My son has had a really hard time interacting with his peers in daycare and school. We were always told he had “bad behavior” and was “agressive”. After doing lots of research, making lots of mistakes, and hearing from other special mommies, I hired an advocate, got him a good IEP, and got him into an ASD classroom. He was not potty trained, could talk in strange scripted pharases but not communicate. In matter of months he learned to communicate and potty trained for pee during the day, it was awesome.
I took my son to a developmental pediatrician. He fit ADHD criteria very well, so that was the diagnosis he got. I gotta hand it to the doc, she recommended speech therapy and occupational therapy and perhaps later a trial of stimulants, but it was not her first choice. How awesome to find a doc not pushing drugs. I also got some parent training. I learned how to communicate boundaries to my child at a developmentally appropriate level. I learned how to use a time out to allow him to calm himself down, rather that hold him down in a chair, which had failed us. A “suppernanny naughty chair” may work in a neurotypical child, but not one with a neurological disorder. The trainer handed me a list of stress behaviors in children. They were all similar to ADHD symptoms:
Accident proneness, Hitting, Anger, Kicking, Anxiety, Insomnia, Appetite Loss, Stuttering, Baby Talk, Indigestion, Bed-wetting, Thumbsucking, Biting, Pounding Heart, Crying Spells, Grinding Teeth, Detachment, Fingernail Biting, Excessive Aggressiveness, Respiratory Tract Illness, Excessive Laziness, Tattling
When my child was put into a developmentally appropriate situation, the aggression disappeared. Now I know the truth. My child is not some aggressive monster. He was just stressed. He needed help and didn’t get it. As a matter of fact, a lot of his autistic type behaviors have decreased. This could be due to Father Time allowing him to catch up on his development. Or his highly qualified and passionate teacher and her awesome aids. Or the lack of stress. Or the outdoor play that we do every day (it’s fun!). Or the fish oil and probiotics (can’t hurt). Who knows. I am really enjoying spending time with him now and not feeling so guilty and frustrated. He is still delayed and has serious food allergies and GI symptoms, but I can live with those. A wise person told me “don’t try to change the child, change the situation around the child”.