Trouble in paradise

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Angela41, May 14, 2013.

  1. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    Hi All,
    I haven't posted in awhile because my six year guy has (had) been doing so much better. Lately, we're having problems with listening and compliance that are becoming steadily worse and I could use advice/support. Basically, it's getting to the point where he is becoming upset anytime he is asked to do something that he doesn't want to do- and minor setbacks are causing him to have major reactions. He is even starting to hit again- he stopped hitting completely nearly a year ago. He even acknowledged in a moment of calm (paraphrase) that he knows he overreacts, but doesn't see it until he calms down.

    When we give him an instruction he behaves like he doesn't "hear" us- I think much of it may be genuine because he often talks over people and seems honestly puzzled about why we're cross when we've told him (for instance) five times to get dressed and he's still in pjs.

    He is saying that none of the kids at school "like" him or want to play with him- I am gathering that he doesn't have a "natural" flexibility or cooperation. For instance, he told me last night that he planned to schedule the kids to play tag on Mondays and Wednesdays, then they could choose the games the rest of the week. Yes fair, but unlikely to go well. He prefers to play with girls which is a problem because most of the girls don't want to play with boys. His teacher used the word "quirky" when she described him- I notice that he is often awkward and anxious around other children (e.g. he talks "too much" about things that don't interest the kids, seeks attention, gives orders, and can be rude).

    He has occasional attention and discipline problems in school, but so far not outside of normal. His progress in school is above grade level- he is in kindergarten and assigned chapter books and is at least 2 years ahead in math, although he makes careless errors.

    Yes, I know that this may burgeoning ADD or even very high functioning Aspergers or extreme immaturity and end of school year exhaustion, but I needed to get it out. He is taking an IQ test in a few weeks because we're considering transferring schools, and it may have some added benefit of testing his auditory processing which I suspect is below normal.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Oh dear.
    Can I say "all of the above"?

    Yes, part of it will be end-of-year burnout.
    Even the "typical" kids have it to some extent - which means that even their reactions to your difficult child are more testy and less patient than in Sept.

    Beyond that? You really need to find out where he is at. The more you can get concrete answers, the more you will be able to choose paths that will help.

    If they are testing for APDs, make sure the test sequence includes "auditory figure ground" and "auditory discrimination". Some of the older tests out there are just testing for language processing - but other auditory processing problems can be just as challenging.

    Has he ever had an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory and motor skills? Might be surprised at what turns up - and either of these are a major drain on "coping skills". If the testing is clear... then you have eliminated a couple of possibilities.

    Has he ever had a comprehensive evaluation?
  3. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    Thank you for replying. We have not have a comprehensive evaluation for a few reasons- mainly that my son's behaviors have been varied and inconsistent. It's caused my husband and I to disagree on whether there "is" a problem and what may be causing it. We're getting some academic and IQ testing back soon, and yesterday's feedback from his teacher is showing that he has some issues with listening skills, but shows excellent ability to stay on task. She said that his social skills also need work, but they are improving and he is beginning to overcome his classroom anxiety. He often complains about how his classmates make noise when he is trying to work, and i know that I also require absolute silence if i need to focus or listen. Is it possible to have traits of Aspergers without full blown Aspergers? I have a brother with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), and my son does "some" things, "some" times (especially when he's anxious or at the end of his tether) that remind me of my brother.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That is a MAJOR red flag for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) - auditory figure ground.
    They usually can't test for it until the kid is 7 or 8... the testing is too complex and too long otherwise, to get accurate results (or so our PhD-level evaluator told us).
    This is strictly medical (developmental). There are NO medications... but there ARE some really good interventions, from things that teachers can do to help, to sound-field or personal-fm systems (so the teacher's voice is louder than the background noise), to noise-cancelling headphones for when he needs to focus.
    There is NO negative stigma to these APDs... at least, not any greater stigma than being hard of hearing (i.e. not like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or MI ...)

    If your brother is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) than your son is automatically "at risk" for being on the spectrum, and that (along with those "some things, some times" traits) would qualify him for a full-blown evaluation. Yes, you can have significant traits and "not meet diagnostic cut-off" for Aspie or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). And yes, you need to know.

    Don't be thrown off by the "some things, some times" inconsistency. What that means is that under fairly ideal conditions, your son is very high performing... but under stress, or tired, or hungry, or sensory or auditory overload... at some point, he runs out of "coping strength" and reacts the way he is wired. That would be totally normal.

