Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Parental Guilt: Reluctance To Seek A Diagnosis

Posted by Anonymous.

I am usually very confident about my parenting decisions. I either confidently make the best decision or confidently accept that I cannot do the best thing and that what I’m doing instead is good enough. I think carefully about my choices and usually feel good about the ones I make.

But there is one issue where I waffle, where I feel insecure, where I get defensive, and where I feel guilt over possibly making the wrong choice.

My son is not normal. I hate writing those words. I hate writing them because I reject the concept of normal. Of needing to conform. Of needing to be like and behave like everyone else. That aside, by the standards of the world around us, my five year old son is not normal.

* He has always been a spirited child, by every definition of the term.
* He is an anxious kid. He cannot go to sleep without parental presence at night. He’s just manipulating us people say. But it is more than that. He is truly scared. He sometimes goes through periods of stress where he clears his throat constantly or chews on the collar or sleeve of his shirt.
* He has extreme oral aversions to certain foods and textures. He is not just a picky eater (although he is that too). He will literally gag and have a major panic attack if he puts something in his mouth that his system, for whatever reason, does not like.
* He cannot sit still and cannot wait his turn. Not at school. Not at home.
* He is not yet dry at night.

He could have an anxiety disorder, a sleep disorder, an eating disorder, a hyperactivity disorder.

He is genetically predisposed to this. My husband and his father both suffer from anxiety. I have always had sleep issues. My brother and I were the weird kids in school, the ones shuffled off to “special” activities for the socially inept. There could be other explanations too, not necessarily that caused the issues my son is facing (since these things do tend to be genetic), but that perhaps exacerbated them. Things like the amount of stress I dealt with during my pregnancy (two very traumatic events).

I know that mental illness is very real. I have friends who deal with it everyday. I have friends who have successfully taken medication to deal with their illness (be it ADHD or anxiety or other) and have gotten their lives under control. I have seen them on and off their meds and I’ve seen the difference it makes. I know the disease is real. I know medication can make a difference.

Yet I hesitate to seek a diagnosis for my son.

* I hesitate because of the label. I worry about how it would make him feel (right now he is confident, likes himself a lot and has no inkling that he might not be like every other kid in every way). I worry about how others would treat him. That worry comes from how I was treated when I was sent off to special activities at school. Believe me: the other kids knew the difference between the times I was sent out for advanced French and when I was sent out to learn how to be more normal. Maybe if I felt like I benefited from it, I would feel differently. But I got the label of being odd without the benefit of anything that truly helped.

* I hesitate because he is doing well in his school. Despite the fact that he cannot sit still in class, he is excelling academically, he loves his teachers and they love him, he has friends, he enjoys himself and they cater to his needs. However, it is a small school that does not have the resources to deal with learning disabilities and a label or diagnosis could result in him having to leave the school. Am I sure he would have to? No. Do I want to ask outright? No. I think that would draw attention to the possibility and result in them asking him to be assessed. I know he would not thrive in our local public school for many reasons and I don’t want to have to send him there because of a diagnosis.

* I hesitate because we’re making progress. He tried two new foods in the past two weeks. That may be more than he has tried in the past two years. We no longer have to lie down with him for him to go to sleep. We can now sit on a chair outside his room with the door open and read something while he goes to sleep without him having a major panic attack. He hasn’t had any episodes recently of obsessive throat clearing or other tics.

While I understand how medication can help other people (and have seen it help other people), I think that if he can learn to deal with his anxiety and his aversions and his hyperactivity, if he can get it under control himself with our help, then he will be better off in the long-term. I’ve seen people do well on medication, but I’ve also seen what happens when they go off their meds because the side effects get to them or because they just don’t want to anymore.

Could therapy help? Maybe. But I don’t have a lot of trust in the medical establishment and, as mentioned above, I worry about the label and what that would do to him personally and to his school situation.

Do I sound confident about my choice? If I do, I faked you out the way I fake myself out every day.

I hated being labeled. I felt restricted by it. As soon as I was out of the environment where I was the “special” kid, I excelled. My husband on the other hand has never had any treatment for his anxiety and still suffers from it today. It isn’t debilitating, but it does create challenges for him sometimes.

There are good days, where I feel like I am making the right choice. Days where we see progress. Days where he seems like a normal kid. But there are also days where I feel like I am making the wrong choice. Where he would be happier and feel more in control if he were medicated and able to control his emotions and his impulses.

I feel guilty about not seeking a diagnosis. But I would also feel guilty about seeking a diagnosis. I feel trapped.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how to say this.

