Impulse control

I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks that K-Oz seems to be having a lot more trouble with impulse control.

He seems to be speaking and acting out quickly and seemingly without thought. For example, tonight he repeatedly kept hitting his sister’s arm – over and over and over again. Even after he was told to stop – several times.

It’s as though an impulse takes over and he can’t – or won’t – control it.

Last week his youngest sister said something that immediately caused him to lose his temper. He quickly reached out and pinched her arm while yelling at her. This might seem like typical siblings bickering – but it’s not. We’ve learned to recognize the difference and understand when it is something more.

This has escalated over the past couple of weeks: Suddenly throwing something, grabbing something, hitting, yelling.

My husband and I discussed the issue this evening, and we decided that it would be best to call our pediatric neurologist to try to schedule his next appointment for an earlier date. He is scheduled to return in August, but we are thinking that if an earlier appointment is available it might be a good thing.

How does a parent dealing with special needs take a break?

Often caring for a child with special needs is a 24/7 job and most parents don’t get a break, a day off or even a quiet moment for themselves.

So what ways do you get a break, or find a moment of peace in the midst of chaos?

Because my son’s special needs don’t require constant vigilance, I am interested in how parents of children with more severe needs deal with the stress.

What do you do?

Is it OCD or tics?

I took my three kids to the movies yesterday. During the flick, I noticed K-Oz doing a repetitive motion with his arm.

I saw him doing it again this evening.

I can’t figure out if this is a new tic with his Tourette’s or if it’s a part of his OCD. As I blogged earlier this week, his OCD is really escalating. Right now he’s getting into this loop of repetitive motions that he seems compelled to do before doing other things.

Tonight when he was supposed to be brushing his teeth in the bathroom I believe he got caught up in an OCD loop. He had been in the bathroom for some time when he was supposed to have been simply brushing his teeth. I went to check on him and he kept saying he couldn’t get the toothpaste to come out. I think he had gotten caught up in a cycle of obsession/compulsion with the toothpaste and couldn’t force himself to put the toothpaste on the toothbrush then actually brush his teeth.

It seems as though his mood has been more aggressive – or argumentative might be the better word – lately. He gets angry with his sisters quickly and has more difficulty controlling his impulses. He will suddenly slap, pinch or throw something at one of his sisters when he starts to get angry. He will also yell loudly and raise his voice while speaking.

We’re watching these developments closely. Considering he is almost 12, we realize that the onset of puberty could affect some of his behaviors.

So, we’ll see what happens. At least he’s sleeping better. . .

Time for more meds?

When we were at our new pediatric neurologist back in March, she mentioned that we might end up considering medication for K-Oz’s OCD.

At the time, my husband and I both felt it was unnecessary to consider more medication. The doctor said she felt that – based upon our descriptions of K-Oz’s behaviors when he is having serious OCD issues – he might need to eventually take meds to better curb and control his OCD.

We had told her how last summer he had some serious OCD flare-ups that really interfered with his daily functions. By that, we meant that K-Oz had been doing some rituals: When going from one type of floor or surface to another (such as from vinyl floor to carpeting, or from grass to gravel), K-Oz would stop, then shuffle his feet on the line between floors or surfaces. He would shuffle several times before allowing himself to walk further.

He would also rub his hands several times on my arm or my sleeve before he could go past me. We adjusted to allow for these rituals and eventually they died down and went away, but would then return at other times.

The worst part was trying to get somewhere in a timely manner. Sometimes it would take him 15 minutes to get from the house into the car and vice versa.

My husband and I have been watching K-Oz, and have noticed that lately his OCD rituals seem to be picking up and making it harder for him to function. He seems to get caught in an endless loop of rituals and distractions (thanks to his ADHD) that keep him from doing what he needs to do.

So, I’m wondering if we’re going to need to consider meds to help the OCD. I hate to put him on more medication, but the OCD seems to be starting to interfere with his basic daily life.

Tourette’s Syndrome Awareness Month

Today – May 15 – marks the first day of TS Awareness Month (May 15-June 15).

Here’s a link with more information.

Since my son has TS, I try to stay informed and pass along information when I can get it.

