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Development/ behaviuor concerns re DS (3)

(18 Posts)
halia Fri 08-Aug-08 21:02:05

Hi all I'd really appreciate some input and thoughts on this. Apologies as this may end up a long post!

DS was 3 at the beginning of April, from birth he has been a difficult baby and toddler, for his first 2 years he was pretty much constantly ill and was eventually diagnosed with failure to thrive and after much insisting on our part they finally tested him to find out he was lactose intolerant. Since then he has been on soya versions of dairy.
He didn't talk until he was 2, and he was nearly 3 before we got up to 50 words. At 3yrs and 4 months he still is behind by at least 6 months and we struggle to communicate a lot of the time. They aren't sure what the problem is but he has seen educational psychologists and they say his speech and language (both expressive and receptive) are delayed (expressive by up to a year, receptive by about 6 months), he also has a slight visual spatial delay. (this report was done last year)
Recently (since he turned 3) his behaviour has been getting more and more difficult to handle, he is incredibly easily distracted, always has been but its getting worse not better.
He fights EVERYTHING, with no rhyme or reason. He fights getting into clothes, getting out of clothes, getting into the shower (which he loves once he is in it) getting out of the shower.
Getting him dressed can be like an all in wrestling match with BOTH of us needed to hold him down and manipulate him into clothes.
I have tried everything I can think off with the refusal to co-operate. I have tried getting him involved, explaining what we are doing and why, giving control over to him, giving him a limited set of choices (i.e. between 2 t-shirts /outfits that are both OK, between a bath or a shower), bribery, rewards, threats (timeout in cot), catching him by surprise, waiting til he has finished what he is doing, making it into a game.

I try not to chop and change either, we do the same thing at roughly the same time and if I am trying some new method we try it for a week or more.

but he just doesn't change - I can't cut his hair or nails without screams. And he seems so out of control - his reaction is HUGE, and its not just temper (he does have big temper tantrums and they are different). He just doesn't seem to be able to process the fact that we do this every day and its just part of the daily routine. Nor does he grasp that the more he struggles the worse it gets - I've actually bruised him because he flails around so much if I'm holding him he will wrench his arms.

I know people will say I should just leave him but sometimes I can't! and its every day - both me and DH have to get to work and I can't just let DS go out in a soaking wet nappy and t-shirt when its pouring with rain.
His reaction to stimulus is out of kilter too, its always too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too blowy, too sunny - too something! He can't stand itchy clothes but on the other hand he will stay in a soaking dirty nappy for ages.

He shouts and screams a lot, now he has started talking its always at full pitch and he has no concept of slowly. He doesn't stay still, even watching a favourite TV (Sam or bob) he wriggles, jumps down form chair, climbs back up, runs over to the TV, climbs onto my lap, looks out the window, wriggles some more.

That excepting the times when he just switches off, he will stare into space and you can get no response from him whatsoever.

His responses are becoming more and more difficult, I can rarely get his attention. I tend to get down on his level, say his name then ask the question so "do you want toast"..... then if he doesn’t respond I repeat it with variations like "does X want toast?" or giving him responses he could repeat back in case he can't remember the words "no toast" "yes toast" but usually he refuses to look at me, wont' respond and pulls away.

Then there's general discipline, he has a hell of a temper and no apparent fear or belief in consequences. So he will do something which hurts (like flail around with a plastic cricket bat and hit himself hard on the head) but then do the same thing again.
We've tried 'natural/logical consequences' i.e. if he throws a toy across the room we show him that its broken or take the toy away. If he hits mummy then mummy is too sore to play horses.
We've tried ignoring the behaviour - resulting in an entire broken set of crockery and paint smeared all over the floor.
We've tried the naughty corner but he runs away.
We've tried distraction and generally he ignores you or turns that new thing into something destructive
we've tried praising the good stuff (and we do this all the time its not something we stop when trying other 'punishments'. So we say well done, or good try, mummy likes it when you give her a cuddle, its nice to read with you.
the only thing we can do is put him in his cot - it doesn't actually seem to make any difference to his behaviour though, all it does his remove him from the scene and give us time to tidy/clean/make safe and for us to calm down.

its like it just doesn't matter to him because he knows that even if we put him in his cot for a timeout (which he hates) we will get him out.

