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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sensory Evaluation.

Andrew had his appointment on Tuesday with the Pediatric Behavioral Specialist he has seen in the past. She sees enough behaviors that would fall into either ADHD (most likely) and something on the spectrum (probably mild Asperger's). She stated that he does a lot of movement that is without purpose (I believe this is fidgeting she is referring to). His need for his cars to always be in his hand -- always lining them up and not really driving them around. You all remember his intricate patterns he used to make with them (I had posted pics on Facebook in the past). Everything revolves around his cars and he will cry if we take them away (for instance, if he pushes his sister or brother away from him). He has frequent angry outburts he is unable to control and a lack of impulse control (his teacher noted this as well). For instance, we have told him not to do certain things (like turning over all the pavers in the yard looking for bugs/grubs) and it doesn't seem to get through at all -- he only has one goal in mind and that is to get the bugs. He brings bugs in all the time and has an obsession with them (some of this is normal little boy stuff; some of it could be sensory).

She said one thing she noticed that would maybe rule out a spectrum disorder would be that he is social, but she noticed that there seemed to be a routine to the questions. Andrew goes up to nearly everyone in public and will say, "what's your name? Where does your work live? What kind of car do you have? What color is it? What time do you get home from work" or if they mention a spouse, he will say, "what color hair does he have?" These are odd questions for someone his age (I think) and very typical of Aspies.

His tantrums are uncontrollable and definitely not very normal for his age.

He was late to walk and has trouble with fine motor skills (writing with a pencil -- he can trace some letters now but not write words like some of his classmates could -- his teacher didn't think this was a concern just yet), freaks out when a shirt is inside out and cannot figure out how to fix it. I remember when he was 16 months old, he seemed to have a hard time getting up if he was on his back -- like getting to a sitting position.

He's very intelligent, very expansive vocabulary, but is definitely socially awkward. This may be endearing at the age he is now, but I would imagine in a few years, it wouldn't be so endearing.

When we go to a store, any store, he immediately bolts and goes full speed ahead, ignores me when I tell him to stop, and doesn't care if he about knocks people over. His only goal is to get to the cars and line them up.

I asked him if there is a reason he runs at the grocery store. I ask him if there is something that bothers him when we walk in. I asked him what he hears. He said, "I hear people talking." It seems to be a strange response because I really don't notice that when I go in. Maybe he hears all the conversations and it drives him nuts.

He will ramble on and on to people about stuff and isn't aware of the awkwardness or if they are bored, etc. He feels compelled to tell strangers that he went to a birthday party back in June. I am not sure if he is imitating adult conversation or if this is normal.

He prefers adults to kids. He sneaks to the neighbors to talk to them whenever they are outside. One day he went over there probably 10 times.

He seems to have a poor understanding of safety (looking for cars, etc.) and biked straight across the road the other day without looking for cars.

He enjoys wearing long sleeves and sobs sometimes like at the change of season, in spring, when I make him wear short sleeves. He sees no issue with wearing his red train sweater outside when it's 95 degrees.

When I went to his classroom, it happened to be Dr. Seuss' birthday so all the kids went in the hall and simultaneously read books. Andrew could not focus and held his hands over his ears and said, "Mom, it's TOO LOUD!" [it was more like a dull roar] He will turn off fans if they are going because he doesn't like the noise and today when I was blow drying my hair, he covered his ears and told me it was too loud.

He did not play with toys until age 3.5 when he got his first cars. That is all he will play with. He lines them up on the couch all day long. He brings them to the dinner table and the bathroom and in the car and EVERYWHERE. His first "toy" he took to was at about 20 months and that was my hairdryer. He wanted to carry it everywhere.

All of these things have always stood out to me and now we are finally going to get a sensory assessment done to see if, indeed, he is on the spectrum. If not, he probably does at least have ADHD. I don't want to go straight to meds, but there is some occupational therapy we can try. If he absolutely cannot function in school or his behavior worsens, we have opened up to trying meds.

I just want to get him the help he needs. My other two are developing differently than he did (playing with toys) and I can see now that Andrew has been different from the start. Amazing, beautiful, boy, but definitely marches to the beat of his own drum.


Miley said...

I read this and just SIGHED for you.
I know it can be overwhelming at times but it WILL get better.
You'll learn the ways to communicate with him and he'll learn the ways to communicate with you.
So many things sound so much like what my son does. The overfocusing on ONE thing (cars, his own questions/behaviors, seemingly absent or oblivious to everything else)... or the overfocusing on EVERYTHING (hearing everyone talk). If I heard everything everyone said in a public place, I would freak out.
My son would be outside at recess and not notice when everyone else had gone inside. I'm talking for like 10 full minutes. His teacher finally gave him a timer that vibrates and makes sound. There are some things that kids get used to/grow out of and so on.
Repetition, repetition, repetition. Patience.
Also, I know that your focus is on him right now but you and the rest of the family may also benefit from some counseling if it seems to get to be too much. Raising a kid with special needs can be taxing, even when things are going well.
Hang in there and keep doing what you're doing. Andrew is lucky to have a mom that pays attention and wants to help him!

Jess said...

Andrew sounds very similar to Cale with the exception of the cars.

Cale was just diagnosed ADHD/ODD, and shows signs of OCD. We didn't want to medicate but after a second opinion with the same results we realize that his ADHD/ODD is so severe traditional therapies won't work.

We did find that cutting out red and yellow dyes helped a ton as well as a can of mountain dew on bad days (caffeine has the opposite effect on kids as it does on adults). But they don't help enough to allow him to excel in school.

I hope you find the solution that works best for your family. I know it can be a difficult path.

Patty said...

I tried to comment the other day on this, but I couldn't, lol! I can also say that it is overwhelming, having a child who needs MORE, but you all will learn how to adjust and deal with it all. Andrew is lucky to have you all to help hime with all of this. (((HUGS)))