I'm new. NEED HELP!!!!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by juliedw, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. juliedw

    juliedw New Member

    I have three beautiful children, ages 9, 7 and 5. My 7 year old son has some major behavioral issues. I am absolutely certain that he has ODD but I am very confused by what else is going on with him. We have been having issues with him since he was about 2 years old and have had him evaluated by more professionals then you care to count. We have heard everything from bipolar to high functioning autism and the list goes on. We have had blood test, allergy test, eeg, etc. They were all normal.

    Through the years, certain behaviors have come and gone. The one thing that has remained constant has been his inability to interact in an appropriate manner around other people. He cannot control his temper. His feelings are very easily hurt and when his feelings get hurt he will lash out. He has broken a neighbors window because he was angry at her son. We have had the police called to our house by another neighbor because he was throwing things over our fence at the neighbor. One neighbor came by our house to tell us that our son had cursed at him. Another neighbor came to our door to tell us that he placed bricks on their car because they told him not to throw sticks in their yard. I know this sounds like we just let him run wild around the neighborhood but we don't, we have too much to loose. He will just walk out the door if we are cleaning, etc. We constantly have to go looking for him when he goes outside.

    He has also had extreme difficulties at school. He was expelled from first grade in April due to his behavior. If the teachers' ever make him angry he will call them bad names in the class or write a bad name on a note and have another child take it to the teacher. The funny thing is that even when he is sent to the principal, he never tries to deny that he misbehaved. It is like he wants people to know that he is getting them back. We have tried every form of discipline and nothing works. He just will not conform to the rules of society. If you try to talk with him about his behavior he will either get very frustrated or act silly by licking his foot or doing something else very odd like chewing on his shirt and he acts like he cannot understand what you are saying. But he can.

    He also seems to try to offend people for some reason. He does strange things around other children and seems to find enjoyment if they respond in a negative manner. He is always being called weird by other children and I know this has to hurt his feelings but he continues to do it. He wants to have friends but he just can't seem to keep them because he always ends up offending people.

    A very major issue in my home is that he absolutely and completely despises his 5 year old sister. Every single day he hits her about a hundred times. His reasons are that she was looking at him funny or she sneezed loudly and it bothered him, etc. This absolutely infuriates me because it is like she cannot even live a peaceful life because he is constantly trying to hurt her. He has received spankings for this and I have talked with him
    until I am blue in the face and he just wants to make her life miserable. He also likes to aggrevate his other sister and his father and myself. His 9 year old sister is always asking to go to her grandmother's house because he drives her crazy. We have holes in our walls and nothing in my house is of any value because he breaks things all the time.

    We are not perfect parents by any means but we do our best. We are not drug users or abusive or absent parents, etc. I sometimes feel like we have to defend ourselves because we have had people say things like "Where did he hear that kind of language" or we get disapproving looks from people, etc. because of our son's behavior. The one thing that is different between my husband and myself is that he is very strict on my son and does not let him get away with anything. I like to try to pick my battles because they are so frequent with my son.

    My son can be a very loving child. He loves to snuggle and can seem very well behaved when he is one on one with adults. It is adding other people to the mix that seems to put him into a tailspin.

    We are at a point here where I have run out of solutions and I feel like time is slipping away to try to help him with his behavior. I honestly do not know what to do anymore. I am desperately asking for any recommendations or thoughts on what could possibly help my son.
     
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome. I'm glad you found us.

    I'm sorry for all the questions, but your answers will help us help you.

    What kind of professionals have evaluated your son? What professionals gave what dxes?
    Has he ever had neuropsychological testing?
    Has he ever tried medications? If so, what and what was his reaction?
    Was it a public school that expelled him? Does he have an IEP?
    Any speech or developmental delays?
    Any sensory issues (for example, sensitivity to clothing tags, loud noises, food textures)?
    What kind of strange things does he do?
    Any mental health issues or substance abuse in the family tree?

    I recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us on this board parent our extra-challenging children.

    When you get a chance, please create a signature similar to mine below. It will help us remember your family when we're responding to your posts. Click on this link for directions on creating a signature:

    http://www.conductdisorders.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8399

    Again, welcome.
     
