New Here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by redrose, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. redrose

    redrose New Member

    I just found this site today. My name is Erin and I live in NH. My son is 9 and has ADHD. I think he's bipolar too but no one else thinks so including his doctor. He is in the 3rd grade and is doing horrible. He is currently unmedicated only because there isn't a medication that he can take without nasty side affects (tics, not sleeping AT all, not eating). He has tried everything in the past 5 years (including a new medication that works for everyone BUT him).
    I can deal with him at home unmedicated with no issues, his school is another story. They called today to schedule a meeting for Friday morning to discuss "social" issues. This honestly made me cry. I have to go to yet another meeting that is going to start the same as all the others, "he is a sweet boy BUT......".
    I am just about ready to throw in the towel and pull him out of school. If I'm the only person that can deal with him then maybe he is better off being homeschooled?
    So I am just frustrated and depressed. It just stinks not knowing how his future is going to turn out.
    I'm sure I'll be posting here often and I look forward to joining in.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Redrose!

    One sign of BiPolar (BP) is that the stimulants make them angry, emotional, etc. Is the doctor willing to try a mood stabilizer?
    You do not have to label it, but treat it. Treat the symptoms.
  3. redrose

    redrose New Member

    I didn't know that but that makes sense, that could explain a LOT. Thank you so much for your suggestion I'm going to make an appointment with his doctor right now.

    Thanks again!
  4. Jungleland

    Jungleland Welcome to my jungle!

    Welcome Redrose!

    Please visit often, there are many of us in the same rocky boat as you. Ours used to be the opposite, she was ok in school, but a nightmare at home. The last year or so, she is pretty equally having a rough time in school and at home.

    Hang in there, it takes a while and lots of footwork on your part, but with a good neuropsychologist, we finally got correct diagnosis's and good medications on board.

    Hugs of welcome,
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Is his doctor a Psychiatrist (with the MD?) If he is, I'd get a second opinion from somebody not associated with him in any way. You may also want to get "The Bipolar Child" by Dimitri and Janice Papalos out of the library.
    Also, was he developmentally on time? Does he make good eye contact and understand social cues? What are you concerns about him? It would help if we knew his whole story plus his biological history on both sides.
    Welcome to the board ;)
  6. redrose

    redrose New Member

    Hi Midwest,

    Nothing Peter has done has been on time. He was late to walk, late to talk, late to potty train etc. When he was 2 they thought he was having seizures because he would space out and NOTHING would snap him out of it for several mins. After finding out he was not have seizures they said he was just being 2. He has never had good eye contact, his eyes are always everywhere but where they should be. He has never been able to even stand still for more than a very brief second which boggles my mind because he can sit in front of a tv or video game for hours if I let him (which I don't they are the last thing he needs). He has issues with motor skills and is in Occupational Therapist (OT), it's mainly his grip that he needs lots of work with.
    At 4 they diagnosed him with ADHD and they have playing around with medication since he was 6 and in school.
    My daughter is 7 and is his total opposite. I've noticed that since Amber started school Peter is compared to her a lot. Everyone always brings up the fact that they are totally different, she is more outgoing and perky and he is more closed in.
    In both families there is a long history of ADHD, bipolar and several other issues. My husband has ADD, my brother has ADHD (and says that my son is going to be a drain cleaner like him because of the ADHD), my other brother has always had several issues requiring several hospitilizations and institionalizations. I'm don't know his total history though because my Mother refuses to talk about it, I know for sure that he has heard "voices" his entire life. He has an older half sister that has ADHD like he does, unmedicated she is a disaster.
    My concern with Peter is that he won't grow up feeling like his is just like everyone else. Everyone from teachers to doctors always point out how different he is and the differences between him and Amber. I want him to stay in school and go to college. I don't think thats going to happen though. I think that after listening to everyone complain about him and tell him how much better other kids his age are he is just going to shut down even more than he already has.
  7. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I'd be in that school THIS MORNING! My difficult child suffered from poor self-esteem which stemmed from the school staff constantly pointing out his poor behavior (which was something he couldn't help), putting him in time outs, marching him off to the principal's office, etc. It has taken years to instill any kind of self-worth. See if your school district has social development classes. Often these classes are held at a different campus, but it's an alternative to you feeling like you have to homeschool. Finally my difficult child was put into social development classes (5th grade)......he loved it!! He's still in social development class in intermediate school (7th now), makes all A's and B's, and doing well. His primary teacher is male, which is a huge help. difficult child is unable to function in a normal classroom.....severe hyperactivity, distractibility, oppositional behavior. I would give anything if someone had told me to check into these types of classes long before he was ten!
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome. I am glad you found us!

