caryatid's difficult child (ADD/Sensory Integration Disorder (SID))

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by caryatid, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. caryatid

    caryatid New Member


    Hello!

    I'm new here and was directed to this forum from another one that I am on. I'm also new to dealing with conduct disorders. It's not that the disorder itself is new in my family, just that up until now we had just assumed his symptoms were a normal expression of stress.

    I'm jumping ahead of myself. Let me start over.
    Hi, my name is Dana. I'm a 31yo "mom" to 4 and a Montessori kindergarten teacher.
    easy child 1- "Bunny" age 11
    difficult child- "Professor" age 9
    easy child 2-"Dr Destructo" age 6
    easy child 3- "Boo" age 4

    husband and I have primary custody of his two children (Bunny and the Professor) from his previous marriage. We have a very close relationship with his DEX and her husband. At first we thought the Professor was simply reacting to his parent's divorce, our marriage, the arrival of two new siblings, moving to another city, etc... (all of which happened before he was 6) But now it is becoming clear that there is a much bigger problem.

    A few years ago he was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and/or ADD (since the two are often confused for one another). Notes came home from school, but every parent/teacher conference was basically very positive. I'm pretty sure they were simply blowing smoke up my keister. It wasn't until 2 years ago when his grades were *horrible* and I got a job at the Montessori school that we decided to pull him out of public school. Being next door to him all day really showed me what all those notes and conferences *weren't* saying.

    Professor was hyper, had extreme mood swings, would fall into depression over something small (like a wrong answer on a paper), had no sense of personal space, always spoke at top volume, had an extreme temper (last year he flipped over his desk, would throw things around, etc...), occasionally talked of killing himself, is constantly whining and arguing, has low self esteem, low tolerance to pain of any sort, and thinks that medicine is the magic cure-all. (this is the short list)

    Knowing that chemical dependence and depression run in the family , all his parents got together and decided that something needed to be done, but medication would be a last resort (unless his depression got worse).

    He has been in counseling for several months, and at first it really seemed to help. But now he can't seem to pull himself together when he looses control, even when I walk him through the steps his counselor taught us. We got him into a purely defensive style of martial arts to help him with his temper and control. Even that helped a little, but not much.

    Now, and for a while longer, I am his teacher. His regular teacher had to take a leave of absence, and moving him into my room seemed to be the only solution. (Very small school. His entire class consisted of him and his brother) I'm not sure if his explosions are due to his disorders, or if it is just a complete and total lack of respect for me.

    He yells at me in class, argues and whines constantly, throws things around, demands my immediate attention even when I am obviously in the middle of a lesson with another student, the list goes on, but I'll spare you.

    I'm not sure what I'm asking, or if I'm just venting.
    There are days when I just have to walk out of the room and cry for a while because I"m so stressed and angry I don't know what to do. (Luckily my co-teacher understands).

    I want to turn the world upside down to help him, but I don't know where to begin! We are looking for an Occupational Therapist (OT), and am considering trying the Feingold diet.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome to our forum--I hope you'll find good help and information here.

    For a child this age who is having problems that you are describing, it's really important to have a multidisciplinary evaluation done. ADD and/or Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) really doesn't help you or the teachers very much in giving you definite direction. A multidisciplinary evaluation should include being seen by a developmental pediatrician or nueropyschologist, as well as a private Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation, and speech/language if there are any speech differences at all (delay, adult sounding speech, etc).

    You might want to check out the public schools to see what they could offer in the way of services. Evaluations are free (not a substitute for a private evaluation though) and some us have found that they can do things with our kids that we couldn't make happen ourselves. For instance my son has made huge strides in the social realm but he wouldn't take a lick of instruction from me in that area.

    ADD and/or Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) often are only symptoms of a broader neurological problem. You might do some research on higher functioning Autism (such as Asperger's), Nonverbal Learning Disability, and Bipolar. I should mention that a lot of kids with the first diagnosis's often look bipolar when they've been undiagnosed and untreated so it's important to do your homework thoroughly and involve a compentent diagnostician. If he has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and it hasn't been diagnosed or treated it could really be throwing him out of whack in the school setting.

    Check out the books The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz.

    How's he doing socially?
     
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board! :flower:

    SRL gave you wonderful advice.

    I'm also curious as to how his social skills are.

    I know what my stress levels were at home with my difficult children. I couldn't imagine teaching them in a school setting on top of that.

    (((hugs)))
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think the neuropsychologist consult would be a good idea. I also was thinking along the lines of Asperger's, among other possibilities - did you know that Aspies are often referred to as 'little professors'?

    And I'm fascinated with your 'handle' - are you Greek? Feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your cranium, all alone? I'll need to dig back into mythology and ancient history, from memory I think the caryatids were being punished for something or other... I have been to Athens and seen them for myself, they did look very long-suffering and patient - they had been supporting the roof of the temple of Athena Nike for a couple of millenia, at least.

