Title: Is this really really abnormal?
shirarocklin - May 10, 2012 04:38 AM (GMT)
DD is turning six. Was a baby who needed to be carried all the time, had trouble falling asleep and still does, is fairly demanding with her needs for attachment and just 'doing stuff for her'. When she was two and DS was on the way, she suddenly developed a big stutter. Since then, it has come and gone, a few months then a few months off, back and forth. And soon after that, she developed a shifting series of tics that come when the stutter comes. At one point it was smoothing her hair down behind her ears, or running her hand down her throat, humming... this go-around its more annoying, a loud sniffle and clearing her throat. DH is more medically minded, and is concerned about her future, and the possibility of this turning into something more... mental illness of some sort. There are the genetics there for that. She's been assessed by her GP, and a Paediatrician referral, and both had no concerns over the years and believe she'll grow out of it. The Paediatrician specifically said that a huge percentage of kids have tics that just go away.
Oh, there is another thing she does that one friend noticed as well (which is what got me more concerned, that its noticeable to other people, although DD's friends don't seem to care). When she starts talking, like to explain something she's done or something she wants, she CAN NOT STOP her sentence until it is done. She can't stop in the middle of a spoken thought in order to hear someone else. If I interrupt her (because she goes on forever), she just keeps talking, unless I really loudly tell her to stop talking. Is that normal, weird, sick, something?
DH wants to try giving her an herbal remedy he found, a mix of calming herbs, and even a tiny bit of St. John's Wort in it. That kind of freaks me out. He pushed for the paediatrician referral as well, and really believes that early interventions can help prevent later mental health issues. Seems like the norm in Canada is the wait and see approach, though.
elisheva - May 10, 2012 04:46 AM (GMT)
I'd say if your mommy-radar is being pinged, push for a referral from your GP or the ped or whomever.
ETA: and under this Fed govt I wouldn't wait for any sort of mental health care to come knocking at your door. Programs are being slashed left and right :( It just seems like some type of early intervention could potentially help.
LearningFromExperience - May 10, 2012 05:27 AM (GMT)
Sounds like you should get to an expert. However that works.
Only someone with real experience will be able to tell you to sit it out or not.
npl - May 10, 2012 10:21 AM (GMT)
First - don't panic, because it could just be childhood quirks
Secondly, go with your gut, because it will be reassuring. And knowing that you made a start in dealing with the issue (even if it's being on the waiting list for an assessment) will help, especially if you see changes in behaviour as she adapts to your stay in Israel.
There's a huge shortage of ped psychiatrists, and very long waiting lists. Local pediatricians are having to screen to keep kids off waiting lists who probably don't need specialists, because of the shortages, but that doesn't mean they have the extra training to do so.
If it's noticeable enough that it seems to be impacting her daily life, even sporadically, then push for a referral. You can always cancel the appt but you will probably be on a waiting list for months. Not sure where the best clinics or private practices are in your area, but York Central is slashing a large number of docs from their pediatric mental health unit.
CAMH has a pediatric unit, where they assess for a range of issues. They triage, so if you have a good referral with reasons for urgency, then you get in quicker, but it honestly doesn't sound like that. (The case I know of, the kid was showing signs of accidental self-harm and there was a suspicion of major mental illness - 2 years ago, they got in within 3 months).
Your ped will have to make a referral, but it might help to do some research into who works well with kids in your area and might have a shorter list.
If you are worried about how dd feels about her behaviours, the quicker route to help is to see a psychologist, but that is not covered by OHIP and is incredibly expensive.
I think your dd probably aged out of Early Intervention services, but if you call the local number, they might be able to guide you to find the next step.
If this is more than quirky behaviour, then the earlier she gets identified (and then therapy - more waiting lists) the better the outcome - it's easier to learn coping and compensating strategies at a younger age. So, you are justified in identifying whether there is an issue beyond normal childhood behaviour at this stage.
In the meantime, reading books that address your particular behaviour concerns will help you to make the environment as optimal as possible for dd, and give you coping strategies. If you have an idea what might be triggering the behaviours then I might be able to suggest parenting books that address them (over-sensitivity to stimuli, or difficulty switching gears, for example).
