My Son’s Tantrums were Taking Over Our Life — Until His Diagnosis Opened My Eyes

A year ago, I found myself utterly exhausted.

My son, who was old enough to be well beyond tantrums, was still throwing epic fits. Constantly.

I’d frequently have to carry him, football-style, under my arm and out the door, his arms and legs flailing behind him. I’d up and left stores, playdates, and restaurants more times than I could even count — all while sweating, red-faced, and frustrated, feeling the eyes of other parents burning into my back.

Each time, my older two children would follow, protesting loudly: “Mommy, why do we have to leave? We just got here?”

Back in the safety of the car, I would flip down the DVD player screen, where the screams would finally give way to silence. I’d take a sip of my water bottle, blast the air conditioning, and sigh. What was I doing wrong? This wasn’t my first parenting rodeo. After all, I have three kids and have worked as a nanny, day care worker, camp teacher, and children’s ministry leader.

I know this gig; I have experience.

Whenever I opened up about things to relatives or friends, they would more or less react the same way — with simple laugh or a shrug. “Boys will be boys,” they’d say flippantly.

But I knew.

I knew that this wasn’t just “a boy thing.” Something wasn’t right. The pieces of the puzzle weren’t coming together.

Then one of our kids’ babysitters, who had just graduated college with a degree in elementary education, said something to me that changed everything: “I think your son needs occupational therapy.”

We talked at length about why she felt that way, and heeding her advice, I decided to pay for a private evaluation. I also called our local school district to sign my son up for another evaluation to see if he qualified for public preschool.

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