Is Something Wrong with My Child?

Banging my head against the wall would of course be the wrong course of action at this point, especially in front of my four year old who looks like he is at his wits end as well, yet that is all I feel like doing. Frustrated to the point of no return and at a loss for answers, I really do not understand why my child cannot seem to remember his colors after we have gone over them numerous times for numerous days. Could something be wrong with my little guy, or am I just expecting too much too soon from a child who obviously would rather be banging his toys together in his room than sitting here listening to his mother ask repetitiously “What color is this?”.

It was so easy to teach my first child all of his colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, he just picked them all up with no hesitation. My oldest just seemed to suck everything up like a vacuum, where as my youngest seems to have a jam in his vacuum sucking capabilities and everything I try to teach him just gets spat back all over the room. I have begun to wonder if I am just trying too hard and expecting too much from a child that is obviously different than my first, but at the same time, shouldn’t he at almost five years old, know these basic things?

I have given so many excuses and wondered if this is his way of showing frustration about his father and I not being together anymore (I went through a very long, messy divorce), or he is just having a hard time adjusting to all the changes that have occurred over the last couple years in his life. Nothing for him has ever really been stable since the day he was born. When he was only two months old his father was injured in Afghanistan and we were uprooted from our home in Fort Drum NY, to a small two bed hotel room at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington D.C. where we lived for about four months. While being treated his father was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he began to show major signs of once we were moved from the hospital to Fort Belvoir Army base in Virginia. Having a very unstable home and an unstable father, I am sure took it’s toll on my little guy but could that be the cause of his late progression? A series of moves in a few short years and a new man in his life could also be contributing factors, but are these things that could really affect him in that way or could it be a learning disorder?

A learning disorder only recently came to mind while I was in a conversation with my oldest child’s mother. Talking about special programs that our children are in because of things such as speech, she began to tell me that her son was diagnosed with something called Sensory Processing Disorder. The more she talked about this disorder and all that she had gone through with him I began to wonder if that is what was going on with my little guy. Her son had so many issues that mine did; hyper activity, not seeming to pick up on basic things like colors, numbers, and letters no matter how long she sat there with him, being a daredevil, stomping instead of walking normally, and the list just went on. After leaving her at the bus stop I raced home to do some research on Sensory Processing Disorder. I found a website that had checklists for the specific types of this disorder and it stated that even though your child may not have every single thing on that checklist does not mean he/she does not have the disorder. I read for hours and hours and looked at every piece of information I could find, I wanted to know how to help my child, how to make him and myself feel less aggravated.

Lucky enough for me, I have an aunt who used to work as an Occupational Therapist, which all the websites stated were the people who could help these children the most, so I contacted her about my questions and the steps that I should now take after reviewing all this knowledge. My aunt recommended that I talk to my child’s pediatrician and try to get a consultation set up with a specialist who could “test” my child. She also recommended talking to the school district because they usually have Occupational Therapists at the schools who would be able to help my child and would know exactly what is going on with him once he does start school. There in lies the next big challenge we will face, whether or not to put him in school this next year or to wait until he is six. In my opinion that will all depend on what we find out from the specialist, now we just have to sit back and wait for the appointment to be made. Those are the joys of the military medical system. It is just nice to know that we are one step closer to a less frustrating learning experience……hopefully!

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