He still wakes at least once every night and I'm just exhausted. I don’t' like him at all tbh right now and I don't know what to do - he is turning into a horrible little boy and I can't seem to stop it.

When I go to his nursery or spend time with other mums with 2-4 yr olds its like he is in a different world. None of the things they do fit him, he just seems off most of the time, like he's got nearly all the things a toddler should have and some of the time he seems fine, but there's this vital bit missing to do with how he processes stimulus and it makes his reactions either completely surreal or just out of balance.
The Ed psych people also said he was VERY bright, and he can occasionally surpass his age group by leaps and bounds. So normally he draws like a 1-2 yr old, today he came home with something a five yr old would be proud off. With language as well one day we get “mummy I’m tired, me lie down in cot” then for the next 6 months its naya, naya..... now I know all toddlers veer between being baby and big boy but his seems so severe. Its like one day he is 3 going on 5 and then for the next week or months he literally CAN’T replicate that behaviour even if that means him not getting what he wants/needs because i refuse to respond to naya naya as I KNOW he can say things more clearly.
His memory for places is phenomenal. When visiting his Gparents last month he recognised the roads /landscape about 10 miles away and from then on gave accurate directions to his dad. This is a child who has visited their house 5 times before in total, the last times before the visit in july where feb and the previous June.
I don’t; know - I guess this is probably very rambly and confused but that’s how I am feeling.

MsDemeanor Fri 08-Aug-08 21:08:27

I guess you are worried about autism? MY ds has Aspergers, and while he is different to your ds, I do think that when you think 'my child is totally different to everyone else's' and 'my child is hard work in a way I don't think is quite normal' parents are usually onto something - though it's hard to say what! Why was he seeing the ed psych? Who referred him? I think you need to see a developmental paediatrician, who is the expert in diagnosing children.

TotalChaos Fri 08-Aug-08 21:27:13

agree with MsDemeanor that it's best to see a developmental paediatrician, they are the people who diagnose (or not as the case may be).

From what you have said about out of kilter responses - you might find it useful to do some reading on kids with sensory problems - a book called "the out of synch child" is meant to be good IIRC.

TheProvincialLady Fri 08-Aug-08 21:33:58

I have no experience but sympathise with your position, it sounds really hard. I have heard friends of mine talking about food allergies and intolerences causing extreme behaviour and I wonder if your DS has more than one undiagnosed intolerence/allergy? My DS is dairy intolerent and I have noticed a sensitivity to soya (though in our case it results in stomach cramps and lack of sleep rather than behaviour issues).

I hope you can get an appropriate referral soon.

Debra1981 Fri 08-Aug-08 23:58:45

No experience or useful nuggets here either sorry, just wanted to offer a virtual pat on the back as it sounds like a very stressful, frustrating and tiring situation, not least because you don't know what's behind it. Well done for sticking with it, you're being a great mum! I hope you find out what the problem is soon, and get some help with it.

MannyMoeAndJack Sat 09-Aug-08 07:46:12

How do the staff at nursery handle your ds? Have they voiced any concerns to you at all?

I think you should visit your GP and get a referral to a developmental paed. Highlight all your concerns to your GP - take notes and examples if necessary - and don't be fobbed off.

TotalChaos Sat 09-Aug-08 09:07:43

IME the phrase "nursery has concerns" tends to make GPs/HVs take you that bit more seriously with seeking onward referrals.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Sat 09-Aug-08 09:22:12

Sorry don't have much time. You do need to see a developmental paediatrician for an assessment - definitely. However in terms of doing things that will help his behaviour I'd really recommend seeing an OT if you can but also 2 books 1) the out of synch child by Carol someone and 2) The challenging child by Stanley Greenspan - this will help with all the sensory stuff about getting dressed etc.

merryberry Sat 09-Aug-08 11:18:17

he alsop sounds a like a more extreme version of my ds1 (just turned 3, but more verbal than yours). have foound some useful insights in the book 'the highly sensitive child' which is about the minoroty of kids who are oftewn overwhelmed by their senses. even if you don't feel that this is your boy if you read it, you may a) find some of the tips very handy and b)have support in seeing him as oart of a normal spectrum of behyaviour rather than abnormal? sorry got to rush.

halia Sat 09-Aug-08 14:42:22

thanks for all the posts, had a simply awful day today. He actually slept through last night from around 7pm to 6am - first time in a month. I got up at 8am as it was my 'night off' and OH said he had been lovely so far. It did deteriate from there though.

