Intro for An Exhausted Mom....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JulienSam, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    Hi -- I'm Julie and my difficult child is Sam -- 4 now, but will be 5 in March. We recently visited a therapist who diagnosed Sam with a mood disorder -- not extremely helpful, but we at least ruled out ADHD/ADD. We just did a sleep study earlier this week -- don't know the results yet. We're hoping to avoid medication -- or at least use it as a last resort.

    Sam melts down at the drop of a hat -- when he hears "no" or is frustrated especially. Crying, yelling, screaming, hitting, kicking, throwing things -- or any combination. It's been a problem for the past 1 1/2 yrs., but for a long time I thought that's what being a 3 or 4 yr old was about. Of course my 8 yr old daughter is easy child -- but again, I figured the difference in behavior was related to birth order, sex, etc.

    I'm reading The Explosive Child -- finding my head nodding in agreement when he describes these challenging children. I'm just having a hard time implementing Plan B... I usually try it too late -- he's already in a meltdown.
    I'm at a loss what to do when he meltdowns -- husband has luck tickling him, and his preschool teacher has found gentle massage helps. My problem is that **I** get so frustrated that the last thing I want to do is be physically close to him...

    He has a meltdown at preschool (he goes 2 1 /2 days a week) almost every day; has tried running out of the building. While the director & his teacher have been pretty flexible and understanding, I worry that any day now they'll ask him to leave the school.

    Another big worry --- kindergarten is looming in the fall. I so want his first real school experience to be positive, but worry that we won't be able to get is tantrums under good control before he starts... and that could lead to a negative spiral, depending upon his teacher.

    husband is supportive, but since I'm a stay at home mom, I bear the brunt of the tantrums. No one else I've met has any behaviors like this with their kids, and most of my family seems to think that a spanking/more discipline would solve everything.

    I'm glad I found this site... it's comforting in a way knowing that there are other families dealing with things like this... but scary at the same time.
    I'm just SO tired -- emotionally & physically. I don't know where I'm going to find the energy to keep going -- maybe a good night's sleep will help.

    Thanks for being here...
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome, Julie. I'm glad you found us and hope you find good answers and help here for your little guy.

    Can you tell us the exact qualifications of the diagnostician you saw? The term therapist is used by several speciality areas, and not all of them are qualified to diagnose.

    Regarding preschool, and the massage being calming, you might check out this link and see if anything here rings a bell.
  3. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    Thanks for the welcome...

    This is from the practice's website:
    Amy ***** is licensed clinical social worker who provides individual and family therapy to children and adolescents. Amy also conducts group therapy sessions throughout the year. Amy specializes in working with children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral, and development concerns, and grief/loss/divorce issues. She is also familiar with the IEP process and comfortable interacting with school personnel.

    It also shows her resume, and it appears that she's done a lot of work within schools.

    The practice group has a standard questionnaire that we completed, regarding behaviors (does the child do xxxx? Often, less often, etc.). It was based upon the results of that questionnaire that she determined he isn't ADHD/ADD, nor did he test as bi-polar.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Hi Julie,

    Welcome. My youngest son (Tigger) was diagnosis with early onset bipolar just after he turned 5. We have used a combination of medication, therapy and warrior parenting to reach him. He is doing much, much better at 8 than he was at 5. Here are some things that worked for us:

    1. Get the school on board
    --Send a certified letter to the school district stating that you want you son evaluated for special education services because you believe that he has behavioral and emotional difficulties that will negatively impact his education. Be sure to tell them he was diagnosis with (insert diagnosis here).

    2. Read "The Bipolar Child". The newest edition came out last year and is wonderful. If your library only has the older edition, it is still outstanding.

    3. Be willing to listen if your doctor suggests medication. It has been several years of trial and error but Tigger is on a medication regime that allows him to function. Prior to getting him stable on the medications, therapy and parenting were almost useless as he wasn't in a state to benefit from them.

