Not really sure what to do...I guess I'm looking for support, ideas, and commiseratio

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by agee, Aug 4, 2009.

  1. agee

    agee Guest

    Hey all -
    1st post although I've lurked around here for a couple years reading about everyone's kids and how you deal with them.
    My second son is now 7, adopted at 15 months from EE, with probable alcohol exposure in utero. He was diagnosis. ADHD at 4 and has been on stimulant medications ever since. None of them help for more than 3-4 months. He always has to be on the max. dosage. The latest is Vyvanse and it's the last stimulant. medication that we have available. He also started Fluoxetine about a year ago and is up to 20 mg/day. He takes imipramine at night for bedwetting, although he should probably come off of it. Weirdly enough, it was with the imipramine that I've seen the greatest improvement in behavior. He's very oppositional and rude and the mornings were the worst, but once we started the imipramine mornings got a lot better. I dread going off it (apparently it's short term).
    He also takes 2 mg melatonin at night or else he will not go to sleep. He has no off switch. He never napped as a baby.
    When he was 3 he was diagnosis. with mild sensory-seeking issues, as well, but we could not afford the Occupational Therapist (OT) so we did things at home.
    He is socially behind. He obsesses about doing certain things or seeing certain people and then once we're doing the thing he complains he's bored, or he doesn't participate. He doesn't play with kids, he just plays next to them or bosses them around. He is oppositional. He will not stop talking and making noise, and he's destroyed every single toy he's ever had. He chews everything (this is the sensory stuff). He loves to get us mad. He senses when we're tired and/or overwhelmed and hits us full force with his behaviors. The only behavioral interventions that have EVER worked have been physical punishment, which is something I never thought I'd do as a parent but now I do it quite frequently. The method I liked best for behavior control was Love & Logic, not because it really did anything for him but because it focuses on the parent remaining calm, which feels like the only thing I have any control over ever.
    He is behind at school in reading and handwriting, even though I kept him out of kindergarten a year because I knew he couldn't hack it when he was 5.
    We've been looking for diagnosis. and help since he was 2, starting with Early Intervention, and things are not getting any better at home. I have to monitor what he's doing all the time. If he's alone he invariable gets into something. This afternoon, for example, he was sent to his room to "relax" for 30 minutes (our therapist told us it was appropriate to expect children to play alone for 30 min. at a time HAHAHAHA) and he went into his older brother's room, took his masking tape and markers, chewed up 4 markers (got ink all over the rug), and wrapped his hand with an entire roll of masking tape so that his fingers were turning purple. It took me 20 minutes to get the tape off.
    In the scheme of things, this isn't overwhelmingly horrible, but it's an example of what goes on all the time around here. I asked him why he did what he did and he said it's because he has nothing to do in his room, which is baloney since he has a car set on the floor, some other small toys, and some books. We have removed most toys from his room as punishment for gouging a huge whole in his hardwood floor (which is 100 years old and which my husband refinished himself) last week, but he did have some toys available. So I yelled at him, removed the tape and markers and scissors (!) from his room, and told him the 30 minutes started over again...and he's been yelling and screaming since then.
    Obviously, I needed to vent. But I also really don't know what to do. I don't want to live like this! My husband doesn't want to live like this, and I don't think my 10 year old son should have to live like this, either. I would actually like to adopt a 3rd child, a little girl, but my husband doesn't want to because of this younger son. I know where he's coming from, believe me. He is exhausting to live with.
    I wrote this because I know a lot of you have been there and done that...but I also don't know what to do about getting the kid a decent diagnosis and treatment. He's seen primarily child psychiatrists, although I also took him to a center for child development where he saw a team of specialists, including a development pediatrician, a psychiatrist, and an educational specialist. Everyone just keeps suggesting changing medications...which I am not opposed to (obviously, see above!) but it is SO FRUSTRATING for things to never get any better. Who do I need to go to see? If he's got a fetal-alcohol thing is there no hope of him ever getting any easier to live with? Is there some kind of doctor/specialist who can help us?
    His psychiatrist has been pushing for Risperdal and I'm going to tell him okay to it on Thursday...I really don't know what else to do.
    Help, and sorry so scattered.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Wow, he sounds like Tigger when he was younger. It took the docs 5 years and multiple docs to finally get a handle on him -- autistic AND bipolar. Once he was treated for BOTH, we saw HUGE improvements.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Welcome to the board!

