Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Could One Thing Fix Our Child's Impulse Control Issues?

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For quite a while, I have been praying for a miracle.  Something that will help Little Man with impulse control.

We realized a while back that we can't discipline Little Man into control.  In his heart-of-hearts, he truly wants to obey.  But something in him is causing him to choose the wrong over the right.

After an ADHD diagnosis, Little Man started Occupational Therapy twice a week. He currently attends the same facilities and with the same therapist that Bubs had for several years.  For me, this is the greatest blessing because I don't have to prove myself as a mom.  Miss W knows the structure and boundaries that we have. 

While OT has been wonderful for Little Man, we are not seeing the improvements we hoped would follow.  Time for the next step - ENT.

Did I surprise you?  Yes, an ear, nose, and throat doctor was next on our list.

Little Man has huge tonsils.  The left tonsil is touching his uvula.  (That's the hanging-down-flappy-thing in your throat.)  Even without a medical degree, I know that this isn't good. 

And with more research and in talking with professionals, I have learned that large tonsils can have a huge effect on a child's behavior.

At his ENT appointment, I explained Little Man's large tonsils and the issues that he has with impulse control, allergies, and drooling.  The doctor confirmed that he sees many kids who appear to have ADHD but in actuality have sleep apnea.  The drop of the child's pulse ox (percentage of oxygen saturation of a person's blood) during the night causes the child to not sleep well which in turn affects the child's behavior.

Next came a list of questions:
1.  Does he snore?  No.  (This is incredible unusual.  Normally kids with huge tonsils and/or sleep apnea snore like a freight train.)
2.  Does he still wet the bed?  Yes.
3.  Allergy problems?  Yes. 

Next the doctor looked in his throat.  He said, "Impressive!" He was amazed at the size of his tonsils.  We were sent home with a pulse oximetry machine and instructions to use it.

A couple of days later we received a call from our ENT.  (Yes, he called himself, not the nurse.  Impressive!)  While Little Man's pulse ox level averaged 97%, he dropped 18 times during the night to significant amounts.  His lowest drop was 68%.  (Normal is 95-99%.) 

Needless to say, a surgery to remove his tonsils and adenoids is scheduled to take place in a few days.  (Yes we will take all prayers sent our way!)

Could this one surgery fix our son's impulse control issues?  Only time will tell but we are prayerful.  Stay tuned!

You may be asking, "Why do I share all of this with you?"  Spirited children can be exhausting.  While they are precious, they are frustrating.  And if our story can lead you to answers, praise be to God. 

Disclaimer:  I do not have a medical degree.  Secondly, sometimes I don't fully understand things correctly (this post may not be 100% accurate no matter how hard I have tried to make it that way).  Third, this is our situation and may not be yours.  Please consult with a qualified professional before assuming anything about your child. 

Do you have a similar story?


  1. Several years ago, we had a preschool student. She was not diagnosed with ADHD or any other condition. She was painfully quiet. Very sweet. Interacted in play when invited but did not initiate play. What you described of Little Man is what Mom told us...she was exhausted and her night levels were why. She had her tonsils and adenoids out. We could not believe, or even have imagined, the change in her. She was still reserved but initiated change, initiated conversations--for Mom, it was an added bonus! The doctor told her that might happen, but she did not share it with us. When we told her about the changes in her social interactions, she smiled and told us what the doctor had said. I am hopeful and praying for Little Man that he has the same relief and result!

    1. Cheryl - Thank you so much for sharing this story. We are very prayerful that this will happen with Little Man too. Not just because I would love the easier "life" but because I want him to be in control of himself. It can't be fun being in trouble all of the time!

  2. My 4 year old had his tonsils and adenoids out on September and the change in his behavior has been amazing. At first we thought he was having seizures at night but they actually turned out to be night terrors. They were caused by a lack of sleep. Even though he seemed to be asleep for 11 hours at night, he was having sleep apnea caused by his tonsils and adenoids. The surgery went well but the recovery was rough. Six hours after his discharge from day surgery we were back in the hospital. They didn't keep him but instead sent a home health nurse for the next three days to administer iv fluids to keep him hydrated. Two weeks after surgery he had pretty much recovered and now 4 months later the amount of night terrors have decreased and hid behavior has improved. Good luck with your surgery. I will keep you in my prayers.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. Please share any suggestions that you have concerning before and after surgery!


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