Not Sure What to Do.

Updated on June 07, 2009
K.H. asks from Oak Park, IL
9 answers

Hi,
I have a 5 year old son in kindergarten. I have been in conference with his teacher and aftercare person. He has problems sitting still, he also has problems with others personal space. He falls on people knock things over. He is just on the go. It does have and impact on school issues. He has a hard time being focused when with a group. So he is sitting with the teacher ore one or two other kids. He knows the work , but he cannot seem to finish things when with the other kids. The other kids somethimes shy away from him because of his need to touch them or make comments. We have been to the doctor and meds was suggested my husband and I are not sure about the meds. Our son is a very happy and friendly little boy. I anm afriad the meds will change him. We are going to try behavior modification to see if this helps. But on yesterday We got a note from the teacher. He had a difficult day knocking things over and running into people. Also in aftercare he fell on top of a little girl and swinging his arms not looking around him hit a liitle boy in the nose. The summer program is soon upon us and I have been informed that he might not be able to go. Because they are so busy and going on trips and swimming etc he might be able to handle it. I dont know what to do at this point. Sorry this is so long. Thanks in advance for any advice.

A very sad mom who cannot seem to make things right for her son.

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So What Happened?

I want to thank all the moms for your responses. I have started the behavior modfication at home and schol. We went to the therapist referred by his ped. He did not really offer any help. So Ihave been doing things at home. It is slow going, but there have not been as many issues at school. He is sitting still a little longer and listening better. Still have a ways to go. We are looking for another therapist. So wish me luck

More Answers

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M.A.

answers from Chicago on

I will agree with many of the others; Get an OT evaluation privately for SPD. SPD mimics ADHD, but won't respond to medication. The Senosry-Sensitive Child by Smith and Gouze is a good book on the subject, as well as Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller. A good OT trained in sensory processing disorder will be able to help, and be able to tell you whether it is SPD or something else. SPD can coexist with ADHD and ADD, too, so it may be a combination, but it may not. (my son only has SPD) Sensational Kids actually has charts that compare SPD to ADHD and SPD to ADD. My sensory-seeking son is a totally different child after having therapy and a sensory diet put in place. Knowledge is power, both for you and anyone who works with your son. If the private OT comes back with a diagnosis of SPD, you can take it to the school district, and ask for accommodations that the private OT recommended. You can also ask for the school OT to evaluate him, although not all school OTs are trained in SPD; neither can a child qualify for OT only at school.

Sorry to go on. Get it checked out as soon as possible. The sooner you know, and he starts getting therapy, the sooner things will improve for him and you!

M.

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S.Q.

answers from Chicago on

A referral from your pediatrician to a pediatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in Sensory Integration may help. They will give you a Sensory Profile to start, to help identify what areas are most challenging for your son, but it sounds like he may have some difficulty with his awareness of his body in space and also his tactile (touch) or proprioceptive awareness (swinging arms into other kids) which can be worked on with therapy. OT's do not use medications. There are different approaches, but typically a combo of home exercises, work in their clinic, perhaps a listening program such as Therapeutic Listening, and some guidance for the classroom and home routine.

We have used Mary Darnall at Ridgeland Therapeutics in Oak PArk and Debbie Haymon who owns SmartMoves in N.Riverside. Both are warm, loving OT's who have a great deal of experience in this field.

The therapist can also work with the pediatrician and school if ADHD is suspected. There is a process for diagnosing a child with ADHD and it should involve input from multiple sources, not just the primary MD.

GOOD LUCK and keep us posted! Have a great day and enjoy your wonderful, busy boy!

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J.C.

answers from Chicago on

I suggest seeing a pediatric occupational therapist. It seems like he is sensory-seeking, and the OT can help with exercises and a "sensory diet" that will help to calm the touching. The teacher can also help with things like having him sit on a special ball (like an exercise ball, but weighted), using fidget toys, etc.

