ADHD/ODD diagnosis???

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Serenity Now, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Serenity Now

    Serenity Now New Member

    I am new to this website. My soon to be 5 year old adopted daughter was just diagnosed with ADHD/ODD, but I am not sure about medicating her or the diagnosis. Let me give you some background. My daughter was physically abused as an infant which left her with permanent brain damage. She came to live with us at 8 months of age after being with another foster family since she was 6 weeks old. She was taken from her biological parents (her mother is my biological sister) at 5 weeks old when taken to the hospital with seizures, 17 broken ribs, two brain injuries to the left frontal lobe and various other injuries all which occured at different times because she had various levels of healing. Physically the only problem is that her one foot turns in and she has weakness on the one side of her body that is her dominent side. She just started her 3rd year in a preschool disabled class that meets 5 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. The plan is to mainstream her into kindergarten next year. She receives speech therapy and Occupational Therapist (OT), and she has been seeing a therapist for the last year. I took her last week to the Developmental Pediatrician at CHOP to be evaluated and his diagnosis was ADHD/ODD.

    Now my concern is that she is going to start this medicine after we receive EKG results. At school and the babysitters house they tell me she is fine, that she is a little overactive but not to the extreme. Did I mention she is a great actress!! Although the babysitter does tell me she hits the other children a few times a week, and she is very moody. My problem is at home. She is defiant, sneaky, hits, spits, lies, steals, and does everything possible to torture my two dogs. She never sits still meal time is like a circus, she must be playing while watching a movie, she gets into things that she has been told time and time again not to touch and no matter where I hide something she finds a way to get to it. Her affection is on her terms only, if I try to kiss or hug her she will push me away and wipe off my kiss. But if she wants a hug or kiss, she grabs you soo hard it hurts. If a relative tries to hug or kiss her she tells them no that she doesn't like hugs and kisses. She has body slammed my 11 year old son and has left bruises on both of us. For the most part she ignores my husband unless she wants something or feels the need to climb on him. Then it is "Hi, Daddy, I Love you Daddy". She has stomped on dead animals such as a bird and frog. She has very morbid thinking, like if she see a child at a restuarant with just his father she will say "that boy doesn't have a mommy his mommy died and she is in heaven". or if she sees animal tracks in the snow and they suddenly stop, she will say "the rabbit ran in the street and got hit by a car and he died, died, died". She plays nice with older children, but with children her own age she says they are babies and although she will play with them from time to time she always comes back to saying she doesn't like them and they are babies. She has great pretend play and can play for hours, but not with just one thing, she has a puzzle going, a game thrown all over the floor, she has the cd player going, a movie on, shes jumping on her bed, singing, dancing, she has stuffed animals in the doll house, I find her small plastic animals in her pretend oven and she says she's cooking them. She changes her clothes constantly and will only wear what she wants. She will go to the extreme not to listen to someone, by rolling her eyes, covering her ears or hiding under a blanket.

    Her biological father has ADHD and her biological mother is bipolar. Well that is all the negatives I can think of now, it is soo hard to read what I just wrote because it makes me want to cry. I just want to love her and give her the opportunity for a positive future. My question is, is it possible for her to have ADHD/ODD and display these behaviors mostly at home or relatives houses? I got to go she just carried a gallon of milk, a glass and choclate milk mix all the way downstairs so I can make her choclate milk-UGGGHHH!!!!

    Any advise, I will love to hear.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome to the board.
    I've adopted four kids, one with special needs. His birthmother abused drugs while she was pregnant, and he needed open heart surgery as an infant and is on the autism spectrum. I have a few suggestions, and you can take them or leave them.
    These are medically and psychologically and neurologically complicated children. It is not going to be easy for you to get a complete picture of what is going on with your daughter, especially not at such a young age and with such extenuating circumstances. My son's first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD too and I did medicate him--now I'm sorry because that was far, far from the big picture with him. I would first take that little girl to a children's hospital for a multidisciplinary exam. I think a neuropsychologist is an even better idea. This way she will be evaluated in all areas. You don't know what kind of brain damage she may have incurred which could be contributing to her behavior. Did your sister use drugs or drink while pregnant? If so, that has to be a consideration too. Are there psychiatric or neurological disorders in the family tree? That's another consideration. The abuse she suffered can cause some attachment issues--so that can also be factored in. If your child is like mine, you can take her to ten therapists and get ten different opinions. The most accurate way of figuring out the things that she needs help with, in my opinion, is a complete evaluation in all areas of her functioning. At least you have solid evidence of strengths and weaknesses and you can request school and community interventions. When my son was eleven, he was finally diagnosed as a Spectrum Child, something we had figured, but he had gotten a few wrong diagnoses and tons of wrong medications. In hindsight, because he is such a complex kid with unusual circumstances, I would have (could I go back in time) held off on the medications until he was a little older because his early diagnosis. were wrong and the medications made him worse, not better. You may never know 100% what is going on, but you get a better picture as your child gets older. One last thing: I'd test this child for seizures. Not only can they cause some strange behavior, but, with the abuse, you never know. We did all this stuff for my son and, in the end, it paid off. He's really doing well. His early behavioral problems are just about gone and he's doing better in school and in life than we'd ever dreamed. I hope this helps a little.
    Others will come along with more advice.
  3. Serenity Now

