Friday, May 13, 2011

Raising my spirited child Part 2....Now what does this all mean...

So Booger is spirited. What the heck does that mean for us?  Well first let's look at the "traits".  According to Kurcinka, spirited children have 9 temperament traits. 

1. Intensity- how strongly a child emotionally reacts. For example , boog has powerful reactions and is labile at times, easily frustrated
2. Persistence- if the child is involved in something how easy is it for him to stop when told. He does not easily let go from an idea. Frequently he wakes up in the morning remembering exactly what was promised to him
3. Sensitivity- how aware he is of all the senses.  Tags, noises, smells, tastes, etc. He is quite good at finding his just right noise level and he is quite the picky eater
4. Perceptiveness- the ability to notice everything about everything. I read this part of the chapter and laughed out loud because earlier that day we got out of the car and the first he said was "wow mom look at that amazing rainbow in the oil puddle". 
5. Adaptability- how quickly he can deal with change. Why do you think I live my life with a timer? He needs to be aware of change before it happens. Don't mess with the routine or you'll be sorry. 
6. Regularity- eating sleeping and other bodily functions. 12 hours sleep. Can set your watch to when food goes in and out
7. Energy- quiet or active. Booger is both depending on mood
8. First reaction- what is the child's first reaction when asked to do something new? No!  
9. Mood- positive or not? Booger is analytical. Frequently he was very solemn. 

After seeing how "spirited" he was, I really had to take a look at my own personality and temperament traits to see if I was creating some of this head to head combat. And I have to say I can see some similarities and differences. I am definitely a negative first responder and pretty persistent.  Taking all this into consideration we became more aware of how to approach him. But we were still in the infancy of 'how'.

I don't want you to think we didn't seek medical help. Since the age of two we called the pediatrician at least twice a year about his behaviors and tantrums. And we got "oh that's normal boy behavior". Ummm when is it normal to have adults afraid to discipline a child because they fear his reaction? Or to have a four year old say he wanted to kill himself because he wasn't allowed to do something? Or beat the crap out of you just because you put him in time out?  I work in preschool. I see typical behavior. And I see not so typical behaviors. I think I can tell the difference. 

When you are asking for help and not getting anywhere it is frustrating.  So by June 2010 we basically told the doctor to give us a referral for play therapy. Then to give us a referral for a neuropsych evaluation to make sure we weren't missing something serious like bipolar disorder or asperger's.  The pedi also pushed for an OT evaluation for sensory integration related to some of his quirks. And to be honest the only reason I wanted to do it was to get tips for me at work.  As an OT myself I had a pretty good feel and access to materials to figure out what he needed but she pushed and pushed because he "covered his ears".  Once we got our referrals, we switched pediatricians. .When the pediatrician can't support the family when they have clearly asked for help, then frankly it is time to change (thank you Peter Brady). 

just fyi yes children on the spectrum will have sensory processing disorders but children with sensory processing disorders do not necessarily have autism  and not all kids who cover their ears have sensory processing disorders 

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