SO nervous...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Wiggles77, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Wiggles77

    Wiggles77 Guest

    Hi All...

    I am new to this board so I apologize if this is a repeat.

    My ds will be starting 1st grade in 1 week. I am so friggin nervous! Kindergarten was hard from day 1... constant complaints from the teacher on his behaviour. Not a day went by where I did not hear something from his teacher. Basically he would not listen to her, he went into tantrums whenever she would ask him to stop doing something, he would shout out negative comments when she was instructing. He said mean things to other kids. He made no significant friendships and was not invited to any birthday parties.

    This past year, he has been evaluated for both ADD/ADHD and Aspergers. Now they are saying ODD. I formally requested Learning Disability (LD) testing but the school has denied it "temporarily", saying they wanted to work on a behavior management plan first.

    Summer has been excellent for him. He is going to Y camp and I have had no complaints from the staff. I even occasionally catch him playing with a campmate when I come to pick him up.

    Behavior at home has been ok. He does argue alot. If I give my opinion on something he will say the opposite or "no you don't". But he is also very helpful and caring when he wants to be. Last night for the first time ever he threatened me physically and then started to push me and throw socks at me.

    I am a single mom, working full-time. The poor kid is in daycare/school for 10 hours a day. I do blame myself for that but have no other option, financially-speaking.

    I don't have time or heart for all of this. I really do not know what is wrong with him. I don't know how to handle him and am afraid for what he might become in the future. He is only 6! What will he become at 16?!?!?

    I guess the reason I am writing is to ask if anyone has any hints for me... just dealing with him, or what might be wrong with him?
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome to our corner of the world, Wiggles (love your board name). You have truly found a soft place to land. Who evaluated him for ADHD and Aspergers? I would be sure to take him to a nueropsychologist. They do very thorough testing. Also taking him to a therapist and a child psychiatrist would be helpful as they can provide good insight as well.

    The school, by the way, cannot deny the Learning Disability (LD) testing. Put your request in writing and they have to follow through and within a certain period of time (which I should know but am right now drawing a blank on).

    One book I would recommend for you is The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and for the school it would be good if they read Lost at School.

    It's so hard when our kids are having such a difficult time at school and with friends. Sending gentle hugs your way.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. Put guilt aside. I had my first three kids in full-time long day care (that's 12 hours a day or more) from 12 weeks old. They thrived. It is a fallacy that good child care is bad for kids - it actually has been shown to benefit them. Certainly your son has been thoroughly socialised, so any problems are NOT due to lack of social opportunity. With all you have given him, if he is having social/behavioural problems, there is something underlying. Stop seeing yourself as the cause, and look for a diagnosis. NOT something so basic and misleading as ODD, either.

    Who evaluated? The school? Insufficient. And ODD is too easy, it also tends to blame the child. And often the parent. Inappropriately.
    With ODD, you see this in a number of situations, usually where an underlying (often undiagnosed) disorder is leading the child to behave a certain way. We as parents try to discipline this by pushing the child in a different direction.But the child 'knows' at some level, that he can't do what he is being asked to do, or he seems to need whatever he is pushing for (because he knows of no other way to cope). So ODD (oppositional behaviour in the child) is often PRECEDED by oppositional behaviour toward the child in a disciplinarian. We teach the child how to oppose.
    ODD develops fastest in children who learn by imitating. So you have to throw typical strictness out of the window and go back to basics to a reward system. You also have to treat the child as you wish the child to treat you.
    Think about this carefully, observe your own behaviour toward him. Observe teachers' behaviours towards their students. Observe other parents' behaviour towards their kids. Think of the common phrases. "I've told you a hundred times, don't exaggerate!" "If you do that again, you'll get a spanking!" "For pete's sake, stop whining! I can't think while you complain!"
    If we spoke to our parents like that, or our friends, or our employers, we'd be seen as strange. But when our difficult child kids talk back to us this way, we need to see that all they are doing is following our example. Some kids need to "do as I do" and NOT "do as I say".