    I can understand your frustration and the overwhelming fatigue that comes from trying to parent a child like your difficult child.

    From the sound of things, there's a lot more than just ADHD going on. The fact that his mood improved with impipramine says a lot about the likelihood that a mood disorder of some kind being present -- and whether it's anxiety or depression or some other combination will take time for you and your psychiatrist and any other professionals involved to figure it all out. Unfortunately, it's very much a trial and error process with the medications. Doctors have to go by symptoms and history and then make their best choice for treatment based on that. How the child responds to that treatment determines the next step from there.

    For us, it's taken 8 years for my difficult child 2 to get as close to stability as he's ever been. Like you, we started with what we thought was a kid with ADHD. Then the stimulant medications stopped working and we titrated higher and higher until it was just crazy that they were acting like water with him, yet he was on an incredibly high dose.

    Risperdal was helpful for my difficult child 2 for a while with his agression and impulse control to a certain extent. In his case, he developed a bad reaction to that class of medications, so he's now on Seroquel XR (a similar drug but acts a little differently than others in that class) and he's doing much, much better.

    The problem with these kids is that until you get them stabilized, all the punishments and consequences in the world aren't going to be nearly as effective as you hope. So much of their behavioral problems are beyond their control. Until you get to that point (at least in our case) having a very structured environment can go a long way to help with some of the issues. Clear rules, clear consequences, and a calm, consistent home environment help a lot.

    If he hasn't had a neuropsychologist evaluation, that may also do a lot to clarify what's going on with him and rule out any learning disabilties that might complicate the picture further.

    Risperdal might be a good choice for your difficult child, but you won't know for sure unless you give it a try. And since there are a few weeks until school starts again (at least where we are) what better time to give it a try? You should know in about a week if it's taking him in the right direction. It may take time to adjust the medication level if it does work out to be right for him. It may be the wrong medication for him, too. But don't give up. There are lots of other options out there to try. And don't be discouraged if he ends up needing more than one medication to complete the "cocktail". My difficult child 2 has gone through more than a dozen different medications to get to the two that work for him today.

    I hope he also has support at school... either a 504 plan or an IEP... others can chime in about that if it's something you want to know more about.

    We're glad you've decided not to lurk anymore! Welcome!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. I'm adoptive mom of four, and I have a few things to say. First where is EE??? That's one I never heard of. Is this a local adoption where you get a subsidy and Medicaid or an international adoption?

    Secondly, he sounds just like the child we adopted out of foster care. Our son is on the autism spectrum. If I were to venture a guess, that's what I'd think he may have. That would make it hard for him to play in his room for 30 minutes, therapist's orders or not. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids don't know how to play so they tend to take things apart or write on things or rock or just bang things around. It's part of the disorder. Does your child make good eye contact? Does he use toys the normal way? Does he have a good imagination? Does he know how to relate to his same age peers appropriately? Can he hold a give-and-take conversation? Drug use in utero can cause Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is not best treated with behavioral therapies because these kid's brains are wired differently and they don't respond like "typical" kids.

    Thirdly, if this child was exposed to drinking in utero, you have a problem because he could have fetal alcohol spectrum which is very difficult to deal with. It's NOT THE CHILD'S FAULT...IT IS ORGANIC BRAIN DAMAGE. You didn't describe your child enough to tell, so can you child retain information or does he forget the alphabet one day and know it the next? Does he have a very poor or non-existent short term memory? These are big red flags for alcohol problems which cause behavioral issues. These kids need constant supervision, even as they grow into adults, I'm told. They can't help it. They don't understand things and they never remember stuff and don't "get" right from wrong. but it may not be alcohol problems. It sounds more Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-like to me, and that's workable. Remember, all of us are laymen though.

    in my opinion you need to get this child completely evaluated by a NeuroPsychologist. You can find them at university hospitals, and they take Medicaid. Children who are adopted with "iffy" prenatal histories and genetic backgrounds are very hard to diagnose. A neuropsychologist could test him for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and for fetal alcohol syndrome and anything else.

