New here...have no idea where to begin.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lordofmylife05, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Lordofmylife05

    Lordofmylife05 New Member

    Hello everyone! I stumbled upon this forum doing a search for oppositional defiant disorder.

    Here's some background- my son is 10 years old. I've noticed over the past year and a half that he believes he's co-equal with adults -- he is an only child and I have always been a single mother. I had really begun to notice when my boyfriend and I started dating 1 1/2 years ago. My boyfriend would tell me, for example, after babysitting him for any length of time, "Your son really doesn't listen to me." My son will argue with any adult, at any time, about any subject.

    I put him in a private Christian school at the beginning of the year because I wanted a smaller classroom setting and we are Christians and I believe that the values I have been teaching him at home could be reinforced at school.

    But this is when I really began to see his lack of social skills. The school he came from, he had life long friends (and the school is literally right across the street) and his teacher began to notice that he intentionally annoys his classmates -- making strange noises, getting into their faces, etc. -- and he was struggling making friends.

    I ended up taking him to a Christian therapist. She diagnosed him with ADHD/ODD. I struggle with the ADHD part -- mainly because he's not hyper, doesn't have trouble focusing, gets good grades, etc., but after doing research, I DEFINITELY see the ODD in him.

    I can't really afford counseling at this point, so I am looking for others in my situation because I'm at a loss for how to handle this. I do feel alone, isolated and I'm at the end of my rope.

    Maybe I just need a hug and someone to tell me it's going to be ok.

    Thank you for listening,

  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hi Kerri--

    Welcome to the group!

    I know that you have said you cannot afford counseling....but it might be very helpful, if not necessary to deal with some of these issues. If you have no health insurance, or your insurance will not cover it...many times church and community groups will offer counseling at no charge or on a sliding scale based upon your income.

    It might be worth checking into...

  3. Lordofmylife05

    Lordofmylife05 New Member

    Hi Daisy!

    I should have clarified...his insurance covers 30% of mental health services. At the time I chose the therapist, the one who was approved under his insurance was booked for TWO YEARS. *sigh*

    So I opted to go with another therapist - a Christian counselor - and she was charging $100 per session!!! She said it would only take a few sessions for her to make a determination. Well, NINE sessions later, and she finally came up with a diagnosis. She did agree to take $50 per session going forward, but that's still $200 per month and she is not a preferred provider on his insurance.

    I've looked into other therapists who would be covered, but so many in this area (Pasadena, CA) are either booked for years, not taking new patients, etc. and I figured it was because if the therapist was covered under insurance, they would be booked up for longer periods.

    So I agreed to the $50 per week, but being a single mother, I have still been amazed at where that extra money came from every month. I emailed the therapist and asked if we could come in bi-monthly...but perhaps I made her mad??? I still haven't heard back from her.

    I am at my wit's end right about now....and I really need some ideas as to how to handle all this. I am going to look into other counselors...thanks for the welcome. It helps just knowing I"m not alone. :(

  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Kerri, and welcome!

    First off, sending you many gentle {{{{{hugs}}}}}. It's going to be okay.
    So glad that you found us. This is a very supportive group, and they have saved my sanity more than once.

    With regard to your son's diagnosis, ADHD/ODD is often the first thing that we're told and then it takes further investigation to pinpoint exactly what's going on with your child.

    ODD rarely stands alone, and is often the symptom of an underlying diagnosis for which you haven't found the right intervention. As for ADHD, lots of other disorders have similar, lookalike symptoms. Since it looks like ADHD, that's usually what therapists and doctors identify first. It's only when you start to really tease apart the details that the underlying condition comes to the fore.

    So, I have a few questions for you that might help us to help you better.

