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Putting that Backfield in Motion since 2003

Monday, April 17, 2006

What’s wrong with him

What’s wrong with him? Don’t I wish I knew.

Sometimes I can convince myself it is only typical two year and a half year old behavior or that boys will just be boys. Other times I can almost believe he is just high needs or spirited or perhaps a bit on the hyperactive side. Sensory integration dysfunction compounded with the speech delay is a likely culprit but there is no consistency in his sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviors. We received a letter regarding our appointment at the developmental pediatrician and fortunately, he tested negative for autism but he was found to be at risk in the following areas:

Activity/impulsivity
Aggression/defiance
Separation distress
Negative emotionality
Compliance
Attention
Empathy
Prosocial peer relationships

We have an evaluation with a pediatric psychologist next month and we are, of course, continuing with speech and physical therapy. I attempted to Google all the above terms and do some research of my own to be better prepared for our psych appointment but I got as far as negative emotionality when I discovered a common outcome in children who exhibit all of the above characteristics: they all grow up to be terrorists. Needless to say, I immediately quit the Googling because I’m still nursing Grace and let’s face it, it would take a hell of a lot of sour apple Vodka and Sprite to get me through the rest of the list and I don’t think Grace’s liver is up to the challenge. When I first read the list I was upset but I also was immediately in denial. "But aren’t those characteristics of ALL two and a half year olds", I lamented to anyone who would listen. At face value, those are characteristics of most two year olds. Most two year olds are active, impulsive and don’t want to listen or pay attention to anyone. The difference between usual two year old behavior and two year old behavior that gets a letter mailed to you with a list of risk factors for growing into a terrorist is the intensity. Let me put it this way, if all two year olds were peppers some would be a little hot, some would be a lot hot, and some wouldn’t even be hot at all. The Gavinator? He is a habanero pepper. Some two year olds may make your eyes water and some may even burn your throat burn but my kid will burn your freakin’ face off.

I am once again facing the truth that things with my son are not quite right. I first faced it back in October while attending my niece’s birthday party and Gavin threw a three hour fit. I am facing it again after once again visiting my sister and her kids and taking Gavin to a Bunny Bash. It is very rare that I take him out of the confines of his sensory safe home environment but when I do, it is like hitting a brick wall and unfortunately, both of those walls were hit when I travel solo with him out of town. I had no sooner unlatched his carseat straps when he began screaming, kicking, and writhing. Any attempts to entertain Gavin with all the Bash had to offer resulted in him putting his hands over his ears and running in a straight line far, far away from me without ever looking back. I was hoping he could participate in the Easter egg hunt but Gavin doesn’t engage in play or activities. He only runs free like a wild animal and I don’t even think he could get the concept of collecting eggs as it doesn’t involve him spinning, jumping, spitting, or screaming. I ended up strapping him down in Grace’s too small stroller and wearing Grace in a sling for the better part of the afternoon. We eventually made our way to a playground and Gavin enjoyed that but he began his usual seeking of visual stimulation and would only run back and forth across the play bridge with his eyes less than an inch from the red metal bars totally oblivious to everything else around him.

I just watched him and while my heart filled with love for my unique little boy, I could only watch the other children with envy. Not envy for me but envy for Gavin. Their world is one in which information from all the senses is processed normally. There is no need to cover their ears, run, push or pull, scream, or run back in forth in front of red metal bars over and over again. Sure, they can do those things if they want to but they don’t have to. Gavin has to. My sister asked me “what’s wrong with him” and what are the therapists telling us to do for him and I really don’t know. The only thing I do know for sure is that I love him so much it hurts but I’m tired and sometimes… like when I’m all misty-eyed from merely looking at pictures of children his age who are able to calmly and happily participate in an Easter egg hunt… I wish he was normal. Not for me but for him. There is so much he seems to be missing out on and it can’t possibly be fun to live in his sensory screwed up world. Of course, I don’t expect him to live up to my standards of happiness and I realize doing what he does makes him different from other kids but it also meets his needs and brings him some happiness. Unfortunately, it is not happiness alone that allows us to function in society. School is right around the corner and it is a totally different world than our sensory safe home dictated by Gavin’s needs. The boy. He is going to need to fit in one day.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Melissa said...

I'm sorry your dealing with this. I am praying for you and the Gavinator. That's all I can do for you. Wish it was more.

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Speech Therapist and have a son who had similar behavior as your son including a bonding issue. My son received Sensory Integration Therapy, Cranial Sacral Therapy, and Speech Therapy. It does sound like your son's issues are more than hyperactivity. I think it is important for your son to see an ENT in addition to the Dev. Ped. My son needed ear tubes and his adnoids removed at 1 and 2 years. This helped him more than anything and I believe there are studies now in regards to this unrecognized issue.

Jack is now 8 and does not have any residual issues. He appears to everyone to have never had any problems at all.

Good luck. I know how incredibly hard, exahausting, and heartbreaking it can be. Your son is beautiful.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Thank you Melissa and thank you anon.

Anon, do you think you could provide some links tot he studies regarding the need for an ENT referral? I would like to show them to my pedi.

Thanks!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just google ear infections and ADHD together and that will get you started. I don't have any links, it has been 6 years that I have not had to deal with this issue. However, I was just reading in some parenting magazine concerning the issues of ADHD, SI, and the broad spectrum of Autism and what role ear issues: ear infections, hearing and equalibrim, enlarged tonsils and adnoids play in these disorders.

I firmly believe that my son's tubes at 14 months, adnoid removal at 2.5 years, and tonsilectomy at 4 years saved him. I believe the link between the Ear, Nose and Throat with the issues our son's have/had.

The first step I took, on my Dev. Ped.'s recommendation, was to take my son to Children's hospital for an ENT appointment. They checked his hearing and the vibration of his ear. They immediately found issues and we went from there. You can make your own appointment with a good Ped. ENT and check it out. It can't hurt.

Hope this helps.

11:51 AM  

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