    Given the late milestones he achieved, and the fact that you think he may be bipolar, I would like to STRONGLY recommend you find a neuropsychologist to thoroughly evaluate your son, or have him evaluated at a Children's Hospital by a multi disciplinary team (group of docs who evaluate). He will have many hours of tests, often as many as 10-15 hours broken up over several days. This will give you the BEST idea of what is going on. And teh best chance to help your son.

    I recommend reading The Explosive Child and suggesting that school use these methods also. I also recommend The Bipolar Child - if nothing else it will give you a starting point to try medications with (and if medications are being given by a pediatrician go and get an appointment with a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist - these medications are WAY out of the comfort range for a pediatrician to be prescribing).

    MOST of us, I would say over 95% of us here, first had our kids diagnosis'd with ADHD and then we found it was much more. Bipolar is something you want to pay attention to early on, because medications for many other things, including adhd, depression and even colds can cause someone with bipolar to cycle. PLEASE don't try the antidepressants (ad's) until you have tried teh mood stabilizers WITHOUT the ad's. Ad's can make a child TOTALLY unstable and it can take MONTHS on mood stabilizers to get them stable. There is even a type of bipolar that is caused by the SSRI/SNRI medications like prozac, strattera, zoloft etc... So trying the mood stabilizers first could be VERY important!

    You should probably also do some research on autistic spectrum disorders. Autism is NOT the stereotyped image of a kid who completely doesn't interact with the world. It is an entire spectrum of behaviors. There are a LOT of things that can help a child with a form of autism - my oldest has a form called Asperger's Syndrome and he is currently a senior in high school, graduating in May. He will spend next year at the technical college completing a machinist training course and then will work as a machinist to pay for college! (And from grades 3-9 I had NO HOPE that he would escape life behind bars, college wasn't even in my wildest dreams for him at that point!!).

    You do NEED to go to school and make a BIG STINK so that the school KNOWS that you will NOT tolerate them comparing him to ANYONE! It truly isn't fair to him. He probably feels there is no point in trying because he CANNOT control a lot of this and the school always points out how different he is, how much "less" he is. It is no small thing, what they are doing to him when they compare him to other kids. My oldest was bored and very gifted. So he caused trouble and talked. The teachers compared him to other kids and did it right in front of him. The pressure got to be so bad that he made several serious suicide attempts in 2nd grade - AGE 7!!! If nothing else, remind school tehy have a burden of confidentiality and they are NOT to compare his work or behavior to other students as it violates his rights. I am so sorry that this still happens.

    Homeschooling can be a very positive option. I homeschooled my oldest for grades 3 adn 4. In addition to saving his life, it gave us time to track down therapy and medications and go to all the doctor visits with-o hassles from the attendance office and we became very close.

    One thing you DO have to realize is that your son is NOT like everyone else. His brain is probably wired differently. It means he will have to learn in different ways teh stuff many kids pick up by osmosis - the social stuff. Often it takes a LOT of practice to learn this stuff. You may find that social skills groups can help - ask at a children's hospital about this. There are a lot of good books you can work on at home to do this also. Others can give you titles, it has been a LONG time since I had need of them and I have forgotten.

    Anyway, welcome, you will find we are a pretty supportive and fun group. Glad you could join us!
  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If he is different there is no point in pretending he is not. Just help him come to terms with it. Different does not mean bad. It actually is a wonderful thing to be different. Many highly intelligent people are 'different' and many of them never attend college. Yet they are still more intelligent than others that do.

    My mother used to tell me my difficult child 'marched to the beat of a different drummer'. I hated it at the time, but it was so true. I was trying to conform her into what I wanted her to be - because I knew it was best for her. Safer. More normal. She even said to me once, 'quit trying to make me into something I am not'. Now that set me back on my heals. She was happy with who she was - it was all me.

    So, I started to accept that she would be different. She recently told me she was not going to go to Senior Ball. She would never discuss this with me. Just tell me like it is. I think she was afraid to disappoint me. I told her that it is not for everyone and just to be sure she would never regret it. Now the fact that I did not try to convince her to be like everyone else is what saved our relationship.

    It is hard still.