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Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by chococat, May 8, 2009.

  1. chococat

    chococat New Member

    I have an 8 year old daughter that is diagnosed with ADHD and possibly ODD. She also has a sleep disorder which has been effecting her since she was a baby. She's been having lots of problems with school, despite medications. she's in therapy pretty much weekly and sees a psychiatrist. I am engaged to be married next month. My fiance, I'll call him Mike, moved in with us the end of February and has been very patient with my daughter, I'll call her Marie, and has helped me a lot with finding new ways to deal with her. However, he's begining to get discouraged and is starting to have second thoughts about marrying me, because of Marie's out of control behavior. It seems like I'm pretty much the only person that has any control over her, and that's not even very much most of the time. We're reading a great book right now, called "the defiant child", and we're both learning a lot but I'm really stressed right now and needed some "outside" support. she's getting suspended pretty much weekly, and is in trouble pretty much daily at school. She just started Stattara once a day a little over a month ago and the dose was just increased (from the minimum) about a week ago. Previously she was on Ritalin which was becoming ineffective at the max dose for her weight, and was causing further sleep problems despite her Trazodone.
     
  2. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi Chococat -

    Welcome and I'm so glad you found us!

    First and foremost, sounds like it's time to request a full multidisciplinary evaluation through the school district (school district) in order to obtain an IEP for her. They may well blather on about how smart she is, how she doesn't need Special Education services, yada yada yada, but she has emotions/behaviors that are interfering with her ability to receive an education. If she's getting suspended weekly (or even monthly), she's not in school and not getting an education. Therefore, her diagnosis has an educational impact. I'd highly recommend looking through the Special Education archives here to get ideas for sample letters, etc.

    I would also request a functional behavioral analysis at the same time. The way it should be done is a behavioralist observes your difficult child in the classroom (hopefully over a period of several days) and identifies target behaviors and possible triggers. It really burns my toast to hear when such young kids are being suspended - it sets up school to be a negative experience all the way down the road. Once the FBA is completed (and hopefully at the same time you all sit down to go over an IEP), a behavior intervention plan should be developed, using *positive* behavioral strategies. I emphasize "positive" because "Sally will go to principal's office" and "Susie will be suspected" are most definitely *not* positive.

    What kinds of behaviors are you and school dealing with? Violence, destruction, defiance? There's such a wide range and there can be many different ways to deal with it. Plus of course it's different for each kid - what worked for my kid may not for yours.

    Defiant Child is a great book, as is Explosive Child.

    Again - welcome and I'm so glad you found us.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, there.

    To me, the behaviors you are describing are too severe to just be ADHD/ODD. Most of us here feel that ODD is kind of a useless diagnosis anyway.

    The medications not working are a red flag that she may have been misdiagnosed. My son was worse on stimulants. In mood-disordered kids, for example, ADHD medications usually make them worse. Same with some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids. I have a few questions that can help us help you.

    1/Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of the child's family tree. That includes her bio. father even if she never sees him. Was she ever abused by him? Ever abused at all, both physically or sexually or mentally? Does she see her father? What's the situation with him?

    2/How was her early development? Did she talk on time, make good, steady eye contact with you and strangers, cuddle, do her motor skills on time? Potty on time? How does she socialize with her same age peers? Does she ever seem "clueless" about people and life? What sort of things set her off? Does she transition all right from one activity to another? Any sensitivities to material, sound, texture, light, crowds, etc?

    3/Has she ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist.

    About your fiance, my honest advice (as one who remarried as well) is that you should think twice about the marriage and living arrangements if he is getting impatient with your daughter. Trying to deal with a difficult child and an unsympathetic husband is difficult. No matter how much you love him, it may not be enough. He needs to accept your daughter as she is and not just expect her to "get with the program" and behave. She probably is not able to do that and things may get worse. Does HE have kids? Do you have other kids too?

    This is complicated. First and foremost I'd get that neuropsychologist evaluation (a private one) scheduled. Deal with school seperately--they can get her an IEP, but their testing is usually not as accurate as private testing. Next, maybe go to therapy yourself so you can decide about your relationship and anything else that is bothering you.

