt, especially regarding our c hildren. No matter what YOU think, it is still in my opinion risky not to have him seen by a doctor for his tics and spells. You are not a doctor either. You really need to get him in to a neurologist. I don't understand why you won't. Doesn't make sense. But I know some people are afraid of what they'll hear. Still...not a good excuse in my opinion :)

  10. Luxiem

    Luxiem New Member

    Your son sounds exactly like my 5 (almost 6 year old) son who has very high functioning autism. He's a hummer, but will sometimes switch it up with signing or just imitating a noise, like the obnoxious firetruck from Fireman Sam. His speech patch at school said it's an auditory stimulant, he's even told us he does it because it "feels good" to his eara. He also has some anxiety and sensory issues.

    The tantrum at bed over Mercury, we have that. Only we no longer give in, thanks to tips from his IBI therapist.

    I think you really have nothing to lose by getting him a full evaluation. Our saving grace was going to a pediatric neurologist. Even the district missed his diagnosis when he was 3 1/2. Get a full work up done, if everything is kosher (which it doesn't sound like it is) then you can say you did everything you could. But don't wait, time is truly precious. My son is a different kid after 2 years of therapy.
  11. SmallTownMom

    SmallTownMom New Member

    Hi Angela,

    My son was diagnosed with turrets "officially" last March. His tics are at times very obvious and at times not so much. He humms a lot, grunts and or clears his throat while talking, rapid eye movement and blinking, the stretching of his eye muscles and at times head jerking. His psychiatrist has not put him on medication yet, he has told my difficult child that it is up to him. His tics weren't bothering him and he wasn't being teased. His psychiatrist has told me that at times kids can outgrow their turrets. Just over the holidays my difficult child was having a calm down time in my room (to many people around), when I came in to talk to him he exclaimed with such emotion "I HATE MY TICS".. It broke my heart. We have a psychiatrist appointment at the end of the month, we will bring up medications and see what our options are.