    1) What was your son's early development like? Did he hit all of the milestones within the typical timeframes?
    2) Did or does your son have any sensory issues, e.g. sensitivity to light, noises, textures, touch.
    3) Was your son's speech development on track?
    4) How did / does your son cope with transitions? Any difficulty switching from one task to another? Any significant behavioural differences between school and home?
    5) How does your son get on with other kids his own age? You mention that he seems to be deliberately setting out to annoy his classmates. Anything else unusual like this?
    6) What about eye contact? Does your son make good eye contact? If he does now, did he ever have trouble with it as a child?

    Sorry for loading you up with all these questions, but they really do help us to try and figure out what sorts of issues your child may be facing, so we can share experiences, etc.

    I am not a doctor and am not qualified to diagnose anything, but some of the behaviours you are describing sound a bit autism-spectrum-ish to me. That might be an area to investigate further. As a starting point, check out the website. There's a questionnaire you can do to get an informal idea.

    Others will be along with welcomes and advice soon. In the meantime, hang in there. You're not alone.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would see a neuropsychologist. He has some symptoms of Aspergers Sydrome. They tend to not understand the differences between adults and kids, and have very poor social skills. At any rate, I would only trust a private neuropsychologist--they do awesome testing. It's worth trying to pay it out. Free is--well--usually you get what you pay for. I learned that first hand.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  6. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Hello and welcome. I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I agree that you should absolutely have him tested. That way you can rule out other things and really get a clear picture of what you are dealing with.

    As far as the counseling goes, aren't there clinics in your area who charge based on a sliding fee scale? Not all of them are reputable but there are some that are good. We have a couple in my area that have been proven to be helpful.

    Good luck. :)
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    You have received some great feedback. I am going to give input on the school and having a hard time making friends.

    Last year, my difficult child basically lost all his friends. He started the new year unable to go to school or participate in social things so he lost touch with all his friends. Then as he became healthier over the winter, his behaviors were so unacceptable that the kids would stay away from him. That made him work harder to "be in their face" to try to get into the bonds the other kids had that he had not built into for the year. He grew up with most of these kids but he had changed and they did not like the changes he was showing. He felt very left out.

    I would think that at age 10, most of the kids in this new school have known each other for a very long time. They are comfortable with each other and do not want to make an effort to take the chance to make a new friend. So, my suggestion would be to talk to the teacher and see if there are any classmates that she thinks are good friend matches for your difficult child. Then, invite both that child and the parents over for supper to get acquainted. You can also meet parents through the Parent Teacher League if there is one. Attend some meetings and see what you think.
    Sometimes it is easier for kids to become friends on a one to one basis outside of school and the watchful judging eyes of their peers.

    The annoyance maybe that he feels left out and is trying to get the kids to accept him and draw him into their circles.

    Oh, and has he had his birthday this school year? You could invite a few of the kids to a party and see which ones would be best suited as friends. If birthday is done, have an Easter party or Spring Party.
  8. Lordofmylife05

    Lordofmylife05 New Member

    Hi Trinity! I will answer your questions:

    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Yes
    4. Depends on the situation. If he's doing something fun, we usually battle for him to do something not fun. Probably like most kids (and adults for that matter :) )
    5. He will get in other kids' faces -- really close -- and either giggle, or make goofy sounds or faces...he's done it to me a few times and it's terribly annoying. He also has a problem with keeping his hands to himself -- he'll jump on other kids out of nowhere, etc.
    6. He makes pretty good eye contact, though he won't sustain it for very long unless the conversation is interesting.

    I have contacted his insurance and pretty much they won't cover any portion until my "coinsurance" is paid -- $3900 -- it may as well be no insurance.

    One of his biggest problems is the arguing with adults. He will argue about anything, at any time, about any subject. He rarely concedes defeat in an argument -- even when he's completely proven wrong. It can be so exasperating.

    He does not take well to authority -- unless I'm around to keep him in check -- but he has serious impulse control and sometimes doesn't even realize he's arguing.

    I know the behavior modification needs to start at home -- and I am working on it -- but ideas and suggestions would be wonderful.

    Thank you all for the warm welcome.