  3. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    if the police have become involved may I ask if child protective services were called on you. I can testify it's not a bad thing, because it can open the door to many free services for your son and I think it definatley sounds like you could use some support services. A behavioral assistant to start. My difficult child II (11) also comes and goes all over the place and has also gotten into altercations. There is no way to stop him other then sitting on him (literally) Please keep sharing here and also look into what services your county provides for children's behavioral issues
     
  4. juliedw

    juliedw New Member

    Sorry about the signature line. I am a spaz when it comes to computers. I will do this soon.

    We have seen many private psychiatrist, most who have said high functioning autism or adhd. He has also been evaluated by TEACH in NC and they found him as non-autistic due to the fact that his expressive and receptive language was too high. They also said that you do not typically see aggressive behavior in autistic children. They said possible bi-polar or schizophrenia but he was only about 4 years old when we saw them so they said it was too early to tell.

    We had him evaluated by the state when we lived in NC and they did not really give a diagnosis.

    We had him evaluated by a neurologist because his 5 year old sister has Neurofibromatosis type 1 and we wanted to rule this out. This doctor said that he thought it was adhd.

    He has also been evaluated through some state programs. You tend to forget who says what after a while.

    He has tried several adhd medications that have basically turned him into the tasmania devil. While on these medications, he caught his room on fire and ran out in front of a moving car to be funny so we quickly took him off of these. He was able to tolerate dexedrine but it made him sick to his stomach and loose weight. It also put him almost in a trance for the first week or so then he began to tolerate it better. He stayed on this for a while but we took him off because his behavior was becoming worse again after a while. He is now on risperdal. It is not doing anything that I can tell. In the last few days I have been giving him omega 3. Hopping this might help a little. I know that medication can be a good thing but I worry about putting anything in his body that may cause problems down the road. He is scheduled to be evaluated on July 17 by another doctor. We have not been able to find a doctor who really seems to care that much.

    As far as I know, he has not had neuropsychological testing. I don't really know what that is.

    He does not have any significant sensory issues. Every once in a while he will complain of noises. He was attending speech therapy through the public school during his kindergarten and first grade years but there were not really any delays, just kind of a labored speech pattern.

    The strange things he does are for example: In kindergarten, he went to the bathroom and came out naked and ran around the classroom. He will lick people on the face sometimes. He just does things that most kids his age think are gross like eat your boogers and he does it to be funny or something.

    My father is an alcoholic and both of my mother's parents were alcoholics. As far as I know there is not any history of mental illness on either side of the family.

    As far as the school goes, he was in public school when he was expelled. We told them up front that there were issues and we worked very closely with them to help him in the classroom. Last year we asked them about an IEP but they said he had to go through a tier program first. I did not understand but assumed they were trying to help us. Now I feel like they were just trying to get rid of him because he was difficult. We are now working with an advocacy group and we have requested an evaluation from the school. We are waiting to hear back on all of this.

    Thank you so much for your recommendation.
     
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Julie,

    First off, I'm glad you have found your way here. We will try to "hold your hand" as you get your son properly diagnosis'd and begin to get the services he is legally entittled to at school.

    As you see, we always have tons of questions for new posters. That signature will help. In my opinion, it is really important that your son be seen by either a neuropdoc or be taken to a children's hospital or local teaching university and have a multidisciplinary evaluation (which is testing by a team of docs).

    Could your son have adhd? Perhaps. But honesty, he has a lot more than adhd going on. He has some behaviors, already at seven, that need attention and need attention now. He should not be allowed to be alone with his younger siblings and you need to get some type of alarm system on your doors so he is not able to leave the house without your knowledge. I'm not talking about some ADT monitoring (although I have it), you can go to radio shack and get some simple "alarms" that you can put on the doors in the home (that won't cost you as much).

    Those two suggestions above are to keep him and his siblings safe. Now I do not even assume to be a doctor, but it would appear your son has some type of emerging mood disorder. It is vitally important that he is stablized; and that may take a correct medication, combo of medications, or some type of impatient program.

    Leave your mind open to the possibilities of treatment. What kind of doctor does your son have an appointment with? I highly suggest you work on a parent report/parent input report. Follow this link:

    http://www.conductdisorders.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10

    It has a kind of template for the report. Don't try and do it all in one sitting. Basically this report is something you take to the doctor that gives a history of your son. It puts everything into one place so that you don't have to remember everything and take so much time to give the doctor all the background. Ideally, drop if off a few days before the appointment with a cover letter that you are leaving this for the doctor to go over prior to your appointment in order for him/her to become somewhat familiar with your son. I can tell you that the report is a wonderful tool that I have used numerous times over the years for my son.

