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As most of you already know, my 12 year old son Austin has had a difficult time in school.  He has been kicked out of two schools and was made to go to a behavioral specialty school before being mainstreamed back into his old school. 

 At the age of six, he was diagnosed with ADHD.  I’ve always known that there was something more to his behaviors than just ADHD.  Over the past year I have been researching Sensory Perception Disorder (also known as Sensory Integration Disorder), Autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome.  I know that he has Sensory Perception Disorder (SPD). But, I also believe that goes hand in hand with Asperger’s Syndrome.

I spent the last four months trying to find a family doctor for my children.  I finally found one and got Austin in to the doctor yesterday.  The doctor agreed to sign an outpatient prescription for Austin to be evaluated for SPD.  Yeah!  I couldn’t be happier!  After what seems like an eternity, he is finally going to get some help.  I filled out the intake form for the Children’s Development Center, enclosed the outpatient prescription, and mailed it this morning!

I called the Children’s Development Center and spoke to the intake receptionist.  She told me that the Occupational Therapists usually schedule their own evaluations.  She also told me that it should only take a week or two to get him in for his evaluation.  I will keep you all updated on Austin’s progress.  Please keep your fingers, toes, and everything else crossed.

Thanks,

Erica

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First and foremost, I would like to start off by saying that tantrums and meltdowns are two totally separate things.  How can you tell the difference? 

Typically, a tantrum starts with the child begging for an item, food, or toy.  If the parent refuses the child this item, the child begins to cry, stomp their feet, or scream.  If the parent gives in and allows the child said item, the tantrum comes to an end and the child has learned how to get what he/she wants.

If you have ever seen a child have a meltdown, you know the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum.  With a meltdown, the child has become either over stimulated or under stimulated by his/her surroundings.  It may be flickering lights, too many people, multiple sounds, someone touching him/her, or some other stimuli.  When the child goes into a meltdown, there is nothing that you can do or give the child that will make the meltdown end as you might with a tantrum.   A child or an adult, for that matter, going through a meltdown may not be able to tell you what the problem is while they are going through the meltdown.  The only thing you can do is to wait it out and ensure that they are safe and not going to injure themselves. 

With that being said, I’m sure that you can see the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.  The latter is exactly what my son, Austin, experienced yesterday.  I think that Austin may have caused his own meltdown.  It was early on in his first class.  The kids were on a bathroom break.  As he walked into the bathroom at school, the lights were off.  So, naturally, he flicked the lights on.  As he dropped his hand from the light switch, he inadvertently shut the lights off again.  So, he turned them back on again. 

The children in his class told the teacher that Austin was flickering the lights in the bathroom.  When the teacher confronted him, he said that he didn’t do it.   He instantly became angry and started throwing his books, screaming, and banging his head on the wall.  There was nothing that anyone could do to get him to calm down.  The principal finally got him into the office and immediately called me at home.  When I got to the school, Austin was in the principal’s office crying and talking angrily to himself, as he usually does towards the end of a meltdown.  He was still at the point where he couldn’t talk to me and tell me exactly what happened.  I told the principal that he was not going to be productive at all for the rest of the day.  He allowed me to take Austin home.  It took Austin another hour before he could tell me what had happened.

I’m not sure if the flickering lights are what set him off or not.  But, it could stand to reason that that might be the cause of yesterday’s meltdown.  I can only hope and pray that today is going to be a better day.  I truly need to get some professional help soon.  Waiting for our insurance to come through is frustrating.  Especially when I see him getting worse and nobody understands him.  Yes, he may appear to be a normal neruo typical boy.  But, he’s not and he needs a little understanding!

I welcome any and all comments or advice.  If you have had a similar experience with your child, I would love to hear from you.

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My eleven year old son, Austin, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) at six years old.  Since then, he has been kicked out of two schools due to his behavior and many teachers don’t “understand” him.  Many of his symptoms mirror those of Asperger’s Syndrome which is on the Autism Spectrum.  Austin has trouble with sensory integration.  People, especially children, within the Autism Spectrum do well with a sensory room.  Since Austin shows many of the same symptoms as a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, I have undertaken the task of creating a sensory room for him. 

To list just a few of his problems with sensory integration:

  • Austin makes me cut out the tags from all his clothing. 
  • If his socks aren’t adjusted just right he’ll spend the next twenty minutes fixing them; whether he’s going to be late for school or not. 
  • Cannot wear turtlenecks or anything else close to his throat.
  • Prefers to only wear his boxers around the house.  He usually strips down to his boxer shorts as soon as he walks in the door.
  • He overreacts to sudden loud noises or too much noise at one time. 
  • He talks excessively, loudly, and without concern of the other person’s interest in the subject. 
  • When he’s bored or aggravated he swings his arms or spins in a chair.  It seems to calm him down. 
  • Whenever he tells me or someone else what he likes he then turns to me and says, “right mom,” even though he has stated this multiple times.  He needs constant feedback and redirection.
  • If things aren’t done a certain way he becomes easily frustrated.
  • He doesn’t like to be hugged unless it’s from me.  However, it’s limited contact.
  • Does not like to be around a lot of people.
  • He loves vibrating or strong sensory input.