The link is on the Tourette’s Syndrome Association website. TSA has a great newsletter for kids called “That Darn Tic.”

My son – K-Oz – enjoys reading it every time it comes in the mail. It’s full of stories, drawings and poems writte by kids with TS. For K-Oz, I think it’s good for him to read about other kids and how they feel about and deal with their TS.

For me as a parent, I enjoy the resources offered by TSA – and the support. It’s always nice to know I’m not alone.

Helping your special needs child through a natural disaster

Last Friday our region (Southern Illinois) was hit with severe weather. It has been referred to as an “inland hurricane” which brought wind gusts of over 106 miles per hour.

It was a devastating event for my neck of the woods and it left us without electricity for five days, my husband was off work for three days and our lives are just starting to get back to normal.

My son, K-Oz was really affected by the changes. He doesn’t deal well with change to begin with, especially unexpected change. We had a warning of bad weather, but no one had any idea it would be as bad as it was. Houses and businesses were destroyed or damaged, trees were uprooted and thrown everywhere, power lines were snapped in half. At our home, we had large trees and limbs down everywhere.

The trampoline that my in-laws bought for my three kids last year was tossed from the backyard into the front driveway like a frisbee. It ended up as a mangled mess. The tree that my husband hung a tire swing in was damaged and the limb that held the swing was broken.

For kids, these constitute severe destruction.

K-Oz has been very moody and quick-tempered, and his OCD and tics have increased a great deal. This is his way of coping and dealing with the stress we have all felt.

Ironically, his sleep has not been badly disturbed – although the nights we had no electricity, he chose to sleep on a fold out mattress on his sisters’ bedroom floor.

One thing I had to remind myself was that K-Oz was dealing with these sudden changes as best he knew how. His increase in tics and OCD behaviors can be dealt with – and now that we have regained electricity, he is calming down.

A new month – reading a new book

I just checked out a book from the library and have just read the first couple of pages. It is “Against Medical Advice” by James Patterson and Hal Friedman.

It is the true story of Hal Friedman’s son, Cory – and his struggle with Tourette’s Syndrome.

As a parent of a child with TS, I am very excited about reading this book and blogging about it.

Anyone have any other recommendations for reading about TS? I have a list of books on other things – such as Sensory Integration, etc. that I plan to write a blog about. Suggestions are always welcome!

Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction

I found an interesting article about Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction that I thought I’d share.

Here’s a little about it, then you can follow the link: “Does your child play too rough? Does your child crash into things or fall down a lot? If you answered yes to these questions your child may be under-responsive to proprioceptive input or have a proprioceptive dysfunction.”

For more, read Signs and Symptoms of Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction – I had never heard of this before this article.

Very interesting reading.

Tips for ADHD. . .

Since my son has ADHD and I also have attention deficit issues I am always looking for tips to help.

Here’s one – and I’m always looking for more!

Break things into single actions. Instead of a long list of instructions, it’s best to break things down into tiny bites.  I give my K-Oz one task at a time – Pick up dirty socks. Pick up Legos. Pick up shoes.

Once he’s finished the one task, I give him another. I have found that it works best if I break down everything. At bedtime, if I say “Go get your pajamas on, then brush your teeth, then take your medicine” – he’ll wander off and get nothing done.  If, instead, I say “Get your pajamas on” then wait for him to do this, I can give him the next instruction.

As a homeschooler, I have found that single tasks are best. With math worksheets, I will recopy the problems so that K-Oz will only do maybe five at a time – it’s less overwhelming than a sheet full of 30-plus math problems.

What have you found that works in your home?


This past week K-Oz’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has been acting up.

He’s had moments where he’s not been able to do what he’s told because he’s stuck in a loop of opening and closing his bedroom door. Or he has to shuffle his feet several times on the floor before he can do anything else.

Most of the time his OCD is minor and easily-managed. This past week though. . . not so.

His behavior has notched up on the obnoxious scale a bit while at the same time he keeps getting stuck in these OCD loops.

It’s frustrating for all of us, but I remind him often that he has to talk to Mom and Dad and tell us what’s going on. We need to know when he’s feeling obsessions, compulsions and tics that he can’t control.