Any Help for ADHD Teen with Behavioral Problems Only (no academic issues)?

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by stressbunny, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    Hi all,

    This is my first post. I'm feeling quite defeated today. I'm the adoptive mom of two ADHD/ODD boys, ages 15 and 7.

    Today, I learned that my oldest boy stole an I-pod from another boy at school. I'm so upset, I can hardly stand it. He is suspended for several days from school, but we were told that this is getting off easy; the school could have opted to call the police. He lied to us and said he had found the I-pod, turned it in to the school office and that days later, the owner had not been located, so the school said he could have it. He told the principal another completely different story. We were all suspicious, and he then admitted to taking it.

    A couple of months ago, my oldest also used the school computer to go to an internet game site, where he was playing games instead of doing his drafting assignment for class. This resulted in his being suspended from using school computers for 45 days. Unfortunately, he was also unable to use the computer software for his drafting assignments, so he had to work on them by hand, tediously for hours after school.

    I want him to be held accountable. Yet, I know he is not otherwise a really mean child. He does things impulsively all the time, without considering the consequences. He always seems to feel very sorry after the fact, but by then, it's too late. I don't want to be a parent who defends every wrong thing my kid does. I will say, though, that having kids with disabilities gives me a completely different perspective - one the world is missing, for the most part.

    My son is taking Concerta, and that helps, but not completely. Academically, he is doing fine.

    My question: Are any services/accomodations under a 504 plan helpful for an ADHD freshman boy in this situation? His problems relate to his behavioral choices and impulsive actions, but academically, he's doing alright. His teachers like him, and his ADHD and ODD symptoms have actually improved over the last several years, overall. Could something be put in place to give him more opportunities to take responsibility for his actions before police involvement, etc.?

    The thought of the police getting involved scares me. I don't want my son to end up with a record over this. He is genuinely sorry for his behavior and will be paying to replace the Ipod. He cried about this, but yet, I am doubtful that he will be able to completely control his impulses in the future. This problem will probably resurface in another way, and next time, he'll be facing worse consequences, I'm sure.

    I waffle between being angry and upset with him and feeling sorry for how little self control he seems to have.

    I'm tired of the scrutiny I receive as a parent of ADHD kids. Everyone judges and points fingers, but no one lifts a finger to help either. It is demoralizing. I just want to do something to fix this problem, but it doesn't work that way.

    It's been a really tough day. Please help,

  2. dadside

    dadside New Member

    Welcome! ... You've found a great resource with a lot of people here with more experience in this than me.

    First, to answer your big question, I think no. I understand 504s are aimed more to accommodate physical needs like wheelchair access, not emotional/psychological issues which is at issue here. In any event, a 504 plan has no "teeth" allowing easy enforcement.

    I see the computer issue as non-critical, even though the school dealt with it fairly harshly (45 days no school computer use.. for a first offense). The I-Pod is another matter though, and your son did get off light. I strongly suggest discussing the matter with a psychologist. There may be more going on than meets the eye. Also, tell the school what you are doing. If any psychological issues are identified, or reasonably suspected, you might then reasonably take steps to secure an IEP which could provide some behavoral allowances -- but likely not stealing. Also, if his behavior is an escalating problem, you might look into local youth groups (if any) targeting just such kids successfully.

    Last thought, is to check with the school to get any assignment/work appropriate for him to complete while he is out of school.
  3. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    You've mentioned ADHD and ODD diagnoses, a few months ago he used a school computer for games (not porn) and most recently, stolen an IPod, and then lied about it.

    Do you catch him lying frequently? With my difficult child, I could tell she was lying because her lips were moving.

    Have you caught him stealing anything else before? They usually start with something small, and work their way up to more valuable items. (For mine, it was lipstick at first and worked up to cash.) If the IPod was truly the first thing he's stolen, I'd be surprised.

    Does he get along well with others AT HOME? With an ODD diagnosis, many times, our kids are angels with grandparents, teachers, coaches, other parents, and at home, they become uncontrollable - they're finally at the place where they can let down their guard and let EVERYTHING out.

    If you haven't read it already, get the book, The Explosive Child, by Ross Greene. If you see your child in this book, you may want to consider counselling/therapy for your son and for you (and spouse, if any) to navigate the turbulent waters.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi and welcome! ;) I have to second both previous posts. The stealing in our case with difficult child 1 was a symptom of something much, much bigger. It has almost entirely stopped now that 1) we found out what was going on and took steps to protect/correct and 2) she discovered who was creating all the chaos. Also, though there are lots of things she wants, she asks. Well, not always. But it takes time!