Okay so it’s a longer list than you expected.  That’s only part of the list.  There’s so much more.  But, I’ll spare you any further details.

A sensory room is very good for children and adults with sensory processing disorders.  It is usually tailored to an individual’s sensory needs to either calm or stimulate them and usually includes equipment or items that calm or stimulate the 7 senses (listed below).   A sensory room should NEVER be used as a form of punishment.  It is intended to calm the over stimulated or to stimulate the under stimulated individual.  If discipline is needed, do not use the sensory room for this.

Senses and things to include in your sensory room:

1.   Vestibular–  swings, slides, balance boards, tubes to roll in, rocking horses, hammocks, or a sit and spin,etc.

2.   Visual– Controllable light source, no fluorescent lights, Christmas lights (that don’t flash if it bothers individual), play tents, lava lamps, tabletop water fountains, etc.

3.   Smell-  Scented oils, scented candles (is safe for individual), scented markers, scented playdoh, potpourri or sprays.

  • Calming scents- Vanilla, lavender, peppermint, and jasmine.
  • Stimulating scents- Cinnamon, floral scents, spices, and strong sour or sweet scents.  

4.   Taste–  A variety of foods, liquids, gum, or textured food is a great activity to include in your sensory room.  Use supervision depending on the individual.

5.   Proprioception-  Anything that allows the individual to be “hugged” or comforted via pressure works well.  Examples include: bean bag chairs,  weighted vests and/or blankets, squishy beds or sofas, therapy balls to roll on top of them, etc.

6.   Touch- Many things have texture; playdoh, funny foam, textured balls, textured wallpaper, textured puzzles, coloring over textured materials, finger paints , koosh balls, using various materials such as  satin, carpet swatches, silk, lamb’s wool, washcloths, cotton balls, etc., massagers and vibrating kids toys.

7.   Auditory– Soothing sounds CD’s, nature sound machine, white noise (ie. Fans), classical music.

I hope this information will help you or someone you love and/or care for.

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My youngest son, Austin, was diagnosed with ADHD when he was six. Considering that he was so young, I wondered if he had been mis-diagnosed. But, he has shown signs of ADHD since birth and it does run in the family. Over the last 5 1/2 years he has shown no signs of growing out of his behaviors. He has been kicked out of three different schools.  He is easily distracted. He can be very hyper at times; so much so that I become exhausted just trying to keep up with him. And, he talks incessantly and loudly.

 

Austin is an intelligent, loving boy. Most people can’t see that side of him because he has ADHD. What they see is a difficult, hyper, annoying boy who can’t stay still. If they would look below the surface, they would see the same wonderfully amazing child that I see. Dealing with a child who has ADD/ADHD is never easy. It can be very frustrating, exhausting, and annoying. On the other hand, it has been one of the most rewarding learning experiences of my life.

 

Yesterday, I took the kids out shopping. It was very frustrating at times. Each child wanted something different and they just couldn’t wait for the other one to pick out their gifts. But, Austin finally picked out a DS Lite. Since his last DS went to technological heaven, he decided that was what he wanted most. I think that he’s been lost without it. At least all those games that we bought for his last DS aren’t wasted money. It’s one of the very few things my ADHD child can concentrate on.

 

His new DS came with a few rules, however. Being that he does have ADHD, he doesn’t think before he acts. I don’t know how many times I found his last DS on the floor, in the couch, in the kitchen, bathroom, etc. That is the reason why his last DS is in technological heaven. I discussed with him the importance of taking care of his things like I’ve done so many times before. He promised me that he would take care of it. So, I decided to make a few disciplinary actions that I would put into effect.

 

The first time that I find his DS where it doesn’t belong, I would take it away from him for two days. The second time would result in double that time. He would then have to wait four long days without his DS. By the third time, I would take it away for a week. Each and every time after that it would be taken away for a week.

 

I think that, considering his inability to think properly before acting, this is quite fair. I will give him reminders if I see him playing his DS. This gives him a better chance at successfully caring for it better. I can’t expect him to automatically care for his things without some kind of help. This afternoon, while watching an “I love Lucy” marathon, Austin sat next to me on the couch. During commercials he would play his Pokémon game on his DS. “So, where are you going to put that when you’re done playing,” I asked him.

 

“In my room on my dresser,” was his reply.

 

“Very good,” I replied.

 

This is an ongoing task with everything that he does. I have to keep on him all the time and redirect him many times a day. Without proper guidance and patience, he will be doomed to failure. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen. I think that with little prompts here and there, behavioral training, and a lot of love he can be successful at anything.

 

For more information about ADD/ADHD in children, visit WebMD.

 

Here is a list of signs and symptoms of a child with ADD/ADHD 

 • Are in constant motion.

 

 • Squirm and fidget.

 

• Do not seem to listen.

 

 • Have difficulty playing quietly.

 

 • Often talk excessively.

 

• Interrupt or intrude on others.

 

• Are easily distracted.

 

• Do not finish tasks.

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