Take your child to the doctor.

I don't think it's anxiety -- it sounds like something on the autism spectrum to me. But again, I'm not a medical professional. And neither are you.

I'm a bipolar, unmedicated, so I get your stress about pills. But seeking a diagnosis doesn't immediately equate medication. I've been seeing someone for postpartum depression, and I'm still yet to be medicated.

Your son is five and already has these things that impede his life outside of the safety of your home. What happens when he's ten? Or fifteen? Or twenty?

Quit worrying about what the other kids will think and start concentrating on making your son's life the best it can be. Help him find confidence by HELPING him, not just explaining his issues away as a parenting choice.

I say this as a "special" kid. Get him help so he learns how to be strong and not care what other people think. And so he can grow and flourish in society at large.

Ranni said...

Screw the label and go for the diagnosis. What others think isn't ever as important as getting your son help and, in turn, help for you as a parent with a special needs kid. I have four, all considered 'not normal'. They range in age from 12-22 and no two are alike. The 22 year old was the hardest as he the first. I dared any and everyone with him, scared the label would scare him for life. Once I realized I was the one with the 'label' problem and it didn't matter what anyone else thought, was much better able to help my kids.

Normal doesn't exist outside of a textbook. It was never meant to. Imagine how boring life would be if we were all cookie cutters trapped in the same box doing the same things the same way day in, day out. You're not the only one dealing with this, the fears and questions, the second guessing, the doubts ... That's life as I know it and many other parents who have special needs kids. If you're ashamed, he may pick up on that one day. Please, start the process towards a diagnosis. It could open up a whole new world for you and your son.


Anonymous said...

I understand your hesitance...but, please consider exploring Sensory Integrative Dysfunction.

KL said...

As to the guilt about seeking the label or not seeking the label: Maybe you could reframe it as deciding on which is the best way for you to advocate for your son.

I'm a teacher in Ontario, although things may be different where you are but probably quite similar. This all refers to public schools but generally, you should know that you have a LOT of rights for how things play out at school whether you get a diagnosis or not. Here are some things that may help you decide:

-You can both insisted upon and decline a test from a school board psychologist. It would have to be an EXTRAORDINARY case for the admin to go against your wishes against testing but they could drag their feet if you insist on having one.
-School-level funding for special needs equipment and staffing is tied to the label. Without the label, you may not get some services if they cost the school money.
-You can go private and get your own educational psychologist test if the school is unco-operative or the wait is long. This may be covered by your insurance. Then it is up to you whether you bring the results to the school's attention.
-The label is up for renewal (or removal) every year and you can attend the committee meeting for that decision. Kids really do get unlabelled when the label outlives its usefulness.
-Every formally "diagnosed" or "identified" (laballed) student gets an individual education plan (IEP.) Students without an identification CAN also get an IEP; however, this will require a lot of advocacy from you, especially if .
-The IEP is used to guide the classroom teacher and special education teachers and support workers. It'll have things like suggested accomodations (seating, extra time for tests, oral instead of written tests, scribing, private setting), modifications (additions or deletions from the curriculum), and setting/supports (amount of withdrawal or not, provision of an Educational Assistant or not ...)
-The IEP is updated yearly and you get input.
-The IEP is binding. A teacher does not have the choice of "not getting around to" the accomodations listed. This makes it a lot EASIER to advocate for your child when you think he needs more support.
-Colleges and Universities will provide similar supports to what a student had in secondary school.
-Schools are generally reluctant to test/label until around grade three because the validity and reliability are both suspect. If you are being pressured to test, they probably genuinely think that something serious is afoot.

There is a race and class component to this also. Many white people (especially affluent ones) know or intuit that the label will help them "work the system," which is already made easier for them because of their whiteness. On the other hand, white school systems do have lower expectations for students of colour, with self-fulfilling outcomes. Consequently, many POC parents (affluent or not) are reluctant to compound these lower expectations with a diagnosis. This must be weighed against the fact that POC are not taken as seriously as white people by schools, and thus, a label may be a means to better service.

Don't worry about teachers judging you. Teachers themselves are split on whether "labelling" is good and they know that each position has its merit. Few teachers will JUDGE you for either decision but it can't be denied that SOME will judge you. I think most see labels as a necessary evil for making impossibly bureaucratic school systems work for kids with special needs.

