DS referred to a behavioral specialist, anyone with similar experience?

Posted on: Fri, 12/19/2003 - 6:51am
jaketoo's picture
Joined: 09/09/2002 - 09:00

Today I took ds to ped. office since he has been quite sick with what is probably the flu and also an ear infection. He behaved like he often does in public places and even at home. He can't stay still, throws anything he can get his hands on at whoever is in his way, kicks, spits, just generally becomes out of control and can become *very* aggressive and defiant. This behavior is sometimes predictable (related to being tired, overstimulated, etc), sometimes not. Anyway, today the ped. witnessed an episode and began a discussion with me about how often this happens and other questions, he suggested DS go to a behavioral specialist in a nearby city (we don't have anyone like that here apparently). DS will be four in March and he has been through our Early Intervention program but he is now too old for that program. I just wanted to know if anyone else has had similar experience or knows anything about behavioral specialists. I tend to find out as much as I can, but if anyone has had a similar experience and can share any info. I would appreciate it. I have real fears about him going to public school with not only the pa issue but possibly these behavior issues too.

Posted on: Fri, 12/19/2003 - 11:41am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I do not have this happening with my child but you perfectly describe my next door neighbor/friend's little 2 yo boy. She even had an episode of him biting, scratcing and totally out of control on a plane. He weighs 40 pounds at 2, as well. He is so sweet too, but then turns on a dime with her and has tantrums and fits, etc...
She just got into EI and was just told this am to bring him to a specialist to work him up for autism(high functioning). The therapist was thinking more to help the mother cope with the behavior and understand it, not to frighten her, but she was shaken by the thought.
Just some support, not experience. I am a PT, and in general, I would seek out more that just a diagnosis. Look for them to help you with problem solving and strategies to cope with life for you and your child. I worry that all these specialists label kids but do not always offer practical solutions and strategies.
Best of luck. I really know how hard it can be. I spend alot of time with my neighbor who feels very isolated with her son at times. I have come to have an an open door policy with her. Basically my dd goes over there and her son comes here alot because the change of pace really helps him be happy(a new face in the day, new space to explore). For some reason, he is very mellow playing in my basement, so I let them come in and go play there even if I am busy doing other things!
I hope you get the help you need. becca

Posted on: Fri, 12/19/2003 - 1:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

jaketoo, I don't know if my thread about Oppositional Defiant Disorder under Off Topic may help you or not. I'll re-raise it.
My daughter just turned 6 in September. Last winter say, at the age of 5, she was having temper tantrums at most people would have considered her to have outgrown by that age. She would totally wig out and become uncontrollable. If you tried to place her in time-out you actually had to sit and physically hold her in the chair. Or, if you sent her to her room, you had to stay outside of the room and hold the door closed while she trashed her room.
I went to the doctor and I said that I thought my daughter was very angry and I gave him the reason(s) as to why I thought she might be angry.
We were referred to a behavioural pediatrician. We had an appointment in August month. I filled out a 20 page questionnaire. He read through it and immediately diagnosed her with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He suggested I read the book called The Explosive Child, which I have.
We saw him again at the beginning of November month and I did question his diagnosis. He said that it sounded as though perhaps she didn't have ODD but was having difficulties at home (for good reason) because this NEVER manifests itself at school (although I have now read that that is common with children with ODD anyway - they act out where they feel safe - at home).
What he suggested was that we needed family therapy and I just did the intake to-day actually for both children to receive individual counselling to deal with several different *issues*.
I'm not saying that your son has ODD, but just wanted to tell you why we were referred to a behavioural pediatrician and what happened.
Please let us know how it goes. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Happy Holidays! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Fri, 12/19/2003 - 1:49pm
cathlina's picture
Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

We had a load of trouble with my stepson having tantrums at home when he was age 2-3. They were getting out of hand because he was destroying things and we were afraid he would hurt himself.
I called our Area Education Agency and they referred me to a preschool counselor. She came to our house and told us about this strategy for tantrums:
First, kids have tantrums to gain attention and to manipulate their own way 7 gain control.
Second, how you respond to it makes the tantrum get worse. We were putting him in his room and then checking on him when he pounded on the door and finally letting him out when we thought he might hurt himself. (He was controlling us!)
Third, she told us that each and every time he had a tantrum to put him in his room and leave him there no matter what he did. We were to tell him he could not come out of his room until the tantrum stopped. She said he might pound on doors, walls, kick and scream and it could last up to 40 minutes the first time. But she said each successive time, the tantrums would not last as long and would finally extinguish out when he learned we were in charge.
We didn't really believe but we did exactly what she told us too. The first tantrum lasted 40 minutes. We sat in the living room and talked each other out of going in his room. The second tantrum was 20 minutes. The third tantrum was five minutes. After that there were no more tantrums.
As far as kids throwing tantrums in public places...we always had a conversation with our kids before going to a restaurant, grocery store etc. They were told that if they behaved, they could have a special treat. They were told that if they were naughty, they would not be allowed to go again. We would take them to Grandma's. Of course, there would be no special treat. We never had any problems.
Oh by the way, my mother told me when I had tantrums...she threw a glass of cold water in my face. She said she did it twice and that was all it took.