    I didn't see anything in your post about an IEP - does he have one? difficult child 2 has one, but we are going in again because this year the school is ignoring it. However we just set one up for difficult child 1 fo behavioral issues only. If your difficult child has one, it may need to ne tweaked - if not, it is worth a look-see. With an ADHD diagnosis he is certainly entitled.

    Anyway, my $0.02. I've only been here a bit but some of the replies I've gotten have really helped me think things through. Also some of the other people's issues! :D

    Good luck and again, welcome!
  5. SkunkMomma

    SkunkMomma New Member

    My difficult child sounds like yours, great kid. He picked up a calculator once that was not his. He just wanted to use one like that, school found out and he gave it back that day, but I was stilll devastated. He will pick up pencils, pens, rubber bands anything he finds on the ground---he thinks its fair game--I've tried teaching him that if it is not yours don't even pick it up, but he even has to touch things on his teachers desk...he doesn't take them but he touches everything---. This is his way of exploring.. Does your difficult child have an I Pod? Did he explain to you why he picked it up? Kids lie to get out of trouble--he needs to see that the lie is what he is being punish for from you. Mine has started the lying game and we have come down hard on that. If he tells the truth the punishment is not as harsh, but if he is caught in a lie he looses all priviledges.
  6. stressbunny

    stressbunny Guest

    Thanks everyone! I appreciate all of your thoughts and encouragement.

    It is so great that there is a place for parents like us.

    I doubt a 504 plan would actually help in this situation. You're right that the law does not distinguish between difficult children and the general population in terms of consequences. It's hard for others to see how impaired my difficult child really is in terms of his cause and effect thinking and spontaneous decision making, because he otherwise seems like a regular kid.

    This is the first time difficult child was caught stealing anything at school - ever. In fact, last year, he did not misbehave at school at all in any way - not one call, note home, or anything. His teachers like him, and he has friends and participates in sports. We were SO happy! This is a setback, indicating he is still struggling with impulse control issues.

    We didn't buy him his own ipod because we know how much of a distraction it is in school. Of course, then he must have wanted one so much that he stole it. According to him, he rationalized it by thinking to himself that the boy he stole it from doesn't like him and that he has enough money to replace it anyway. So we talked a lot about his wrong thinking/rationalizing and the seriousness of this legally.

    difficult child does not have an IEP of any kind. Unfortunately, the school says he does not qualify because his academic performance is not suffering. It's more the behavioral/social stuff.

    difficult child has stolen some change from our vehicle in the past. I suspect he has also taken some of my special ink pens. He has lied to us about various things to avoid getting in trouble on other occasions. I really hate it when he lies.

    I pray this won't happen again - ever, but my intuition tells me that it probably will because he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. He functions in the moment and typically acts first and thinks later.

    I wish I knew what to do.


  7. SkunkMomma

    SkunkMomma New Member

    Your situation sounds so much like mine. This is what we have started....I don't really believe in rewarding for good behavior but the lying caught us off guard and it was over small things...I can not stand lying so we started a money jar. Now he is 16 so $1.00 a day is baby stuff but it is working with him because his maturity level is so low. We add $1.00 a day for doing what is expected---no smart mouth--doing chores without being told --no lying etc... We started him out with $10.00. My difficult child loves to do things with the church group or a small group of friends but built into this deal he has to earn enough money to go to these places. He doesn't have to pay his way or buy food but the money is given back to us so that he can get the priviledge to go (we'll provide other money if he needs it) But if he lies at all he pays us a $1.00 for each lie). Since this has been started we have not had any lying. He wants to earn enough to go whenever he wants to. He has even started putting his own money in the jar to make sure he does have enough. I think that there were two days he did not earn $1.00. But he still kept counting to make sure he would have enough to do all he wanted to do that week. We do not make him pay for scouting activities or church get togethers unless it is a B Day party of such. Like I said he is immature but my husband and I feel there has been a major change in lying and we actually can trust him a little more. He was like your he never got in trouble at school he would just say "Yes, I've brushed my teeth" when he hadn't simple stuff I was afraid it was going to get worse and it had started to get worse when we started this money jar.
    Just thought I'd let you know what was working for us.
  8. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I would recommend checking with community mental health (probably county level of govt.) in your area and find out if there are any advocates available in your area to help you with this.

    If you end up doing this on your own you are going to want to check out they have a wealth of info at that site on IEP's

    IEP's aren't just about academics - anything that hinders a childs access to the curriculum can be addressed in an IEP. ADHD is specifically listed under the IDEA classification OHI (Other Health Impairment). Your son might find beneficial a BIP (behavior intervention plan) which is a part of the IEP. It sounds like things are currently under control but you might want to get an IEP to put some safe guards in place before they get out of control.

    Much of what you posted could be usual teen age "testing the boundaries" type behavior but a good IEP can help you avoid a possible expulsion later on. Hope this helps.