I started this blog because when MR Rockstar’s doctor first suggested we try an elimination diet I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find the data about behavior and foods in children, what foods should be eliminated, how to do an elimination diet, how to monitor the results of an elimination diet, and to find recipes that would fit into an elimination diet. I just assumed someone out there would have a blog that would lay out exactly how to do it along with the recipes and shopping list! Since this didn’t exist, I hope documenting our journey makes doing an elimination diet much easier for someone else out there.
While the elimination diet was the launching point of the blog, the blog has continued even after we finished the diet. There are a lot of other resources (both all natural and not) for children/families dealing with ADHD, Autism, and Sensory Processing Disorder. Many times I have wondered what is the next thing to try, what is the next step to take. Having a special needs child can make you feel so alone and confused. Know that you aren’t!
A little more about our family…
Before having kids, I was a full time metallurgical engineer. Hubby is also an engineer (electrical). In 2008, Mr Rockstar was born, a healthy baby boy. I have severe asthma, allergies, and heartburn (thanks to pregnancy) and had pneumonia twice while pregnant with Mr Rockstar. There is part of me that wonders if the steroids, inhalers, asthma meds, etc aren’t part of what caused his developmental delays but as my doctors told me at the time it is more important for the baby to have oxygen than anything else.
At 18 months, we realized Mr Rockstar was speech delayed. At age 2 Mr Rockstar started speech therapy through the State of Indiana Birth to 3 program. We also started going to a once a week playgroup at Purdue University’s Speech Development Clinic. After seeing multiple speech therapists they all independently told us Mr Rockstar had “sensory” issues. He overstuffed his mouth, always needed something (usually a hot wheels car) in both hands, his clothing bothered him, certain food textures bothered him, he would have an all out melt down at the thought of finger painting, he refused to feed himself because he couldn’t stand getting messy, etc. He would have huge tantrums from about 18 months on either due to sensory issues (got water on his clothes) or inability to communicate. At age 3 after a year of speech therapy he had maybe 50 words and was starting to make 2 word sentences (what an average 2 year old can do).
In 2011 we had twin baby girls (Miss Tomboy and Miss Princess) the day before Mr Rockstar turned 3. Within 6 weeks of them being born we moved to another state and Mr Rockstar started Montessori preschool five mornings a week. The Montessori school turned out to be a real blessing. Maria Montessori originally developed her methodology while working with special needs/severely delayed children. If you have the right headmistress it is a great environment for a special needs child. I think the emphasis on outdoor play time plus concrete (rather than abstract) things to work on was great for him. Towards the end of the school year though Mr Rockstar was having such major tantrums (destructive and aggressive) at school that while they would take him back the next year they were pretty sure he would get kicked out of most other preschools. We also started occupational therapy during this year and continued with speech therapy through the state.
In Summer 2012 when the twins were 9 months old we moved across the country to a suburb of Spokane WA. We found another small Montessori school with an experienced head mistress. There too they had similar issues with Mr Rockstar’s tantrums. Thankfully they continued to work with us and didn’t just ask us to leave. In 2013 Mr Rockstar got a new occupational therapist. This therapist recommended we see a behavioral counselor because oftentimes Mr Rockstar would refuse to co-operate with the therapist. This was an issue and home and school as well. In July 2013 we started seeing a behavioral counselor. She was amazing! Mr Rockstar’s compliance rate did improve and it was great to have a game plan my Hubby and I could agree on with dealing with Mr Rockstar’s melt downs.
In Spring 2014 after seeing the behavioral counselor for about 9 months, Mr Rockstar was still having bouts of severe defiance and aggression both at home and at school. At this point the behavioral counselor felt there must be something more biologically going on since she had gotten to know us pretty well by this point. She referred us to a pediatrician that specialized in dealing with kids with behavioral issues. That pediatrician diagnosed Mr Rockstar with ADHD along with the Sensory Processing Disorder and prescribed Tenex, a blood pressure medication that has been show to help some kids with ADHD and aggression. The Tenex was amazing ….for about 3 months. We had a few really good weeks. The sad thing was that is did make Mr Rockstar really tired but it was amazing for him to be able to have a conversation with me, looking me in the eye, sitting calmly, explaining something in detail.
In Summer 2014 Mr Rockstar had a bout of major insomnia. This wasn’t the first time but it was the worst since starting to see the behavioral counselor and special pediatrician. The pediatrician referred us to a child psychologist. The child psychologist agreed with the ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder diagnoses but also said the aggression/frustration was indicative of high functioning autism and maybe a mood disorder as well. We continue to play around with different medications. Medication can help but it is not an easy quick fix and shouldn’t be started lightly.
In Fall 2014 I started homeschooling Mr Rockstar. The jury is still out if I will continue this long term. Mr Rockstar is slowly making progress but I need to find a way to get a break from the constant drama. Babysitters are not a very good option because if he is having a bad day they just can’t handle him.
Who knows what is next in our journey?