Posted on: Fri, 12/19/2003 - 10:32pm
abbylukesmom's picture
Joined: 08/28/2003 - 09:00

Is your ds on any medication that would cause him to behave that way? How do you descipline your ds?
I occasionaly have some minor behavioral problems from my 5 year old dd, but usually only after returning home from the in laws house. They basically let her do whatever she chooses, so when she comes back home, my hubby & I have to remind her who is in charge. Her punishment ranges from going to her room, a spanking, or being grounded from a certain upcoming event. Just as cathlina posted, you have to show them who's in charge. And stick to whatever you tell them. It broke my heart for my dd to miss a special birthday party for a close friend, but when she didn't do as told, I had no choice but to enforce what I had said. Even though it messed up my plans too-she now knows that when I tell her to do something (such as cleaning up her terribly messy room, I mean it.) That was about 6 months ago & I haven't had that problem any more!
I do agree with your doctor referring you to a behavioral specialist. Please try to concentrate on your ds, rather than a 'diagnosis.' I think some doctors are too quick to try a give a clinical diagnosis.
My brother in law is high functioning autistic. He does have outbursts, thou not violent ones. He is now 24 years old, his outbursts are crying, & mumbling things under his breath. Even though he is autistic, he knows what his limits are with any outbursts & what his conquences will be. And this is from a child that the doctors said would be "dumb" his whole life! They actually said he would never even learn how to tye his own shoes! A nurse secretly took them aside & told them if they wanted to help him to treat him as normal as possible. So, that's what they did. When he was 3 they entered him into a special preschool & he was also given speech therapy. He blossomed! When I first began dating my husband his brother was 12. I vividly remember the first thing he ever said to me-"What color is your agitator?" I didn't even know what an agitator was!!!! He meant on our washing machine....he loves trains, weather, gardening, vaccumes & washing machines...he does have lots of ticks, such as having to take a bath at the exact same time every night-no exceptions, not a minute more or less. He has an extremely high pain tolerance, etc...Now he has a small lawn service business that his dad helps him with. It is amazing what even 'disabled' child/people can do!
Good luck with your ds, & try to be firm-it's the hardest thing for a parrent to do. Let us know what the specialist tells you.
[This message has been edited by abbylukesmom (edited December 20, 2003).]

Posted on: Sat, 12/20/2003 - 12:20am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by cathlina:
Oh by the way, my mother told me when I had tantrums...she threw a glass of cold water in my face. She said she did it twice and that was all it took.
My mother told me this too. Our DS had a tough time between 3 and 4. I tried the water a few times and it never worked. What I ended up doing was putting him back in diapers and taking him out of pre school.
The tanrtums stopped after missing one afternoon of pre school and being back in diapers.
And the most heartbreaking part of this story is at the age of 17 he asked me "mom why did you throw water in my face when I was little?"
The diapers and pre school do not seem so important anymore. The look on his face at the age of 17 broke my heart. I explained that we HAD to get his attention and this seemed like a non threatening way. He knows things were bad with him at that age.
Please don't throw water in your babies faces. I do not understand why I ever listened to my mother who was abusive and mentally ill. I lose sleep over this every night.
There has to be a better way.

Posted on: Sat, 12/20/2003 - 12:25am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Cathlina, my dd had tantrums like that. She will kick the door to the point I fear she might break her foot. It just dawned on my, though, it has been a few months and we have had none of that. She has been given time outs in her room, but only cried and banged a bit, not the violence. I did do what you described, basically not caving in, but what a worry. She did actually break her arm throwing herself out of her crib in anger at barely 2, so my fears were realistic! It sort of occurred to me it might be abnormal, but I really don't know.
Anyway, what really caught my eye was your cold water story! I have a frind whose Mom said she did the same thing to one of her kids. She was flipping out and Mom was doing the dishes. So, she just reflexively splashed some cold water in her face. The tantrum stopped, the child was shocked and never did it again. I know it wouldn't work with my child, LOL. I do know, with my dd, *any* attention at all for the behavior really does keep it going. But I think this is for normal tantruming. I do think ours is normal because it is always at home and usually with me, versus dh and for very specific issues(bedtime stuff, etc...). becca