    As you have experienced, spanking does not work with our difficult and challenging children. I would cease that because it's doing no good and could actually be destructive to both you and your son.

    On a side note, I was interested to read that your daughter has Neurofibromatosis. My brother has this as well. It's not something that you hear about every day. My brother is 47 and was diagnosis'd in his late teens. He's doing great!

    This is a very stressful situation that you are living with. Normally, newbies find their way here in the middle of the nights while searching the internet for answers and options. It is usually a little "mind spinning" here at first because you are given so many opinions and suggestions.

    Remember that the most important thing right now is to keep all your children safe and get your son properly diagnosis'd and come away with a treatment plan that can improve the quality of your home life and your son's life in general.

    Once that begins to happen, we can help you deal with the school issues. But first, stability for your little one.

    Glad you are here.

    Sharon
     
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Julie, Sharon has given you good advice. Just wanted to explain a bit more about neuropychological testing. A neuropsychologist is a clinical psychologist who has extra training in how the brain functions. He does extensive testing (anywhere from 6 to 10 hours) that explores the cognitive, attentional and psychological functioning of the child and forms the basis for a working diagnosis. This testing helps other doctors (like child psychiatrists) understand the child's strengths and weaknesses and put appopriate treatment plans together. This testing can also serve as evidence for putting an IEP in place at the school. Neuropsychologists can be found at children's or university teaching hospitals. Your pediatrician or your daughter's neurologist may also have some referrals for you.

    By the way, alcoholism can be a red flag for mood disorders in the family tree. Many alcoholics self-medicate their mental health issues.

    In terms of the school, I'm glad you're working with an advocacy group. A public school cannot just get rid of your child. He is guaranteed a free and appropriate public education, and the school violated his rights. You might want to repost the education part of your story on the Special Education 101 forum here. The moderators Martie and Sheila really know their stuff and can give you wonderful advice.

    What kind of doctor are you seeing on July 17?

    Good luck. We're here for you as you navigate this challenging journey.
     
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Julie, I'm glad you found us. I had to chuckle at the Tasmanian Devil reference - We've been to Tasmania and seen the real thing, your mention of him licking faces - the real Tassie Devils bite each other's faces (which is how the face cancer that is wiping them out, gets passed on). But although they're not a lot like the Bugs Bunny one, they ARE incredibly destructive and have jaws that can bite through a bone as thick as your arm even though they're not much bigger than a large cat. One place we went to in Tasmania had geese - one landed in the Tassie Devil pen and never had a chance to take off again...

    Back to your son - he needs help. YOU need help. I don't think it's ODD pure and simple, although I agree he is displaying a lot of those behaviours. We've found that you can get ODD-like behaviour with a number of possible underlying conditions. This can be turned around. The book you were recommended - "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene - is a good way of changing your direction and mind-set to find a better, and often easier, way.

    Once you can get a better handle on what is going on in his head, and find a way to help him with this, you should see some improvement.

    There are other options in so many areas. Many of us have already been down the roads you are going. And you don't need to justify yourself to us or prove to us that you're a good mother - we already know that. If you were not a good mother, you would never have bothered to find us!

    Keep us posted on how you get on. We're here, the knowledge is here, the information is here.

    I also strongly recommend you get your husband to read the posts here as well. It really can help you both get the SAME understanding of what to do and why. This really helps you both be consistent in your parenting, together. It's an added bonus, if you will.

    Not all of us can do this, of course. Some of us here struggle on alone. We do what we can - not much option, really.

    Marg
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome to the board. I am on vacation and using someone's computer, so I didn't read the other responses. I apologize if I'm repeating anything.
    ODD rarely stands alone. I would take this child for a neuropsychologist exam for a more complete evaluation. If he has quirks and is weird and socially clueless it would be a good idea to test him for high functioning autism (Aspergers maybe) to see if that's why he gets so upset and is so inappropriate. A psychiatrist could miss it, as he did with my own son. medications didn't help him. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) interventions did. His first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD. His second was bipolar. both were wrong.
    How was your child's early development? Did he cuddle well, speak on time, interact appropriately with peers, make good eye contact with strangers? Most babies will look at even strangers and smile. Was he overly sensitive to light, sound, foods, touch? Did he have trouble stopping one activity and moving on to another? Did he play with toys in an appropriate way? Any quirky behaviors, such as flapping his arms or chewing non-edible things or repeating what he heard?
    even if he is not on the spectrum, a neuropsychologist is much more intensive in his evaluations and is far more likely to get to the root cause of the problem than other professionals. they do a lot of testing and don't just hand out medications. A Behavioral Therapist and traditonal help, even discipline that usually helps, will not work with a child who may even be slightly on the spectrum. They don't think like other kids.
    Others will have advice too.
     