    Welcome to the board. Good people come here :D
     
  4. chococat

    chococat New Member

    Hi, there.

    To me, the behaviors you are describing are too severe to just be ADHD/ODD. Most of us here feel that ODD is kind of a useless diagnosis anyway.

    The medications not working are a red flag that she may have been misdiagnosed. My son was worse on stimulants. In mood-disordered kids, for example, ADHD medications usually make them worse. Same with some Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids. I have a few questions that can help us help you.

    Her ADHD medications do work, to a point. She had some improvement but they wear off quickly and it doesn't take long for a medication to stop working at all. for example, a medication that is supposed to last 8-12 hours last 4-6, and the 4-6 ones last 2-4.

    1/Are there any psychiatric problems on either side of the child's family tree. That includes her bio. father even if she never sees him. Was she ever abused by him? Ever abused at all, both physically or sexually or mentally? Does she see her father? What's the situation with him?

    Yes, but not diagnosed. One my side of the family I have one cousin that is mentally disabled, my uncle (her dad) is very "slow" and has difficulty being independent, had a lot of problems with drugs, my mom is also "slow" and very dependent on others (in my opinion she is high functioning with a mental disability, she was in Special Education as a kid/teen). I was diagnosed a year ago with ADHD. I was never diagnosed as a kid because of lack of education/resources for my mom, and I compensated with my high IQ. Marie's bio-dad had a LOT of trouble as a child. He was always in trouble. He stole, did drugs, got in fights, was verbally, physically and sexually abusive to those around him, and dropped out of school at 16, and was pretty much always on probation from 12-18 years of age. She sees him about once a year (he has no visitation rights). My ex was more of her "father" figure, he was with me for the first 7 years of her life. He suffers from depression, which he has had since he was a teen. I left him because we no longer got along and he was consistently inconsistent with treating his depression, and his main symptom of depression was anger (which he expressed by yelling at my and Marie). I couldn't handle taking care of Marie AND an adult that acted like a child at the same time. She currently sees him every other weekend. to my knowledge she has never been sexually abused or physically abused. I have utilized spanking in the past, but I am trying my best to avoid this because I know, logically, that it is bad temporary solution. She had a babysitter once, for about 6 months, that was verbally abusing her and forced her to kneel on beans when she misbehaved. As soon as this was brought to my attention I immediately removed her from the situation and put her into therapy.

    2/How was her early development? Did she talk on time, make good, steady eye contact with you and strangers, cuddle, do her motor skills on time? Potty on time? How does she socialize with her same age peers? Does she ever seem "clueless" about people and life? What sort of things set her off? Does she transition all right from one activity to another? Any sensitivities to material, sound, texture, light, crowds, etc?