Posted on: Sat, 12/20/2003 - 1:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

We were still living in Stayner, so closer to my Mother, but she would have told me the same thing regardless of where we lived, but I'm trying to get a gauge on Ember's age. We left Stayner when she was 4.
Anyway, my Mom told me the same thing. Throw a glass of cold water in her face when she was having the tantrum.
I did try it once and I have to say that although it did work (she stopped wigging out she was so shocked), I didn't think it was an okay thing to do, just my opinion, because how would I feel if someone threw a glass of water in my face when I wigged out?
I just didn't feel comfortable with it, although, as I say, the one time I tried it, it did work.
I really recommend reading The Explosive Child. I found it helpful even though I haven't really put any of the things into practice yet with Ember. Why was it helpful then?
Ember had started this thing where she really couldn't *do* the grocery store. She would totally lose it in the grocery store and I'm not sure if I posted about it in the ODD thread or not, but there was the one time she wanted a muffin mix and came and threw it at me at the check-out counter. Threw it at me!
I came home and basically told her Father that she couldn't do the grocery store anymore. When I read The Explosive Child, there was a story about another child that for whatever reason couldn't do the grocery store either.
Now, she has to do them regardless because of our family dynamics, but I do believe she's dealing with them better. Not perfectly, but better.
I don't know. I can't deal with malls, like I just posted to becca in another thread, Em can't do grocery stores.
I am hoping the therapy will help and I have noticed what I consider a very positive change in her behaviour over the last 1-1/2 months when something in our family changed that I really think was what was at the root of her anger.
Oh, jaketoo, and I'm not saying that you have an angry young man on your hands or that's it your family or that it's your fault, or anything. I was just telling you about my experience with Em and why we got the referral. I hope you don't think I was trying to say anything negative about your son, your family, you, or your parenting style. Seriously. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Happy Holidays! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Sat, 12/20/2003 - 1:27am
teacher's picture
Joined: 11/02/2000 - 09:00

Our DS, at six, has been going through behavioral programs of one kind or another for what seems like his lifetime.
His behavior is not as extreme as what any of you describe, though. We went through a half dozen different diagnoses -- each one becoming more refined as he grew older. The fact is, some disorders cannot be diagnosed at such a young age.
After "playing with" the idea of Asberger's, then ADD/ADHD, then some ODD, then Tourette's, at age six, he is still unmedicated because he is gradually maturing and outgrowing so many of these problems that have plagued him for six years.
We still struggle on a daily basis with his eating difficulties (he is an extremely picky eater -- gags at smells and touch and taste of absolutely everything but dry foods), and he still exhibits some signs of ADD, but not enough to require him to be medicated. It's not even enough to require his teacher to mention his behavior to us anymore than the next kid.
So to answer your question the short way: yes, we've worked with behavior specialists (he was in behavioral preschool and kindergarten programs), but in his case, he seems to be growing out of (or in to) his issues and is doing extremely well. If I had it to do all over again, I certainly would.
Good luck! I hope things are as successful for you as they were for us.
One quick piece of advice for you on your travels through this, though: remember to celebrate his successes. We found that we were so focussed on what to do about his negative behavior, that we forgot that what we should be focussing on is HOW WELL he was doing. It's so easy to make this mistake when you're in "programs."
Good luck!

Posted on: Sat, 12/20/2003 - 2:26am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by teacher:
We still struggle on a daily basis with his eating difficulties (he is an extremely picky eater -- gags at smells and touch and taste of absolutely everything but dry foods.
Good luck![/b]
My PA son also gagged at smells. Even bandaids made him gag. He could not be in a room with play dough and he would not touch wet foods. Even crayons, he never colored till almost first grade because he gagged around crayons and markers.
I KNEW in my heart that this was some sort of allergy and once we discovered the PA I figured I was right.
He eventually started using crayons and all of the other idiosyncracies disappeared sooner or later. He is still very picky at 19 but I figure that saved his life so I work around it.
Gosh I never thought I would see this kid eat.

Posted on: Sat, 12/20/2003 - 8:14am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Well, I guess I am missing something about the tantrums. Dd had a few around age 1 1/2 or 2. I ignored them. They stopped. Why throw water? Why not just ignore them? With a few exceptions (such as a medical diagnosis), tantrums are to get attention or to get what they want. Why reward them by giving them any attention? Usually when dd had tantrums I would go do the dishes or vacuum. Other than the 3 or 4 she had around age 1 1/2 or 2, they have never happened since. She`s almost 9 now. I have made it clear it accomplishes nothing to throw a tantrum---so why do it?


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