“He’s Just a Two Year Old Boy.”

Shane was a delightful baby, full of laughter, smiles, love. Starting at around two years of age, we began to see signs that something wasn’t quite right. There were incidents of aggression, severe meltdowns with no obvious cause, hitting, throwing chairs, etc. I had to go the emergency room twice from injuries resulting from physical aggression, once for getting hit in the ear with a rock and again for a scratched cornea. He even broke his time-out chair! Open-mouthed smile  He seemed so happy but switched moods in an instant…like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

In an effort to put him in situations where he would get more socialization, we enrolled him into the half-day program at the YMCA. After many phone calls from the school to report incidents of hitting, biting, throwing chairs and fits of rage, he was deemed “not a good fit” for their program. Even when we went to the gym to work out and put him in the childcare for less than an hour, we were called for the same reasons.

Bound to get him into some sort of a program, we found another preschool where the teacher seemed to be the right fit for Shane. She was patient, persistent, kind and he adored her. He still continued to have outbursts, but she used tactics that seemed to help him calm down. I still received phone calls and had to pick him up several times. But, the school made a huge effort to help develop a plan that would work for him and help him cope with a stressful/different environment.

A couple of months after he started his new preschool, his teacher called and said, “I think Shane just had a seizure.” Her brother was an epileptic so she was familiar with signs to look for. We had seen instances of him staring for what seemed like a really long time. It was usually after an outburst and we assumed he had just worn himself out (I would been exhausted if I threw fits like that! Open-mouthed smile). The next time we saw it happen, we called his name and he didn’t answer nor did he blink or respond in any way. Although it seemed like forever before he responded, the spells really only lasted 5-7 seconds.

We took him to the pediatrician thinking the switching of moods so quickly might have something to do with diet, seizures or something else not obvious to us. We just knew that whatever was going on was not “normal.” Our pediatrician dismissed our claims by saying, “He’s just a two year old boy.” She obviously wasn’t listening when we described the extent of his daily behavior. She suggested that we make sure he had something to eat every couple of hours (yeah, that’s it…we were starving him :S) to see if spikes or drops in sugar levels could be affecting his behavior. No tests were conducted. We left feeling totally defeated but knew that we were strong parents and would figure out methods that would work.

The disruptive behavior continued to escalate. We finally made our way to a pediatric neurologist. It was discovered that he had an arachnoid cyst on his brain in an area that could cause seizures. We were sent to a neurosurgeon who advised us that it was the type of cyst that is slow growing and not likely to ever cause a problem. We were told to get new MRIs every two years to make sure it isn’t growing. Based on history of staring spells, he was placed on medication for seizures. Since starting the medication two years or so ago, we have only seen a few other incidents of the staring, but the aggression, outbursts, etc. continued.

During all this time, he was never able to have “real” play-dates because he had major social issues with other children. We felt really sad and sorry for him and hoped for the best every time other children were around. He became easily overwhelmed, frustrated, hit other kids (not with ill intent), had major meltdowns, then withdrew. He preferred going to a corner and playing alone. He had invisible friends that he preferred to interact with and whispered to them while everyone else went about their business. Any new situations and changes in routine were too much for him to handle. He covered his ears when the vacuum came on, ran out of the bathroom when the toilet was flushed and screamed in public restrooms when the hand dryers came on. Certain stores and restaurants instantly caused meltdowns for no obvious reasons. We got the “looks” from other shoppers whose children must be perfect (screw them, by the way). That made it worse and made us feel even more like total failures as parents.

In August 2010, he started kindergarten at a public school. Given our history, we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. Needless to say, it didn’t go very well and we removed him resigning ourselves to the fact that he would have to be in another learning environment. We just didn’t know what.

We desperately searched for answers and after a series of evaluations with a child psychologist, he was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); specifically Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Although it was a swift kick in the stomach to hear the word “Autism,” it explained a lot and gave us many answers. But, more importantly it opened doors to resources we did not have before. Microsoft has benefits unlike any other and has allowed him to get into a program to address his specific needs with intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.

