I have a 10 year old with anxiety and I suspect she has SPD as well. HELP!

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Rebecca - posted on 05/08/2012

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Angela, borrow "The Out of Sync Child" from your local library. While it's not a definitive diagnosis, it may help you either eliminate SPD or find the help your child needs. It was a revelation for me. It changed my life and my son's. I don't know what I would do without it and it's companion book "the Out of Sync Child Has Fun". I felt lost and helpless before it was recommended to me.
I have to agree with what was said before, about a child your daughters age being put on Zoloft. I also want to say you did the right thing, first by seeking help for your child and second by taking your child off the drugs when she exhibited such extreme personality changes while on them. You are obviously a parent who cares a great deal about your child's well being. It is very scary when you don't know what is wrong with your child but you know that there is something!
BTW, have you thought about also seeking holistic help, such as a nutritionist? Some food intolerances can result in extreme feelings such as constant fear, without manifesting obvious physical signs. It may be that your daughter would benefit from an exclusion diet, cutting out certain triggers for a couple of weeks to see if it helps ease her symptoms. There are also more natural remedies for some things that don't have the same side effects as traditional drugs. But make sure you are working with her doctor or an experienced child nutritionist if you try supplements! Some can be as dangerous as the drugs that mimic them.

Erin - posted on 03/21/2012

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I am concerned about your daughter being put on Zoloft, it is not approved for anyone under the age of 18 because it can have some really nasty effects on kids. I was put on it at age 9 and I became extremely aggressive. As far as the behaviors go, the list is lengthy. One of the huge indicators was that he would get much more excited than other kids, and then he would completely melt down. Once hit hit the meltdown stage, it would last for hours. his tantrums were longer and worse than any other kid I met (except for maybe me as a child). He has to touch everything, especially when it is forbidden. He would swing his arms around, then when we would ask why he was doing it he would make up an excuse such as "I am being a windmill" but the question itself caught him off guard at first as if he didn't know he was doing it. Every "normal" parenting method failed, including time out. He would fight tooth and nail for hours, his energy level has always been much higher, and he has always been stronger. If he was hungry, or there was too much sensory stimulation he struggles more. I can for sure say that having the diagnosis and OT has helped, but our lives are extremely structured and I hate the looks I get from other parents when I have to step in early to avoid escalation. I have heard people tell me, "oh he's fine" a million times, but I know that if I do not curb the behavior early on it will get bad. He still struggles with appropriate social interaction and he does not yet seem to understand the logic of, "if you don't want it done to you, don't do it to someone else." We are also struggling with when the sillies become mean. It's not that he doesn't have empathy, he cares very much when someone is hurt, he just doesn't seem to understand that his actions and words can hurt others. Something to the extent of, if it is funny to him it should be funny to everyone. I wish I could remember exactly what all the red flags were, but what it really comes down to is that we just knew that something was off. The hardest thing is that my family has always struggles with this type of thing, but my grandfather, father, and I were all given other diagnoses such as bipolar, depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and even schizophrenia (that one was debunked quickly because I was coming off Haloperidal which I never should have been on in the first place). I am beginning to think that we have all struggled with sensory issues, but as I am the only one of the previous mentioned still living, it is hard to say. I am just glad that my son won't have to go through the psychotropic medication circus that I did. For the record, I have been off all medication since the age of 16, and though I still have struggles I am doing much better. The biggest thing was catching up on my social development since the medications started at such a young age. I hope this gives you a better idea, I know I was rambling a bit.

Take care and if you have any more questions feel free to ask.

Angela D - posted on 03/20/2012

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Thank you Erin, I really appreciate you getting back to me! I didn't mention that I am an RN who worked part time up until about 5 years ago due to an injury that has left me with chronic pain and limited mobility. All of this has obviously had a mafor impact on my daughter-especially being that she is an only child. I couldn't have anymore because of my health. So far, you are the only one that has replied to my entry-thank you for that. I am grateful for your honesty about SPD because you have lived this. It is so hard dragging your child into a psychiatrist/therapist office to begin with because they think they are (for lack of a better word-"nuts"); and with a 10 year old girl who thinks she is one day shy of being 21, it's next to impossible!! Then once I got her into the office, the Dr. wasn't up to my expectations-it's like he was talking to an adult, well hello-she is a KID! He did put her on Zoloft and told me that it didn't sound like manic-depression, more like anxiety(she had severe separation anxiety as a young child). I didn't even mention the SPD

, I actually felt very rushed after we were already 20 minutes late to an appt that was 1 1/2 hrs away in the city + he charged $300/hr.(Yes, I said $300/hr.!); so he just told me to start her on 1/2 of a 25 mg tab. and watch for certain behaviors. Well the RX caused her to have some disinhibition, which made her act odd. He said to break the pill in half , because maybe it was too high a dose, which I did and she still wasn't herself. Needless to say, we d/c'ed it because I really didn't like her having to be on drugs to begin with. I have depression/anxiety and couldn't function without my med, but i will say that all of my health problems caused what slight anxiety problems I already had to grow 10 fold, which the Dr. told me is expected. He said that living with chronic pain will cause the brain to be depressed, so he convinced me to try it and it really helped-it was like a fog lifted. I was a nervous little girl though because I remember getting stomach aches alot and even vomitting when it got to be too much. I know that I have told you my whole history, but I am DESPERATELY seeking some answers and need support from some Mom's that are or have dealt with these issues with their child. It's amazing how alone you can feel-I just remember from birth that my daughter was "high maintenance", and I would talk to friends and they would say, Oh my baby goes right to sleep-well I had to sleep with mine until she was 8! Now, she only wants me in there if she is scared about something or if she is having trouble falling asleep. It's like I can feel her trying to assert her pre-teen independence because she wants to be a "big girl", and that does make me happy because I was starting to think she would always need me at bedtime!! I know your son is 6, but could you tell me some behaviors that he shows that led to his final diagnosis? If you feel comfortable, that is. Thanks!

Erin - posted on 03/19/2012

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Hi Angela,

My son is 6 years old and was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder three years ago. I will be honest, SPD is the flavor of the year as far as diagnoses go. Before this, it was Bipolar Disorder, and previous to that it was ADHD. It is important to make sure that you are not just thinking sensory because it is what everyone is talking about. That being said, if you think it could be sensory I would advise that you get your daughter assessed. My son's assessment was through our local Children's hospital. For sensory, it should be an OT, not as Psychiatrist that performs the assessment. One of the biggest things about diagnosing kids is that you can go to 50 different professionals with the same symptoms and each will give you a different diagnosis. Use your best judgement, and be very careful about psychiatric medications, they can create the same symptoms they are supposed to treat.

Good Luck

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