Hello! I'm new to this site, and very happy to have found this group! It's good to hear from some moms that are experiencing some of the same things that I am! Let me share a little background info on how I got to be here.
Our son, Alex, always seemed a bit different to us than most other children we were around. Unlike our oldest son, Alex was a late sitter, crawler, walker, and talker. He always seemed to be so fussy, and never stopped moving! Even as a little baby, he never seemed to be content unless we were rocking, patting, or walking him. Toting him along to a movie or nice sit-down dinner was out of the question! As he got to be a little older, things only seemed to be getting more chaotic. As a two-year-old, we could barely get him to talk no matter how hard we tried. This made his tantrums all the more difficult because I had no idea what he wanted. His tantrums seemed to be completely spontaneous, and nothing I did seemed to calm him! At one point, that was the way we started every single morning. He would wake up and throw an inconsolable tantrum for about 20 minutes. It was exhausting!
When I shared my concerns with friends and family, most of the feedback I got was not helpful. I was told things like, "He'll grow out of it,", "Every child is different, so there's no use in comparing,", and, "He's just being a boy. It's nothing to worry about,". I sort of glossed over my concerns with my doctor. Probably mostly because I was ashamed that I couldn't seem to get a handle on things, and I didn't want him to think that I was a bad mother. I was, after all, a young mother (we had had our first child when we were only 17) and I was determined not to fit the stereotype. So I bit my tongue, and tried to "wait-it-out" telling myself that in a few more years, things would get better.
Well, they did and they didn't. I remember talking with my husband about how relieved we both were when he got to be more verbal at the age of three and could communicate his needs and wants. However, we were starting to notice more and more little "quirks" of his, such as tirelessly walking in circles, rocking back and forth for what seemed like hours, and making the strangest noises and movements. Sometimes, he seemed not to be able to hear us, even though we knew his hearing was fine. He didn't seem to pick up on things like our oldest son, either. He had no interest in learning things like colors, shapes, or numbers. He would not potty train (probably what my husband would say was the most difficult for him). And his tantrums never did get much better.
After we had our fourth son, it became pretty clear to us that this was not just a difference in personality. There was something definitely "wrong" with our son. The worry was really starting to set in. Then one day during story time at our library, we were asked to leave when his strange noises and fidgeting became too disruptive to the librarian. That was my breaking point. I managed to hold it together long enough to get home, then I pretty much balled my eyes out for the rest of the day. He loves books. And he wasn't really being all that loud, was he? Why should he be excluded? I knew he couldn't help it. It really broke my heart. That's when we decided that it was time to talk to our doctor.
After a few month of evaluations with various experts, both from the children's hospital and our local school district, Alex was diagnosed with ADHD and sensory integration dysfunction. It feels so good to finally have some answers! At 4 1/2, we are now seeing an occupational therapist twice a week. I can't believe what an improvement it's made after only 4 sessions! It is such a blessing! One concern I still have is dealing with the often daily meltdowns he has when he gets to be too frustrated. My OT has helped me to understand his meltdowns better, and has given me several techniques to add to his sensory diet that help throughout the day. Books I've read on the subject have been very helpful as well. But I still need tips on how to dissolve the meltdowns once they've started.
Also, with 3 other children in the house all summer long, it's hard to find time for all of the joint compressions and other things in his sensory diet. Any tips or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.