Even with the challenges, we’ve experienced more joy in our lives because of Shane. We are thankful everyday for the alignment of the stars that brought him into our lives. He makes us laugh daily. He is a sweet, gentle soul. His innocence amazes me. He has the longest eyelashes most girls would kill for and beautiful brown eyes to match. He has a fabulous imagination, tells the best stories (he won the “Best Storyteller Award” at school), offers enlightening insight and views on life, runs outside in his underwear to greet the pizza delivery person, embraces things he’s afraid of (like zombie babies), gives the best hugs (even to strangers) and is beautiful inside and out.

I’m done writing about the history and events that got us here today. It’s boring for readers, but doing so has been therapeutic for me and  I hope helps create more awareness of ASD/PPD-NOS/ADHD. It is estimated that 1 in 100 children have ASD. On average, it is 4 to 5 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. It’s an epidemic, people!

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html

Now, on to the fun stuff which is sharing stories about his little quirks, creativity and other things that keep us laughing. Get ready to meet the REAL Shaney P Robinson in all his glory!

Speaking of Shaney in all his glory: Meet the nekkid cowboy!

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Smile

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4 thoughts on ““He’s Just a Two Year Old Boy.”

  1. Thank you for leading me to your blog. It gives me hope. Our stories are very similar in that our Lucas was not diagnosed as PDD-NOS until he was 5. He didn’t have quite as much aggression as Shane from what I read, but he does have the melt downs and can get violent at times (luckily I have been unscathed up til now!) I look forward to following your journey as we navigate ours! Your blog makes me even more inspired to start writing again! Thanks!

  2. You’re welcome, Mindy. Finding others who are dealing with similar issues is more therapeutic for me than anything. I think it’s a great way to learn how others are navigating, learning about different therapies, etc. You’re fortunate to have been unscathed thus far! 😀 It didn’t take me long to learn to pick him up from behind so I missed the flailing hands. :S I look forward to hearing about your Lucas as we continue the journey. On days when I feel like I’ve had it, my call of battle is, “TOWANDAAAAA!” It helps. 🙂

  3. Sounds like my boy Branden. Been a rambler since before he was born. He was not really planned,I went into pre-term labor at 28 weeks, had to be on bedrest. He was born exactly 4 weeks before his due date. He came out not breathing and I was strep B positive so he had to be on antibiotics for a week. He was dx’d late-at 10 years old. Never could find the right doctor. All of them said ADHD. I knew it was more! Just didn’t know it could be Autism. Oh the heck we went through with daycares and schools. How many times did you hear “he just needs a good woopin”? When he was in 5th grade my husband and I decided to homeschool him, so I quit my job and did so to give the schools a break and us a break from having to pick him up every week. Long story short, he is now in 6th grade in an Asperger’s program at a public middle school across town from where we live. He started the school year in a “self contained” class(for emotionally disturbed kids-essentially bad kids). He started his Asperger’s class in December due to the testing and such that had to be done from the school district. He’s had some rough days but overall it has been wonderful. The secret is NON-verbal communication with him-him and his teacher communicate with a white board when things start to esculate. The boy will argue with a piece of wood if he could. Having something written down on paper-he cannot argue with paper!

    1. Sounds like our boys are identical twins! 😀 I love it when people who have no clue about what’s going on feel like they need to offer their parenting advice. I’m sure they’re kids are perfect angels or better yet, they have no kids! The medical community really needs to be educated and learn to listen. The fact that no one would listen to you is why it was 10 years before Branden was diagnosed. I’ve definitely learned that you have to take medical care in your own hands. So what if they think we’re insane? We know our kids. I’m glad you have found something that’s headed in the right direction for you guys. I like the white board idea. As soon as Shane learns to read well, I think I’ll try it. 😀

      My husband’s company has an online board where people share info. about Autism. One parent posted that business cards printed and he hands it to the people who give the dirty looks or make snide remarks at a restaurant, store, etc. I can’t remember the exact wording, but the sentiment is this, “It appears that my son’s tantrum has disturbed your shopping or dining experience. I would’ve loved to discuss the fact with you that he has Autism, but I had to remove him from the situation quickly. A little education goes a long way. Visit (choose a website address). Have a great day!” I like this website as it qets to the point…http://www.autism-pdd.net. I’m so doing this. TOWANDAAAAA!!!

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