I have an appointment with my doctor next week for my son but I can't help thinking about it while waiting, and I was wondering if other parents with special needs experience might recognize something in my son's behaviors that would give me an idea of what I might be looking at. He is 7 1/2 years old and was a completely normal baby and toddler, there were no signs of anything different. Here is a list of what I've noticed:
- He is always sniffing things, picking things to pieces, feeling things, making odd faces and sounds (I mean intentional funny faces and noises, not something uncontrolled, but he will sit at the kitchen table and make noises for 10 minutes).
- He has always walked up on his tip toes, which isn't necessarily related.
- He gets upset extremely easily and he will go and hide under a bed or a table and refuse to come out, covering his face and ears. He especially can't handle losing at a board or card game.
- He refuses to let anyone help him learn anything. He refused help riding a bike for years and then suddenly this summer started on his own and he still won't participate in swim lessons because he insists he will learn on his own.
- Not much concern for personal safety. From the time he could walk he was climbing everything. I always find him dangling from some piece of furniture, no matter how many times he hurts himself.
- He is sneaky and will go behind my back and do what I've told him not to do. He will hide stashes of candy or other things I've told him he can't have and then hide somewhere and eat it all.
- He doesn't respond to punishment. If I take something away he will respond with a 'who cares' attitude or give me a snarky response about how I might forget by tomorrow or he doesn't really want it that much anyway, or he doesn't care if he has to wait a few days for it.
- Has trouble talking, struggles to get his thoughts out and pauses and repeats words quite a bit. He is an excellent reader and has tested two grades higher than his own in vocabulary and reading skills, he just seems to struggle when it comes to speaking out loud.
- Gets really involved in what he is doing and it takes repeatedly calling his name before he will hear me.
- Forgets constantly, leaves things lying around that I ask him to pick up repeatedly (will walk into a room to do something and then forget to do it).
- Moves from one activity to another constantly unless it is something he is obssessed with at the moment (right now it is Roblox.com) but there is usually a trail of toys and left on electronics behind him. He also does not sit still well at all and gets bored easily.
- He doesn't like loud noises, he will hold his hands over his ears until it goes away.
- He never dresses or puts shoes on. I have to repeatedly remind him to get dressed as he wanders the house in underwear. And he always goes outside in his socks, he can't seem to remember to put shoes or boots on.
- Follows every statement he makes with the question, “right?” as if he needs my agreement to state an opinion or make an observation. And he repeats the word until I agree or disagree with him.
- Interacts differently with others. This is an odd one that I'm not sure how to explain. I watched a child tried to trick him out of his time on a computer and he seemed completely unaffected by her repeated attempts to get him off. He had a response for everything she threw at him and didn't seem to care one way or another, just kept on playing like she wasn't there. I've also seen where someone will say something to him that I would find insulting and he gets this spacy look in his eyes like he is looking through them like they aren't there and then it will clear and he will either change the subject completely or walk away as if he didn't hear a thing. If a group of kids are doing something, he'll just walk right in and join. He does play well one on one and shares well and will take turns. He spends a lot of time in pretend play with his brother and I've seen him pretend playing with toys, even though he will get embarrassed and stop if he sees me watching.
- Loves animals. He loves cats and dogs especially and is always making sure ours have food and water. He pets them and plays with them and is always treating them with extra care.
It is such an odd list of things (or seems that way to me) that I keep second guessing myself as to whether anything is actually wrong or not.
Well, 'wrong' might not be the word for it even if something is going on. There is a lot that can be done to improve focus and attend to social abilities with kids, especially ones where you don't even know for sure that there is an issue (in other words, a kid with an impairment that was much more obvious, it would take that much more to help). There are some excellent and knowledgeable writers on this site who will be able to advise you, some are moms who have a kid with some part of the spectrum and have had good success working with them in specific ways. Hang in there, having him evaluated is good, and so is the advice on this site.
Hi there. Well, I'm so glad you found med help. Welcome!
