Concerned about 5 year old

heather34576

New Member
You're right. Trust your gut. You know your kid best. My experience with Explosive Child was that it helped us reframe our thinking. The "If they can do good, they do" really resonated with us and changed our approach. And yes, five is young for the level of digging down and communicating, but it helped us understand the meltdowns over seeming silly things.

As for finding therapists, the kids had Kaiser insurance at the time, and he went through the gamut of groups and ever-changing therapists. They weren't there to talk and listen, mostly to prescribe drugs. And then I sat on phone for hours trying to find private therapists that could do drug therapy if needed, that his insurance would be accepted, and that specialized in kids like this AND had room on their caseload.

My grandson has done so well because he has wrap-around services now. The scattershot approach from schools and various things tried on IEPs and instructional aides etc., just didn't work. When the violence really escalated to the point that elder abuse services was called on my grandson (when he was 12) because of serious injury to my husband, and child protective services was called on my husband (who was trying to get my grandson out of the car and in trying to drag him out, left a small mark on his neck). CPS came into our home, as did the elder abuse people and they said that we might have to get police and residential type services involved. We were not charged with anything and they said that we definitely needed additional services.

About that time, he lost it at school and the police had to be called to the school. He tore the school up pretty good and hurt one of the secretaries. He was moved immediately to a behavioral school and that has saved us. He's had the same talk therapist for 18 months, one hour every week. Occupational therapy to find sensory strategies help regulate, etc. Lots of interventions and it has worked. He has had trauma, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, no autism, but a word salad of other DSM diagnoses over the years. Which described what was being seen at the time but didn't seem to get to the heart of things, and it's changed over time.

I don't know where you are located and services are so different in different places. We've tried private therapy where the psychiatrist played video games with him. And he prescribed drugs that didn't work very well, either.

Grandson is now 14, no drugs (we tried so many, then did genetic testing for his ability to metabolize various classes of drugs, which helped guide us for awhile). I have nothing against drugs that work, but for him, they just didn't. And lots hard work on his part. And our part. Sigh. It shouldn't be this hard, right?
Wow, that sounds so challenging! Having police called to the school is one of my great fears ... and obviously whatever behavior led to the police being called is a major fear, too ... I hate hearing that he's hurt someone.

I take medications myself, but in my son's case I don't know what they would be medicating for, you know?
 

HMBgal

Well-Known Member
Wow, that sounds so challenging! Having police called to the school is one of my great fears ... and obviously whatever behavior led to the police being called is a major fear, too ... I hate hearing that he's hurt someone.

I take medications myself, but in my son's case I don't know what they would be medicating for, you know?
Yeah, that's what the professionals are supposed to be helping you with. He's young. Grandson got his first testing and diagnosis of ADHD at five. I don't think they even test before then. Every child is different. Grandson had trauma and severe anxiety in the mix, as well as extreme opposition and defiance. They started off the with the traditional medications for ADHD, which didn't work, then kept trying other stuff. It's a journey. But it should start with good doctors making as accurate a diagnosis as possible. And medications work great for some, and not for others.

We were already pretty deep in the weeds with schools, etc. by the age of five. He had been kicked out of three preschools and kindergarten was a hot mess. He had a wonderful teacher who knew about Ross Greene (Lost at School--great books and a website with worksheets to identify missing/lagging skills, and Explosive Child). But it was always a struggle, especially social interactions at school. He was such a sweet, empathic person, but very low executive functioning skills, zero impulse control, and zero tolerance for just about anything that challenged him. We had to keep him in for recess, or one of the adults in his life (me, his grandpa, usually) would have to go with him to recess, and even then, he could only tolerate about five minutes in an open setting like that before something would happen.

So, we would treasure and celebrate the good minutes/hours that eventually stretched into days. I felt like I was walking on eggshells for years with the this kid. It's only now getting better. But your journey with your boy will be different. And hopefully easier.
 

heather34576

New Member
This morning, on a zoom play date with several same-aged friends, my son repeatedly told them he was going to slice up their stuffed animals if they didn't stop talking. I had to remove him from the meeting.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
It doesn't seem like there's an abundance of therapists for this age group.
Hi

I would find the nearest Regional Children's Hospital near you. They will have a Child Development Center. I would get him tested. It will be a battery of test and take more than one visit. I don't remember how many days we went. Your child will be seen by a team of experts; a neuropsychiatrist, social worker, child psychiatrist, maybe even a neurologist. They should be able to give you referrals based upon their findings.

I believe the neurologist is important. I have heard of this being caused by mini-seizures. Some people also look at chemical sensitivity, diet and sensory issues. There can be genetic components, too.

Is he exposed to violence or aggression, such as TV or games or may he see somebody acting aggressive? Might there be bullying involved? I would limit his media use.

These things don't come out of thin air. But first there has to be as much clarity as possible about diagnosis.

I just read your last comment about cutting the stuffed animals. It sounds like he really doesn't get the link between what he feels and wants and his actions and words. Was he very agitated when he said this? What I am asking is if his emotion and demeanor were congruent with the words he used?

I suggest strongly testing. There are other types of therapists for kids other than mental health. There are behavioral specialists, there are language therapists, there are occupational therapists (I see Susie spoke of this option above), there are art and music and dance therapists. If this therapist is not working, and it seems like they're not, I would consider looking into options. A therapist could work with your child to respond differently. To identify a range of responses to situations, and to choose more appropriately. An expressive arts therapist could work with the emotional part, helping him learn what his emotions feel like, differentiate, and express them in different ways.

I think it's very reassuring that he can be a good and loving boy a lot of the time.

I am so sorry you have had to deal with this hard, hard thing.
 