    Now the lecture: Stop hitting him. Whether it works or doesn't work, it's not his fault he behaves the way he does, and it's not personal and hitting him will not help him and will only make him more aggressive. You could also be turned into CPS. I don't know where you live, but in some states, they are pretty strict about corporal punishment with little kids. Also, coporal punishment only works when the kids are tiny. Wait until they get older and if they are problem children they may hit you back. I would stop that right now. You need an evaluation and interventions, not physical punishment. I wouldn't adopt another child until you get a handle on this one. Another child may have the same issues or similar ones.

    One last thing. Did he have any love or affection for the first fifteen months of his life? If not, you also need to look into attachment disorder, which a developmental pediatrician or the schools probably never even heard of. Be careful though. Many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) adopted kids are misdiagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) because they can look the same. I still really believe he is somewhere on the autism spectrum and that's what's going on the most. My son's first diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD. He has neither.

    Glad to have you with us, sorry you have to be here.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    MWM - EE is probably Eastern Europe, so likely Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is playing a role as well.
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Adding in my welcome. Your son sounds so much like mine around that age. I know how exhausting that is. I agree about seeing a neuropsychologist. They can be very helpful. My son too, ran through all the different stimulants (Vyvanse wasn't available at the time). He always became more violent while taking stims, we realized for him he can never go back on them. Luckily he is able to take Clonidine to help with his ADHD symptoms.

    Glad you found us, you are so not alone!
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm glad you came out of lurkdom to join us!

    You've heard from a couple members that had similiar situations in their families and I think they gave you some great suggestions and words of wisdom.

    I strongly agree that there is more here than adhd and the fact that his doctor wants you to try the risperdal says his doctor suspects more as well. Risperdal has worked wonders for many children with behavior issues and you really don't have anything to loose trying it with your difficult child.

    Again, welcome to the site.

  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I finally got it :D.
    It could well be playing a role. If so, that's really hard to do much about. However, we figured our son had Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) and he has no symptoms of it. He's sixteen now. Trust me, his birthmother was high on crack when he was born, so I'm quite sure she didn't say, "No, I can't drink, I'm pregnant" when offered a beer. We lucked out. It's really luck of the draw.
    I hope it's not alcohol issues.
  9. agee

    agee Guest

    Thank you all so much for your responses. It really just helps to know I'm not alone in this. All my friends have "normal" kids and it's hard to really find someone to talk to who knows what it's like to live with a kid like this.

    And yes, EE is Eastern Europe!

    I want to answer some questions so you get a better picture of my darling child.

    I don't think that he is autistic, although I could be wrong, I guess. He can make eye contact, although you have to tell him to, and he *can* plan with toys normally and has done so, especially at other people's houses. Some days, particularly when he's been early on with a new stimulant, he and his brother play together - legos, cars, zooming stuff around, boy stuff. And he has a great imagination and can converse as long as he isn't being oppositional. Absolutely yes he can give and take. He plays best with kids younger than him. If he's in a crowd he'll wander off to play alone, and if kids are older/same age he tends to boss them around.

    He can retain information, although it can be hard to measure for teachers, since he's more likely to blurt something out (free association) than think about it and give the real answer. He is highly distractable, so sometimes it's hard to tell if he's paying attention...but usually he is. His pre-k teacher used to say that she could read a story and he'd be rolling on the floor, poking his neighbor, wiggling, making noises, etc. and then when she'd ask the questions about the story he'd have perfect recall. So The big problems with his school work - reading and handwriting - are impulsivity. Instead of sounding out words he'll just blurt.

    And yes, he has a 504. He had an AWESOME kindergarten teacher and we both pushed for one and it's very appropriate. School is actually not the huge issue. It's more home.

    Okay. I know this and I appreciate your bluntness. There are better ways to deal with him that won't make me feel like such a horrible mother. Physical touch - whether rough or not - does get his attention better than anything, however. I know he'll listen better if I'm squeezing his arm. But I totally agree that this is something I need to get away from. It can easily get out of hand.