I suspect that medical systems will work similarly, i.e., a label will facilitate timely and insured services.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be a relief, a good thing, to know your child's strengths and challenges so that appropriate goals can be made and worked towards with effective treatments. Wouldn't it be better to help your child to maximize his potential before coping strategies hide the problems and make the problems much hard to diagnose and to manage. Wouldn't you like your child to achieve is absolute highest quality of life. Testing documents areas of strength and challenge. Choosing not to test leaves goals a guessing game and treatments too vague (possibly even incorrect). You child is young, neuroplasticity is on his side now for laying down the best neural network for function. You are his mom, you know something is not right, that is on the list of REASONS TO TEST. Be this child's advocate by changing your thinking. Think in terms of ABILITY and POTENTIAL. Let us all do everything we can to maximize the potential of developing humans entrusted to us for our responsible care taking. You are his mom; it is your choice to choose what to do; are you making and educated decision if you don't have all the information you need in order to choose. Testing provides information so parents can make informed choices.

Anonymous said...

Only by figuring out what is going on will you able to figure out the best way to help your child and move beyond the label. We have a 17 year old who had the sensory issues and we got him OT. It helped. Then he was diagnosed with Asperger's and we did more OT and other kinds of therapy - cognitive, family, social skills. You name it, we did it. And guess what? As a high school senior, he has some quirky behaviors but what kids don't? He's figured out what he has to do to "fit in" and he likes to fit in and he's doing well in school, has friends, and has such a bright future that I could not have even dared to dream about 10 years ago. But it all started with a diagnosis. You owe it to yourself, your husband, your child and your other children (if you have them) to figure out what the diagnosis is. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Your son needs a diagnosis and treatment. Don't get hung up on any of the rest of it. It is the ONLY way any member of your family will live a normal life. Your issues are what's preventing it now, not his.

Anonymous said...

Your son NEEDS a diagnosis and a treatment plan. He sounds like some of my friends' kids -- getting a diagnosis was the best thing ever to happen to them.

I understand that you don't want him to be labeled, but if you hide your head in the sand and try to ignore the facts, he WILL be labeled. Your best chance to give him a "normal" childhood is to face his personal challenges head on and deal with them.

My younger son is severely ADHD. After 18 months of medication, therapy, educational plans at the school and behavior modification efforts, he is nearly "normal" in class. Still high energy, but not the crazy kid with no friends that he was two years ago.

Start with your pediatrician or family doctor and then take him to a developmental pediatrician who specializes in such behaviors. Use the word "Aspergers" in your initial conversations. Even if he does not get an Aspergers or Autism spectrum diagnosis, it will alert the doctors to what you are seeing. Be sure to mention your family histories -- it's important.

Good luck. You will all be fine.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree with everyone who said to go for the diagnosis. You may not want to hear it, but to me, knowing is better than not knowing. And once you have a diagnosis, you can start dealing with it - including rejecting medication and looking into alternative treatments.

I also fully second the importance of getting an IEP! Even though I work in the post-secondary system, a far way off for your child yet, I cannot begin to tell you how many problems those of our students run into because they either don't have an IEP or refuse to admit they have one and hence do NOT get whatever accommodations they need.

And yes, I agree with the difficulties of labeling. But if your child is exhibiting all these 'strange behaviours', his teachers and classmates already know that he's not like them. They just won't be able to help him because they don't know what exactly the problem is.

I know you have a heavy heart (my kids are 2 and 4) and I wish you all the best in making your decision.

flowerpower13169 said...

My advice is google red dye 40 and child allergy. Try cutting it out of your childs diet (can't hurt). As a grown up ADD kid who didn't realize I was ADD until a teacher wanted my son tested I would have loved a diagnosis as a kid. My mom said "Yea they said that about you too" when my son was diagnosed and at 30 I had a lightbulb moment. I could finally put my finger on why I was "weird." It made things easier to handle when I could understand what was causing the symptoms. I tell my kids their brain is wired a little differant and who's to say what the best way is. Good luck to you. A

Anonymous said...

why do we have to label every child with some mental illness? i agree with above check his diet. My sister was an engineer on the international space station and she gagged on every vegetable my mother ever fed her and couldnt sleep unless i was in the room with her but we shared a room so it didnt matter. he sounds like he is already improving. my best friends son gagged on all his food because he couldnt swallow? his problem? adenoids. remove them throw in some tubes in the ears and voila! everything improved! learning, eating, listening. great kid sleeps well. there are other things besides ADD, Aspergers, ADHD and medicating our children into zombies. sorry to all the moms who will be offended but that is the way i feel about it.

Anonymous said...