  9. Lordofmylife05

    Lordofmylife05 New Member

    Thank you for the ideas, Andy! His birthday is coming up in May so perhaps I will do as you suggested.

    I did have one mom come up to me (I think her son and my son have the same issues) and offered to bring my son to her house for dinner. I really need to take her up on that offer.

    It is so hard for him to make friends...It makes my heart break for him :( He's a really good, compassionate kid...he has trouble with impulse control and also with never being able to admit when he can't do something or when he's wrong. That really rubs the other kids the wrong way.

    Plus, I just found out this week that the 5th grade field trip he has been planning on attending all year, well, the teacher told me that he will not be able to participate in the week long event :( She said that when they went to a field trip a couple of times, he refuses to listen to the chaperones. So he can go for the first two days, but the last three days -- he'll have to have ME as a chaperone AND I would have to pay an additional $175 on top of the $350 I have to pay for my son to go. :( She refuses to let him prove himself over the next two months. He's been in counseling, we are working and making progress...but I feel so badly for him.

  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member


    Sorry about the field trip. I think a lot of us here have experienced similar things. My husband had to go with difficult child on every single school trip until his last year of high school, and then he had a one-on-one aide with him. I think it's sometimes just that much harder for our kids to keep it together, and the unfamiliar circumstances of a school outing just make things escalate.

    I think it's worth investigating a neuropsychologist evaluation, as MidwetMom recommended. Some of the answers to my questions do suggest Asperger's syndrome (which is on the autism spectrum), but a neuropsychologist evaluation is very thorough and detailed, and can give you a lot of answers.

    Keep on posting. There are lots of experienced parents on the board, who can offer lots of advice and perspectives.

  11. Lordofmylife05

    Lordofmylife05 New Member

    Hi everyone...

    Well, we decided that my son won't go on the whole field trip, but the first part that's more of a classroom setting. AT least he can go to part of it.

    Well, today I get another note from the principal (I'm beginning to dread his emails) that my 10 (soon to be 11) year old son actually bit another student...

    I'm so exasperated and don't know what to do right now...I am looking into a cheaper therapist - and haven't tried medication yet -- haven't even told my son that he's been diagnosed with ADHD/ODD -- he tends to use things as a crutch - and I was terrified of, I'm not sure what to do.

    I just want to crawl into bed and cry....
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! I'm up there with MWM suggesting you look into Aspergers Syndrome (man, he sounds soooo like my oldest! Same age too!). Check and see at a teaching or childrens hospital, explain the situation and see if they'll do a neuropsychologist on a sliding scale fee. Most will. They'll often take what the insurance will pay and then see what you can afford as payments.

    I know how you feel about the emails - mine were always phone calls.

    We're here for you! Welcome to the crowd!

  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I know from experience how difficult it is as a single Mom to have to face expensive and complicated treatment choices. on the other hand it is really important that you know now....the school can take action against him if he is being aggressive. My youngest daughter (now in her mid-40's) was literally kicked out of the public school system "back in the day" because she required too much attention. My difficult child grandson (now 18) was threatened with expulsion because of a perceived threat to another student.

    I am absolute NOT trying to scare you but I don't want you to be caught off guard. It may not be true where you are but where I live, "if" the kid is causing difficulty they will try to get rid of that student.

    I would use the Net and see if there is a blog or site where parents in your community have united. They could direct you toward a valuable resource.
    Truly I hate to even type the advice to "find help asap at any cost" but I
    do think that is important. Get yourself a daily journal going and note every
    sign of trouble and record every effort you make to find support in your community. Sending supportive hugs your way...I understand. DDD
  14. JLady

    JLady A ship lost in the night

    Welcome to the group. The people here are full of support and awesome advise.

    My son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD last November. I disagreed with the ODD diagnosis and proceeded with further testing. He has now been diagnosed with ADHD and Aspergers. We were right where you are now just a few months ago.