    some background, I had Marie at 16 and breastfed til 5.5 weeks. I went back to school at 5 weeks and could not keep up with breastfeeding because she was eating for 45 minutes at a time every 2 hours (she was 10lbs 11oz at birth and ate a lot). Her early development seemed fine. She hit all her milestones within normal limits. She's always been a very bright, quick child, but VERY stubborn. When she was 3 months old she began having problems sleeping. I would spend hours trying to put her to sleep, and finally, with the guidance of Success by Six (a program to help mothers with children), I began to let her "cry it out". I would do the usual bedtime ritual (kisses, singing, cuddles, etc, put her in bed) She would spend 45 minutes crying in her crib then she would fall asleep. The only other way to get her to sleep was in her baby swing, which she slept in frequently at night, especially when I had to have her quiet (when we stayed the night with a friend/family etc). She never took naps at daycares, which was always a point of conflict with her and her providers. To this day she has trouble sleeping at night. Unmedicated she would be put to bed at 9pm and be up til midnight, or as late as 3am, screaming and leaving her room. She weaned off the bottle with no problems. Potty-training was difficult with her. I began at 3 years old, when I was in college. She was very stubborn and basically made an active decision to refuse to participate. She did not want to be bothered with having to use the bathroom, because diapers were easier. When she was almost 4 and a half I took a week off work, and spent my entire spring break and basically forced potty training on her. I made her wear underwear, rewarded her with m&ms for using the toilet (she didn't get candy much at that age), and made her clean up the mess if she refused to use the toilet. After that she no longer wore diapers. However, to this day, she still forgets 95% of the time to wipe, flush, and wash her hands. When she does remember, if is usually only when prompted by an adult.
    She's a very smart kid and loves to be the boss. She basically interacts with her peers in a very "I'm better than you and you're stupid" attitude. She bullies, she fights, she teases, she says hurtful things. The main thing that sets her off is when someone tries to get her to do anything. It could be getting shoes on, or taking a test, or standing in line. She wants to be in charge. whenever she plays a game, or pretends with her toys, she is always in a position of authority. She is teacher, officer, mother, etc. And she is strict, authoritarian and often cruel. However, she is also very elaborate with her games and will write out rules for her babies to follow while in her classroom, which she models after rules at school and at home. the rules are fair and well written, but the "kids" are always bad and are always being punished, redirected, put in time out, or scolded. She has a lot of problems with transition and changes in routine. even if it's a positive change, or a rewarding thing (like going to chuck-e-cheese, a museum, movie, park etc), she'll often act out after/toward the end. In school and at home she has troubel transitioning from play time to bed time, work time, chore time, etc. She drags her feet, fights, screams, waits til a final warning is issued before acting, forgets needed things, etc. I haven't noticed any sensitivities.

    3/Has she ever been evaluated by a neuropsychologist.

    When I got her tested I took her to a university where she was evaluated by a psychiatric. student under supervision of a professor with a phd in psychology. She had a full IQ test (which had to be performed in 4 or 5 parts, spread out over a month long period) and assesment for ADHD. Her IQ was 98, completely unmedicated. They said that when she participated she scored way above average for her age group, but more than half the time she blatantly refused to participate. She would refuse to look at the tester, move the peices in ways that were against the "rules", or respond to questions inappropriately (for example "what is two plus two" would be answered with "liquor in the tea"). At one point she stood on the desk, posed, and exclaimed "I'm the statue of liberty."

    About your fiance, my honest advice (as one who remarried as well) is that you should think twice about the marriage and living arrangements if he is getting impatient with your daughter. Trying to deal with a difficult child and an unsympathetic husband is difficult. No matter how much you love him, it may not be enough. He needs to accept your daughter as she is and not just expect her to "get with the program" and behave. She probably is not able to do that and things may get worse. Does HE have kids? Do you have other kids too?

    Thankfully Marie is a single child, I think I would have some serious mental health issues of my own, if I had another child to deal with. And I'm reluctant to have another, for fear that it will be a repeat, or that she would hurt the baby out of jealousy, or by "accident" during a fit of rage. He has no children of his own, so this is very new to him, in addition to the challenges of her being a "difficult child". He's the one that has been initiating researching better ways to deal with her, and has been encouraging me to change and has been reading lots of books to try to help. He's normally quite patient, I think he just feels futile (which I can't really blame him for, since I often feel this way too, but I keep trying 'cause I have no choice but to try and hope).

    This is complicated. First and foremost I'd get that neuropsychologist evaluation (a private one) scheduled. Deal with school seperately--they can get her an IEP, but their testing is usually not as accurate as private testing. Next, maybe go to therapy yourself so you can decide about your relationship and anything else that is bothering you.

    I've been pushing for an IEP since mid-1st grade (she went to a k-1 school before). She's now in 2nd grade, and it's almost over. I've been trying for this all school year but the teachers and principal are not very cooperative. I've tried stating her rights, explaining her situation, I've left messages etc. I finally talked to the social worker last week (she finally called me back). I've also been trying to get her a para-pro for the bus/classroom because she is constantly in trouble and being punished. She has been kicked off the bus several times, suspended from school, sent home etc. I keep making suggestions but they fall on deaf ears. I feel like all years work is finally starting to get somewhere... just in time for the last few weeks of school, and just in time for the school to shrug it's shoulders and say "oh, sorry, it's to late" -_-
    I was in therapy until a few months ago. today was just extra hard, with the added stress of her suspension yesterday, and my fiance's occasional feelings of futility adding to my own. I just needed to talk to others that have been through this, and get a new infusion of hope, advice,a nd fresh ideas. I need recharged lol. also, with the cost of her medications, therapy, doctors appts, and sitters, I can't afford therapy for myself at this point. I'm doing alright right now, and I know I can go back and talk if I need to.