We had to go out at 10.30am for a really important apt that we both had to go to. It took 3 temper tantrums and alot of bribery etc to get DS ready but we just about managed it and were only 15 minutes late althought DS had refsued any breakfast at all (threw it across the room) and wouldn't put his raincoat or jumper on (its pouring down)

The apt was awful, I stopped off and bought a little Mr Men paperback and a colouring book and pens for him but within 10 minutes of getting in there he started to kick off, OH had to take him out because it was impossible to do the finacial stuff with him there.

He apparantly wrecked half of waterstones whilst I was in there. Then we went home stopping off at starbucks for a smoothie and sandwich - his request after i said he needed lunch and asked DS if he wanted to go home or eat here.

He poured the smoothie over the chairs and we had to leave with our lunch half eaten.

On the way home he screamed, refused to eat his sandwich, refused his raincoat, refused to have the hood of the pram up then screamed for getting wet.

We arrived home at 1.30pm, I said I'd take him to soft play in an hour after I'd had a cuppa and a sit down and we'd all got into dry clothes. i thought he was tired so gae him a blanket, bottle and Sam on the TV to give him a quiet half hour. At 2.30 OH came down and took DS away cos he had screamed for 45 minutes, kicked me in the face, wee'd deliberatly on the floor, refused the toast I made for him, bounced on the chairs, broken a window cord and was currently half naked kicking and screaming about having dry trousers put on.

sad

OH is currently wrestling him into his clothes while I have 10 mintues sit down and calm down before we all go out. we've agreed one of us can't manage him on our own today!

I think I'm going to ring up the child educational psychologists he saw before and also the HV and see what we can do for a referal.

TheProvincialLady Sat 09-Aug-08 17:08:37

Oh dear, you poor thingssad I hope they can get you an appointment quickly.

halia Tue 12-Aug-08 16:19:15

OK we spent quite a bit of time observing DS and trying to figure out whats going on. What we seem to notice is that when he 'loses' the ability to do things its when he is the most hyper.

Its like he has too much energy and it just fizzes up in him so much he honestly cna't sit still or concentrate. On sunday after the awful morning we eventually got him out to little monkeys, he ran round non stop for about 90 minutes and we got home at 4.30pm.

For the first time that day he was then lovely, it was like getting our boy back again, he came in and did a fantastic drawing, made some toast with his dad and read some stories. But until he had worked off all that energy he was just completly out of control.

Its not that he suddenly goes quiet and 'good' he is still a cheeky, inquisitive, active little boy but it feels normal. He can talk, run without tripping over his own feet, sit still for up to 10 minutes, draw pictures etc and actually manage to look at you and interact.

Judging by this last week or so that state takes less than 11 hrs sleep (ie no naps otherwise he just goes manic), 2+ hours of VERY active physical play. Just going to the park isn't enough it has to be a full on assult course, - nonstop running, climbing etc. Then we get up to 2 hrs of 'normal' behaviuor.

I feel sorry for him really cos its obviuosly not much fun for him either, he gets so frustrated and the worse it gets the less he can do, so he can't sit still or concentrate but then he loses vocab, he gets clumsy, forgets how to do things. He just gets more and more frantic and more and more hyper.
hoping I might get some advice or support from HV or similar soon.

TheProvincialLady Tue 12-Aug-08 16:23:39

That sounds like a glimmer of hope halia. I mean it can't be easy on any of you but at least there is some explanation for his behaviour and you can do something to help him whilst you wait for professional help.

coppertop Tue 12-Aug-08 16:36:45

Halia

I agree with the others about getting a referral for an assessment. Hopefully they will be able to give you some answers and some advice.

