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4 year having a hard time adjusting
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4 year having a hard time adjusting

I have a 4 and a half year old daughter who has been labled by the school as "overall developmental delay".  She has been to the Neurologist many times for a medical diagnosis.  They say she would fit into the "PDD" category.  She is about a year to a year and a half behind on everything.  She's always had troubling behavior problems.  We sought behavior therapy a couple years ago.  She is a hard child to discipline because she really doesn't care about anything (rewards/punishments).  We've recently moved and her behavior has become unbearable!  I know that it is just very hard for her and she probably can't express how she's feeling and it's very frustrating for her, however, she has twin 18 month old brothers who are witnessing this misbehavior daily.  One son is starting to misbehave just like her.  So far, any correction I've tried has been without result.  She's outwardly defient, she beats on her brothers, she talks mean, has many meltdowns throughout the day, and the list goes on.  So, here are my questions  1. How can I help her cope with all the change and 2. Do behavior disorders go hand in hand with developmental delay?
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Dear Lori,

Any such change is bound to be unsettling for a child who displays a condition such as your daughter's. The rule of thumb is to establish as much structure and routine as possible. This helps with impulse control, but don't expect dramatic changes. It is reasonable to expect that your daughter can return to whatever baseline level of functioning she was displaying prior to the move.

Behavior disorders don't necessarily accompany all forms of developmental delay or disorders. However, behavior problems are pretty much part and parcel of conditions such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder. It is likely that, in order to achieve significant progress, your daughter will require an intervention plan comprised of special education, behavior management/modification, and pharmacological treatment.
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What is her diet like?  We eliminated tantrums, hitting, kicking, spitting, defiance, yelling, etc. by eliminating artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives from our son's diet.  I cook everything from scratch and he gets no Kool-Aid, Jello, juices with artificial ingredients, etc.  We limit sugar, dairy products, corn syrup, and sodas.  He drinks mostly water for liquids during the day.  He eats a limited amount of junk food and gets raw veggies and fruits as snacks.

We also added long chain essential fatty acids to his diet as at the time he was a very picky eater.  You can use flax oil tablets but must supplement with DHA.  We use a product called efalex (efamol.com) but it is a little pricy.  It contains the correct balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

I would try doing these two things for two months to see if you get an improvement.  My 5 yr old son improved after two weeks.  He became compliant, obeyed, polite, and the out of control tantrums and rages stopped. He is still hyper but is not out of control any more.

Try reading "The ADD Nutrition Solution" by Marcia Zimmerman, "Special Diets for Special Kids" by Lisa Lewis.  There is also a new book coming out this month titled "The LCP Solution: The Remarkable Nutritional Treatment for ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia" by Stordy/Nicholl.

And try giving specific positive praise for good behavior and not showing a reaction and remaining calm to the bad behavior.  And be consistent with consequences for improper behavior.  And try to remember she cannot control herself and have some empathy for her.
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