ETA - I just noticed you're in Oak Park. I second the recommendation for Mary Darnall. She also runs a discussion group for parents of kids with sensory issues - I haven't made it to a meeting yet, but I'm sure if you call her office you can get more information. She is a wonderful person! Our insurance didn't pay for the first few months of my son's treatment, but the evaluation is relatively inexpensive (and eventually we worked out coverage. He had therapy for about 18 months.) Plus, your son will love the office! It's a fun place to be.

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

I totally understand what you are going through. Panicking comes when you don't have answers. Getting the answers and the information is hard when you don't know where to go or who to ask or even how to tell your story!!
Having been through some of these issues with my 7 yr old, I can tell you, just start calling around and making appointments. Go to the library and check out books like _The Active Alert Child_ and books about sensory integration disorder (sometimes called SPD, sensory perception disorder) and everything in between that sounds like it *might* be him. You can't read too much!!

Get some testing done. Allergy testing (food and environmental allergies can cause hyperactivity, aggression, and attention problems in children.) We got blood testing, scratch tests and MSA testing (Meridian Stress Test) The latter was through Home First and was the most useful for us. Check out the Feingold Diet- removing preservatives, artificial flavors and colors from my daughter's diet made a tremendous difference in her ability to sit still. She's still the same quirky her, but better! We had heavy metal testing (urine porphorins), lead test w/blood test, hormone testing w/blood test, complete CBC panel, anything I could find online that *might* be the cause of things, we tested for!! I have a great ped, Dr James Sanders, in St Charles who did the testing for me.

We also did psychological testing with Dr. Michael Appleby in Hinsdale (though he has an office in Chicago as well) He is a pediatric neuro-psychologist. He tested for giftedness, delays, sensory disorders, etc etc. It took awhile to get an appt, but it was worth it. We also did EEGs to rule out anything like seizures. You *DEFINITELY* want to have an EEG before you medicate. Lots of the medications they use for children (Risperdal, Abilify, etc etc) can cause seizures if your child is predisposed. You can't know this without an EEG. Demand one!!!

Get second and third opinions on everything. Believe me. Don't totally rule out meds if that is what he NEEDS. I believe it is our job as parents to understand and give a child what they NEED. Medication might not be the answer (and for me it has to be absolute last resort!!) but it may be what has to happen for him to function. There are also homeopathic routes you can take, and if those don't work, then you can go to a compounding pharmacy (luckily we have a lot in our area) where they will make the medicine more "pure" for you without all the added things like flavors and colors, sugars, etc.

Also, I'd like to mention one last thing. 5 years old is just the age where you are seeing what kids are capable of. With my daughter, until she was 7, I kept saying, "But she's only a __ year old. That is how they are." You will, as he gets older, start to distinguish what is disobedience and what is truly out of his control. My daughter is diagnosed with Tourette's Plus. She had behavior and hyperactivity before she was diagnosed and probably would have been medicated for ADHD had I pursued it and allowed it. Tourette's (and some other things) often don't show up in their TRUE form until later, so you start with things like behavior problems. While sometimes you have to treat the symptoms, it's always best to investigate the root cause (which it sounds like you are trying to do.)

If you need help finding doctors or books, or online support groups, etc. OR you just want to talk it out, feel free to message me. Having a child who is "a handful" can take over your life and be exhausting and depressing. Hang in there. There are people out there who can help!!!