    "Explosive Child" explains this better. Also check out the Early Childhood forum, there is a sticky there which can give you more information on applying this book to younger children.

    That is just bizarre. If he had a serious hearing problem that was behind his current behaviour issues, it would make sense to fix the hearing problem first and then work on any residual problems. No, they MUST test if you formally request it. Don't be browbeaten. This is a child who should not have this level of social and behavioural problem from his environment, and frankly, calling in the behaviour team is implying that they think simple behaviour modification can fix it. Not if the underlying issues aren't dealt with.

    We had the behaviour team involved with difficult child 3. He did have a diagnosis (autism) so they had that knowledge. But frankly, he was already behaving as well as he could; no stragegies put in place by the behaviour teacher were able to be used by difficult child 3 when he was upset, because his imulse control went out the window when he was raging. And what made him rage? Bullying from other kids, plus teachers who tried the "irresistible force meeting the immovable object" option, which is a mistake.

    We also had the autism association caseworker visit the school to advise the teacher. This teacher later refused to have any more therapists ever, for any child, observe her in class. Talk about paranoid! She also didn't like being told by anyone, that there was a better way. She was a huge part of the problems for difficult child 3.
    The advice she was given - avoid "no" statements with difficult child 3. Example - if difficult child 3 is tapping a pencil on the table and annoying people (he would do this without thinking, like a stimulant) then you shouldn't say, "Stop tapping the pencil!" because tat pushes his internal anxiety up another fractional notch which increases the need to stimulant (and therefore to keep tapping the pencil, or tap it more). Instead, you put it as a positive statement. "Please put down that pencil and come over here to me." That achieves so much more effectively, at so many levels. The tapping stops, the pencil leaves the child's hands, the child changes location, therefore the child changes activity.

    With the current oppositional behaviour you're all observing - "no" statements aggravate this (and could be considered at least part of the cause, plus a disapproving teacher in the recent past). It's easier for a child to respond positively to a positive statement.

    I have a different approach to the physical attacks, to a lot of people here - especially when the child is young, I don't see this as the child being a danger, or nasty, or needing serious intervention, or being dangerously disturbed. Children are naturally violent when baulked. Especially younger ones with a short fuse and poor impulse control - they physically lash out first and ask questions later. I remember I was a fairly decent kid who did well in class. But socially I was isolated and hadn't had the same social opportunities. I also had a very strong sense of injustice. One incident - I was at a new school, I was 8 years old. I was trying to make friends (in my hamfisted way) and the girl I was trying to be friendly with, turned her back on me. So I bit her on the shoulder she so handily presented. I knew it was not good as soon as I did it, but she had made me so angry that my teeth itched. The teacher yelled at me, so I went and hid under a bush in the garden. Amazingly, I didn't get into worse trouble. It did teach me a lesson - biting is immature and won't win friends either. Find another way to deal with frustration. But I wasn't a dangerously disturbed child, I just hadn't known any better plus I had never felt so frustrated, so was unskilled in dealing with tis.

    A child who gets far more easily frustrated (either a short fuse, or far more to deal with than we realise, or both) is going to have anger issues and behaviour problems. You can't fix tis with behaviour modification, if you haven't previously worked on the underlying problem. In difficult child 3's case, his autism was the reason he lacked social skills and was also responsible for his short fuse. He has a very high need to do thins his way, and to follow his obsessions. If people deliberately interpose themselves between him and his desperation to do what he feels he must, his frustration can climb. And he can get so frustrated that he explodes. He does know enough now, to try to control himself. He also knows he can exert stronger effort especially with people whose own reactions he is less sure of. He knows us and knows how we will react; he knows he is loved unconditionally, so actually we see his worst behaviour because he can "let his hair down" more with us. mother in law for example, needles difficult child 3 (she sees it as her job, to keep him off balance and get him used to having to cope with teasing) but she gets upset if he loses his temper with her. difficult child 3 will put up with a lot form her, but less os lately since we are spending so much more time with her. Familiarity doesn't so much breed contempt, as complacency.

