Something Seems Different – Trust Your Gut

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It seems like it’s been a long road to get where we are today.  With any developmental screening, you start at the very beginning.  My son’s early years were very typical of any baby.  He was conceived via IVF and born at 36 weeks with no major complications.  A  little jaundice and his sucking reflexes were immature, which meant he had problems eating the first couple of days.  He spent no time in the NICU and came home with me on day two.  He met all the appropriate developmental milestones on time.  When he was two, I began to get comments about his behavior.  The nursery worker at church missed her sweet angel.  She was sure he had hit his terrible twos running.  His pre-school teacher thought maybe he was having problems adjusting to his new baby brother.  He didn’t like sitting at the table to color.  He didn’t sit still during circle time and reading time.  However, she knew he was listening because he could answer questions about the story.  At his three-year old check-up I mentioned this to the pediatrician who basically said he is a normal boy.  That is what I wanted to hear and we moved on.

Years three and four began to reveal more pieces to the puzzle.  He was always moving.  Not bouncing off the walls moving (although it was that at times), but more like re-adjusting or trying to get comfortable.  He didn’t sit in a chair at the table to eat.  He preferred to stand.  If he was sitting he would slide down t he chair then back up.  Tuck a leg under him or pull both legs up so his knees are even with table.  Constant motion.  Pete and repeat.  He would repeat phrases or words over and over.  For example, I heard the dog bark mom.  Yea he’s barking mom.  The dog is barking.  I hear barking.  Mom, the dog is barking.  I think I still hear barking mom.  The dog is barking outside mom.  He doesn’t stop until you acknowledge, yes Gabe I hear the dog barking, or something else catches his attention.  You can imagine this might get on one’s nerves after a while.  You’re either in or you’re out.  He didn’t let a lot of people in.  He didn’t make a connection with many people.  If he didn’t like or connect with someone, it was as if they didn’t exist.  He would not respond to them at all.  However, if you could get in and make a connection, you were set.  I tried explaining this to one pre-school teacher, and in doing so told her he needed a lot of praise and positive reinforcement in the beginning to make sure that connection happened.  Her response was, Oh well I love all the children.  I knew she didn’t get it, and she didn’t get in.  (The pre-school I am referring to was a mother’s day out program.  Not the public school program.)

There were other things going on as well.  He didn’t look people in the eye.  He was uncomfortable at large gatherings.  Seemed overwhelmed by unpredictable situationsHe had a very creative imagination.  At one time during his fours, he had given super hero names to everyone in his circle.  He was Ace.  There were times he would get angry if you called him by his real name, his name was Ace.  When my girlfriend would come over she would ask me which name today, because she knew if she used the wrong one, he would be angry and likely she would be on the outs for the day.  I was laser girl, brother – astro boy, dad – Ice man, Robyn – fire girl, Joey – diamond man.  You get the picture.  He was very literal.  If someone called him a stinker, he would get mad and say I don’t stink.  He was very passionate about certain things.  At one point it was sticks.  We collected sticks everywhere we went.  Going to the zoo made for awesome stick collecting.  He only wanted to wear certain clothes (no jeans) and saying he was a picky eater would be an understatement.

On the other hand, he was a normal little boy.  He loved, loved, loved it outside.  Having people over for grilling or hanging out was always fun.  Loved going to the movies and any kind of amusement park (hence two birthday parties at the Bartlesville Park).  Star Wars, Justice League and Super Hero Squad Show are all DVD’s we own.  Wrestling with dad and irritating brother.  Swimming.  He’s my cuddle bug.

I continued to voice our concerns with the pediatrician who continued to say he was a boy, and lets wait and see how he does in Pre-K.  Some of our extended family felt we were making more out of it then we needed to.  He was just a different kid.  Never the less, my gut told me there was more to it.  Peers his age were not having the same problems and behaviors.  Going to Pre-K would be the game changer and journey to getting some answers would begin.

(I wrote these stories in past tense because I am talking about how he behaved years earlier.  However, he still exhibits most of the same behaviors.  Some have gotten better, some not so much.)

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About Real Housewife of Osage County

I am a stay at home mom of two young boys. My oldest has Aspergers and ADHD. The youngest is just a mess. They keep me well supplied with material to talk about. I am also interested in social issues, politics and other events happening in our world. I hope you find my writing to be entertaining, interesting, relatable and at times educational.

3 responses »

  1. I’m so glad you’re writing these. It’s going to help someone.

    On a related note…Ashlyn probably has a sensory disorder. No diagnosis. But she does a lot of those same things. We went through a period where everything was “itchy”…hairbows, socks, shoes, jeans, elastic, lace.

    She’s also super picky and won’t eat weird textures or food that touches another food (there are a few exceptions). She also stands to eat or walks away several times during dinner.

    We also can’t go to crazy busy places. Like the mall, or a busy restaurant, or big parties. She gets overwhelmed easily.

    Hang in there and know you’re kid’s not “weird” or “hyper”. And ALWAYS trust your gut.

    • Kim
      I didn’t know that about Ashlyn.
      Gabe is very sensitive to clothes. As soon as he gets home he takes off shoes, socks and shirt. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside. He doesn’t like jeans at all. His preference is for pull on warm up style pants or pull on nylon shorts.

      Food has been a major issue because he is so under weight. He won’t eat any meat with exception of ground beef in spaghetti or pepperoni pizza. No chips or crackers but will eat pretzels. I don’t know what we would do without cheese, milk and fruit. Those are pretty much is staple foods. Anything chocolate but no nuts.

      I have gotten better at trying to understand he is not just being stubborn but he is truly uncomfortable or over sensitive to certain textures, tastes and smells. It really means choosing your battles wisely, which is really hard to do sometimes.

      • I’m really working on not getting angry at her for it. She really can’t help it and I know how she feels because a lot of the same things bother me or used to bother me.

        Ashlyn is in her underwear when we’re home. She plays outside in her underwear. She’s getting better about what she will wear but I think it’s a girly fashion thing. She wants to be cute at school so she’s willing to sacrifice being a little uncomfortable. I try to still buy all soft cotton clothing.

        And I just let her eat standing up. As long as she eats. She’s been underweight since day one. Like, the -10th percentile. She’s finally on the curve now and I credit that to Boost for Kids. She won’t eat meat either, except for chicken and sometimes steak. We don’t put meat in pasta but that’s my preference.

        We went to my company Christmas party a couple of years ago and it was set up like a kid’s carnival type thing. We walked clear to the back of the building and she surveyed the chaos then we turned around and hung out at the front where it was less crowded. She helped me run a booth instead of playing because it was too busy. We’re going to Silver Dollar City in a few weeks and I’m kind of nervous that she’ll freak out.

        I’m also starting to think a lot of her behavior problems at home are because of sensory overload. I scream and throw fits when it gets loud in here too. Can’t really blame her for that!

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