    But I do have to disagree with the last bit - a lot of times it *does* seem to be his fault when he misbehaves. I think he should have some of the blame! Sometimes he can keep it together and sometimes he can't. Sometimes it's clear that he does things specifically to try to make me mad or get attention. He also does the same misbehaviors over and over and over and over and over again and when asked WHY he says it's because he wants to. Strict boundaries, rules, and clear consequences are the only thing that's worked for him. If I really thought it wasn't his "fault," somehow, then why bother having consequences at all? He'd be (more of) a little animal if we ran our house that way.

    Any other insight from you all, now that I've added some more info, is fully appreciated. We have an appointment Thurs. and I'll talk to the psychiatrist about a referral/recommendation for a neuropsychologist - I can also call the place that did the team evaluation. and find out if they have someone one staff. evaluations. are really tricky with him because he gets fairly anxious in strange situations and tends to be very much in control. It's hard for them to see the full picture. But I'm sure experienced people have their ways of figuring it all out!

    Thanks again,
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the overview. But one thing you didn't answer is if he was an orphanage kid and, if so, did he get any love or nurturing when he was an infant until when he got to you? Did he have any one caregiver who held him, cuddled him, gave him attention? That's important with our older adopted kids--they can develop attachment disorder problems.

    It certainly doesn't sound like your son has fetal alcohol spectrum. If he was exposed to alcohol and drugs, even if he doesn't have the spectrum, it CAN cause neurological issues--I'd definitely see a neuropsychologist. That was really valuable with my very puzzling son. Also, if you know about his birthparents that also helps, but my internationally adopted kids came with very little information on their birthparents.

    Good luck with your little boy. It's hard for us to know what's wrong. And I suspect that, like my son, he will get quite a few diagnoses--and lots of disagreement, so it's kind of a journey of sorts. The poor prenatal care really throws off the diagnosticians...

    Take care!!!
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Autism is more complex than I think you realise. We have a highly sociable but socially inept autistic boy. He has always made good eye contact and is capable of imaginative play. He always had some odd gaps in his abilities (in thre games he played as a baby) as well as some odd and amazing capabilities.
    Example - ther usual baby game of "where is baby's noe? Where is baby's eye?" and so on, he was never able to play. He never got it. Turned out, he didn't understand the labels. Even when we moved his hand to touch his nose, his eye or whatever. But he DID get a game his sister taugt him at about age 18 months to 2, of copying facial expressions in response to a named expression. "Show me happy" and he would smile. Show me angry" and he would frown. He was copying us and the expressions we had taught him in response to these words, but he could do that when he didn't know where his nose was.
    He would happily go to a total stranger. He would seek out other kids to play with.

    But he is definitely autistic.

    Gotta go - more later.


  12. agee

    agee Guest

    Thanks to everyone who's replied. This is invaluable information.
    Yes, my son was in an orphanage. Goes with the territory with an EE adoption. He was with his bio family for the first 8 mos. of life and in an orphanage for 7 mos. He came to us very affectionate and used to being touched and handled, however. He didn't have one special caretaker in his children's home. I have thought about attachment issues a lot with him and have read several books on the subject, but when I've asked his doctors. they don't seem to think it's an issue. Maybe they just don't have experience in it. He certainly doesn't have Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). He is very wary around other people and he's affectionate with us.
    His birthparents were both alcoholics. All 5 of their children (my son was the youngest) were removed from their home for neglect. I know there was prenatal alcohol exposure, I just can't prove it.
    Off I go to look up neuropsychs and autism...
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sorry I ran out of time before. I had to go out, I had posted while waiting for my ride to arrive.

    If you're wanting to research autism (and both my boys were happy to be cuddled although usually it's on their terms; easy child 2/difficult child 2 wanted to be cuddled ALL the time, was often inappropriate with when she wanted a cuddle) then go have a look at the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire on Of course nothing on line can be used to officially diagnose, but if you run the questionnaire on him, see how he scores, then print it out (regardless ofwhether it says he's normal or not) then take it along to the neuropsychologist appointment, it wil (if nothing else) point out the sort of things which are a concern for you, and which (since there's such a huge, apparently random lot of issues) make it easier for you to remember to mention them.

