Part 2 has been a while in coming following Part 1 which I posted back in May, things have just been hectic, but as they say better late than never and so our journey continues...... By the way this is a VERY long one!
At the age of 2 Little Man seemed to have every bad behaviour on his agenda, the biting, kicking, hair pulling, knocking children over, pinching etc just continued. We tried everything, we tried time out, yes we even tried tapping the back of his hand or bum, we tried taking away favourite toys, although he didn't really have any, we tried leaving places because of his behaviour, and the complete reverse of over praising for the rare good days we had and making a huge fuss of his behaviour and rewarding him. At 2, he was too young to understand the time out and the sticker charts but we still tried them. Everyone who knew him though all said the same, his behaviour was a little odd, it was very clear there was never any malice behind what he did, he simply did it as though there was a connection missing that told him it was inappropriate. He also didn't play like the other children, he would latch onto one thing, quite often a strange thing and just sit and stare at it or fiddle with it. It was the same with TV, he would watch the same episode back to back and if allowed would of done so all day and he would not of been bored.
Sleeping was still a major issue, I began keeping a sleep diary and was shocked to see that some nights he was up over 46 times. At 18 months we put him in a bed as a last ditch attempt incase it was his cot keeping him awake but it made no difference. We tried night lights, teddies, music, low radio to keep him company, baths, and we had always been very strict on bedtime routine and stuck to it rigorously but again nothing had an effect. I was working 4 days a week and got to the stage of driving through red lights through sheer tiredness.
The doctor was as useful as a chocolate teapot telling us to do the things we had been trying for over a year. The health visitor was even worse and just responded to anything I said with 'ohh that's sounds a good idea, let me know how he goes'. In the end I rung his consultant and he agreed to give sedatives again but again there was no difference, he was one of the rare cases where he over-rode them.
We then went down the diet route, and went on the FeniGold diet and removed everything and anything from his diet, and also took him for food tolerance testing. All the usual suspects came up, even though the test was a huge struggle as he wouldn't sit still for it, but we preserved and got some results. However, the main culprits we had removed from his diet long ago such as monosodium glutamate, colourings, tartrazine. Nothing was working and I was a wreak. I was fed up to the back teeth of being told he was going through the terrible two's - it seemed to me, no-one elses child was as bad as mine. I dreaded all social occasions and around his second birthday social invites began to get few and far between.
Around the time Little Man was 18 months old we had decided to start trying for number 2, however after 8 months of me still having no periods after coming off the pill, we were worried and made the appropriate appointments, after all I had fallen pregnant with Little Man in the space of 10 days! Long story short, they told us I was not ovulating at all and started doing tests. In hind sight, I think my body had shut down through simple sleep deprivation and stress. As well as the fertility appointments, I also went to my doctors and asked to be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the Children's Development Centre as I was convinced there was more to Little Man than being a 'spirited child'.
This is where out fight began. I am in the science side of things and had access to lots of information and papers and had done my reading. I was convinced Little Man had ADHD even at 2 (I also think, no, know my husband would be diagnosed as an ADHD adult if he was ever tested, but that is by the by).I was also concerend that he was displaying autistic traits. It took countless numbers of going to see the doctor and getting the consultant from his prematurity days involved to get an appointment, after all what would I know, I was only his mother, and the fact I actually understood what I was talking about due to my scientific background didn't get recognised. Just as they agreed to refer us, and sent the letter off for which I asked for a copy, I eventually fell pregnant. This was April/May time, the appointment eventually come through for November due to it being 'lost' apparently.
The appointment at CAMHS was a disaster. The lady had a very heavy foreign accent which was difficult to understand, and at times we had to ask her to repeat things, Little Man just ignored her, even when she questioned him, and refused to look at her which she said was normal when a child meet someone new, he wouldnt engage with her. We were all asked to go as a family, and then shown into a room the size of a broom cupboard, with a wooden dolls house in it, and a few books and that was it. Little Man began to try and rip all the clothes off the wooden dolls (the clothes were stuck on with glue). He then emptied the whole house of furniture and placed each it back where it should of been, not higgledy, piggeldy, and got very angry with her when she stuck a chair in a bedroom. She read the letter, asked us lots of questions, asked why we hadn't chased the appointment if we were so concerned so we explained about the last few months - see next post about Mini Man's arrival. She asked us the same question a couple of times, and then said she would be in touch. We walked out feeling like we had not gained anything.
2 months later her report landed on our doorstep - her valid opinion stated 'we were over anxious parents with a highly active child who was just pushing his boundaries and reacting to the arrival of a new baby and the fact mother had had a difficult pregnancy and there were no areas of concern. She also recommended that we didn't need to be seen by CDC'. Her report was also largely inaccurate, and she clearly had not listened to answers we had given her. She had also paid no attention to the date of first referral, that is before I even got pregnant, so failed to see that we had raised concerns before Mini Man was even concieved. To say we were devastated was an understatement.
I will continue our journey on the quest for a diagnosis for ADHD and / or autism as I populate my blog which is a work in progress.