I've never commented on this blog before but your post really compelled me to reach out. Everything you wrote basically describes my much younger brother (11 years old) to a T. He has intense anxiety at times to the point that he calls my mother several times a day to make sure she's still alive. He has gone through phases where he can't stop clearing his throat and obsessively blinks his eyes. Since he was a baby he has focused on one activity and it has basically consumed his life. It started with numbers, moved on to reading license plates and identifying car types, and now it's on to playing cards. My brother has always had a horrible time going to sleep and STAYING asleep for the night. His anxiety has disrupted his life because it comes out in the form of him always thinking that his bladder is full. Whenever he is slightly nervous he feels the need to go to the bathroom. At one point, he was leaving the classroom at least 11 times per day because of this.

All of these behaviors don't necessarily come out on a daily basis but they are there and rear their heads on a frequent basis. Things seems to be improving now that he is getting older but it was a huge struggle for a while there.

He is slightly awkward and definitely had trouble sometimes reading the tone in people's voices. He doesn't easily make friends and I would say he probably plays better on his own than others his own age. This isn't to say that he doesn't have friends because he does but it just seems so much easier for other kids.

Fortunately, he is at a Montessori school where he is able to get more one-on-one attention from his teachers. He does have an IEP that was recently put in place. My parents are also FINALLY (long time in the making) setting up appointments for him to meet with specialists for testing and diagnosis. A previous therapist did think that my brother was on the autism spectrum (probably a mild case of Asperger's Syndrome)and an anxiety disorder.

I would strongly encourage you to get your son tested and get a diagnosis. There should be resources for you to get him the help he may need. Good luck! Sorry for my vent about my own brother's situation but your story reminded me so much of him. Don't worry about the label. It could really change your son's future for the better.

Maria said...

I'm reading what you're writing and hearing how upset you are and I want to let you know that most of us with special needs kids have been there.

My son has sensory integration disorder/sensory processing disorder. We are just getting him tested to see if he is on the spectrum.

We worry a lot about the possibility that he will need to be medicated when he enters the public school system (he is 4 now) but we'll do what we can to make sure that he is getting the most out of school.

One thing that I learned is that he needs to be happy and achieving that isn't always going to be the way I expected (or the way that works for his siblings).

My son is in a dance class that he loves. This Monday we were running late and when we got there the class was in a new room. My son refused to go in. I was very frustrated, why couldn't he be like his sister and go with the flow? But he's not like her and I am reminded daily to embrace that.

Our OT has given my husband and I so many wonderful ways to help or son get through a day without anxiety and frustrations! His therapy makes a world of difference in helping him self regulate and helping us, help him.

I hope you can get your son the services he needs. This is about him--even though sometimes it feels like everyone is looking at you.

Lisa said...

I'm a professional counselor by trade, but I do not work exclusively with children. I would say go for a diagnosis, the diagnosis can you lead him to get the help he may need later, which you can't get in our society until you have an "official diagnosis". Having a diagnosis doesn't mean you have to have medication, it just means you can research other things that might help him. Have you looked into a Sensory Integration Disorder, sometimes this is a possibility when kids don't like different textures etc.

I am sorry that you had such a bad experience in school. I have bad anxiety and didn't get it treated until my twenties and my life would have been much better if it was diagnosed earlier.

Issa said...

My two cents?

Take him in. Just let them see what can be done to help him. You may be suprised what they will tell you that may help.

I will tell you, we just medicated our ADHD/anxiety child in the past year. She just turned eight. She is extraordinarily smart and managed to do well in school despite the issues. However about 2nd grade, teachers stopped being nice about her interruptions and outbursts. It became a big problem. She stopped being happy. So we tried the meds. It's made a huge difference in her life. She notices the difference, even if she misses one.

It's not the only way and it's not for everyone. But our kids deserve the best chance we can give them. At least if you know what you are dealing with, you are giving him a better chance.

Bea said...

Keep in mind that seeking/getting a diagnosis is not an irreversible decision. When my son was diagnosed with autism, the developmental pediatrician simply gave me the report and it was up to me to decide what to do with it from there - whether or not to notify the school board, what accommodations to seek (if any), etc. So you can stick your toe in the water and seek a doctor's opinion without starting a runaway train that you won't be able to stop. (Mixed metaphors! Sorry!)

Unknown said...

