Autism, ADHD Sensory processing

I have a 6 year old twin boys. We noticed something was wrong about a year ago with one of my boys. He was melting down and not handling things as well as his brother. We made an appt with our pediatrician. We were recommended occupational therapy for developmental delays. We started therapy. We didn’t see any improvements in his behaviors. He started school and now everything is even worse. He has a hard time focusing in school, sitting still working independently. His teacher mentions he is in his head a lot. He is constantly thinking and spirals when he thinks he is in trouble. He is also overly aggressive when it comes to affection. His hugs are rough, he lacks social cues and norms. We saw a psychologist and he tested for Autism. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism and adhd. It seemed like things were progressively getting worse. So we went back to the pediatrician. He prescribed intuniv. His teacher said he was calmer but still lacking focus and working independently. I am also in the process of getting his iep for more individualized help. We went to a psychiatrist today and they wanted to prescribe a stimulant medication. I still don’t have any direction as to what I can do to help him at home. My last resort is ABA therapy which will hopefully start in a month. Any input on what to do or try? Signed a frustrated mother who just wants to help her child succeed.

@Jpiplic I’m so sorry you’re going through this. As moms, we always want to help and “fix” things and it can be discouraging when we are not sure what to do next. I would also consider my son as hyperactive and a little rough. Something that I truly feel affects my son is diet and sleep. If he’s been eating a lot of junky and sugary foods, I see a big increase in his activity level. Also, on the nights when he’s not getting enough sleep, he is dramatically more hyperactive the following day. I’ve also read some interesting information on omega 3’s and attention in children. I found this article from ADDitude, which I feel like has been a good resource for me. :heart:

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@Jpiplic- firstly, you are incredible for doing all you can for your son. It takes a lot of strength and I can only imagine what you are going through in navigating this.

A few follow up questions to your post:

What type of class is he in? A general education classroom or a special education classroom? In the districts I have worked in that have special education programs, the special ed teachers are trained and focused on helping children with these diagnoses by tailoring their methods of teaching and behavior modification strategies. Is that an option where you live? Is the school supportive in helping you?

Taking off my professional hat for a second and putting on my mom hat, I have spoken to so many parents of children with ADHD who have said that finding the right medication and dosage for your child can really take time. I have heard that kids can respond very differently to various medications so keep asking the psychologists and psychiatrists you are working with to help you figure out which medication is right for him until all of you as a team are comfortable with how your son is functioning.

Hopefully we can get some other professionals to weigh in with some thoughts and suggestions for you!

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Piggy backing off Allison the school setting information is important. Not every setting suits every child, unfortunately similar to the school the meds aren’t an exact science and can take time to work for your child. There is no doubt in my mind that you are doing that absolute best you can for your family!

A few things to consider, a developmental pediatrician may be better able to give you information about the diagnosis, meds, and expectations for your child. They may even recommend a different school setting or therapies.

He may need a psychotherapist to deal with the anxiety he seems to be having and stress around his functioning. He likely knows things are hard and doesn’t know why or what he can do. They can also help with social cues and expectations. Be sure so seek out someone who works with kids on the spectrum and with ADHD so already have a plan to help you guys.

Some simple things to do at home are meditation, and mindfulness exercises. They slow the brain and body down and increase attention and concentration, they are also an incredible coping mechanism!

Some apps I love are “breathe kids” “calm” “headspace” some of them include movement which is great for regulation.

I hope that helps a little! Hang in there Mama!

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I would love to get to know more about your boys but for now I am going to give a general response on important strategies that should be taking place in and out of the classroom.

Always keep in mind consistency is key! Also, a continuum of strategies and routines from in school to home life gives children more of a routine that they feel confident with, which leads to higher self esteem.

Here are 5 main strategies that will assist in supporting your child with behaviors, break downs and spiraling.

  1. use of visuals (a routine visual or just a visual of expected behavior)

  2. use of timers (helps in transitions or sharing)

  3. use of POSITIVE REINFORCEMENTS! A lot of verbal praising (good job) and physical praises (thumbs up!, smiling wide, clapping, etc).

  4. Literature on positive behaviors (books about sharing, using words, listening) to encourage the discussion and exposure to use more positive interactions with peers and adults.

  5. Persona Dolls (puppets, teddy bears, dolls) to model positive behaviors or to act out scenarios that your child is facing difficulties with!

LASTLY! A specific step-by-step picture strategy that can assist in walking him through a problem solving process! Bracelet can be found on Instagram @PSbracelet

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He is in a general education class with other iep kids. His teacher is a god send but some his lack of independence for class work is hindering him greatly. He is very capable and quite bright. He just can’t apply himself in situations where it is needed.

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I will try those. The things that are setting him off are like tonight we were working on hw and I know he can count past 10. He literally refused to tell me what came after 9. I told him to put his hw away and he would turn it in incomplete which caused a 45 minute meltdown of I don’t love you anymore. I don’t like yous, kicking toys and what not. Which then 45 minutes later he putting away cereal boxes that were left out on the counter.

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