    Of course his early rough start has to be considered. In a lot of cases, it explains everything. But sometimes the problem can be multiple. A kid who is in a bad environment is going to be even worse off, if he's also inherited (purely by chance) any other disorder. But if the background iswhere people stop looking, it can take a lot of hard work to get consideration for other possible cuncurrent problems.

    Example - a case that was in the Aussie media a few years ago, was a case of serious abuse. The parents had taken to tying up their kids (literally) in order to stop them from wandering around and getting into mischief. The parents would hogtie the two kids and leave them on the bed that way, then go out. There were two kids, a boy and a girl. The girl died (suffocated, I think, because she was tied and got caught up in the bedclothes). The whistle got blown because it was obvious from the little girl's body thatshe had been badly neglected. The family was inspected and the boy obviously delayed in development, beleived to be due to extreme parental neglect. The parents were charged, of course. The boy was placed with his grandparents who worked to teach him the most basic things. Imagine - always tied up, never learning how to dress himself, feed himself, do anything for himself. Functionally handicapped.

    But as time went on, grandma began to think, "something else is wrong here, I think he could be autistic."
    But te authorities (on whom she depended for health assistance) couldn't see it; they kept insisting that it was all due to the abuse and neglect and all he needed was patience and training. Grandma insisted, he needed further assessment.

    It took a lot of pushing but finally the boy was tested - and yes, the diagnosis was autism.

    Then a few more details began to emerge, details about the earlier development. And increasingly people began to wonder - was the sister (now dead) also autistic? If BOTH the kids were autistic (especially the firstborn) and the parents were not able to cope, then tying the kids up may have been a desperate attempt to cope by already incompetent parents. Clearly not what they should have done, but having been there myself when difficult child 3 was younger, there were times when I mentally visualised how easy my life would be if I could put him on a leash, or just find a way to make sure he wouldn't escape and go walkabout on me yet again.
    In other words - neglectful parents can do a lot of damage to a perfectly normal kid. But if you have neglectful parents and they have a difficult child child, then you have a recipe for disaster. And you also risk not seeing the wood for the trees.

    I just did a search for a link to the story - here it is.

    It's the full transcript taken from a half hour documentary interview program dealing specifically with the follow-up of how the boy was going three years later. THis particular TV network and this program especially, has a very high reputation for integrity.

  14. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi & welcome.

    You've had many wise suggestions. However, please do not dismiss attachment issues or Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) based on being affectionate or eye contact. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is an entire spectrum from mild attachment issues to full blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). There is the inhibited & disinhibited types of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).

    I fought this diagnosis & made sure all else had been ruled out. My children have severe Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Love & Logic puts the behavior back on the child - gives them the choice to do what is asked or give up something in return. And it's wonderful & more likely advised for adopted children.

    After reading your descriptions I would look at all your options but don't dismiss attachment issues or Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It all sounds very familiar to me. The need to control all situations (especially when a parent/caregiver is on their last nerve - these kids know) any way they can.

    I'd offer that you do anything you can that is nurturing; offering to rock your child, playing cards & touching hands, learning to wrap your difficult child in a blanket for security among other things. These are helpful for sensory issues that are notorious in adopted children as well & cannot hurt.

    I'm glad you came out of "lurkdom". I hope I haven't offended you in any way. I'm offering you something to consider.
  15. agee

