ODD in the adopted child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by farmhousegirl, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. farmhousegirl

    farmhousegirl New Member

    Hello everyone, I'm new here :grins:

    husband and I have been married nearly 20 years, and we have 6 children from the ages of 19 down to twins who are 18 months old. We adopted our 9 year old when he was just turning 2. He is our only adopted child.

    Our son has developmental disabilities. His current IQ is in the low 60's. That is not the problem. It's the constant screaming and fighting that has become our life. Nothing is his fault--EVER. He lashes out at his 6 year old brother, hitting him often. He's taken to calling me, "Ne-Ne" instead of "Mom". I'm getting several calls a week about his bad behavior at school. Nobody gets respect from him, either at home or at school. If he does not want to do something, he just will not do it--for anyone.

    I'm not sure how to parent him. Nothing that works for our other kids work for him....he just does not care. The only thing he does care about is video games. When we take those away, he flips out, screaming, kicking, hitting--acting like a wild animal.

    He is on medication for his adhd and social anxiety. He takes Medadate, Prozac and he just started Intuniv too. His Dr. thought that the Intuniv might help with his behavior issues saying that it sounds like Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

    Guess I'm here looking for support. Life is so hard with him. We recently went on a family vacation and he made it miserable for all of us. I'm afraid of what our, and his, future holds. Right not he can't hurt me, but he's a big boy and will be a teen before long. He's hurting his brother, he's rough with our cats. Each day I dread dealing with his behavior, and it's getting to me.

  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there, I too am raising an adopted son that I adoped when he was 2.10. He is also developmentally delayed...functioning low/ testing as borderline 76-85 IQ. he has an acquired brain injury and Autism.

    I do not have other children, if I did I think i would not be able to function, so i can't imagine the added issues. I am sure life is just a struggle and you want desperately for it not to be so for him, for you and for the other children. I am so sorry. Can you tell us more about him? do you know of his birth history? I assume he is in special educaiton classes, is he in a daughter class or ???? Does he have a specific diagosis/label or is it only adhd and anxiety for now? You will hear lots of opinions about the ODD diagnosis because to many of us it describes some symptoms but usually there is something bigger driving it... early drug exposure, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Mental Health diagnosis like bi-polar or others, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), etc. Do you have any county supports (you are in the usa right, from your location I am assuming)? No trying to pry, just that more of us will be able to tell you what we have been thru, share similar experiences etc.

    When was his last full evaluation? Has he had private evaluations? neuropsychologist? I would think that you should qualify for pca services, or Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) or personal support. Was he adopted through foster care? If so there should be more options. You may even be able to get respite services away from your home.

    Mostly I just want you to know you are welcome and in a lot of company who can really relate. There are quite a few here with large families who will be able to share sympathy and stories. You are right, as he grows he will be able to hurt even if he doesn't intend to really do harm. My son is nearly 100 lbs now and he is currently in the hospital because he had such a terrible reaction to a new medication he went totally wild. Luckily we had an Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) worker here to hold him while I called 911. It is such a hard road and they deserve the best but it gets tiring and frustrating.

    Keep checking here often over the next few days. I hope you will see that people really care deeply and are immensly supportive. If you can create a signature under your profile it will help people to follow your story and remember you, your situation, as you post.

    Happy to meet you, Buddy
  3. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Hello and welcome, Glad you f ound us but sorry you needed to. This is a wonderful supportive place and there will be others along soon with great suggestions. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. -RM
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Hi, welcome to the board! I hope you don't mind some questions. We can help better with more info.

    do you have a safety plan? Do the other kids know what to do when the 9 year old melts down? Is he targeting the 6 year old or is he hurting the other kids as well. What is his emotional age? What supervision/prevention do you do? Do you have someone helping you implement behavior plans?

    In the past I would put up a baby gate in the middle of the hallway to make a no mans land between the kids and the time out room. Do you have a time out room? Have you been trained to do holds/restraints on kids? With difficult child 1 for everyone's protection it was necessary for me to restrain him until I could get him to the time out room.

    My difficult child 1 is on 24/7 supervision for his aggression towards his other siblings. It is very hard on me. Just tonight I looked away and my 3 year old ended up face first on the floor. difficult child 1 had done something. It is very hard. I believe natural consequences are the best for difficult child 1. When difficult child 1 does something like that he loses the privilege of siblings for a short time. I don't know if that is something that would work with your difficult child. Maybe a behavior plan where kind hands, kind words, and kind mouth earn video game.