    Welcome to the board. Good people come here :DThank you for the response :)
     
  5. chococat

    chococat New Member

    Thanks so much for the lengthy response! I've read most of the explosive child and didn't find it very useful... But I find this one to be very helpful. Please see my last post for some answers to your questions
     
  6. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    ONe recommendation on the request for the evaluation. Put it in writing and send it certified to the school. Then they have to respond within a certain amount of time. Dealing with the schools can be a very difficult battle. I actually sat in a classroom for over a month with one of my difficult children to get him to finish school. That entire summer I educated myself on the rulse and rights of all of us. It can be a hard battle but it can be done. You might see if there are any educaiton advocates in your area.

    Welcome, glad you found this place it is a wonderful support. Sorry that you needed to.

    beth
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for answering the questions. They help! :D

    Due to her birthfather's tons of psychiatric issues, undiagnosed or not, and the "slow" people in your family (high functioning autism is often seen wrongly as being slow because the people tend to be very quirky and not act as bright as they really are) I'd take her for a neuropsychologist evaluation, private, without school's help. Sadly, I have never found school helpful in evaluating. They want to give your child as little help as they can because of $$$. You may want to privately test her, AND ask the school for an evaluatioin. This is what WE did. Then call your Dept. of Public Education IN YOUR STATE CAPITAL to ask who the free parent Advocate in your area is. They are invaluable help with balky schools. Schools don't tell you about them because they don't like them :tongue:. Too bad. They really helped us. The schools don't sit on their laurels when you have an Advocate.

    You need to get to the bottom of your daughter's issues. I'm no doctor, but "mood disorder" hits me in the face with the way your daughter behaves. If that's what she had (and I certainly don't know for sure) than ADHD medications will HURT her rather than help her. I would not trust the college student, even under a psychologist, since regular psychologists don't really do much testing and are not in my opinion good diagnosticians. I have a mood disorder so I've seen my fair share of professioanals--way too many to trust just one. I like the more thorough neuropsychologist evaluations. Then I'd take the results to a Psychiatrist for a second opinion (I believe in second, third, and fourth opinions UNTIL t he child is doing better). My son is on the high functioning autism spectrum.

    You sound like a great, involved mom. Hang in there ;) Try to get boyfriend to hang in there with you. NOTHING is futile. ANYONE can get better. It just takes time to get that right diagnosis and treatment down pat.

    Glad you're here, but sorry you had to come. :peaceful:
     
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    You already got so much good advice I do not have much else to add but to try to take care of yourself somehow. That is easier to say than to do, but from my experience if you do not take care of yourself you can do no good for anyone else. For myself I try to go work out (I am in bad shape, but it makes me feel better.) and I journal. I first started keeping a behavior journal on my son, and it morphed into me journalling about me and how I was feeling.

    Hugs.
     
  9. chococat

    chococat New Member

    That's a good idea, to send the letter certified so it's all documented. I've been researching the rules and rights for awhile now, but I'm still learning. For example, when her principal kept kicking her off the bus and threatened to suspend her from the bus permanently I told referred her to the Disability act and reminded her that she'd have to make accommodations. i've had to remind her of this 3 times before, and every time she speaks to me about her behavior I make suggestions and ask for a para pro, or if they want her to ride the special needs bus and she never follows through and I don't hear from her again til the next time that Marie gets kicked off the bus and we start the whole process again.
    Unfortunately I don't have the resources to go to class with her, since I work full time. sometimes I really wish I could be a stay at home mom so I could be there for her all the time. But I'm a nurse and the primary bread winner.