A lot of your description sounds similar to my ds2 (now 5yrs). The point you make about sleep is a good one. Although most children become lethargic when they're tired, some (like ds2) can become completely hyper. With ds2 this also happens if he has too much sleep. Getting help with regulating sleep made a huge difference to ds2's behaviour.

I also agree with the recommended reading about sensory integration, like "The Out of Synch Child". Again your ds' sensory issues sound a lot like my ds2's. Understanding the 'why' can help a lot, even if you don't necessarily have the solution IYSWIM.

Barmymummy Tue 12-Aug-08 18:29:45

I apologise in advance for the probable length of my reply but I am also at my wits end and reading your thread has made me realise I am not alone!

I can't offer any words of wisdom as I too am totally at my wits end and wondering how on earth I am going to sort him out.

My DS was 3 at the beginning of June (he has an older sister, 6, who thankfully is a little angel!) Alot of what you say rings true here too. Everything is a fight. Actually after reading about your day mine isn't as bad but it just feels it! In a nutshell he is completely unable to listen to me or do what he is asked. I am unable to take him out anywhere without him behaving badly or having a massive meltdown. Even applies to trips to the park that I do for him to have fun.

He is fiercely self willed and exceptionally stubborn but above all else he seems completely unable to learn from when he has been naughty. He seems to spend his life either on the naughty step, shut in his room, saying sorry or having his toys confiscated. I feel such a bad bad mother as I always seem to be punishing him. Like you I go overboard with the praise when he is good and try to spend as much 1:1 with him as possible but he prefers me to just watch as opposed to get involved iykwim. He is making me a prisoner in my own home as I just can't handle taking him out.

Having read that back this sounds awful! I love him dearly and inbetween his bad spots he is such a funny loving little man but these good moments are vastly outnumbered by the bad.

His communication is also behind his peers which doesn't help though is getting better slowly. He adores playschool now (thank goodness as I need the break lol!) but it took me 6 consecutive weeks of staying with him as he was hysterical when I left him. I used to get phonecalls saying he was inconsolable and screaming blue murder. The seperation anxiety was unbelieveable. Am hoping that his increased hours in September will help his speech and behaviour.

Am sat here in tears actually as I just despair. I so want to enjoy having him here in his preschool years but find myself wishing them away and constantly excusing his rubbish behaviour in front of others, am soooo tired of all this.

Just wanted to give you a hug and say you aren't alone and if you want to get in touch and swap any hints you find are helping then please do!!

Chin up eh....only another 15 years til they they are adults....;-)

Barmymummy Tue 12-Aug-08 18:31:58

Sorry, meant to say that he has 12 solid hours of sleep every night so I can't blame it on lack of sleep either sadly!

halia Wed 13-Aug-08 11:18:45

barmymummy, need to get off to work but just wanted to say BIG HUGS! I've had 2 OK days with DS this week so far so feeling a bit better about it. when I get more time I'll share the couple of things I've changed that I think are helping.

One big thing though - I discovered that in the greater scheme of things, whether he has had a bath/shower in the past 24 hours isn't tha vital. So this morning we avoided at least one battle over getting into the shower. Until now I was insisting because a) he's a mucky devil, b)he has VERY smelly yucky numbers 2's and wipes don't seem to get him really clean and c) he actually loves the shower and bath once he's in it.

Today I wiped his face and hands, used a wet flannel on his privates and got away with only 3 screams and one fist to the stomach.

sickofthisrain Wed 13-Aug-08 13:24:04

halia, hugs to you. Make notes on everything you've posted and go to your GP. Don't leave without a referral to a developmental pediatrician and then give the pediatrician's secretary a ring to ask to be put on the waiting list for cancellations.
One immediate thing you could try to calm him slightly - it worked wonders for us - is giving omega 3 oil supplements (unless he has a fish allergy of course..) and cutting out all squash drinks and boiled sweets which are likely to contain aspartame. I can't stress enough what a difference this made to DS1 and it was almost immediate - may be worth a try given how desperate you sound. Wishing you luck

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