Hugs - it's so hard to worry "is this behaviour normal" and have to wait to find out!
gnome - May 10, 2012 10:36 AM (GMT)
some of your description sounds like my kids at various stages. at least 2 of them have gone through stuttering stages (in the 4-6 range, i think). we attribute it to the brain working faster than the mouth can. and they've all had annoying habits, from weird noises (throat clearing, weird sniffling, etc) to particular things they do with their hands. ds2 (7.5) does the sniffing thing now and has always needed to to touch and play with fabric. ds3 (3) is doing a blinking thing now and frequently pinches his neck. btw--ds2 also can't be stopped when he needs to say something. he won't listen to an answer or anything till he gets the words out. even if he's stuck in the middle.... i've had that with several of them with actions, rather than words, eg if a few pieces of a toy fall off the table, all the rest *must* be knocked on the floor. i say all within the range of normal (assuming my kids are...big assumption?), but if it worries you, get it checked out. sorry if this didn't help....
The Foxx - May 10, 2012 12:23 PM (GMT)
Sher, it can be tics and it can also be sensory processing issues. You should start a log. When she tics/stims - write down what was going on around her that led up to her behavior, how long it lasts, what she does during that time (does she self soothe, get upset, etc), if something she does seems to stop the behavior and how she is after.
She really should see a neurologist. If it's tics she could have tourettes. Don't panic, tourettes can be outgrown, controlled by behavior modifications tools and by medication. If it's sensory related, a good sensory diet should do the trick.. PM me with our email address and I'd be happy to send you the one we use. It's 3 pages long of ideas for sensory stimulation/regulation activities - most of which are fun. If you suspect it's sensory - I highly recommend the book "Out of Sync Child". You can probably pick it up at your local library.
I hate to tell your husband, nothing "turns into" mental illness at this age (unless she's been through severe trauma which I am going to assume she hasn't). I have a lot of resources so if you have questions, I can reach out to my friends and try to help.
ImaGeek - May 10, 2012 12:33 PM (GMT)
I can only echo the great advice you've been given. :shades
I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point, but I would get it checked out. Heck, I have weird tics as do many of the people I know. (I work in IT, so I suppose it could be argued that most of us are "somewhere on the spectrum.") I know I had some unusual behaviors as a child and still do.
I think it's easy to fall into the trap of putting our kids under the microscope, looking for anything out of the ordinary that might spell doom...because we love them so much and want to make sure that we help them. In general, though, most mental illness (which this really doesn't sound like) aren't able to be properly diagnosed until adolescence and many of the most serious ones don't come on until early adulthood.
I think it's simply a sign of brilliant future geekiness. Most of the most intelligent people I know could easily fit some of those descriptions...even as adults. :hug2
So...I'd say get on the waiting list to see a Neurologist or Pediatric Psychologist, but try not to worry too much about it. It's likely the stress is more dangerous than whatever is going on.
npl - May 10, 2012 02:25 PM (GMT)
Couple of other thoughts now that I'm not responding at an unearthly early hour!
Firstly, sure it is probably not indicative of anything significant. But if you are worried, there's lots you can do while waiting it out - especially reading about what makes neuro-typical kids exhibit the kinds of behaviours you are seeing, so you can help dd feel more comfortable and also prevent habit-forming even when she doesn't "need" the behaviours any more. I second the recommendation for "The Out-of-Sync Child". Also, "The Highly Sensitive Child" by Aron, and "The Explosive Child" by Greene (you aren't describing any behaviours that I associate with explosive behaviour, but some of the explanations and strategies in the book can help kids who are otherwise stressed).
Secondly, I don't know about ped neurologists in our area. Might be a shorter waiting list, and what others have said makes sense for this kind of consult. Might get you into the system faster.
I'm coming from a situation where we were frustrated and stymied and there was emotional damage done in school that led us down the psychiatrist/psychologist route rather than neurologist. But, we also didn't get into the system fast enough - if all those involved in our kids' care had been more open and communicated better, we might have found it easier and quicker to figure out what was going on, and helped our kids faster. Whilst waiting for the specialist opinions, what helped our kids was a loving and supportive environment at home, where we did what we could to reduce stress and cater to their needs as much as we understood them. B"H they are doing OK now.