    You need to develop your own, different, ways of handling him and his automatic opposition. The first thing you must do, is stop opposing him automatically. Because you have modelled this for him. Obviously not intentionally, and not in ways that are bad parenting. It's just bad luck that with this kid, it was a bad idea. You had no way of knowing that. But you know it now, and it can be turned around very fast. I mean within days. But as Dr Phil says, "You have to be the hero." He's just a kid. You're the adult. So you change your behaviour, and he will change his, toward you.

    So if you say "black" and he automatically answers, "white", then instead of saying "black" louder, stop. Say, "White, eh? Why?" and make him explain why. Listen to him. Let him feel heard. Then explain your own statement *briefly) and let him respond. Let him try to understand. Discuss. Because this kid has show he can be very stubborn, and if you constantly engage in battles of will, you will lose. And of course, that means he also will be the loser. But if you can channel this stubbornness he has, into self-discipline, you will both win. Can't say the same for his teachers, but they have to fight their own battles. Once you get the hang of this, you can give them pointers. If they will listen.

    Now, I'm not advocating a general attitude of "let's explain everything in detail to every child, let's reason with them always even when they've done a bad thing," because I've seen too many examples of this being senseless. Sometimes a kid does a bad thing (deliberately shoves another kid to make them fall over) and you have to react with a short, sharp response. "You! Get over here now! And apologise to your sister for shoving her into the dirt!" You know when it will work and when it won't, after a while.
    Or if you're still in the early stages and that happens, you can say to your child, "What were you thinking?" because tis requires a considered response from him, you have given him the chance to defend his action, although it had better be good!
    If your child is able to say, "I'm sorry I shoved her, but she grabbed my toy and made me so mad!" then at least you have an insight into what made him do it, and he has obviously already learned he did the wrong thing. The lesson is all. Reparation and natural consequences are also part of the lesson - if he pushed his sister, she won't want to play with him for a while. Natural consequence. Or you might observe he's a bit edgy, a bit upset, and gently suggest he take some quiet time in his room, or somewhere he likes to be, doing something quiet away from others, until he has got his self-control back. This is not punishment, it is self-management. It teaches just as effectively, if not more so, than sending him to his room. It's almost the same thing, but it is far more positive for the child. And the outcome is just as good, if not better.

    When you have a difficult child you need to change your approach as a parent. But do not bet yourself up for therefore being a bad parent - you're here, so you're not. It's just tat some methods don't work so well for our kids. It's good tat there are other ways.

    Again, welcome. Let us know how you get on. If you need help in knowing how to convince the school to do what they should, there is more practical advice here from those who have been through YOUR school system before. People here know the magic words that will make things happen (and it's not always "please").

  4. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Hi Wiggles, welcome!

    Sounds like you're doing a great job for your little guy.

    I'm not a believer in ODD as a diagnosis either -- to me it just means "we don't know what's going on and it's impossible for us to sort it out from this constellation of symptoms and behavior."

    I hear you about being nervous -- however it's the school who should be nervous as they legally must meet your son's educational needs -- a free and appropriate public education also known as FAPE. which is written into IDEA law. Here is a link to info about FAPE from Wrightslaw, which is a great SpEd source on the internet. Or you could post on the SpEd part of this forum and your questions will be answered.

    Wiggles, my advice is to get your poker face and poker voice ready for those teachers and when they call to complain, a good question to ask them is "how can you help him to learn? What accommodations can you make for my son so that he can function in your classroom? Can we set up an IEP?" By law, the school must set up an Individualized Education Plan within 60 days of your written request. This requires that they give academic testing. So in delaying testing as you mentioned, that is the same as saying "We are going to break the law." (IDEA). One thought would be to call the school as soon as it opens -- call the SpEd department -- and let them know you want the testing and they have to give it.

