at wits end with 3 1/2 yo

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by masso001, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. masso001

    masso001 New Member

    My son has been difficult since birth. He cried constantly. He had issues with noise. He rarely slept. He's very verbal. Aside from that he's been diagnosed "on the spectrum" for his behavioral issues. Part of me thinks everyone could be classified "on the spectrum" for one reason or another. But I digress. He is pushing me to the brink of insanity. I've tried everything. I've read books. I've looked into clinical trials. I've had him in behavioral therapy. I can't take it anymore. I have 2 other children (2 1/2 and 7 months). Unfortunately my son is an attention hoar. So the other 2 have to take a backseat alot. It bothers me. The fact that my 2 1/2 yo can see he's unreasonable actually comforts me. At least I know I'm not crazy. So what does he do? Well... He kicks, bites, screams, he refuses to do things, he spits, he's mischievous, tries to get his siblings in trouble, he's a hall monitor, he's demanding, particular, compulsive, non compliant, he hits, he sits it out, he bangs his head, he doesn't play appropriately, he is obsessed with tape, he changes his mind and melts down, he's a control freak, he steals attention from anyone who gets it but him, he locks us out of the house, he's destructive. Just to name a few. I can't take it anymore. The other two do not act this way. Ok. The 7 month old obviously can't, but he is by far a better baby (same as the 2 1/2 yo).
  2. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I don't know who told you "he is one the spectrum". I'm assuming we are talking about Autism spectrum? If, indeed, he is officially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), he is entitled to A LOT of help.
    Do you have a developmental pediatrician who follows your son? What kind of testing did he have? Does he go to daycare or preschool? Does he receive any intervention (besides behavioral therapy)?
    A lot of questions, I know! But it will help us get a better picture of things and, hopefully, help you better.
    From what everyone says, the best kind of evaluation are neuro-psychological evaluation. The waiting time to see anyone is usually pretty long, so the sooner you work on it, the better.
    My son is getting a neuro-psychiatric tomorrow. We have been waiting 8 months for it!
    Others will come along. You have found a great forum! It saved my sanity and gave me some practical tips on how to handle V.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there, you have your hands full. Is your son in early intervention? Are you in the USA? Your son being on the spectrum means the world really probably is all about him and it is not a character flaw, though it can really look like that. He is not purposely trying to steal all of the attention, or being selfish, he just does not get the other person's perspective and at his age alone, it is uncommon to really not be "selfish". Kids on the spectrum fall apart for many reasons. So, to help us help you can you share more about the evaluations and interventions/therapies you have had so far?

    1. Have you had an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation?
    2. Have you had any comprehensive autism evaluation ?
    3. Is there an autism program (in addition to the public schools) in your area? There are several where I live and my son's insurance paid for him to go for preschool through Kindergarten... he went there 1/2 day and then the public school for the other half.

    Here is something that is really hard, so I will just share it with you, but know I am still working on this myself... When you say that he tries to get his sibilings in trouble... it may be so, but if he is on the spectrum, and at his age, it is more likely that he does not have the social skills to do better. The hall monitor personality is because he is a rule follower I would guess, very black/white thinking. Most kids with autism need each skill to be directly taught and then help generalizing the skill into different situations. It is slow methodical work.

    With the other little ones you have very right to feel overwhelmed. Are you single? Do you get any support at home? We have other moms here who can really relate .... they have kids with intense special needs and little ones too. I personally feel that the terrible twos is a misnomer... I think 3's are much worse. Clinical trials/medications probably not gonna be tons of help. What does help is to have therapeutic guidance specialized in the area of autism. Traditional behavior modification does not generally work with difficult child's especially kids on the spectrum. THey need their sensory, motor, learning, social skills all coordinated into one program.

    If you can share more, we can share more ideas with you.... for now, please know, we get it... I can tell you that I for one can totally appreciate the frustration and feeling at the end of your rope! Hange in there.... realize that he is not purposely trying to hurt you (I do believe this strongly but also get how it feels like that!) and he is trying his best to make sense of a world that does not feel, look, or maybe even smell like it does to us. If he had a neurological challenge with walking, we would not say he was choosing to be carried to make it so the other kids can't be carried. But for invisible disabilities like autism, adhd, mental health issues, it is really hard to realize it is the same for them. When a child melts down like that, they are miserable. They would much rather be in a happy place. They can't do it on their own, but I think it is too much to ask for us to figure out all of it on our own. I work in early intervention and still can't do it on my own. I always need someone else to look in from the outside and help me sort through what is going on.

