Saturday, February 8, 2014

OT update and pursuing psychological tests

G has been doing OT for about a month and enjoys it, which is good since there is no convincing I have to do to get him to go without a fight.

I was finally able to speak with a high school friend of mine whose son also has sensory issues (we had been trying to coordinate a phone chat but snow days kept hindering our ability to speak without little ears around).  She was willing to lend me her expertise, which I appreciate tremendously.  Based on her suggestion, I have decided to pursue psychological testing, if for no other reason than to rule out what G isn't experiencing and make sure we aren't missing anything, like a learning disability.

As hesitant as I am to "label" him with anything, I also know what a relief it was for me to finally get a "label" at age 30 when I was diagnosed with OCD and generalized anxiety. It gave me a place to hang my hat, in a sense, a way to know what to manage in myself and how.  For me and D, I think knowing a diagnosis will help us better understand how to help him and hopefully keep us more patient.  Plus, the only way for G to get help, if he needs anything beyond what we're already doing, like an IEP at school, is to have that clinical diagnosis.

The other thing we're going to do is have G's occupational therapist work with him on feeding issues (another suggestion my friend made).  His food repertoire is terribly small. For health and social reasons, it will benefit him to expand his palate.

As much as I appreciate my friend's advice, the bigger thing I appreciate is her empathy.  I have a terrible tolerance for handling things (hmmmm, I wonder where my kid gets it?), but I don't always think people understand how challenging it can be to have a child with sensory issues, especially when the child seems relatively "normal" out in public.  I have much greater understanding of parents whose kids are more on the "weirder" edge of normal spectrum.

In the battery of forms you fill out when a child is experiencing developmental issues, there are constant questions about what the pregnancy was like and what the birth was like, all of which intimately involve me.  For better or worse, a mother can't help but wonder, "What did I do? What did I not do that I should have?"  For me, because of my antidepressant use, there is always that worry whether those impacted G in some way.  My friend was very quick to remind me that 1. it isn't me and 2. living with kids who have these issues is a challenge for anyone.

Thursday morning, after Monday's snow day and Tuesday's early dismissal and Wednesday's snow day, was a nightmare.  A full 40 minutes (not 5 minutes that feels like 40) was a screaming, crying, hitting and kicking at me tantrum by G who said repeatedly, "The roads look exactly the same as they did yesterday when we didn't have school!"  I couldn't argue with him because the roads did look exactly the same, but factors beyond his control and my control (the school district) decided school was a "go."  It took both D and me to wrestle him into his clothes.  G's frustration sends him directly into his id, his caveman instinct to fight or flee, and it takes much time and patience to get him back into homo sapiens sapiens mode.  (This is why I'm wearing an occlusal guard so I don't crack any more teeth.)

This caveman behavior is typical in a 3-year-old.  It lessens as a child gets to be 4 and 5.  But in a tall kid, half my size who is 6, he needs to be moving more into better ways to funnel his feelings, and he is not.  On top of this is the sensory persnicketiness.  Screaming if shoes aren't tied tightly enough.  Tantrums if clothes rub him the wrong way.  Certain perseverating behaviors that will drive a person who already has OCD almost insane.  Hence the OT and the psychologist visits and the move for testing.

Raising a child is always a balancing act between tending to his/her needs/issues while still keeping the parent's needs/issues in check.  Any kind of anomaly or abnormality or difficulty ramps that challenge up.  

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