    I have found that the child that is on difficult child 1's emotional level is the one he targets. Right now that is easy child 1. It used to be difficult child 2. difficult child 2 and difficult child 3 have now passed difficult child 1 in emotional age.

    How much testing have you gotten done? Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), Audiotory processing? I've found the more you know the better your reactions are. The better help you can get for difficult child.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Not sure, but I suspect that adopted children in homes where there are only other bio kids sometimes feel uncomfortable (for lack of a better word) around their bio siblings. Throw in all the other concerns...the low IQ, ADHD and social anxiety and surely, its got to be very hard. Do you have a close relative that might be able to lend a helping hand? What about a big brother type program? These days many cities have adoption groups where parents of adopted kids meet up ... almost like a club of sorts. Something like that might be nice, so that our child can meet other adopted children.

    Explore any interests your child likes...sports, karate , etc. and sign him up for any extracurricular activities in that area.

    Its good that you are trying medications...never hesitate to seek a second opinion if you are not happy with your child's doctor. If your child worsened after getting on ADHD medication, you MUST tell the doctor this because it might mean something and he might not be able to stay on this medication.

    If your child doesn't improve soon and if you can afford it, I would seriously consider getting him a therapist for talk therapy weekly. But be careful, don't make a big deal about it, don't talk about it openly with outsiders or in front of the other chidren...as it can have a bad stigma.

    It will be important that you and your husband are a united front...meaning that you both together agree on appropriate discplinary actions. Do your best to help him at school, hiring tutors if you can afford it and paying extra attention to getting the right teachers and even schools.

    Make sure that you and your spouse nurture your relationship together and allow when possible for a ltitle alone time together. Don't let this, or any of your other children put a wedge between you and don't let this child hurt any of the others.

    As best as you can, love him unconditionally and let him feel that love.
  6. keista

    keista New Member

    Hello and welcome.

    No advice, just wanted to show my support and say you've found the right place. PPl here are AMAZING, and between the collective "us" have been through just about every situation imaginable.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Nomad has made some very valid points.

    I have to wonder, given his delays & IQ, whether he can "compete" or function surrounded by so many "normal" kids.

    Saying that, I'd do the family vacation thing with-o your difficult child. Seriously, a child with that level of delay needs structure & familiar surroundings.

    Parenting your difficult child will take a different path than parenting the rest of your children. While it may not seem fair to the rest of your clan, there are just some things your difficult child cannot comprehend; likely some things he cannot do with-o extreme patience & constant direction, redirection, & repetitive instruction. Consequences likely mean nothing because he's not understanding the why's & wherefores of his behaviors.

    Oh, by the way, welcome.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending welcoming hugs your way. DDD
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have adopted four kids (and one that was so damaged, he couldn't stay with us). Can you tell us all a bit about his life before you? Did his birthmother use substances while pregnant? Did he have a stable life before coming to you? Has he ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation to see exactly why he has developmental delays, where they are, and what his potential is? Does he get school/community interventions? Is it possible he is on the autism spectrum? If so, lots of noise and chaos is very upsetting to those kids. Could he have fetal alcohol effects?

    We really don't have much information. Curiously, why did you adopt him and then not adopt again? Could he feel left out?
  10. farmhousegirl

    farmhousegirl New Member

    Thanks for the welcome everyone! It's so nice to know that husband and I are not alone.

    To answer a few questions....we adopted after 9 years of secondary IF. Ended up getting pregnant when DS9 (our difficult child, is that the term?) came into our home. We were thinking of adopting again or having another birth child when I became pregnant unexpectedly with the twins :)

    difficult child has been told about adoption and that he is adopted, but because of his delays, he does not understand what this means.

    He is much more like a 3-4 year old than a 9 year old. He loves the Wiggles, for example. His expressive and receptive speech is more that of a 4 year old also.

