Coping methods?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by rimpley, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. rimpley

    rimpley Guest

    As with most of the posts I’ve read here, I’m posting because I don’t know where to turn next. My daughter will be 6 this month. As a baby she was fussy and colicky. When she was around 18 months, she started having fits of explosive anger that we wrote off to the terrible two’s. We waited for the terrible two’s to end and they never have – they’ve progressively gotten worse.

    I have a friend that used to tell me I had let her get away with too much. Everyone has advice and an opinion, right? Now she has admitted that she gets that this is just the way daughter is.

    Mornings are hell around here. When husband is home on his day off and can devote all his time to getting her going things go so much better. When it’s just me and her, she just can’t seem to hear me. I’ll ask her to get dressed, brush her teeth or get her shoes on and I’ll find her singing, playing or just staring. I get frustrated and yell which just makes it worse. If something sets her off (we call it the switch…click!) then she’s grunting, screaming, hitting and clawing at me. If she’s doing something she has to finish it before even considering what we’ve asked. If you remove whatever it was…click! If I put her in her room, she pounds on the door and the walls.

    husband and I can’t have a conversation because she’s interrupting. We’ve told her it’s not polite to interrupt and that if something is very important she might say excuse me. She’ll put up her hand and then tell us something that is so not in the realm of important.

    I took her shopping for birthday presents after school today and talked to her about behavior before we left. I agreed that she could push the cart like a big girl. Soon she was not watching and running it into people, blocking the aisle and zooming it up and down. I used to be able to drag her screaming out of a store, but I can’t any longer. She’s taller than most of her peers and weighs over 70 lbs. If she doesn’t want to go somewhere, I can’t make her any longer. It makes the dentist and blood tests fun.

    Now, the positive. She’s so smart. She’s reading chapter books in grade 1 and her teacher says that when she reads out loud it sounds like she’s been reading for years. Academically, she’s good. She gets completely distracted in class and I’m not sure the current teacher knows how to handle it. She’s kept her behind from activities to work on “listening skills”. She’s funny and imaginative and sensitive.

    We’ve started seeing a psychologist who is referring us to a child psychiatrist (this may take many months). The psychologist thinks gifted, ADHD, ODD and anxiety. She’s trying to help us take baby steps and find ways to cope. Right now I’m trying jelly beans to get her into the car in the morning…not as a reward…just that they are there and she may want to get to the car in order to have one. They are all different with the kinds on the back which appeals to her thinking.

    The psychologist asked us when we enjoy her…honestly it doesn’t seem like we get to. I would love to have time with her that is happy instead of looking forward to bedtime or parking her in front of a movie to get a moment’s peace.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I would appreciate any methods of coping that have worked for you. We’re willing to try almost anything.
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I had a huge flashback when I read about your mornings....mine are still rough now but for a different reason, smile. Back at your difficult child's age, we did find a way to make mornings (and many things in fact) much much better. We used a visual schedule. Even if she can read, pictures with words are best for these when they are little. So, I took pictures of each task. And for getting winter weather wear on actually did each piece of clothing. on a separate schedule. I laminate each picture, (they are small like an 1X1 inch, you can do bigger if you want) and put the hook part of velcro on the back. On a long verticle strip of heavy stock paper (like a manilla file weight, you can cut one of those up) also laminated, I put one long strip of the loop side of the velcro. I put the pictures in order from top to bottom of the strip. I either put a pocket at the bottom or put another strip on the back (the all done side, you can color it red for all done and the other side can be green or whatever). When a step is done, she picks off the picture and puts it on the all done side. When they are all done the very last might be a picture of a reward she wants. (You can have a separate strip with rewards she likes and the first thing she does is pull of which reward she wants and puts it at the bottom of the task schedule list). It can be kind of fun for them...even if it is not fun, it usually does settle in as a way to organize them and reduce anxiety/stress. It takes the need to repeat over and over out of the mix. You just show the picture of the next step.

    This works great in classrooms too. If she is such a good reader, your or they could also use small write on/wipe off board and create a list with words that follow the the directions that the teacher gave-like first cut on lines second, glue pictures on the page third, write the words under the picture... last, clean up.......whatever the project is.... (or again something you are doing at home, like cleaning up toys then get to watch tv)...if they put little boxes by each step she can check off each step along the way.

    How does she do with friends? Lots of kids with these kinds of issues don't get the social rules like not interrupting. They just need to get their own needs met, not to be mean, they just do. I wonder from your post about sensory issues with her and that level of distraction seems like it may be beyond ADHD. Many kids who are really smart, read early, have the kinds of struggles you are mentioning, fall on the autism spectrum. You haven't said very much about her play or social skills so I am just sharing that it is common for kids to be misdiagnosed with adhd and odd and anxiety when in fact it is maybe even on the near normal side of the autism spectrum. Many professionals dont see it in a child when it is pretty mild. But IF that is the case (and it could be many things besides that...just giving Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as an example) then knowing those kinds of answers can help her have more appropriate supports in school and they can help give you more ideas for at home.