    And if Aspie/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) runs in the family, then I'd also be getting an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation for sensory and motor skills - because those issues are part of that same "spectrum", and you can have sensory and/or motor skills issues and NOT be officially "on the spectrum" (Aspie/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD))
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Hello Angela,

    Yes, end of the school year fun-and-games. Sigh...Sorry your son is having trouble.

    To answer one of your questions, yes, it is possible to have Aspergers traits without having full-blown Aspergers. I fit that description to a certain extent, as do two of my assorted gaggle of children.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think he sounds pretty Aspergers. Planning!!! How typical. And not getting that the other kids won't like it or listen to him!

    At any rate, the rule of thumb is usually that if we think something may be wrong, it usually is "off." Most of our kids have inconsistencies and have good and bad weeks or months too. Seems to be the way difficult children operate. I'd take him to a neuropsychologist.

    My son on the spectrum could never concentrate with noise in the room and that meant even a dropped pencil. His hearing is too acute. Things sound very loud to him and any noise at all used to get him off track. I also believe that APDs are a big part of autism in many kids. (Aspergers is a form of autism). Poor kid. I used to have no friends and it's not fun. I hope you solve he mystery and he can get the appropriate help.
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I'm sorry to say this, but its going to get worse. School gets harder socially and longer. About grades 3 or 4 it really is hard for ASDish kids. The time to get him evaluated and get the supports in place is now or next year. You really don't want to wait. One of the supports could be a friendship group where he works on the social skills needed to be part of a group of kids.
  8. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    Hi All,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I did some reading and it seems like my guy may have a potential auditory figure ground issue. He has a lot of difficulty concentrating when there is background noise and can become noticeably overstimulated in larger noisy groups. At a doctor's visit yesterday, they noted fluid behind both ears, which could be making the issue more pronounced. His speech articulation is good, he can solve verbal math problems easily, and is both an above grade level reader and speller. So, i don't think it's a memory or expressive speech problem. As far as Aspergers- we are looking into it this summer.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Maybe TWO problems going on there.
    The first does sound like auditory figure ground. One of the tip-offs is that they do well with one-on-one instruction in a quiet environment, but not so well in a classroom.

    But the second one... could be a sensory integration or sensory processing issue, over and above Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). That would be an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation.
  10. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    Thanks IC- I admit to being so what relieved that his "auditory memory" and speech are strong. I didn't realize how debilitating auditory processing could be! If indeed he does have an AP issue, it's mild. Sensory - yes. We do have a few sensory sensitivities around here- my guy complains of smells and has some mild clothing issues (the seams in the socks, issues with sports gear (shin guards, swim goggles) refusal to wear a hoodie, and so forth). On a humorous note, until recently, I couldn't even change up our milk to the "ultra" pasteurized. He can taste the difference:) maybe he'll be a "top chef" or sommelier with his heightened taste and smell!
  11. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Angela, you might be surprised at how serious a problem with auditory figure ground can be... we had no idea, but it makes classroom environments impractical or impossible to learn in. When they have to spend so much mental effort to "hear", they don't have much left to "process" what they hear, so they usually get it wrong - and then get accused of "not paying attention"... when in reality, they were giving all the attention available and it just wasn't enough.

    LOL on the sensory note... yes, many of these challenges have "another side". Someone said once that the only difference between an Aspie with a dinosaur fixation and a PhD-level dinosaur researcher is... age and education. We expect kids to have a wide range of interests... and narrow that down as they get older, sometimes to a very narrow specialty. We consider it normal or talented in adults, and a problem in kids??!
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Throwing my vote in here on the all of the above category. Got my share of experience here, too, more in some areas, less in others, but I hear you. The sooner you can get experts on board in testing these things (and don't let the school do this testing, find your own real experts), and get a good advocate and an IEP for him at school. Social skills training will be critical if he's truly Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and you can nose around for in-home help as well (local CPS or therapists might be able to point you in direction for finding this). If he is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), also apply for a Autism Medicaid waiver - the waiting list on those in many states is years long.
  13. Angela41

    Angela41 New Member

    Thank you so much for the great input. To update, we received his full scale IQ- 141, yippee for that. When I get the full report, it may tell me something or nothing, depending on whether there are disparities in the subtest results. Just for a laugh, I received the note from the iq tester saying "your son has exceptional problem solving abilities." That evening, I was chatting with my neighbor when she burst into giggles. My "exceptional problem solver" was waving at me from our driveway in his pj shirt and underwear -- having forgotten that he is not to exit the house without his pants.