    agee Guest

    You have not offended me in the slightest. I'm not dismissing attachment issues, I just don't think he fits the profile of full-blown Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), specifically because he is clear on who his parents are, is not at all charming to others (and is often quite rude, in fact) although yes, there are some probably attachment issues. On both sides, I might add. Some days I feel like I need some attachment therapy! Some of the issues I feel like we could do a better job dealing with if he wasn't so, so, so distractible, impulsive, and hyper. There is no "quiet time" with this kid. He is happy to kiss, hug, etc. but there is no snuggling possible. We do try to be over the top when he does something right. He gets enough of the opposite!
    He is often seemingly insecure with us - this morning I did a story time at a local toy store he walked through the kids on the floor and started playing the toy piano. We had talked about what needed to happen in terms of behavior during story time ahead of time, but it's possible he felt like I was paying too much attention to the other kids and not enough to him. Or maybe he saw the piano and just wanted to play it. Or maybe since we'd talked about how he was supposed to behave this was a way of being oppositional. Or maybe all of the above.
    He is 7. Average age of the extremely well-behaved audience? 3.
    Here's the problem with our situation, and probably the situation of so many people on this site - it could be a, b, c, or d, or maybe all together, or maybe a little of this, a whole lot of that, or none of the above.
    Very, very frustrating.
    I went to the autism site and did the form. He scored a 67 - mild. Again, not ruling it out, just something I never considered at all.
    Thanks to everyone. I'll keep you all posted.
  16. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Welcome! You've gotten great advice so far and I'm glad you've posted. It just kills me how quick doctors are to diagnoss every behavior issue as ADHD. Given you sons history, an extensive evaluation such as a neuro-psychiatric would be very helpful. My son was also adopted and showed some signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) but didn't really fit the diagnosis. Still some Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) therapies were helpful early on. My son didn't seem autistic at all when he was younger but it really comes out now in his lack of social skills, rigid thinking, diificulties with variations in routines, etc.. Much of what was thought to be ADHD turns out to be a response to over-stimulation and the more we control his environment, the better he is able to function. Activities a typical kid can handle are just way too much for our difficult child. He would have reacted the same way in the storytime setting. That is how he acted in his kindergarten and preschool as well. He's had a one to one assistant and is now in a very small self-contained classroom and he still struggles at times. Expect difficult child's diagnosis to evolve with time and push for as much testing as you can get to provide the clearest picture of what will help your difficult child.

  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Christy, same here. My son actually seemed like he had a form of autism when we got him, but he truly seemed to outgrow it by kindergarten so we figured he didn't have it. WRONG! When he was older and kids were starting to hang out and have close friendships and socialize, he was way behind and he also started falling behind in school in fourth grade although he is bright. Until then, he was ahead. My motto: "It's better to be safe than sorry."

    Check all your bases.
  18. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    Having worked with many children who were adopted from abroad, I would suggest that you rule out other mental health issues prior to following the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/Autism spectrum.

    1. Most of these children spend their formative years in larger centers with minimal human contact and limited opportunities to explore environments (e.g. spend 15 months in a crib without given opportunities to crawl). Minimal human contact would result in attachment disorder difficulties and social delays and minimal movement significantly affects sensory processing development.

    2. Language issues are often caused by limited verbal interactions with the adult caregivers in these situations and these children are often adopted with minimal exposure to the new language they are learning. Language delays are often a result.

    Another suggestion for followup - there are physicians who specialize working with children who were adopted from overseas. Often these children have unique medical needs as well as unique mental health issues which psychiatrists aren't familiar with.
  19. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    An interesting Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) score. Regardless of the cause (attachment issues/early orphanage patterns in EE) it probably justifies getting a referral to a neuropsychologist. That way you don't have to try to diagnose him, you're asking an expert to do it.

    A working hypothesis is useful though, in the meantime. and even mild Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) can be a huge handful. Language delay is perhaps one of the biggest impacts on the scores - no language delay will generally bring a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) score into "mild" even if other aspecgts are a huge problem.

    What worked for us - we first removed the sense of blame, tat he was doing tis deliberately to upset us. Because that actually gave him too much credit for social capability. Instead we saw his tantrums as a last-ditch stand born of frustration plus inabilty to effectively communicate in the urgent situation.

    Example - last night husband was washing up for me, wearing carefully-put-on washing up gloves. He suddenyl said, "Arrgh!" and appeared to be trying to remove his glasses with his knuckes. I interpreted this as, "I have a hair caught behind my glasses, it's tickling, can you please get it out for me?"
    I went over and took his glasses from him and was reaching to brush away any hair form his eyes, whewn he turned his head and rubbed his closed eye across the back of my hand. Again and again. I had to say, "Stop, wait, let me look," and it still took a bit before I had the chance to see. He inclined his head for his glasses and as I put them on I said, "I though it was just a hair behind your glasses tickling you."
    He said, "Thank you. So did I, but then the itch became maddening."
    I said, "Why didn't you talk or use words? We're always tellnig difficult child 3 to use his words."