    Thanks so much for the good advice :) I've added that to me "to do" list. Now I have to figure out where I can find a neuropsychologist. I also forgot to mention (intended to but it slipped my mind after my huge post lol) that my brother was/is basically Marie's twin, behavior-wise. My dad went to prison when I was 10, bro about 11/12, and my mom was left "in charge" (remember, she's slow and timid). He was very defiant before dad left (dad was physically abusive to him, mentally abusive to us both and sexually abusive to me), but was completely out of control afterwards. He used to hit my mom, did drugs, fought a lot, wouldn't sleep at night, and was difficult to wake for school. Many times I remember my mom dressing him (at the age of 14+) for school and physically dragging him to the car and driving him to school where the pricipal would assist her in getting him to class. He eventually ended up on probation for vandalism and attended a 12 hour m-f day treatment program. Again, he was never diagnosed with anything. I don't think he was ever tested.
    I'm hoping we can figure out the root of Marie's issues soon, and do the right things to help her. She's a very bright kid with a lot of potential, she'll make a great adult :) Just gotta help her make it to adulthood in one peice lol

    I'm trying. I got a little massage today and I'm hoping to sneak out with my SO to watch Star Trek while my roomie watches Marie. Thanks for the advice :) I'm hoping tomorrow is relaxing...
     
  10. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Children's hospitals have the neuropsychologist. Ours is in a Univiversity hospital.

    beth
     
  11. chococat

    chococat New Member

    Is this covered by insurance, do you know? I have HAP HMO, I may need to get a referral...
     
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Insist from your pediatrician. With the problems on both sides of your family, she could very well have inherited some problems and you can't know that unless you have her tested. And NeuroPsychs do the most intensive testing. There are no blood tests or guarantees, but you will come the closest with a neuropsychologist evaluation.
     
  13. chococat

    chococat New Member

    Do you think my psychiatrist can give a referral? her pediatrician has been out of the loop since we have been seeing the psychiatrist.
     
  14. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    If need be make the appointment with the pediatrician to get the referral. Walk in tell them what you have done, what you know of the history, and what you need/ want. I bullied our pediatrician a bit and it helped.

    beth
     
  15. chococat

    chococat New Member

    lol well hopefully I won't have to bully him :) He's usually pretty nice.
     
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Chococat, I meant to respond yesterday but anyway, welcome.
    I am so sorry your bro never got a diagnosis. What a shame. And what a rough life for you!
    You sound like you're trying to stay on top of things and certainly won't repeat the mistakes of the past. :)
    I would definitely get a thorough evaluation for Marie. You need more info, and there is a lot of family history there.
    Best of luck!
    Glad you found us.
     
  17. chococat

    chococat New Member

    Thanks for the welcome :)
    Me too, he still has problems. He's on probation now for drunk driving. Thanks for the support ^_^
     
  18. chococat

    chococat New Member

    Today Marie's school called to say that she was disruptive again. however, it wasn't the principal that called, it was another teacher, I don't know if she's the special needs teacher or what (I was at work when she called so I didn't get to catch everything). She said that they were negotiating a way to keep Marie in school and they want to try sending Marie to her classroom when she's disruptive in her home class. Then for each minute she spends in that classroom she will also have to spend time in this teachers classroom after school. She said she'd make Marie do educational worksheets/books during this time. What do you guys think of this? They'd only be able to do this on the days I do not work (2-3 days a week) since I would have to pick her up from school.
     
  19. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    No. You need an IEP. Get that certified letter out. It starts a legal timeline.

    It's not uncommon for our kids to have a "resource room" to go to when needed, but it shouldn't be accompanied by punishment to stay after school. That will only serve to make school her enemy.
     
  20. chococat

    chococat New Member

    I think it's no longer realistic to get an IEP in place. They've stalled for so long (partly my fault since I didn't know about the timeline/certified letter factors) that were' about a month from the end of the school year.
    Problem is that they think this punishment will teach her a lesson and that they'll see improvement and she won't need to leave the classroom as much... I dunno though, I don't think she's gonna stop being defiant in class. I think she might just become more defiant in "detention"
     
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