    Welcome to the site. Loads of info and support here.

    Marg
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation? If not, I highly recommend it. He could have many disorders--if mood disorders and substance abuse run in the family it could be a mood disorder (which may HAVE to be medicated or get worse) or he could be on the autism spectrum by his symptoms. I would do a complete evaluation. Many things can look like ADHD/ODD, but it's not helpful to try diagnosing yourself. And counselors, social workers, psycologists, etc. from our experience tend to be poor diagnosticians. They don't do any testing. NeuroPsychs will do up to twelve hours of intensive testing. Good luck and welcome.
     
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Welcome to the group!

    I agree with the others, there seems to be more that adhd on board here. Schedule the neuropsychologist asap - they take a really long time for an appointment.

    Read the Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It's a quick easy read that allows you and the "Parent Team" (sounds like a neat situation!) to better understand how his mind works.

    I love his "moniker" the Professor. That used to be what we called difficult child 1 when he was 2 (Aspergers is sometimes called "The Little Professor" syndrome - ahhhh irony!).

    Beth
     
  7. caryatid

    caryatid New Member


    Just a quick note to say thank you for all the helpful advice. You gals gave me a direction to start, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

    I"ll post more later tonight, but at the moment I"m trying to get 4 kids (and myself) ready for school. :smile:
     
  8. caryatid

    caryatid New Member

    Originally Posted By: SRL
    Welcome to our forum--I hope you'll find good help and information here.

    For a child this age who is having problems that you are describing, it's really important to have a multidisciplinary evaluation done.

    Ok, stupid question- how do I go about getting one of those done? He used to go to the public school, and they were going to do "testing" but after 3 years, nothing at all had been done. So, do I need to go through his counselor to do this? His primary doctor? Or do I just do it on my own?



    Originally Posted By: SRL
    You might do some research on higher functioning Autism (such as Asperger's), Nonverbal Learning Disability, and Bipolar.

    If he has Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) and it hasn't been diagnosed or treated it could really be throwing him out of whack in the school setting.



    How's he doing socially?



    I'll look into the other disorders as well. Thanks.
    He has been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), but as far as treatment goes, he only had what the public school offered with their Occupational Therapist (OT), but I don't think it was very much. There was little to no communication between school and home.

    The only problem with the private school is that although I have constant communication with his teacher (my boss), it is a bit harder to get access to the same resources as the public school.

    Socially....hmm, that's a tough one. His social skills with his peers have improved dramatically over the past few years, but he is still extremely sensitive to any sort of jesting. In scouts he does ok, but I"ll have to talk to his den leader about that in more detail. His best friend also has ADD.
    With anyone outside of his age group, things are not as good. He has litle idea how to deal with adults, and younger children are terrified of him. He can't read body language at all (adults or children) so when he runs around the playground pretending to be a monster, he has no idea why the 3yos are crying.

    I hope I'm being clear.
     
  9. caryatid

    caryatid New Member

    Originally Posted By: Daisylover

    I know what my stress levels were at home with my difficult children. I couldn't imagine teaching them in a school setting on top of that.

    (((hugs)))



    LOL there is a reason I decided not to homeschool! I now know that I made the correct decision. With any of the other three it wouldn't have been so bad, but he makes me go through the roof!

    With luck, it should only be for a few more weeks.
    Without luck, maybe a couple more months.

    *sings* I will survive!....
     
  10. caryatid

    caryatid New Member

    Originally Posted By: Marguerite
    I think the neuropsychologist consult would be a good idea. I also was thinking along the lines of Asperger's, among other possibilities - did you know that Aspies are often referred to as 'little professors'?

    And I'm fascinated with your 'handle' - are you Greek? Feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your cranium, all alone? I'll need to dig back into mythology and ancient history, from memory I think the caryatids were being punished for something or other... I have been to Athens and seen them for myself, they did look very long-suffering and patient - they had been supporting the roof of the temple of Athena Nike for a couple of millenia, at least.

    Welcome to the site. Loads of info and support here.

    Marg


    I had no idea that Aspies were called "little professors!!" That is too ironic! My father in law dubbed him that.

    As for my handle, nope not Greek. Before I taught K, I was an art teacher. Rodin is my favorite sculptor, and The Caryatid who has fallen under the weight of her stone is my favorite sculpture.
    Weight of the world and all that, she has fallen, but she still tries to stand despite all odds. Sometimes I feel like that, but most of the time it reminds me that I haven't fallen yet.

    I have not been to Athens, but they do have one in the Smithsonian. You could say it left an impression on me.

    And by the way, you are the first person to recognize "caryatid."
    I've been using this handle for over 10 years.
     
  11. caryatid

    caryatid New Member

    OK, is a neuropsychologist different from a multidisciplinary evaluation? Or will a MDE include a nueropsych evaluation?
     