  9. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    You've gotten great advice so far. The first thing I did after finding this board was to read The Explosive Child. It gave me a good idea of how my difficult child was thinking, and it helped me start a behavior plan that actually had some effect. It wasn't perfect, but difficult child had a lot less meltdowns than before.

    I can't agree more with the person who said to put alarms on the door. At our last house we were lucky enough to have an alarm system already installed when we moved in. Whenever a door or window opened, it beeped. My difficult child had a tendency to just walk out too, especially when he was mad, so this was a great help.

    Alcoholism can be a sign of a mood disorder - some people self-medicate with alcohol. My father was an alcoholic and so was one of his brothers. I'm pretty sure they had an underlying mood disorder.

    Behavior therapy and social skills therapy can help with getting along with other kids. My difficult child is improving, although he still gets himself in trouble because he just doesn't understand how to deal with other kids.

    My difficult child has a little sister, too, who he is pretty mean to. He calls her names and hits her for any little thing. He's always telling her what to do and correcting her as if he were her parent. You should make it a point to never let them be alone together, even just in the same room.

    You've come to the right place. There are so many people here who have been through the same things, who really understand what you're going through. Not only will you learn a lot to help your difficult child, you will know that you're not alone.

    Linda
     
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, it's not true that high functioning autistic kids aren't aggressive. Many are so aggressive that restraining is needed. I don't know where the professional got that. I would have a second evaluation from a neuropsychologist who understands Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). the one you talked to obviously hasn't a clue (this happens even with professionals). Good language skills do NOT rule out Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), although trouble with conversations (such as one way monologing and no interest in what others are saying is common). You could otherwise end up with an incorrect bipolar or schizophrenia diagnosis and your kid could be taking heavy medications for years and being treated for the wrong disorder. in my opinion do yourself and your child a favor. Get an intensive neuropsychologist evaluation as another opinion and make sure this guy understands Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
     
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    hi and Welcome!!

    don't see aggressive behavior in autistic people? XXXXXXXX!!! MY son has Aspergers. His expressive and receptive language skills are very high, better than "normal" people much of the time. He also hated his sister, and was incredibly cruel and abusive to her.

    Much of what you are seeing really really sounds like Aspergers or high functioning autism. Heck, it sounds like my kid in a lot of ways. (my difficult child)

    I am sorry you have to deal with this. You really end up having to choose which professional to go with. Seems nuts, seems like they should agree, but they don't, they won't, so pick the one that is most useful to you.

    The people on the Special Education forum will be very able to help you with school issues. When behavioral issues are interfering with the ability to learn, for whatever reason, the school is supposed to provide help. So pop over to the Special Education forum and tell them what is going on with school, they know ALL about it!

    Have you seen a occupational therapist? the strange things he does, like shirt chewing, indicate that he may have sensory integration issues. A good Occupational Therapist (OT) can evaluate him and give you therapy that can help him with this. This is another thing that is common in autistic kids. But Occupational Therapist (OT) can make a BIG difference. There is a book called "The Out Of Sync Child" by Kranowitz, which is excellent at explainig sensory integration disorder and how to help.

    Anyway, glad to see you here, and we will be with you through all of this, as much as you want us to! (and we know you are not bad parents!!!, we have been there done that in some form or another, already)

    Hugs!

    Susie
     
  12. juliedw

    juliedw New Member

    Thank you all so much for your recommendations. It really feels good to receive your words of encouragement and support. You guys are really special. You all have similar if not more intense situations as we do yet you find the time to help others. That is awesome!!!!

    The Dr. we are seeing on the 17th was recommended to us by the advocacy group. She is a Licensed Psychologist (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) at a Neuro Behavioral Treatment Center. I believe that they evaluate and then set up a treatment plan for your child. I am not sure if this is kinda similar to a Neuropsychological Dr. or not. Maybe someone could let me know if this sounds like the same thing.

    One other question I have is does anyone think an MRI would be useful? We had one Dr. who scheduled it at our request but we ended up changing our minds because they were going to have to put him to sleep. I don't know why I have such a strong desire to have this test done. I feel like I want to make sure that there is not something overlooked. Most of the Doctors I have mentioned this to seem to think it would not be helpful, still I don't want to miss anything.