    Serenity Now New Member

    Thank you for the advise. She had an MRI because one of the school workers saw her staring off in space and she did have seizures with the trauma. The MRI came back normal no signs of seizures. She has seen a neurologist at children's hospital and the developmental pediatrician at Children's also. (he was the one who diagnosed her with ADHD/ODD after a three hour evaluation. Last year when I took her they did diagnose her with attachment disorder, so I know that is part of the problem too. She has about 12 of the symtoms and adds new ones each year.

    It is just that I have her teachers and babysitter telling me they don't see anything that is not typical for her age, but my family, friends, general public and neighbors notice her behaviors so I no it is just not me, but I wonder can she be ADHD if she can concentrate at school. (Her class is made up of 12 kids to 3 teachers-so she has a lot of one on one-so I don't know whether that is going to show the true picture).

    Thanks again for responding,
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hon, trust YOUR gut. We were told my son had, um, "outgrown" his problems. They resurfaced. Don't listen to teachers and babysitters. They aren't trained. I'm sure you'll get other good advice soon.
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You are an angel to take this child into your family.

    Attachment disorder rears it's ugly head once again.

    I worry about the morbid thoughts and actions with dead animals. The lack of showing affection except on their terms is so familar to me. My daughter would not let us hold or snuggle with her and yet she would crawl up into strangers laps and be inappropriately affectionate.

    Your son is carrying around a lot of baggage, a lot of inherited disorders. I know my daughter is also and I susopect there are even more than I know about. Recently I have been terribly worried about sociopathic tendencies I have noticed. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that there are things she was born with that she can't help, and that's why she acts the way she does. It's still so difficult to live with a child that pushes you away constantly and shows no empathy or attachment.

    My advice is to find a therapist that you trust and work with him/her. Keep your son in therapy as long as you can, especially as he goes through adolescence. Be willing to try different therapies/medications. What works for one may not work for someone else. Keep in mind you will be treating symptoms, not a specific disorder which may change as he gets older.

  6. Serenity Now

    Serenity Now New Member

    I see alot of post that have different descriptions down the bottom. What is Difficult Child and difficult child?
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Difficult Child or husband?

    husband is darling husband. difficult child is gift from god, the term we use to describe our difficult children.

  8. Indianamomof4

    Indianamomof4 New Member

    wow, I could not imagine taking on such an enormous task of raising a child who grew up in such turmoil. I feel for her as it's not her fault and she too probably doesn't understand all of the feelings that come to her.

    Maybe her focus on the morbid is either a need to get attention from you (because it works, doesn't it?) or perhaps a more deeply ingrained emotion that she can't express yet. She may feel a need for violence and vengeance, but is so young that she can't express it well, and it's being shown in this way. Or, maybe it's a combination of things.

    It sounds like you have many years of work ahead of you, but I agree that you need to find a good, and I mean really good therapist to work with your family who can make it easier to cope for all of you.
  9. Serenity Now

    Serenity Now New Member

    Thank you all for responding to me soo quickly. I just got back from back to school night and again, they tell me they see none of this behavior at school. Their jaws actually drop when I tell them the things she does and says.

    Nancy the way you describe your daughter with strangers is the exact same thing as my daughter. She has actually gone up to her therapist and tried to unbutton his shirt because she wanted to see his belly button.

    I am currently looking for a pediatric behavior therapist (recommended by the Dev pediatrician at CHOP). I have called two places in the area but have not received a call back. She is currently seeing a therapist, but the Dev pediatrician said if I am not seeing a difference after a whole year I should find someone else. I was already looking because this therapist does not believe that Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is a real disorder. My daughter is living proof that it exsists!
  10. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Serenity Now... Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) does exist but many will tell you it doesn't. I believe many of my daughter's problems are because of her failure to attach. When your daughter tried to unbutton the therapist's shirt that should have been a clue.

    I agree that you should look for a new therapist. You will go through many over the years, that's OK. Each one will put another piece of the puzzle together even if they can't help.

    I hope you get some help from this board, I've been here for almost ten years now and it helped saved my sanity many times.