Bottom line - don't panic! Go back to ped, and explain why you are still concerned. See if he can explain why you don't need to be. If you have a chance to do any reading before the appt, see if that will help you guide the conversation. If ped will make a referral, go for it, but be prepared to wait, while realizing that it's probably nothing but the shortage in funding and services means that you need to be proactive and preventative.
And while waiting, continue to be a loving mother who is in-tune with her kids and nurtures them according to their individual characters and needs.
shirarocklin - May 10, 2012 04:52 PM (GMT)
Ok, I feel a bit more comfortable with seeking more assessment. I've been afraid of labels and drugs and such.
She seems to have the tics all the time, during the period when she has them at all. While she's playing calmly by herself, while she's playing with us, or just cuddling, or anything. All day long. When we go out, they are significantly less - which makes me think she just feels more comfortable letting certain stresses out at home. There doesn't seem to be a trigger. We are homeschooling, and her tics never bother me much, so there isn't any damage done by a school system. She is somewhat explosive, but not violent, just short on patience and if you push her to her edge she'll run away screaming to her room and slam the door. She can cry for a long time when that happens, but sometimes just calms down on her own and plays privately.
She's also changing recently, developmentally. She started telling me I'm the best mom in the world, and some other loving things. She also hit me recently when we had to leave the park, which she's never done before and hasn't done since. She's becoming less patient with her brother and really tries to get him to play exactly the way she wants him to.
Most of the things that are difficult about her, I've always just compensated for by being there, guiding her through social moments, mediating her situations, so it hasn't been a problem. But DH thinks that she could 'blossom' (his word) so much more if she wasn't inhibited by tics. There isn't even any real treatment for tics, is there?
We're going away for 6 months, so getting on a waiting list and then not being here to take the appointment won't work. I think we'll pursue a referral when we get back. The Ped we were referred to said we could come back anytime for more talking, so maybe we'll go back there before we leave for our trip.
The Foxx - May 10, 2012 06:14 PM (GMT)
It depends if the tics are behavioral or neurological. If they are behavioral (just a quirk), then the child can be given tools to better manage that behavior (like squeezing a squeeze toy). If its neurological, then there are medications that may be effective in controlling it.
Magadociousrex - May 10, 2012 09:27 PM (GMT)
I second having her checked out. If something pings your mommy radar- its worth checking out. I have ADHD, and i do the sentence thing. I get FURIOUS when someone interrupts the middle of my sentence because otherwise I will lose my train of thought completely.
shirarocklin - May 13, 2012 02:01 AM (GMT)
She doesn't get upset at being interrupted though... its like she just can't stop, but if we do loudly stop her, she just stops and looks at us.
How would anyone know if its neurological or behavioural?
emunahbutterfly - May 13, 2012 08:28 PM (GMT)
I would get it checked, it might be "common" but i don't think that is the same as "normal."
I had some ideas for you... But this is just how I think so maybe some of these things will be helpful and maybe not. neurological function can be impaired by low DHA. So supping or supping more fish oil or CLO or FCLO can improve that and it cant hurt anyway so why not? if it is stress related you can give her rescue remedy several times a day for 2 weeks (then stop) and see if there is an improvement.
You sound like you are so patient and understanding with her. She is so lucky.
AND... what are your israel plans? did you post about them?
shirarocklin - May 13, 2012 08:42 PM (GMT)
I posted that we got our tickets. We still need to be accepted to our respective schools (i'm an alum at mine, but i still need to fill out an application). The tuitions are a problem, although we're applying for funding, we hadn't factored that into our savings, so we're short.
Should I make plans now for when to visit where, or wait until we get there? I'm kinda hoping that we'll be invited out for the holidays so I don't have to do all that in a strange country... especially I don't want to build a sukkah. We seem to have a new sukkah disaster every year here, and I was hoping for a break this year.