    His birthmother used Meth throughout the pregnancy. Birth father is in and out of jail constantly. The only diagnosis we have from him (via the courts) is that boyfriend has intermittent explosive disorder. difficult child was in a stable foster home with an older couple from the time he came home from the hospital. They noticed his delays and had him in Early Intervention from the time he was 10 months old. He didn't smile or make eye contact for the first year of his life. When he came to us, he was starting to babble, would smile and make eye contact. Autism has been ruled out.

    difficult child targets his 6 year old brother and not the other children. Well, two of our children are not children. One is almost 20, the other almost 18.

    difficult child is under near constant supervision. He lashes out at his 6yo brother in front of us. We have difficult child in his own bedroom and our 6yo shares a room with the twins for safety reasons.

    difficult child has a psychiatrist that he's seen off and on for a few years, but that was only for ADHD. It isn't until recently that his behavior has become so bad. Therapy would be very difficult for him because of his disabilities. For example, if you ask him how his day went, he may say, "Barney is Purple!" giving you no clue to what he is thinking.

    I'm going to figure out the acronyms and make a siggie :)

  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just wondering... when? and by whom?

    So often, it takes multiple rounds of evaluations to get the "right" diagnosis... or the right combo of dxes... and sometimes it takes a different approach to make the problem obvious...
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he been checked for fetal alcohol effects? If his mom used meth (which is dangerous on itself) she certainly didnt' say "no" to alcohol. A lot of his problems are probably due to his prenatal substance exposure. I strong recommend a neuropsychologist evaluation. I would not allow anyone to rule out autism until then. Professionals can be wrong. Often are.

    Keep us posted!!
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    yup this board uses difficult child meaning Gift from God. How in heck does he have an adhd diagnosis? With such a developmental delay and such a positive birth history for drugs, that is really interesting to me. adhd medications (my son is on them too) can make kids more aggressive, especially I'm told if they have neuro issues. I have always said mine is much happier off them, but he is so impulsive he cant be safe. so we have to strike a balance. mine too can't do any kind of therapy, even play therapy where they do little scripts with toys, no way. He can do theraplay which is a specific form of attachment therapy and has lots of routines for building attachment and learning to trust. little interactions between the parent and child like pretend owies on a leg, the other puts bandaids on and says no hurts etc. It really did help with our bonding and his understanding of other peoples feelings. It mostly worked on building his trust in me and our relationship but that does not seem to target your issues at all.

    I am sure you have read dozens of books, etc. just had seen this one and thought I'd share it. Not sure if it is any good but it looked interesting to me.

    I am so glad you found this site to vent a little and know you are not alone. We can't solve eachother's problems but we sure can relate! It does make a huge difference.

  14. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thank you for explaining more, farmhousegirl. To be honest, I felt very sad as I read your post. His birth mother used meth during the pregnancy? So... all the developmental delay, aggression, and so on are explained. This is a little boy with very clear special needs who should be receiving very targeted help. Did you know about the birth history when you adopted him? All this must be a shock if you did not know or realise the implications (and who does at first?) I am a little confused about schooling - is he in an ordinary school and if so how does he manage?
    It must all be very wearing and so hard for you and all your family. At the same time it is clearly not your son's "fault" - it is easy to see and accept that with developmental delay, less so with aggression, I think. You must go back for more evaluations and clearer diagnoses. I don't know the American system well but does he have an IEP (sorry, you may have said these things in your initial post, which I have not reread)? I agree absolutely that you will need to parent this child differently.
    I very much hope you can get better and more targeted help.
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In the US, they tell us the birth history. I adopted Sonic knowing he had crack in his system at birth. And not all kids who have experienced drug exposure are the same, although most have special issues. But Sonic did not have a low IQ. His IQ is actually a little above average (107?). It is impossible to know what the future holds for our drug-exposed children. Sonic was exposed to alcohol, but doesn't have fetal alcohol syndrome. Her child may. It's really a crapshoot. But there is likely no surprise to the poster that this child had this sort of history. It is a risk we take, knowing that our children need homes and that we will do the best we can for them, even if they are not perfect.

    Just an explanation :)
  16. keista

    keista New Member

    Ditto Insane's questions and comments. A random response such as "Barney is Purple" is very indicative of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Of course, it is only one indicator.

    One of the difficulties I'm sure you're aware of is that his chronological age is much older than his behavioral age. As difficult as it is, you have to treat him as his behavioral age. I've dealt with this with my older kids in a different way. They are tall and big and developed for their ages, so subconsciously I'd treat them (teachers and strangers do this too) as the age they looked, and only when it backfires do I remember that they are two years younger than I'm *thinking*. DD1 actually has 3 ages - biological = 13, chronological = 10, emotional = 8. Add to that that Autism was once ruled out for her, and now it's on the table.