So how’s MeMe doing nowadays, after I haven’t updated in a few weeks….
I decided to pull out the notes on MeMe’s behaviors that I brought to his evaluation two years ago, the one where he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.
Glancing at them, I see I listed:
high anxiety, frequent meltdowns (multiple times a day), compulsive, hyperactive, unable to take blame or responsibility for what he does, constantly bangs on tables and sings/makes vocal noises without stop, chews on toys and clothing and fingernails, complains of being starving- begs me for bread and cheese, hates different foods near each other on the same plate, can’t sit still for haircuts or nail-clipping, hates wearing button-down shirts, immature level of play, no imaginary play, has nightmares very often, hands grasp too firmly, cannot control the volume of his voice, seems to be at a loss for words and often acts out the words he wants to use, craves structure in his day/enjoys a rigid schedule,…
I know this all sounds familiar.
When I took MeMe off gluten and dairy earlier this year (about 6 months ago), he stopped craving bread and cheese, noodles and cheese, pizza, etc. I haven’t heard from him about it since then even though I put him back on gluten about 5-6 weeks ago.
Ever since Week 3-4 on the Have a Ball Learning for ADD program, his meltdowns, anxiety, compulsiveness, and hyperactivity diminished 99%. I must say, he’s been a real pleasure to be around! His siblings have noticed also and they’ve started to play together like friends for the first time ever! It was kind of a shock to hear them laughing all together, playing easily, conversing- without the fear that one of them might say the wrong thing and MeMe would let us all know in his own unique MeMe way. (I’m rolling my eyes here, well aware that I don’t need to elaborate. I know other parents know what I mean.)
Around the same time, MeMe stopped what I call his “constant noises.” Banging, drumming, repeating words over and over, making his headache-inducing sounds. I thought I was imagining it, but the quiet was obvious. When I started noticing the times MeMe did make some kind of noise, I knew he had really changed. Maybe once a day or every few days, he’d make some kind of quick noise as part of one of his games, which of course is nowhere near the same kind of thing he used to do.
Very soon after that, something struck me as strange about MeMe. I was no longer talking at him as if shouting over a wall, I was talking to him. He was attentive, he was listening, he was understanding me. I kept saying it was like some kind of switch in his brain had been flicked ON. I sensed that his thoughts were moving freely in his mind and his words were coming through easily.
Around Week 6-7, MeMe suddenly stopped chewing on everything all the time. He hasn’t put anything in his mouth ever since! No more holes in his sweaters’ cuffs, no more strings or toys or fingers in his mouth.
By Week 9, I was cutting all 20 of his nails and he didn’t squirm or complain once! Usually it can take me 20 minutes to get the job done, this time I was done in two minutes. I was pretty shocked the entire two minutes because I had gotten myself all ready for the torturous job and then… nothing. I’ll admit to being kind of freaked out that he was sitting so still and I kept asking him: “Don’t you want to kick or scream yet?” “Why aren’t you squirming like crazy?”
We are nearing the end of the program, starting Week 11 today- there are 13 weeks total. If you reread the list above, the one I compiled for his original evaluation, you can see how many of them were taken care of by the Have A Ball Learning program. There are a few things left that I wish for him to not have to live his life around, such as refusing to wear shirts with buttons, getting worked up if his foods are too close on his plate, and playing on his own age level.
One very important detail I can’t neglect to mention is that all of MeMe’s improvements go out the window if he has a sugar overload. MeMe obviously cannot process sugar effectively. I’m not referring to white granulated sugar, I mean any kind of sugar. Bananas, apples, raisins, oranges, cantaloupe, pineapple- all of these and more are full of sugar. Even organic fruit juices, applesauce, fruit leathers- MeMe has learned by now that if he has some these things, that is all the sugar he can consume that day.
Over the past few weeks, MeMe and I have seen that when he has too much sugar, he loses control of himself. It’s like he’s in constant meltdown mode, his arms and legs are flailing and he doesn’t know why or how. He gets agitated and cranky and is lashing out at people. He needed no convincing from me to give up almost all his sugar intake- he knows firsthand what will happen if he drinks that soda can at his friend’s birthday party, or if he eats too much fruit salad! Not only that but we’ve noticed that it takes him a full five days to get back to himself after a too-large sugar dose.
Yesterday he went to a class party. I felt he is now responsible enough now to walk the distance alone. I reminded him to choose good foods for himself from the party table. When he came home an hour later, he told me that he chose plain potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, and drank water, and he politely refused a popsicle. What a kid!