    This is the language from IDEA from the Wrightslaw site

    §300.301 Initial evaluations. (a) General. Each public agency must conduct a full and individual initial evaluation, in accordance with §§300.305 and 300.306, before the initial provision of special education and related services to a child with a disability under this part. (b) Request for initial evaluation. Consistent with the consent requirements in §300.300, either a parent of a child or a public agency may initiate a request for an initial evaluation to determine if the child is a child with a disability. (c) Procedures for initial evaluation. The initial evaluation--
    (i) Must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation; or
    (ii) If the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe; and (2) Must consist of procedures--
    (i) To determine if the child is a child with a disability under §300.8; and
    (ii) To determine the educational needs of the child.

    I agree that school testing isn't enough -- I always have my kids tested privately too.

    it takes awhile to figure out what's going on with each kid -- take good care of yourself, get enough sleep, drink enough water (I tend to OD on coffee and then function terribly when dehydrated) and eat good food. Hold the school to high expectations. When you are terrified in public, for example in his school or on the phone, fake it.

    Hang in there, it will get better. xxoox

    P.S. I went to a Wrightslaw conference about IDEA in my town last spring, and the speaker was a SpEd lawyer who got everyone all fired up.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  5. Wiggles77

    Wiggles77 Guest

    thanks everyone for all the kind words and useful advice!

    My son was tested for ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) through a child psychiatric division of Kaiser. This is actually the 2nd time my son was evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (1st time when he was 3, due to BEHAVIOR in preschool).

    I feel a little crazy saying this, but at one point I was actually wishing for an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis. I cried when they told me he did NOT fall under the spectrum. Not that I wanted that at all - it was just that I have been looking for answers for over a year now.

    The Learning Disability (LD) request WAS in writing. The school psychiatrist denied it temporarily. Her official reason was that they wanted to work on a behavior management plan first. The reasoning behind this was based on the teacher's observations that my son could not possibly have a Learning Disability (LD), since he was excelling in academics. (?!)

    I guess at this point I am so confused... I mean, could he just be a very strong-willed child? That perhaps I have not dealt with him correctly? I do have my own anger management issues... perhaps he is just learning from me?

    I frequently get angry with him when he does not listen or I have to repeat what I have said for the 3rd or 4th time. Sometimes I get so irritated with him because he constantly asks "what?". (His hearing has been tested, a-ok.)

    And then there is the friggin impulse control... like he has no control over none... at the end of the school year I had to cancel a much-needed vacation to my moms. He had a bad day at school and stupid me threatened that we would not go to visit if he got in trouble again.

    Well, he got in trouble the very next day. So then I gave him another chance... and he blew it again... and again... finally I had to be strong and say we were not going. What is so weird is that he LOVES, LOVES, LOVES going to my mom's. So it is utterly confusing to me that he could not even control his actions at school to save his chance to go visit her.

    Anyways, thanks again. It is nice venting here to moms who might understand my struggles. It is hard talking to my family about it... keep on saying he will "grow out of it" or he just had a "bad teacher" or etc... They just don't understand the worry and struggle that I go through every. Maybe it IS those things. Or maybe it is NOT.
  6. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    The reasoning behind this was based on the teacher's observations that my son could not possibly have a Learning Disability (LD), since he was excelling in academics. (?!)

    maybe he's gifted. maybe he's gifted with attentional issues. maybe he's colorblind. maybe he's NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). or just maybe he's plain old bored out of his mind. (my point is there could be a bazillion underlying issues that might not show up as expected and a kid can still excell..still doesnt mean he doesnt have an Learning Disability (LD) of some sort)

    all the more reason for testing/evaluations.

    one can be both gifted and have Learning Disability (LD)'s, and quite frankly, younger children who are both often find it easy to demands increase in school, it becomes exhausting to
    overcompensate, and can be a problem for plenty of kids. better to address any underlying issues at a young age then to wait til an even more extreme behavioral problem rears its ugly head, or self esteem plummets.

    i'd tell the school psychiatric to put it in writing that they are denying your written request for an evaluation.....
  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    I was thinking Aspie with NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) as well. Of course I'm not a doctor, but this little guy is sounding like a mix of my goofballs completely!