    Check in frequently, people here really do care! Vent all you need to, this is not an easy job for sure!!!
  4. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    if you haven't already, put him in daycare full days so you can have some peace for your other kids or at least get him a respite worker on a regular basis. they need to gain a sense of what 'normal' is like and that can only happen with him out of the house. put a child lock on his door. they make ones that can slide on the top of the door if he knows how to get the knob ones off. i had to do that. then time outs instantly (into the room) for any type of violent behaviour until he CALMS down. the time out for one minute/year of age does not work if the kid is not calm. i use my difficult child's behaviour to tell me he is ready to come off. make sure his room is safe and he can't break anything in there first because he will try for the first while. that is how i broke mine of the violence, and medications have helped as well. good luck. i also have two younger kids and it is hard. make sure to talk to the other ones and point out when your difficult child is acting out that it is NOT okay to do that, and it won't be tolerated. punishing him consistantly will start to improve his behaviour but more importantly it will keep the other kids from thinking it is okay to act out like that and copy it. they look up to him as an older sibling to set an example for him and that will be a huge problem for you in years to come. it will also be helpful to them to tell them that 'he is not thinking right' or something like that when he gets out of control. the 2 1/2 year old is old enough to start understanding that, especially if he gets that his brother is behaving poorly.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Welcome, you're in company that's been there, done that.

    This is a really hard age for a child on the spectrum.

    Some things that I would suggest looking into by way of help:

    Read the thread on the top of this forum about adapting The Explosive Child to younger children, and consider getting a copy of the book. Most of us found we have to adapt a new parenting style to be effective with difficult kids.

    Have you had him evaluated for special education preschool?

    Even though you say he's very verbal, there's a lot more to speech than words. A speech pathologist can help with a wide array of communication skills, including speaking appropriately for a situation. Also can help you learn some strategies (such as pictoral or written schedules) that may help you out big time.

    I agree an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation is in order if he hasn't already had one.

    Often we as parents have to change the way we see our children and our style of interacting with them in order for them to make forward progress. When you're a parent of a difficult little one it's so exhausting and it's really hard to see beyond where you are now but I assure you that things can get better.

    Hang in there.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I do wholeheartedly second this; it has been my experience.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree 100% with needing to change parenting styles AND expectations. It is so hurtful to do a defeat or an admission of "my child is not like other ones." My "different" son is eighteen and I still have moments where I just wish he was like other young men his age...

    I would get him evaluated. Since he is so small I would start with the school district and maybe have him see a developmental pediatrician or even a neuropsychologist who evaluates young 'uns. His diagnosis will probably change with time, but if you have something to work with, you can start to get him interventions and help. My son was in Occupational Therapist (OT), PT, speech and social skills class by age three and it did make a big difference once school started and even to this day...he is far more functional than it appeared he would be at first. The earlier this is done, the better the prognosis.

    I wish you luck, and please keep us posted.
  8. masso001

    masso001 New Member

    We have had the evaluation at the Special Education school. He didn't qualify. But they will reevaluate at 6 months. They did get us into an impossibly gettable school. That has helped. Talking to him works roughly 60% of the time. When he's crazed, forget it. I will look into Occupational Therapist (OT). Thank you all for your feedback. He was in ABA therapy for 3 months and that worked great! However, those benefits ended when he turned 3. I looked into getting it extended, but he didn't qualify. I will look into the book. Although I have one called 'the explosive child' so I think it's the same one. We have read books, I've looked into clinical trials, sent him to psychologists. I'm looking into joining a parenting class to get surrounded by some support. Thank you all for your suggestions. I greatly appreciate all of them. :)
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Something sounds very strange here. If he has a diagnosis of "being on the spectrum" it is really unusual for that testing not to be taken in a school evaluation. has he had private testing or where did the spectrum diagnosis come from? It is true a medical diagnosis does not equate to immediate services but in early childhood it is nearly always all that is needed. His level of behaviors are enough to qualify him for sure. Someone was not doing their job. Do you know that you can ask for a second evaluation (independent outside evaluation at their expense) if you disagree with the results. six months in early childhood is a LONG time.

    But for sure in the mean time then go for the Occupational Therapist (OT) and if you think it could help a pragmatic communicaiton evaluation (for social communication). Hang in there. Sounds like you might be in an area with not so great services, I hope I am wrong.
  10. masso001

    masso001 New Member

    Our city is one of the best in terms of offering services. So I'm surprised. So you think I should push more? He was evaluated by a neurologist for kids on several occasions. The report was given to the Special Education school for his eip. They stated that the population of kids there would not help my son but hold him back. We have a regional center too where he was getting services after being evaluated a little over 2 yrs and 8 months. Regional center only provides services till age 3 unless a significant delay can be proven. So he only got 3 months of behavioral therapy 10 hours a week plus 2 hours of parent training/ week. The neurologist has done nothing for us except give a bill for his services. Of which mostly consist of talking to me about what's going on bc my son was not compliant. He's been through ADOS testing twice. Once by the neurologist the other by a clinical trial I was trying to get him in. He's in the control group so won't be getting services there. The ABA was working but can't afford the private contract without going through the city. And like I said, we've been told he isn't eligible. I just don't know what else to do. I have him in school in hopes that he will get used to the routine. I'm hoping he doesn't have learning issues when he starts kindergarten. Bc he doesn't transition well, he doesn't engage in the group etc. He will rarely sit down w the group and pay attention. He rather be off on his own (taping things- which is his new thing. Tape). But he is highly intelligent. I'm amazed that when he clearly isn't paying attention how he knows what was told to him or asked or taught after being questioned about it. Somehow it gets through. But this scares me that he, while nit a distraction to himself, will be a distraction to others in a class setting. He's very verbal. But his talking is a rambling of sorts. Nothing is connected and doesn't make sense. Then he gets frustrated and says "we aren't listening to his words". When he talks he doesn't engage in much eye contact. Although his eye contact is great. He is like Stevie wonder when he talks, with his head and eyes roaming the room. But when he's evaluated people see that he's smart, verbal and looks at you (Albeit not while rambling). But he never gets comfortable enough to get to the point if rambling w the people testing. It's just not typical. Maybe that's why they can't "diagnose/treat" him appropriately.
  11. masso001