    He didn't really respond and because it was no big deal, just a small glitch in the task (plus we were both trying to watch TV through it all) we left it.

    But it made me think - in the crisis, husband didn't talk about it, he just made noises and signs. And this happens often enough for me to just accept it as normal. [by the way I know he is reading this and may have some comment of his own to make].

    So a suggestion - give your son some space and instead sit back and watch. Make notes. Don't immediatly ascribe evil motives or naughtiness to his actions; instead, look and see - could it simply be frustration? What do you think he is feeling?

    You don't have to stay there, either. It's simply a starting point, because obviously this kind of behaviour is not acceptable long-term. But he probably behaves this way because he can't do it any other way, at least not in the heat of the moment. A lot of kids, especially as they are learning, can hold it together a lot of the time. But in a panic, they go to pieces and revert back to a younger level of behaviour. You may be socialising a toddler well and he may be sharing his toys beautifully; then a baby crawls over and grabs his favoroute to, and the kid turns and clobbers the baby to get his toy back. His favourite toy taken = panic. He knows he did the wrong thing afterward and you can talk until you're blue in the face, but until he learns a better and more effective way, it will happen again. A kid who is having more toruble socialising and learning this sort of thing is going to revert back for longer. They need to learn a DIFFERENT way. Punishment isn't always the best way to teach, eiter. If a child genuinely can't help the imulsivity, punishment isn't going to change his behaviour. All it will seem to the child, is that you are taking revenge. Punishment then seems to have been given to him because you have the o=power over him and you're assering that power to show him that you are stronger than him. The only lesson he learns is resentment and "might is right".

    Instead, you can use the times he is calmer and in control, to role-play. What is a better way for him to hve handled tat situation? If talking about it gets him agitated, you back off and try again later when he is calmer. Keep him calm as a priority; teach by role-play as a second priority. Avoid punishment if it's not working. Avoid ANYTHING that is not working.

    It's different, but sometimes kids like ours need this difference. But these methods will also work for other kids too, so you don't need to have different rules for different kids.

    You sound like you're really doing some heavy-duty research on what could be the cause here. It's probably time to call for professional help to assist you in this.

  20. agee

    agee Guest

    I think the advice to take a step back and watch is good advice. I will *try* to do this. The main problem with the things my son does is that a)they are breaking a household rule that is there for a very good reason, like safety (i.e. don't leave our 2-acre fenced in yard without telling us where you're going), respect for others (i.e. don't walk up to your brother who is playing legos, shove him, and start smashing the legos, and calling him a swear word), or respect for property (the aforementioned gouging the hole in the floor, or even stuff like emptying all the shampoo out of the bottles in the shower when told over and over again not to do it. And yes, we put the shampoo bottles up high. He brings a couple of stools in the shower, piles them up, and gets the shampoo anyway). So not having a consequence for these actions seems very counterintuitive. And the consequence generally involves a talking-to and a time-out, not a beating, which I may have led some of you to believe what's going on. A spanking is last resort, and usually is because of breaking a rule over and over and over again.

    My son had a language delay, but I'm pretty sure it's because he was spoken to in one language and at 15 mos couldn't speak himself (this is very common in an orphanage) and then came into a house where we spoke another language. But he learned baby sign within hours of us getting him, and his language delay was one of articulation. He talked, we just couldn't understand what he was saying. He talks a ton now, and is pretty good at self-reporting, be it how he's feeling or how stupid and mean we are.

    Honestly, I think a big problem for us right now is inappropriate medications. We are able to handle the mornings well, but by the evening (when my exhausted husband comes home) things go south, fast. And this is when he's burnt through all his medications and he is tired, too.

    So - thanks for all the amazing advice. We have a doctors. appointment. today and we'll have some medications. adjustments and I'll ask for a neuropsychologist referral and we'll take it from there.