Hugs,
Amanda

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

K., It is so hard when you get the phone calls and notes. About one more thing your child has done wrong. When sam started kindergarten he thought all coversations should involve him. personally lol. he had to fix andything that he felt was out of whack. a shoe untied regardless that it was on a kid across the room and a bird out the window took all thought of anything else out of his head. he is as smart as can be but couldn't focus on anything. no field trips unless i went with as he couldn't stay with the group. I would ask for a case study. Immediatly. The school legally has 30 days to comply with this. 30 days can seem like a long time but school end is coming up and they may try to push it off. Ask for it in writing. He will be observed by all levels of school stuff. teacher, councelor, nurse etc. There will be forms to fill out. questions to be asked. They will need to document exactly what the problem is they are dealing with and why they recommend something. But as soon as you make an appointment with a doctor and say "the teacher / school says this..." they will want this done. It is the first step. Meds can make all the difference in the world. If they are what is needed. My son is now almost 14. He has been on meds since he was 6. His kindergarten teacher told me in her class of extremes he was the extreme. He couldn't keep his hands to himself and his arms and legs just seemed totally out of his control. His mind went faster than his ability to filter what was going on. The meds slow it down a little. not his mind but the impulsiveness. Helped him to be able to think things thru. It is not an easy decision and not all kids respond well to all meds. He had ritilin which made him sad and sleepy, adderall which helped with school but he stayed up all night. literally. then metadate which was pretty much useless. He has been on vyvance now for over a year. It was like someone flipped the switch. he is on honor roll and doing great. things are not perfect. he has no filter for what may or not be appropriate to say out loud. no tact whatsover lol. but he is a sweet kid and now doing great. if you can avoid it don't get caught in the trap of one med to keep them up and another to make them sleep. took us years to fix that. good luck
S.

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S.X.

answers from Chicago on

just in case; you may want to cut out all sugar/corn syrup and any caffiene/chocolate and ensure he's sleeping enough. seems obvious but you never know. and make sure he's got a physical activity to take energy out (go running with him or dance party or whatever). i have a friend who jokingly said "boys are like dogs. you have to run them"
good luck

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M.V.

answers from Chicago on

I know exactly what your going through...been there my ADD child is now 16 yrs. old and on the honor Roll. I was aprehesive about meds...talk with your doctor on dosage...as little as possible is best...just enough to take the edge off so your son can concentrate on his school work and yet not change his personality. School's tend to want them medicated down...in a medicine haze., don't allow that. Constant comunication with School & your Doctor to get the proper dosage/treatment to control your child. Every child is differant thus treatment is differant. Just keep comunication open with school and doctor...and don't do something just because School suggests it...you do what is best for your son via your gut and your doctors advice. It will take some time to get the meds. correct...but be patient your on the right track.

a 44 yrs. old wife/mother of three daughters...16, 13, and 11 yr. olds.(soon to be 12)

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi-

I agree you need to see a pediatric occupational therapist and a behaviorist.

My son is now five and last year when he was in prek I hated to go to school becuase I knew he did something. He was constantly moving and touching and never looking where he was going so others we knocked over quite often. I tried OT and that helped. I also started him in more sports to get rid of some of his energy.

The OT suggested a behaviorist and that really helped a lot. He still moves a lot but he is more aware of his actions and the concequences of them. He is not perfect but this year is much better then last. I think he will always be on the high energy side but we are trying to use the energy constuctivley and teach good behavior skills.

Good Luck

Mom of a woderful 5 year old boy

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

HI K.-I too have a little boy who will turn six in a couple of weeks with ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and Sensory integration disorder. He used to do all the things that you describe your son doing in school until we found the right medication for him. He is now able to sit for lessons and able to pay attention. I occasionally have a problem with him touching others and being distracted, but every child does I guess. My son is in special education since he fell so far behind in school. I think he has a learning disability possibly high functioning asbergers syndrome. although he is not Dx with autism, he has alot of characteristics that make me think he may have it. He says some weird things that are way off topic, he has a great memory from past events, he can memorize a song in no time, he is very concrete in his vocabulary (such as-hot means hot to the touch and not spicy or if someone calls him son he says that you are not my dad), but with learning he is very much behind from his peers--weird huh :)! Where do you live? I live in Plainfield and I am looking for other children with the same Dx to start a play group.
Also I am a special ed teacher so I know what is available out there in regards to services for children. Is your son on an IEP or 504 plan? You can demand a 504 plan to make academic modifications to help him in school if he has a Dx of some kind. Also you can write a letter to the district and request testing for special ed services. After you write the letter then they have 7 days to respond to your request.

I would love to talk to you further. Here is my direct e-mail [email protected]____.com

Thanks and Good luck---A.

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