I am going to go against the grain here and say that a problem like this is not a problem UNTIL it interferes with his ability to succeed and thrive. If he is progressing at school, making friends, etc, all the things you mention, it seems to me that his quirks are NOT A PROBLEM. It may be nice if he was dry at night and eat a wider variety of foods, but on the whole, he seems to be FINE from your description. A diagnosis is one doctor's opinion. You are his mom. If you see that his quirks are holding him back from his own success, that's the time to do something about it. That's my two cents!

Anonymous said...

I suspect that if you were ill or suffering from something or you just knew something wasn't quite right, you would take yourself to the doctor to sort it out so you could be well and live life to the fullest. Please do the same for your child.

Anonymous said...

I am the author of this post.

Thank you everyone for your input. Please keep it coming.

I just want to be clear that I would not be embarrassed by having a special needs child. This is not about how I would feel or how it would impact me. My hesitation to go one way or the other is all about him.

I appreciate all the voices, opinions and concern. I wrote this because I did want to see both sides.

Erica summed up well how I do feel at the moment. He is thriving. I worry that getting diagnosed may help in some areas, but hurt in others. Would it really do him a service if he starting getting OT, but at the same time had to switch from a school that he loves and is thriving at to one where there are 30 kids in the class and the teacher is unable to give him the attention he needs?

Anonymous said...

My sister in law is going through something very similar with her 5 year old. I'll tell you what I told her. Information is just that --information. The more you know the more YOU can decide how you want to move forward. Start with your pediatrician. Gather data. Research. Know your son's strengths and weeknesses so that you KNOW what your/his options are. Therapy or help doesn't have to take place in school. Medication is only one option, and may not even be an option. But you need to go to the Drs and therapists and gain information. Only then will you feel confident (deep down) about your choices for your child. You're a good Mom for caring, regardless of what you decide.

Anonymous said...

How bizarre, it's as if I went into a trance and wrote this post. Pretty much everything you wrote about your son also applies to my son-- the anxiety, the sleep issues, the food issues, his inability to stay still. I've been loathe to have him 'labelled' too, but recently blurted out to a doctor that I thought he might be on the autistic spectrum (Asperger's end). We're being referred to a specialist but, man alive, the fact I got this ball rolling is causing me extreme anxiety.

Anonymous said...

Seek help for your son. It is the responsible thing to do for your child.

Let me tell you two things that back up why I say that:

I was diagnosed as BiPolar and with having PTSD as an adult. As an adolescent and teen, I was depressed, attempted suicide, cut and did other things to label myself as an outcast. My parents ignored my behavior and blamed it on phases. Whenever my mother did recognize my odd behavior she beat me and caused more damage to an already fragile mind. After having my second child and enduring a traumatic event, I had a nervous breakdown and wound up in the hospital. It was than that I was diagnosed and began working on the past. I did therapy for 2 years and took meds for about 18 months. My parents constantly made fun of me calling me "crazy" and "mental" throughout my treatment. To them, my mental health was not a serious issue and they avoided dealing with it because they could not handle having a child that wasn't "normal".

My oldest child began showing some eccentric behaviors as a young baby that only got worse as she got older. My gut feeling was that something wasn't right. My mother in law and my mother told me everything was fine. By the time she was four she extremely difficult to be around. Going against my entire family and husband I knew it had to be done...I wanted answers. I took her to be seen. She was diagnosed with Autism and a few other disorders. Now that she is almost 13, she has also been diagnosed as being Bi Polar.

I was beyond disappointed but knew that the best plan of action was to work on the issues and tackle therapies head on. We gave up our life as we knew it 7 years ago so that our daughter could have the treatments she needed. We elected not to do meds, instead we have used some herbals and meditate with her. Pills are not always the answer, but they are an option.

I do not for a second feel guilty for getting her diagnosed or treatments because her quality of life is better now.

As a parent, it is my duty to do right by my children. There was no way in hell I was going to ignore her problems the way my parents ignored mine. They were selfish in not wanting to cope with or pay for my issues.

To this day, my mother refuses to acknowledge mine or my daughter's diagnosis because she is afraid she may become labeled as well.

As I mentioned my daughter is almost 13 - she is in mainstream middle school with no IEP or adaptations because of her intelligence. She just recently realized her "labels" and has noticed she is different than her peers. Some days she struggles with it and other days she loves that she is different than everyone else.

I hate the labels more than anyone else but I tell myself with or without them she is still my baby and always will be. Those labels won't change who your son is...he will always be your son, your baby.

Anonymous said...

You have a couple of options here you may not have considered.

1) You can get him tested/evaluated privately and then decide, based on what the report says, whether to share that information with the school.