    Once again, thank you all so much for your support. You truly are a blessing.
     
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    an MRI will show things like tumors, but can't diagnose neurological/psychiatric problems.
    I would see another neuropsychologist.
     
  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    According to our pediatric neurologist, the yield for MRIs is very low (in other words, very little is picked up by an MRI). However, if you are dealing with significant behavioral issues, it is never a bad idea to rule medical issues out. My older two children have had MRIs; nothing showed up on my son's, but my daughter's showed small lesions in her temporal lobes, which the neuro said might be contributing to her mood issues. In any event, the treatment (anticonvulsants/mood stabilizers) is the same whether she had these lesions or not. If you are getting an MRI done, you should also schedule an EEG to assess for seizure activity.

    by the way, the anesthesia used during my kids' MRIs (Propophyl) caused virtually no side effects. They woke right up and were not even sleepy the rest of the day.
     
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Julie, welcome.
    I don't have anything to add at this point; just that you've gotten some good questions and ideas from people here. I'm glad you found us.
    Take care.
     
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    One important thing to keep in mind, Julie - medicine is an inexact science. I just said it on another thread, but we need to understand that there is no such thing as a machine which can 'read' our kids, diagnose them perfectly and then churn out a report specifying exactly what diagnosis they have and exactly what magic pill will make it all go away.

    It doesn't exist, but we all keep looking, hoping that it will materialise.

    We also need to avoid giving our kids the idea that they are damaged goods. That is very difficult sometimes, but if you can keep in mind (and teach the kids) that while they may have a neurological problem or a medical problem or a psychological problem, it also has other aspects to it that can connect with personal strengths. Without the disability, would they still be the same people?

    difficult child 3 had a scripture teacher (we have optional religious education in our schools here) who thought she was doing the right thing in sitting with him and praying with him that his autism would be cured. While I understood she was trying to help, I was very angry because it sent difficult child 3 several very bad messages: first, that his autism was something to be despised and rejected even though it is an integral part of his identity (whether we like it or not); and second, that God is a magic wishing fairy who will grant every wish like a wave of a magic wand. WHat does it do to a vulnerable child's faith when the magic wish doesn't come true? Does it tell him he didn't pray hard enough? Does it tell him he lacks faith? Does it tell him that God doesn't think he is worth the trouble?

    Autistic kids especially can be very vulnerable to this because they have such open and honest belief systems. As a result, they need gentle handing on matters of faith so they won't get too confused or misled. It doesn't matter what belief system you live by in your family (including no belief system) - you need consistency and careful handling, if your child is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). And if this means keeping him sheltered in such matters - be prepared to have to do it.

    With regard to language skills - difficult child 3 was language-delayed, but he sure has caught up now!

    difficult child 1 was not language-delayed. If anything, he has a higher than average vocabulary and uses it. easy child 2/difficult child 2, who we're fairly sure is Aspie, was so advanced linguistically that we had her accelerated into school. Her skills were formally assessed when she was 4 years old and she successfully answered questions like, "What is the colour of rubies?" and "How would you go about writing and posting a letter?"

    As for aggression - difficult child 1 was a problem there, especially when unmedicated. difficult child 3 could be goaded to violence especially when frustrated. A younger Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid is more likely to be frustrated and hence more likely to be aggressive.

    They CAN also be placid, but only if they have found their own ways to calm themselves (which is where stims can come in). Stims aren't always obvious, either. difficult child 3 would like to look up at trees, would stare at them a lot as a baby. Looking back, we think it was the same flicker effect that an autistic kid into hand-flapping gets as he looks through his rapidly moving fingers. It's a flicker which soothes the brain.

    Different kids have different stims. easy child 2/difficult child 2 loved the feel of fur fabric (and other textures) so she made a school folder cover from fur fabric and then carried her school folder around all day (at school). She was getting the benefit of her stimulant, without anybody realising it. difficult child 3 loves the feel of towelling, so I made him some summer trousers from an old towel. Again, who would know?

    Medical experts could tell you a great deal of detail about your child, but still not tell you what you need to know. However, your child is better known by you than by anybody else on the planet.

    Use the health professionals, but also liaise with them and share your own expert knowledge. The diagnosis should take your knowledge into account. If it doesn't, it has a higher chance of later proving to be incorrect.

    Marg
     
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