    Check with your school. I spent a lot of money on counselors, psycologists and a child psychiatrist to have my son diagnoised. The school is now doing their own testing to confirm the diagnoses and qualify my son for extra help to assist with his Aspergers Syndrome. The testing they are doing is very thorough and the school psychologist is working closely with the child psychiatrist (private).

    The school also has a program for social skills and friendship development. My son has participated in this group for the past two years and it has helped. The school has a counselor as well that my son sees. I wasn't happy with the counselor or seeing any results so I contacted them and asked that his counselor be changed. He is now working with someone who is better with him.

    We have been fighting this all year long and I understand your limited funds and limited time. I too am a single parent and doing the best I can to make ends meet. Don't give up. Use your school for a resource of assistance. INSIST on getting them to help you. If they give you trouble or refuse (our school did) contact the school board and find out who can help you. I contacted the school board, got in touch with the head of the Autism program and she has really made things happen for us.

    I know it is difficult to hear about your child having problems. I'm having a really hard time with acceptance myself right now. I keep praying for guidence, reading all I can, researching and not giving up. I don't know about you but I am the only person my son has to fight for him.

    Google Aspergers Syndrome and see if some of those descriptions seem to fit your son's behavior. If they do, you may have more resources than you realized available. There is also a community program here for children with Aspergers that is free of charge. Search for the information. I hope you find it out there for you.

  15. lizanne2

    lizanne2 New Member


    As with others, I understand the single mom insurance money tight rope. I know this is tiresome and frustrating but.............

    When you are feeling strong, make phone calls...all the suggestions here are great. You make get many no's but eventually you will find that one secretary or counsellor or non profit employee that gives you that one piece of information that gets you the service/counsellor/financial support you need. I have one friend who I trust immensely (actually, she started as a Social worker who I ended up calling in advertently) who will make the tough calls for me.

    You have my support and that of everyone here.
  16. Lordofmylife05

    Lordofmylife05 New Member

    Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. :sad-very:

    I have looked into the Asperger's Syndrome and, yes, it fits my son in many ways....I have an appointment with our current counselor this weekend. She agreed to see him every two weeks, instead of every week, for the next six least that will help some.

    My son attends a private school so they resources a public school is supposed to supply for children is not available for my son...figures. I had a talk with the principal yesterday and he said I could "pay" for the IEP and such...

    I am going to bring up the Asperger's Syndrome with his counselor this weekend and see what she thinks. I'm also going to talk with her about maybe starting some medication, at least for the short term, and see what happens with that.

    My other problem regarding getting sliding scale assistance is that I make too much money. BUT, I live in Southern California and $59,000 sure doesn't go a long way with rent, private school payments, car, insurance, etc. I just don't have the extra $$ but everytime I've told someone what I make, they kind of chuckle and say, "You SHOULD be able to afford it".... *sigh* It's not like I'm out buying designer clothes or anything...I have to keep him in private school in my area becuase he got kicked out of the YMCA program that serviced the public schools and there are no other after school programs.

    Thank you everyone for understanding....I really do appreciate knowing I"m not alone. :(
  17. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I would look into do some research on line.
    They can answer a lot of the School questions.
    I would also call all of the people at your Mental Health Dept. Bug them in a nice way.
    There are programs out there that are set up for almost every situation. You just have to search.
    I would look into chadd online and see if you can find an advocate in your area.
    See if someone has a direction for you to look into.
    Look into the Autism society, in your area. All of these groups usually have meetings, groups etc, set up with advocates or people who can maybe help you or know someone who can lead you in a direction.
    Even if your child doesn't have a specific diagnosis you can call or email and ask people for help. Tell them what you are dealing with, that you are scared, you need help.
    You are desperate.
    When I lived in a tiny town, this is the only way I was able to find any help.
    It started with me pleading with my Pediatrician. I spent hours searching the internet, found this place, hours on the phone...
    I still do this but I at least have some answers at this point.

    We are here for you and will try to help you find some answers.
    Hang in there.