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You probably need someone from the US to answer this one specifically. My understanding of multidisciplinary evaluation is one where you have a number of different specialists come together and discuss this one case.

    A neuropsychologist, on the other hand, is someone who specialises in a narrow branch of psychiatry, who looks at neurological disorders that affect how our brains function. Correct me if I'm wrong, people, because we don't really have this specifically in Australia.

    I suggest you also, for your own curiosity, look up t he Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on http://www.childbrain.com and see how he scores. Although you can't use this to diagnose, you can still print out the results and take them to a specialist.

    You've been waiting for the school to do the testing - from what I gather, you really need to nag, plus they don't do more than the bare minimum. I think it's got to the stage where you need more. The trouble is, too many schools/education officials seem to work with the belief that a bright child is by definition not learning disabled. By testing a child and simply averaging it all out, a kid like yours and mine would test out as only a little above average. When you look at sub-scores of a psychometric assessment (IQ test), a kid who is gifted and learning disabled will show big discrepancies in the sub-scores. If there is a BIG discrepancy between verbal and non-verbal performance scores, they shouldn't be averaged out (which is what is done when they say, "We've measured your child's IQ as being...") and you treat both ends of the spectrum accordingly. But schools too often will simply take a low score of 6 and a high score of 17, average them to, say, 12 and tell you, "You have an intelligent child there, but he's only a little smarter than average. he's smart enough to be able to do OK, his poor results in English are probably laziness and he really doesn't need that extension in Maths you were nagging us for, he just needs to stop working on his maths and put in a bit more effort in his other subjects."
    End result - a student who is bored, frustrated and feeling inadequate, all at the same time. And a school now feeling complacent because they have got out of having to extend the student plus provide remedial assistance and support.

    Hence - you may need to get testing done privately, to make sure he gets the help he needs.

    I'll have to look for an image of that statue by Rodin - hadn't heard of it. The original caryatids in Athens are beautiful, the draperies done in marble exquisite. But sorely missed at the same site - the Elgin marbles. As an art teacher, if you ever get to Greece you should try to do the Mythical Cities tour (or equivalent). We had four days of immersion in Greek architecture, ranging from Bronze Age to Classical, sometimes at the same site. Delphi and Epidaurus were unforgettable, especially. I think our tour guide was an archaeologist herself. Perhaps my favourite statues - can't choose between Praxiteles' Hermes and "The Charioteer". Both absolutely amazing. And we were close enough to touch them.

    Good luck with this, you already sound like you have some strong ideas on how to help your son. Keep us posted on how you go. You may need some reinforcement and support in battling the education system - there is valuable info here from those who have gone before you.

    Marg
     
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Make an appointment with your pediatrician and prepare for the appointment well so the doctor takes your concerns seriously. Work through this parent report and highlight areas of concern for the doctor. Request a multidisciplinary evaluation including a developmental pediatrician or neuropsychologist, private Occupational Therapist (OT) and speech.

    As for the public school, they can't just not do anything for three years if you know the system. What you need to do is write a letter to the director of special education (in the district that your private school is within boundries of) requesting a full and complete evaluation and send it certified mail. Legally they have to respond and usually will follow through with a child who is not functioning in a school setting.


    Sensory Integration Disorder (SID) almost never rides alone, but alongside other neurological disorders. If he's been diagnosed but isn't getting attention to that aspect at home and school, along with therapy, it's no doubt causing him a lot of problems. Get a copy of The Out of Sync Child and see what you can do about getting a private evaluation and therapy. School therapy usually isn't enough. It will be important for you to educate yourself to help him.

    Beyond initial evaluation, legally the public schools have very little obligation to private school students. Beyond that it's usually only in a consulting role to the private school and then only if you've gone through the proper channels.

    Socially it sounds like there might be some things going on there so mention that to the doctor.

    Has he ever had any speech delays or differences (ie talking like an adult?) How about obsessive behaviors?
     
  14. caryatid

    caryatid New Member

    I can't say that the public school did *nothing*, they just moved very very slowly, and solved his "problem" by basically having a teacher hold his hand all day and feed him answers. His grades were always pretty good (Bs), but he wasn't learning anything- including how to control his own body without an adult hovering over him.

    I'm taking his brother to the Dr today, so I will be able to talk to his pediatrician and see what we can do.

    As for speech delays- when he was younger, he has chronic ear infections, which made his speech regress for a while, but once the ears were treated, it all cleared up. No other speech problems.

    Thank you all for the links and book recommendations. I have no objection to doing my homework, I just had no idea where to start. :smile:

    Oh, and I forgot to clarify my stance on medications. I'm not completely against them, nor do I have anything against people who make that choice. I just want to make sure that medications would be the right solution before taking them. I've had two students in my class that could have easily been medicated- it turns out in both cases the children had un-diagnosed allergies. I just want to cover or rule out all natural/biological/environmental options and possibilities.

    Thanks!
     
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