I am slightly hesitant to write this post.
Caleb is an amazing kid, there is just no getting around that fact. He is cute, funny, imaginative, brilliant and just wonderful. I worry as a mom about him being labeled as having a "learning disability" (probably because for a year and a half I was in resource math and received that label and a complete lack of friends to go with it). I have been noticing as of late he seems to be labeled as "bad" or "out of control" or that I am a bad mother. I am starting to see that I want him to be labeled for what he is and not for what people might judge him or me as being.
I am also hesitant because in no way do I want to appear "woe is me." I am not using this to vent or complain about Caleb or what we are going through. If I could handpick a trial to have with a child I would pick this one over just about anything else (I think any mom would pick "my kid just sleeps too much").
But I am writing this all the same. I feel like to understand Caleb one must really understand Caleb and what he is going through. I want to remember this chapter in his life so one day I can show him that he can do hard things!
For probably the last year, maybe even more, Caleb has just seemed off. For awhile I contributed it to my pregnancy, then to the lack of pregnancy and him just not being able to cope with so much at a young age. Then we blamed John's job and all our traveling. Finally. I started talking to some of my closest friends about it. Friends who struggled with challenges with their children who might be able to shed some light on what we were dealing with. We chatted about ideas and then I think they started paying more attention to Caleb. After a couple of weeks they both said the same thing-they suspected Caleb had sensory processing disorder and I should go see an occupational therapist.
At Caleb's four year old check up he once again scored pretty low on his fine motor, gross motor and one or two other sections. This has been common really since his 9 month check-up. I requested a referral and was able to see a great occupational therapist.
After some testing and observing the therapist confirmed what we suspected, Caleb has sensory processing disorder as well as slow reflexes causing developmental delay-emotionally and physically.
The main root of Caleb's issues seem to stem with his inner ear. His inner ear hasn't developed right-he doesn't get dizzy. Seriously, we will spin him on the computer chair for five minutes and he will get up and walk fine. Because of that his whole concept of body awareness is off. This affects everything from throwing a ball to cutting with scissors to crossing the midline of his body.
Basically Caleb gets stimulated very very easily and when he does he has autistic meltdowns (really that is what they call them because they are so similar to what autistic children have). Meltdowns are different from tantrums. Tantrums are when kids don't get their way, meltdowns are like brain overload that result in hours of being inconsolable (Caleb's have lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to four or five hours, sometimes he will be off from the moment he wakes up until we put him to bed). Noises, groups of people, lots of children, clothing, blankets, bright lights getting his nails trimmed all just bug him more than most people. And if enough of those things happen without counterbalancing them he loses it, big time. It is interesting because he is so sensitive to certain things, for example he woke up the other night because we popped popcorn. The smell made him so sick that he actually woke up and came down to tell us to throw it away. But when he gets like that he wants BIG impact. He falls off the bed all the time without waking up because he loves and craves that heavy impact. So when he gets wild he starts running and will run full speed into the wall or people. He isn't naughty he is just trying to counterbalance his brain.
We have been seeing the o.t. for the last little bit and she has been helpful. She recommended getting him into a real preschool. We loved the co-op preschool we did last semester, but there wasn't enough structure or consistency that Caleb would come home completely out of control. He has only been to his new preschool twice but he loves it!!! It seems to already be helping him get lots of good stimulation so he can function better during the day. The other thing as of yesterday, he can't do any "crazy stuff" after 2 pm. He doesn't sleep through the night anymore so we are trying to give him plenty of time to calm down and get ready for bed. I am hoping it works because I really miss sleeping through the night :)
Caleb is still the most amazing little boy I know. All of this just makes him quirkier and more lovable. He is so great and this really is apart of what makes him so great!