    masso001 New Member

    Sorry. I'm new to this. I replied to your answer incorrectly. Please read the thread. Thanks for your help.
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Well here on the board we dont have the tests in front of us nor are we acting as professionals or anything, I just sounds so strange that he would have all these symptoms, and a diagnosis and not get services. What was his ados classification/score? Eye contact problems are not manditory for autism diagnosis, and it rarely means no eye contact at all. Usually when there needs to be processing or formulating in some way. It sounds like you are saying becasue he does have good contact sometimes he has no issues with that. I have never heard of that. The social verbal communication and that he knows what you directly teach says volumes. He has these focused interests, now tape...hmmm??? It really sounds like you need a neuropsychological evaluation or an evaluation at an autism treatment center where they have neuropsychologists or psychologists who specialize in autism. Not a general childrens psychologist or neurologist. I found our university autism clinic to be among the worst and it was started by our beloved neurologist (she is not there now). But we have three or four centers that work with kids with autism and they have psychiatrists and tdocs and whole treatment programs, social skills classes (even for little ones).... those places do a nice job understanding teh spectrum that autism really is. Since Early Intervention is one of the for sure things we know makes a difference in the outcome for autism, if it was me, yes I would push on. Sometimes certain places are just not a good fit for our kids so we have to swallow hard and move on. It is not an easy thing to do. If you can, try to video tape the times you are concerned about.

    Just throwing out ideas, of course no matter what, I support you and do know this is scary and hard when you are first trying to figure things out. Please keep coming to vent and discuss what is going on at home. At the very least I will guess there are many here who can give you at home ideas for specific issues. We are our children's first therapists and most important therapists. Did you say he did have an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation yet? SOrry, I forgot...
  13. ready2run

    ready2run New Member

    my difficult child has severe issues and we had a hard time getting him help as well, we knew what was wrong but other people kept saying he seemed okay. yes he could do well for the short amount of time he was being tested but then he'd go home and have a full blown meltdown for the rest of the day and i was made to feel like an idiot. it took a doctor leaving us in his waiting room for 3 hours before anyone actually saw what i was seeing at home. i don't know where you live or anything but it doesn't seem weird to me that a 3 year old would not have been tested through the school board. don't they start school later in the US, like at 5 or something? that's what i thought. good luck getting services. you need to demand them and put up a fight.
  14. Confused

    Confused Guest

    You have already gotten great advice from everyone here! I agree with them them, but also get a camcorder, secretly record his speech, and other issues if possible. ( when my son saw the recorder he tried to break it and then slammed his door not acting as severe). Make sure you get several episodes first, and what it is over, do not give just one episode so they can see its ongoing. Then, keep a copy for yourself and let the Dr see the other one. Even a voice recorder will help! My son's Dr refused to see it, even though they saw his bite marks from biting himself on his arms because he acted/did well in front of them too! I do keep suggesting this to everyone because the Dr's don't believe some of us, especilly if our kids do not have a problem in front of them! Good luck!
  15. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Child find is mandated from birth in the USA now. I was just starting work when birth to three legislation was passed and had a blast doing birth to three evaluations and therapy. Because the law says least restrictive environment for services, that is in the home at those ages so I got to do all home therapy. Just the most fun ever.
  16. vdoeinck

    vdoeinck New Member

    I have a 3 1/2 yr old son who we have just recently come to a solution on how to handle....and it sounds like your son is a lot like mine. I really wanted to run away most days...and I have no other children so I can't imagine how hard this must be for you. We started my son in an early intervention program to help with his behavior issues. After a couple of months of that we decided that since we were doing everything the way they told us to and his behaviors weren't changing that there has to be a reason he acts this way, not just "testing" us. So I took him to see his pediatrician. and he was diagnosed with ADHD there, then I took him to an Occupational Therapist (OT) for an evaluation for sensory processing disorder (SPD)...he has the sensory seeking type. If you're not familiar with sensory processing disorder (SPD) you may want to read "the out of synch child" It was very eye opening for me and explained so much of my son's behavior. His Dr. prescribed a medication called Kapvay for his Adhd and impulse control/aggression. Now after only 5 weeks on the medication our life has become so much easier. He is also going to occupational therapy once a week for the sensory processing disorder (SPD)....the more he learns to use his senses properly, they will develop more, and he can begin to respond appropriately to the things / sounds/ stimuli around him. I'm not saying your son has any of these things...just that it's worth looking into. My son was getting incident reports almost every day from pre-school and I was afraid he'd get kicked out if we didn't do something soon. It's so hard dealing with this stuff, I wish you the best, hang in there!