2) If he does meet criteria for a diagnosis of some kind, you can decide what that means to you. I "have ADHD," which could mean that I have a brain disease that makes me less functional than other people and means I need medication to be normal. Or I could look at it this way: There's lots of natural variation in the way people's brains are wired up, and mine happens to be wired up in such a way that I'm not as good at remembering things, staying organized, and noticing details. In my brain, this is the downside to being very introspective, daydreamy, and creative. Unfortunately, the world is built for people who are better at keeping track of details, and this lack of fit causes me problems sometimes. So I choose to take medication to ease the fit between me and my environment, at least while I'm in this environment that I don't quite fit into.

I choose the latter, even though I know many people (including my psychiatrist) take the former.

Anonymous said...

For whatever it's worth, here's my opinion....

You're the boy's mom. You know him better than anyone else on the planet. If you are having hesitations about taking him for a "diagnosis" (whatever the hell those things are!! To me they're just other people's opinions!), then I wouldn't. It's not like you have to take him to a doctor this moment or the chance will be lost forever. You know?

If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. A mother's intuition never lies to her. Ever.

Let your son be who he is. Sounds like he's doing just fine to me. When/if the time comes that you feel a "diagnosis" from a "professional" is necessary, that thought will light up in your brain like a streak of lightning... and it will feel & seem right.

Take care~ Andrea (a homeschooling mom for 19 yrs so far who doesn't like labels either...bleh!)

ElizabethZ said...

I am in the minority here, but that is ok. It doesn't sound like you need to panic and get him to the doctor and get him diagnosed. Doctors don't know. They take the symptoms and behaviors and they guess - an educated guess yes, but a guess none the less. I urge you to experiment with his diet before you start thinking about therapy or worse, medication. Dairy allergies, preservative & dye allergies. They can cause behavioral issues like you describe here, which frankly don't sound all that severe to me. Thank you for sharing this.

I will pray god gives you guidance to make the best decisions for the well being of your son. Too many kids are thrown onto the "spectrum" when I believe at least some of them are just eating the wrong stuff for the way their body works. It really CAN be as simple as that, not saying that it is, but it is worth a try. Search ADHD Allergies on Amazon and you should be able to find several books that will be helpful. Healing the New Childhood Epidemics and the Hundred Year Lie are two I think are good and recently purchased myself as my 4 year old twins exhibit milder versions of some of the behaviors you describe. Ben Feingold is also a respected author in pediatric research regarding spectrum disorders and changing them with diet. You are doing a great job, trust your instincts - if the time comes to get a "diagnosis" and treatment, you will know when that is. I don't think it is right now. There are other, less invasive things you can try first that may just do the trick.

ElizabethZ said...

I also wanted to add, I haven't tried any of the suggestions in the books yet - we are waiting till after New Year's, not going to try to change their diet and eliminate suger and artificial flavors/colors right before Christmas, going to let them enjoy it as if it works, it may be the last year they will get some of the goodies. There are so many nasty chemicals in what we eat and drink, it is no wonder some of our brains are like "whoa, what is THAT?" and can't function properly. I will update after I have tried removing some of these things. I read where one mother eliminated dairy and had a completely different child in less than a week, previously her boy was wild, disrespectful, didn't sleep well and became one who was calm, focused and got a good night's sleep every night - just by removing dairy. It really can be the root problem for some of these behaviors. It really can be that simple. Good luck. I wish you the best.

Velma said...

I have two very special kids, one of whom is highly anxious and the other of whom is diagnosed with PDD-NOS, on the autistic spectrum.

With my son, it was obvious very early on that he needed speech therapy and had crazy sensory integration issues. In comparison, my daughter seemed "normal" until 3rd grade, when she developed panic attacks.

What I have seen with both kids is that by approaching any sort of intervention as if is just one more tool in their coping toolbox, you normalize the therapy for them. They feel empowered and LESS weird and out of control, not "labeled." (I would also say that society in general is FAR more open about such labels and therapies than it was years ago.)

Good luck and have faith in yourself - it is clear that you love your son, and I bet you'll know when and if it feels right to seek further help.

Anonymous said...

(from the author of the post again)

Thank you everyone for the continued support and ideas.

I just finished reading Dr. Jay Gordon's ADD/ADHD Natural Cure book. While I'm not sure if it is ADHD that my son has or if he is somewhere on the spectrum or just anxious or something else altogether, a lot of the suggestions in the book make sense and just reinforce things we try to do anyways. So I think I will take them to heart and try to be more vigilant and see if that helps.