    Oh yeah! Welcome to the crowd wiggles! It's a great group that has a lot of experience to supply you with as well as sympathetic ears and shoulders!

    From what you've written, he sounds like he has some issues with transitioning. If that's true, try throwing out "ok, 15 minute warning", then "ok, 10 minute warning and then we have to stop" "5 minute warning!". These warnings really allowed them to prepare for a change. They didn't feel caught off balance or unarmed for the changeover.

    Gotta go, I'm in a rut right now with the buggers and they're driving me nuts!

    Talk soon!

  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Even if Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) has been ruled out, keep an open mind. We had it ruled out in difficult child 1 when he was 6. He was 14 before he was diagnosed with Asperger's, which was later independently confirmed.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 has "some Asperger's traits but not enough for a diagnosis", we were told, when she was 7. She was independently assessed and again, it was ruled out. But as she got older the traits have become more apparent. She is now seeing a new therapist who seems to agree with easy child 2/difficult child 2, that she should be re-considered for Asperger's. Not that it would make much difference now. easy child/difficult child 2's own "working hypothesis" is that she is a mild Aspie, but atypical due to being female.

    Might I suggest that in the absence of a clear diagnosis, you consider Asperger's as a working hypothesis? It might help you understand him better, which would help you manage him better with less resentment. I'm not being critical of you for that resentment, either - I do get it! But it does get in the way for you as a parent. Again, speaking form experience. I found that once I understood about the connection between my kids and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), it made it easier for me to handle the kids.

    Also, you have requested assistance formally, in writing. They cannot refuse the assessment. If you need to confirm this for your area, go over to Special Education forum and ask there.

    Never underestimate the confusion that can occur if your child is gifted plus learning disabled. Also never underestimate the ability of schools to totally ignore and negate the category of gifted plus learning disabled. You might have to get further assessments done privately (you can piggyback these to any school assessment results) in order to force this issue.

  9. WearyWoman

    WearyWoman Guest

    Hi there, and welcome. You are doing the right thing in asking lots of questions and seeking answers. In your heart, you know something is going on, and that's why you've found yourself in this forum. Listen to your intuition. It's a very important indicator.

    Our son has/had a lot of behavior problems at the age you describe your son. He is 9 years old now, however, we spent a number of years, literally, seeking a diagnosis for him. He was diagnosed initially with severe ADHD and apraxia of speech, and of course the related ODD. While we had taken him to a reputable children's hospital for an evaluation, it was concluded that he did not have autism in any form. As he moved out of preschool into elementary school, we noticed significant deficits in his social and self-care development. We sought out another evaluation from an autism specialist who found him very mildly on the spectrum. The school came to the exact same conclusion, and his official diagnosis now is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - not otherwise specified (pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified). We adopted our son at birth and lack a full medical history on him. I suspect he may have some degree of fetal alcohol effects as well. In-home therapy is helping to some degree, as well as medication. There is no magic bullet, but education, support resources, and tenacity help a lot.

    In your situation, it would be best to keep an open mind to all of the possibilities until you receive a satisfactory explanation for what is going on with your child. Children behave well when they can, and in the absence of abuse, neglect, malnutrition, or abandonment, significant behavior problems indicate that there is an underlying condition involved.

    Some disorders that can cause behavior problems in children include ADHD, mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, allergies, medication reactions, autism spectrum disorders, sensory integration issues (which may be associated with autism too), and fetal alcohol exposure.

    You said your son is strong willed, and I believe many of us here would describe our kids that way, however, as I mentioned, this may actually be a symptom of a condition with which our kids are struggling. Blame is most unhelpful to finding a solution. It helps me a lot to keep a disability perspective. When it's a bad behavior day, I keep telling myself that my child has a disability and can't completely help his own behavior. Your son may have issues with executive functioning, cause-and-effect thinking, and self regulation. These go hand-in-hand with ADHD, however, digging deeper just in case more is going on is always a good idea. You may find medication to be quite helpful. Don't give up.