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heather34576

New Member
Hi

I would find the nearest Regional Children's Hospital near you. They will have a Child Development Center. I would get him tested. It will be a battery of test and take more than one visit. I don't remember how many days we went. Your child will be seen by a team of experts; a neuropsychiatrist, social worker, child psychiatrist, maybe even a neurologist. They should be able to give you referrals based upon their findings.

I believe the neurologist is important. I have heard of this being caused by mini-seizures. Some people also look at chemical sensitivity, diet and sensory issues. There can be genetic components, too.

Is he exposed to violence or aggression, such as TV or games or may he see somebody acting aggressive? Might there be bullying involved? I would limit his media use.

These things don't come out of thin air. But first there has to be as much clarity as possible about diagnosis.

I just read your last comment about cutting the stuffed animals. It sounds like he really doesn't get the link between what he feels and wants and his actions and words. Was he very agitated when he said this? What I am asking is if his emotion and demeanor were congruent with the words he used?

I suggest strongly testing. There are other types of therapists for kids other than mental health. There are behavioral specialists, there are language therapists, there are occupational therapists (I see Susie spoke of this option above), there are art and music and dance therapists. If this therapist is not working, and it seems like they're not, I would consider looking into options. A therapist could work with your child to respond differently. To identify a range of responses to situations, and to choose more appropriately. An expressive arts therapist could work with the emotional part, helping him learn what his emotions feel like, differentiate, and express them in different ways.

I think it's very reassuring that he can be a good and loving boy a lot of the time.

I am so sorry you have had to deal with this hard, hard thing.
Thank you. Regarding shows/video games, I don't allow him to watch or play anything that's at all violent because he's so susceptible to even suggestions of violence. However, there have been times he has seen things on kids shows that I thought were OK. It doesn't take much at all, like things that are probably fine for other kids are not for him. We are limiting his screen time more but it's difficult with the shut down in particular. I know that's an issue though.

I have no idea where he got the thing about slicing stuffed animals. He did not seem at all agitated or upset when he said that.

FWIW, he has been seen by a neurologist and had an EEG which did not find anything, although I know sometimes they miss stuff. His diet sucks; he very likely has ARFID. He will literally starve himself rather than eat foods other than his handful of preferred foods. This is after 3 years of feeding therapy with different therapists and methods. I don't buy foods with artificial dyes because they make him hyperactive.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I just found this very interesting article, which I hope is helpful. It put into context a lot of what you describe about your son.

When my son was little a few times he would bite other children. One time we were asked to leave camping. It was horrible. I so completely identify how you must feel. In our case, at home this did not happen. Maybe because we were alone, the two of us. But my son would become overstimulated and not know how to contain or express what he felt. Which was not anger or aggression, but excitement and anxiety.
 

heather34576

New Member
I just found this very interesting article, which I hope is helpful. It put into context a lot of what you describe about your son.

When my son was little a few times he would bite other children. One time we were asked to leave camping. It was horrible. I so completely identify how you must feel. In our case, at home this did not happen. Maybe because we were alone, the two of us. But my son would become overstimulated and not know how to contain or express what he felt. Which was not anger or aggression, but excitement and anxiety.
I guess if it was related to clear outbursts of emotion or overstimulation I would be less worried. It seems like the dominant feeling is anger and it's usually triggered by a limit being set, not getting something he wants or being told to do something.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
the dominant feeling is anger and it's usually triggered by a limit being set, not getting something he wants or being told to do something
In this incident with the slicing imagery, he didn't manifest anger or strong emotion, did he? Are you logging these incidents, in terms of catalyst or trigger, emotion, objective, time of day, context (and probably more variables)? The more info you give a professional the better.

It's plausible that he is using violent imagery in an instrumental sense. i.e. it works to get him what he wants. Imagine somebody powerless that stumbles upon something that works so well, to get him what he wants, or stops what he doesn't want. I don't think it's clear that he is actually feeling strong emotion such as anger, destructiveness or violence.

The more we can keep ourselves from filling in the blanks with what we fear, or how we construe things, the better.
 

heather34576

New Member
In this incident with the slicing imagery, he didn't manifest anger or strong emotion, did he? Are you logging these incidents, in terms of catalyst or trigger, emotion, objective, time of day, context (and probably more variables)? The more info you give a professional the better.

It's plausible that he is using violent imagery in an instrumental sense. i.e. it works to get him what he wants. Imagine somebody powerless that stumbles upon something that works so well, to get him what he wants, or stops what he doesn't want. I don't think it's clear that he is actually feeling strong emotion such as anger, destructiveness or violence.

The more we can keep ourselves from filling in the blanks with what we fear, or how we construe things, the better.
No, you're right, in that incident he didn't seem particularly angry. I don't know that it works to get him what he wants, though. In that instance, after I took him aside and told him it was inappropriate to talk to his friends that way and he kept doing it, I exited the Zoom meeting and he didn't get to see his friends anymore. I gave him a warning that I would do that but he persisted. He was clearly upset after I turned it off.

In the case of threats like "Get me juice or I'll smack you", I don't get him anything until he asks appropriately and only if it's something he's allowed to have. I just don't see how that behavior serves him.

I do need to start writing this stuff down again.
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
I just don't see how that behavior serves him
Your brain is not 5 years old.

I think adults even use behaviors to get what they want, that don't serve them, or that cause them no end of pain. I think we can't look at this from our point of view, because clearly the motivation and decisions, cognitive frame, or lack of control, all come from him.
 

heather34576

New Member
I had a long talk with my son's therapist without him present. She IS concerned and asked me if I would be open to a psychological evaluation (which I am).
 

MamaRosie

New Member
This is a difficult parenting time for you. Hang in there. Therapy is a great idea. Sending you my support.
 
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