    4. Visit here often. I originally came here in 2001 when a horrible psychiatrist diagnosis my then 6-year old son Eeyore with "Conduct Disorder" and recommended we institutionalize him. The people here have become a family, they have helped me through so many dark times and shared in the joys of the good times.

  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Looks like we posted at the same time! I wouldn't trust a social worker to diagnosis. Are you in a big city? Many children's hospitals can do the multidisciplinary evaluation that is most recommended. A psychologist (PhD) or a psychiatrist (MD) are usually your most educated professionals to give an evaluation. A social worker may be good at the therapy but I don't believe they have the intense background in diagnosing that the docs have.
  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    How long did she spend with you and how long with Sam? Was it just this one questionaire?

    The reason we're digging around is that while Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with pHd's can legally diagnose in some states, they generally aren't our top choices here on this board for assessments with the little ones. A multidisciplinary evaluation with either a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neuropsychologist, along with occupational therapy and speech/language if indicated is the way we suggest going. Families usually get much closer to the mark with this thorough evaluation than with a one stop at a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), psychiatrist, or regular child psychologist.
  7. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    I guess I'm a bit too trusting, huh? Or maybe too eager to find a solution that I took the first answer I was given. Glad to have others who can point me down the right road. The social worker spent about 45 minutes talking me & husband, and then 30-45 minutes with Sam. We completed the questionnaire as well as a long developmental history for Sam.

    Thanks to your suggestions, I looked up what one of our local children's hospital offers... they have developmental pediatrician. clinic... on my list to call tomorrow to see if I can set up an appointment for an evaluation.

    I'm hoping too that the sleep study he did earlier this week will shed some light...

  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    That's not the shortest evaluation on record but it's not the longest either. We do hear often from parents whose kids weren't given thorough evaluations up front. Unfortunately we usually hear from them some years later when nothing is working and they realize they have a partial or wrong diagnosis. In the end you may still wind up with the same diagnosis of mood disorders, but I'd rather you covered all your bases to arrive at that label and not be sorry later that something was missed.

    You will likely need to get a pediatrician referal to see a developmental pediatrician but make a call first--you never know. First time appointments are usually 3-6 months out.

    Really work on implementing The Explosive Child methods. Put prevention at the top of your list--err on the side of caution for awhile and see if you can trim off some of those meltdowns. Keep a log and start watching for triggers--transitions, trips out, stores, too many errands, loud noises, lights, groups of people, etc. When you get frustrated at the lengths you are having to go through, try translating it in your mind to a child with a physical disability--you'd probably be far less frustrated making accomodations for a child with such challenges.

    Other than meltdowns, are you seeing anything else that is different or of concern about his developmental history?
    Any speech delays or diffferences?
    Is he especially sensitive to things like tags on clothing, loud noises, very picky about foods?
    How's he doing around other kids?
    What's the family history like in terms of mental health issues?
  9. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Try this assessment and see where he falls...

    This is not a diagnosis tool but a screening tool. If he scores high, I'd print it out and bring it to the psychiatrist.
  10. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    He came out with a 34 -- no PPD.

    Thanks for the link.

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would go with a neuropsychologist. I don't think regular non neuropsychologist Psychologists even do testing nor do Psychiatrists most of the time. At age five, often a diagnosis is wrong--they tend to change with time. It's best in my opinion and from my own experience to get interventions in place, especially in school, for specific problems. There is no way to rule out bipolar, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or anything in a test. There ARE no blood tests for these things and if you see ten people, they may give you ten different diagnoses. That drove us nuts, but the neuropsychologist in my opinion was the most thorough--he tested my son for twelve hours (no blood tests--but everything else possible , looking for IQ, Learning Disability (LD), ADHD, bipolar, etc....and he spent tons of time with my son and observed him a lot too. He did a much better job that my son's psychiatrist of three years who diagnosed his wrong and put him on heavy duty medications. My son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified (as soon as I learn how to get my signature back I will post it...hehe). Good luck.
  12. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    Julie, good luck in your search for the right diagnosis to help your child. I also think the children's hospital is the most thorough route. Keep us updated.