So, I have a son that I could make a very similar list to the one you've made regarding your son. :>) My son was doing a lot of these things during his preschool years. Almost your entire list! My son was diagnosed at 4 with sensory integration disorder. Honestly, the best thing that could have happened for him. Why? Because it allowed us to understand the behaviors and to work on them or give him coping mechanisms. We began occupational therapy with an OT that worked on sensory specifically and the difference that it has made, I can't tell you. My son is now 8 and doing fantastic. he can calm himself down, he has go to activities to do this, he can be more flexible when he has to be, he's learned play skills, his speech and fine motor improved, he can stay on tast and focus, things like sound and light that bothered him does so much less, etc.
A good web site to look at is 'SensoryProcessingDisorder" (SPD). Gives lots of symptoms. A book that is the go to sensory book is "The Out of Sync Child".
There are tactile things that OT's do such as brushing that helped my son with some of his touch/clothing/ walking on tip toe (issue is how things feel on a flat foot, less foot touches when walks on tip toes) almost immediately. We also work on behavioral things ---- how your son handle stress, losing ,etc. Making safe choices, etc.
So much to put in one post to you. If you have any questions about sensory, please feel free to ask. Again, my list at one time was almost identical to yours. Now I have a happy, adjusted little boy. good luck
hi.firstly welcome to medhelp..your son sounds like such a loving caring..although boisterious young man..and you say he is 7 and a half yrs of age...,and as a baby and a toddler there were no signs of any of this behaviour..,has there been any disruption in your familys routine? sorry for being personal but eg..seperation,loss etc...,as this affects children more than you think.. i apologise if im totally off the mark but just someone looking in...
Thank you for the responses. Lisa - no there haven't been any changes, and you don't have to be sorry. Specialmom - I had never heard of that (sensory processing disorder) before, but I researched it a bit and he seems to fit almost all of the behaviors/symptoms, although not necessarily as extreme as some of them are described. The interesting thing for me is that his dad walks on his tiptoes too. I asked him about it but he isn't sure why he does it, in fact he hadn't realized that he does! I've never seen him do any of the other 'sensory' type things like smelling or touching things like our son does, and not much seems to bother him, but he is definitely easily distracted and leaves a trail of unfinished things behind him just like our son.
Hi, well, I'm sure there could be a genetic componant to sensory although no one in my family has this and I knew little about it before my son.
I will tell you that things can get harder for a sensory kid. Being different is hard on a kid I feel. My own son works on this. He's now 8 but just wants to be one of the guys.
We help him do that in a variety of ways.
Really, one thing that is really important is that at home, you treat him like you are his peer. This means that you go ahead and beat him at games even if he has a fit. He can't be inflexible in his ideas---- so you insert your own ideas that he must deal with or compromise on. Give him choices when he is being obstaninant such as he doesn't want to be taught something like swimming but wants to learn on his own. My son does that too and you know what we determined? he is afraid to fail in front of us.
I would really suggest if he has symptoms of sensory that you see an occupational therapist and have an evaluation. Sensory is on a spectrum with some kids being very mild and others more severe. My son is middle of the road. We've overcome a lot of it.
One thing that helps tremendously with the nervous system regulation is what they call 'heavy work' Goodgle this or you may have seen this on the spd website. It's basically deep pressure and muscle work that soothes/calms/revs up (depending on what a child needs) nervous system. We do a 'sensory diet' of these heavy work activities every single day. From hiking, to bike riding, swimming (yes, that is really a perfect exercise and we have my son on a swim team all winter long which he LOVES), kicking a soccer ball, moving something heavy in the house, helping dad move the wheel barrow, punching a box it bag, jumping on a trampoline, swinging, climbing trees or the side of his play set, running sprints, doing the monkey bars, etc. The more he gets of this, the better he copes and happier he is.
If you have any sensory questions, please ask. It's become a bit of a passion for me with my son and he's really responded to therapy and the diet. good luck
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