My husband brought up the idea to me about writing about my son’s occupational therapy journey. For a split second, I worried that it wouldn’t be a good idea. I worried that I would be judged, or worst of all, my son would be judge.
But then I realized something:
It was by sheer divine intervention that we even discovered occupational therapy, and I sincerely hope that by me sharing my story, I will be able to help someone else in a similar situation.
So here is a little back story about my son:
My little boy is turning 3 in May. He has always been full of life and energy, extremely willing to learn, but also a little rough physically. His mild aggression wasn’t that bad though until my daughter was born a little over a year ago.
He did great with her birth until he realized that she wasn’t going away. At that point, he became a little more rough, i.e. siting on her and rolling on top of her. Well, things quickly escalated beyond that.
I feel like I need to throw in a quick disclaimer here. My concern was growing because I know that my son is extremely smart. He knew all of his letters before he was 2, knows most letter sounds, can count to 30, knows shapes and colors, can spell and read many words, etc. I don’t list those things to brag, only to point out that I knew that cognitively, he was all there. So he was well aware that “being mean” was not tolerated.
So why the aggression?
Well, like I mentioned, things had only gotten worse. Now if he just sat on her, I would actually be happy about it (shocking, I know). He now hits, scratches, bites, pulls hair, kicks, throws things, and horse collars her. Not constantly, but often enough, and unprovoked enough, that I realized I had to do something. My life had gotten to the point where I could not leave the two of them alone in the living room to go make a peanut butter sandwich for 30 seconds. Gosh, I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. It had gotten that bad.
I felt like a failure.
Not even like a “normal” failure either. I have a degree in family life and child development and have read like a bazillion books, papers, research articles, etc. about development and parenting so I felt like a quadruple failure.
“I, of all people, should have the answers! I am the one who tries to help others, but how can I do that if I can’t even help myself, my son, and my family?”
I also felt like a fraud! Like any advice or suggestions I would ever give would be discounted because I couldn’t even handle my own son.
So I called my pediatrician. I was at a loss of what else I COULD do. Maybe SHE would have some answers.
After explaining to a nurse over the phone my fears and concerns, I could tell that even she was a little worried about how aggressive my son was, so she was able to get me in to see the Nurse Practitioner (who I loveeeee) the very next day.
So I went in. Embarrassed and nervous. I thought, “Are they going to call CPS on me because I can’t protect my little 1 year old girl?” I’m not even kidding. I had that thought. I was way more scared than I should have been. I was worried I was going to be judged just like I am ALWAYS judged by everyone else (at least, so it seems) in regards to my son.
The Nurse Practitioner (NP) was amazing. She really talked through all of my concerns, and then offered some suggestions.
One by one I told her that I had tried all of her suggestions.
Time outs, time ins, loss of privileges, ignoring, yelling, even spanking (which I am so NOT an advocate for), and many other things. The NP was shocked! She said that I had even mentioned ideas that she hadn’t even had.
She then did something that I would have never expected.
She praised me.
I almost started crying right then and there! Why did I deserve to be praised? I was failing, wasn’t I? But she told me that I had done everything right. And that I was still doing everything right by then coming in and getting more help.
After all of the problems I had listed, she came to the conclusion that I needed to take my son to a developmental pediatrician and also an occupational therapist. She informed me that she thought that he may have a Sensory Processing Disorder, and that an occupational therapist will help us to find strategies to help him cope with that, and in turn, help to curb his aggression.
So with that in mind, and with a newfound hope, I scheduled appointments with both an occupational therapist and a developmental pediatrician. Stay tuned to find out how the first OT appointment went!
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