Intro by Grandmaw Cunningham

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by SRL, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    (Originally posted on Natural Treatments--moved here hoping to get more responses. SRL)

    "Would you be so kind as to give me a general starting place? I have a grandson that has outbursts at school, they are fairly controlable at home but for some reason he feels it's okay at school. He has kicked at adults and the other kids, tried to run away, hit, screamed and turned over chairs. My son took him to a doctor who observed him for an hour then stated she didn't believe he was ADD but from the school's information and my son's she put him on a medication for bypolar. As with everything we have tried, it works for awhile then he has another outburst. We are very warry of doctors and the whole "system" the kids can fall into. We are all at the ends of our ropes and are willing to do whatever he needs to feel better...........he has a step-mom and no contact with his real mom, if you can call her that. I love him so deeply and we are greatly concerned with his welfare. Any suggestions on how to get the ball rolling would be greatly appreciated.
    Help for Grandmaw Cunningham"
  2. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Welcome to the site. You've found a great place to come for support and valuable insight.

    Has the school done any testing or developed an iep for your grandson. A behavior intervention plan (bip) can be developed by the school as a way to handle outburst that occur and more importantly structure the situation to minimize the chance of an outburst. Since you say that your grandson does better in the home, the school environment may be triggering the outbursts and it's may be possible for the school to take measures to reduce this stress with accommodations.

    What medication did the doctor prescribe? Mood stabilizers take time to get to therapeutic levels. Also, if bipolar disorder is suspected, then it would be wise to stay away form ADHD (stimulate) medications as they can cause the behaviors you are seeing in a bipolar child.

    Good luck to you,
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome to the site. We can't diagnose here but it sounds to me that your grandson needs a torough evaluation to see exactly ehat could be the trouble. Caqlling it bipolar without an evaluation could risk a misdiagnosis and possible mistreatment/loss of good treatment time.

    Oter possibilities include Asperger's Syndrome (or other form of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)). ADHD alone can explain it. Have a look at and look for their online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire - again, it (and we) can't be used to diagnose, but you can run the test on him, print it out regardless of the result and show your son along with our posts here. If you take it to a specialist it can show other areas of concern that were at the back of your mind but which may not have been considered.

    How old is he? If you do a sig for yourself with this sort of data, it saves you having to re-type it every time you post.

    Welcome to the site, there is a lot of collective wisdom here but there is always room for more.

  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good Morning Grandma!

    You didn't have to tell us that you loved your grandson - just being here is proof!

    I have a couple questions (sorry, but usually a first post gets a lot of questions so we can better understand).
    How old is your grandson?
    When did these outbursts at school begin?
    Does your grandson have friends at school?
    Is there any history of mental illness or susbtance abuse on either side of the family (adhd, bipolor, drug addiction, etc.)?
    What was the information that the school provided to the doctor?
    What kind of doctor gave him the bipolar diagnosis?

    Grandma, children are very complex, difficult child children are even more so! His outbursts could be a reaction to something that has been going on at home or school, or it could be mental illness. It could be that he had add and is suffering a depressive episode (that manifests itself in anger, especially in young boy). There are many things "It could be".

    I would offer a couple suggestions before hearing the answers to the questions above. Do you have a teaching university or children's hospital in or near you town? Making an appointment for a "multidisciplinary evaluation" is a great place to start. The child is examined by a miriad of docs from different disciplines and it can take an entire day to a couple days.

    Many of don't really rely on school evaluations. To diagnosis a child with adolscent bipolar within an hour doesn't seem reliable to me. What medications did the doctor put him on? Is he receiving any talk therapy? Do you know if the school has made some modifiations in their requirements of your grandson in reaction to his diagnosis of bipolar? Are the parents doing any behavior modifcation at home?

    There are going to be a good number of us offering you some suggestions. I think the most important thing any of us can say is that you have to find a good doctor that the family has confidence in and you have to go with that "gut" feeling. Unfortunately, there is no instruction manual for these "difficult" children and grandchildren of ours!

    Good luck.

    Oh, one more thing, have you shared this site with your son or daughter? It might be a good thing for them to be here as well.

  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome Grandmaw!!! We are so glad you joined us, but sorry you need us. You have a lucky grandchild and children to have you helping them.

    Your grandchild needs the multidisciplinary evaluation or an evaluation with a neuropsychologist (psychologist with extra training in how the brain effects behavior). The neuropsychologist will typically do several sessions lasting a couple of hours each to test your child in many ways. They often can pinpoint the exact problem FAR better than a pediatrician or psychiatrist can.

    Did you son have the pediatrician evaluate him, or did he take him to a psychiatrist (psychiatrist)? It MUST be a Board Certified Child and Adolescent psychiatrist. Adult psychiatrists have very few skills at diagnosing children. Period. The good ones won't even see kids or teens because they KNOW they can't do a good job at it.

    Your son may also want to seek out a developmental pediatrician. They can be VERY helpful. Hard to find sometimes, but worth the effort. The only way we could get the multidisciplinary evaluation was lucking into a great dev pediatrician who did that for EVERY child his practice sees. He has about 10 specialists, with different areas of expertise, and they each test the child, then they sit around a big table and talk about the results to get a diagnosis and just the right therapy suggestions.

    You need to get a copy of the book "The Bipolar Child" by Papalous. It is heavensent if your grandchild is bipolar. It talks about the RIGHT way to start medications if the child has bipolar or even mood disorder not otherwise specified (Often used by docs who don't want to formally say bipolar though it seems likely). Some think bipolar diagnosis's "stigmatize" kids, when in my experience having that diagnosis (or whatever the true diagnosis -or name of the problem) opens doors to the RIGHT therapies for the child and family.

    Either way, there are medicines to avoid. Stimulants and antidepressants will BOTH lead to increased mood cycling. Many people with bipolar need two mood stabilizers AND an atypical antipsychotic (reduces aggression and violent behavior, also can help impulsivity) before their moods become stable. Only AFTER they are stable will therapy of ANY kind be helpful. They just won't process it. Often most of the problems disappear or become far less intense as the mood becomes stable.

    The book will help you with that. It also describes how he is thinking, which will be helpful to you.

    I also strongly recommend "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. He has another book out about how to handle the explosions your child has, but I don't know the title. TEC will help you understand how your child thinks and how to handle his explosions. Many of us have found it to be invaluable.

    If you buy any of the books online, you can help support the site by going to through the link on the side of the page here just under the search key! It does NOT change the price of the book, but the site gets a commission for the sale.

    Anyway, welcome!!!
  6. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    Your family is so fortunate to have you! The others have offered great advice. I would just add that dealing with these issues is a process, and it can be a long one. It's not like a physical illness, say strep, where you evaluate the symptoms, run a test, get a diagnosis, and treat accordingly. The symptoms you describe can represent a number of conditions, and it can take a while to figure out which one (or more) your grandson is dealing with. Issues like depression, bipolar, etc. look different in children and adolescents than in adults. And the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment can also evolve over time.

    I'm pretty new here, but have found it a warm, welcoming and helpful place. I've also learned a lot from reading others' posts. Hope you find help here as well. You'll definitely find understanding that you won't get many other places.
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911


    Just wanted to give you a Great big CD board welcome! Hope you find some helpful information here and a lot of support and hugs to keep you going with your grandson. Your a great gal to look for information for him!

    Keep up the good work - looking forward to hearing more!

  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome GrandmaW!

    What medications have been tried? For how long? When did you see the outbursts after starting the medications?