This is a completely mixed bag, but I was wondering if anyone has any insight to help us connect the dots.
My four year old son was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. Before the diagnosis, he was having frequent night terrors (usually 2-3 a night) He was put on one med, which was a mood supressant, and he slept much better (but the seizures didn't respond) When he was taken off of that med, the sleeping problems came back - he hasn't slept through the night in about 4 months with frequent night terrors. (but his seizures are much better)
Before all of this, we noticed that he tended to have some OCD tendencies - especially around meals (how his food was cut, if it fell on the floor, etc) it would elicit huge hour long temper tantrums that were violent (hitting, pushing, head butting) and to our home (broke a closet door ect.) He apparently doesn't have many outbursts at school - only at home. We have also noticed that while he is not antisocial, he is socially awkward (yelling in friend's faces about what they should do) and he has what appears to be some sensory processing disorders (loud noises, lights)
So, I'm trying to connect dots here that may or may not be connectable. So, we are looking at 1. seizures 2. sleeplessness 3. agression 4. socially awkward 5. sensory processing issues 5. possible ocd (need for things to be just so many times) and obsession with certain things (usually associated with his sensory processing issues.)
Any thoughts? He makes eye contact, so we have been told that it can't possibly be autism. (Although we have noticed that when something is more emotionally charged, he is not able to make eye contact.)
If anyone has any insight, it would be greatly appreciated!
I would definitely look into the sensory processing issues. We have a great web site that can be very helpful - http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Sensory-Integration-Disorder-SID/show/1396. Hopefully specialmom who runs that site will also see your post here and respond, but do post over there. A lot of this sounds very much like SIDS.
What are his night terrors like? and how do you handle them? It is somewhat common for kids of this age to have sleep problems and what comfort and to sleep with mom and day. Do you, by chance, have any other younger kids (especially under two)?
Also you say he was taken off his med, but his seizures are better. Is he now on any medication at all?
I really really recommend a thorough evaluation by a child psychologist with expertise in neurodevelopmental disorders. It would be ideal if they worked with a comprehensive team/program (for example, including speech therapist, occupational therapist, neurologist, developmental pediatrician etc). I would ask your neurologist for a referral. Does your neurologist or pediatrician suspect an Autism Spectrum Disorder? Is your son in preschool? What do his teachers say? These are all good people to touch base with.
I would not rule out an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) based on good eye contact - not at all. It is certainly possible given the symptoms you described (ASD is associated with every symptom you mention, including seizures) BUT those symptoms can also be explained by many other things. And you also have to take into account possible side effects from his medication - some anti-epileptic medicines can have powerful side effects. That is why it is so important that he is evaluated by someone who knows what they are ****. Children's Hospitals are good places to look for reputable evaluation centers. Universities are another.
It can be a developmental problem and not be autism. Sensory processing disorder is a good possibility- it can be a symptom of another problem or diagnosis on its own. I would suggest an appointment with a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist. You can also get an OT eval.
In the mean time, reach out to his teachers and take a look at why he does better at school than at home. Perhaps he respond well to the structure and routine at school? It may not give you answers but can help the family function in the meantime.
I can give a little insight into sensory issues. When my sensory processing issues are out of whack, things that seem little to others (in this case food cut wrong or the like) I cannot process or handle in an appropriate manner. Being a rational adult, I find other coping mechanisms but I can see easily how a child would go in to tantrum mode. Battling him on these issues probably wouldn't resolve it, but you can find ways to help him learn to cope and reset.
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