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3-year old OCD and Sensory Integration Issues
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3-year old OCD and Sensory Integration Issues

This is long...forgive me...
Our 3 1/2 year old son started intense behavioral all day screaming/crying sessions at 17 months of age.  I could not wear my hair up, things had to be just so, if something was moved he screamed/cried for hours (no embellishment) to the point that I video-taped the behavior to make a doctor listen to me.  He was sent to a child psychologist who gave an informal diagnosis of possible Sensory Integration issues and possible attachment disorder.  He was sent to the children's hospital for evaluation of Autism and Asperger's syndrome, including a complete medical.  He has no formal diagnosis so we are left on our own to cope with his behavior issues and learn how to manage them.

I can now wear my hair up, however, his emotional meltdowns, although less frequent, are increasing in intensity.  For example, he started saying "mommy smile" about 3 months ago, even when I was smiling at him and when I try to ask him why he wants me to smile all the time, he doesn't even listen to me and just repeats "mommy smile" to the point where he gets himself so worked up he spits up.  He has no self-calming mechanism, even though I've even tried to teach him deep breathing and counting, hugging his favorite bunny or blanket, tried time-outs - they don't work for him - nothing does.  I've tried hugging him nice and close to get him to calm down, to no avail.  These are just a few of the many emotional challenges we deal with on a daily basis.  He might go a week or a day or two weeks with having an 80% good day, but then the switch goes on, and he wakes up intensely upset and the rest of the day or week or two weeks, etc. are an emotionally charged battle-filled time.  We even try to walk away and not react to these bizarre outbursts but they do nothing to alleviate the intensity.

On top of that, his behaviors are still very obsessive/compulsive (makes me repeat his sentences over and over until I say them just right - according to him).  Heaven forbid if I get it wrong, he has a complete meltdown screaming mommy no, mommy no, then repeating what he wants me to say over and over and over and over.  Our night time ritual is painful - I have to stand at the door and say good night, sweet dreams, see you in the morning, he repeats it, I repeat it, he repeats it, and so forth and it isn't until he finally rolls over and closes his eyes and smiles that I can leave.  We are at the point where I try to get my husband to put him to bed every night saying "mommy has to go out with some ladies tonight so daddy's putting you to bed" because if he knows I'm in the house, he'll freak and cry even after my husband puts him to bed until I go and do the ritual.

What's so bizarre, is that these crazy behaviors (of which I've only listed very few), have no triggers.  His moods are like a switch going on and off.  Looking for answers to help us thru (his 22-mo. old brother is not and has never been like this).  
Thoughts?  Advice?
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With children so young, it is often difficult to pinpoint particular emotional disorders, bit it is possible to address the symptoms. His extreme level of anxiety and his emotional fragility/lability can be addressed. It may eventually be determined that he displays juvenile onset bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, or some combination of conditions. Regardless, even though he is very young, it may be prudent to seek psychitric care, with the objective of pharmacological treatment of the symptoms I mentioned above. While the diagnostic picture may remain a bit cloudy, it is possible to give him some rekief from some of these symptoms. Ultimately, we treat symptoms, not diagnoses, and I think you have options re: treatment. Arrange an appointment with a child psychiatrist and see where that leads you.
4 Comments
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While reading about your 3 1/2 year old son,I felt as if I were reading about my 3 year old son. He has me repeat words,phrases,etc. and they have to be word for word and how he wants me to say them or it turns into a meltdown. I've also tried the different calming techniques which usually do not work. It takes nothing to set him off, and when he is set off it is the loudest screaming you can imagine with nothing but anger behind it. We don't go out as a family anymore(I also have a 5 yr old and 8 mo old) because his behavior is so unpredictable and embarassing that it's just not worth it.

I've had him evaluated with a diagnosis of Aspergers and pdd-nos given. He is very intelligent for his age. His memorization is remarkable for his age, however, conversational speech is not what it should be and he is very restricted as far as his interests go. For example, he is obsessed with numbers, letters and trucks. He is content talking about those things all day. And that usually means me repeating alot of what he says about those things. He is very persistant until I do as well.

It seems as if the anger has gotten worse the older he gets(he will be 4 in May 06). I was so in hopes it would get better. He has an appointment the middle of Dec with a child psychologist and I'm hoping for some answers and possible interventions then.
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Avatar_n_tn
Well i couldnt post a message on the potty training list, but i need some serious help.
my 4 year old will not poopoo in the potty, i have tryed sitting him on there, telling him he can get candy or a toy after he goes like a big boy.
am i do something wrong here?
he will pee in the potty every now and then but i dont understand why he wont do the other?
any help would be great.
he was behind with everything else he learned to do also.
like crawing, walking, talking, and now potty training.
i feel like this is all my fault, what should i do?
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Avatar_n_tn
Tracy3,

I would like you to know that you are not alone. Our 3 year 11 month old son exhibits the EXACT same behaviors as yours. Our son also has an obsession with numbers and letters and has an amazing (scary!) memory. He was very delyed in his speech as well. So much so, that we sought help. Essentailly the speech is/was fine, but we have come to realize it was a lack of communication skills or desire. He will rarely interact with other kids and when he does it is nonsencical. Other kids are quite 'confused' by his behavior.

Although he has always been very sensitive to change in routines, lately it has gotten worse. We cannot leave or go anywhere without him having complete meltdowns. If a number is missing from an aisle in the store - look out.

Friends and relatives just say that's how kids act at this age, but we have always felt he was in his own world and just a little different. I am not sure they can see the nuanices we see everyday.(our 2 year old is as normal as it comes)

We are planning to explore some psychology options and would like to know how your discussion turn out.

Reagrds.
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A related discussion, sensory integration disorder + OCD was started.
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A related discussion, My son is obsessed with letters and numbers was started.
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