    Other people will chime in with additional ideas that relate to things they have experienced. Overall, if you can get a second opinion, doesn't mean you have to leave this doctor you like, just good to get another perspective, it would be good. Especially if you can get a complete overall neuropsychological assessment done. Have you done that kind of assessment? It tends to be much more involved than a doctor. evaluation.

    If this doesn't fit for you, no worries, just offering ideas... Glad you are here, hope people can give you good ideas!
  3. keista

    keista New Member


    First, does she EVER seem to hear you? Have you had her hearing checked? It is possible that your voice is in a range she does not hear well, and certainly not when she is otherwise preoccupied. Something to consider if she is much more compliant with husband. (assuming of course, he has a deeper voice) Another thing that could cause a difference with morning routines is phrasing. See if he says things any differently than you do. One word could change the meaning of a sentence, and I don't just mean the word please. "Get your shoes on." and "Put on your shoes." and "Put your shoes on your feet." are all VERY different to a child with possible language processing issues.

    I feel very awkward suggesting this because I have just in the last two days been blindsided myself by a possible new diagnosis for my daughter which I NEVER expected, but the above statements sound very much like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Given her high level of intelligence, possibly Asperger's. The psychologist should have evaluation tools for this or know of a good referral.

    How was her development? Have you noticed any sensory issues? Loud noises, picky eating, certain pieces of clothing she refuses to wear?

    Welcome again!
  4. rimpley

    rimpley Guest

    I had a whole reply written and then my laptop froze...DOH!

    buddy - I like the idea of the pictures. We tried something with music (this song is the getting dressed song, this one is for brushing teeth) to help her understand the concept of time, but she figured out that she could put the songs on pause or repeat. Bit too smart sometimes. I'm thinking ahead to figure out if she could manipulate this one. She's very social, but sensitive. Her feelings can be hurt at the drop of a hat. I worry because she's always been bigger and taller (almost 10 lbs at birth) and I know the day is coming that someone says something unkind. She's not fat, but she definitely looks like she's a year or two older. Regarding the process here (we're in Canada), we had a referral from our family doctor who thought she was ODD. That went to the mental health arm of our provincial government. They had a waiting list and gave us a list of private psychologists. These also had waiting lists so we instead went to a counselor who thought she had trauma and felt that she could correct it by some eye brain trigger therapy. I soon figured out that was going nowhere fast and shortly thereafter had a call from the private psychologist. She is referring to the child psychiatrist which could take months. In the meantime we're going to meet with the school in November and try to figure out some coping mechanisms.

    keista - She was really shy when she was younger. Took her awhile to warm up. Still doesn't like loud noises, but it's less than it was before. Toilets flushing, water running. Regarding husband, I wouldn't say she's more compliant, he just does everything for her. She still calls him to help her in the bathroom sometimes and he does because he doesn't want the confrontation and the inevitable meltdown. With me in the morning, I have to be at work after I drop her off so I can't give all my time to her. She wastes the time I do give her by not doing what I ask and then doesn't understand that I'm under the gun to get myself ready. I hadn't really considered autism. She's had autistic kids in her class at daycare and preschool so I guess my perception was how those kids functioned. I will take a look at Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

    Thanks for the feedback! :)
  5. rimpley

    rimpley Guest

    Oh and yes, she does hear us as she many times does react. Just seems to be off on her own planet somewhere.
  6. rimpley

    rimpley Guest

    I was reading about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) here Autism Spectrum Disorder and based on what they say, I can say with absolute certainty that she's not Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She's far too social.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There are a raft of issues and challenges that tend to get missed - by everybody. Parents, school, medical... and these issues can really snowball.

    Has she ever been evaluated by an Occupational Therapist (OT) for sensory and motor skills? Either of those would be huge, and she could have both. This could explain some of her reluctance/resistance with dressing, doing hair, etc. sensory processing disorder (SPD) and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) can be stand-alone dxes in their own right.

    Is she on any medications for ADHD? (sorry if I missed that in the post) If she is, then she's probably old enough to also be evaluated for auditory processing disorders. These are subtle. In the past, it was caught in those who had language challenges. But more recently, there are other types being recognized - such as "auditory figure ground" processing problems - another way of saying that the person doesn't hear well if there is background noise. If you are getting ready at the same time as trying to get her ready... what kinds of sounds are also going on? hair dryer, running water, boiling kettle. You have NO idea how noisy some of these little things are - and they can make it impossible for her to hear.

    These issues could also be seen in an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspie child - which is part of where the confusion comes in!

    Given that some evaluation has already been done, I'd look at supplementing with Occupational Therapist (OT)/Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)/Audiology... because these findings may affect the direction the therapist/psychiatrist see things going forward.

    Meanwhile... have you ever seen the book "The Explosive Child"? It has an interesting, different perspective on challenging kids. It really makes you think about why the child does what they do.. and why YOU do what you do. If the current approach is not working, then we need to change the approach - and this book provides a framework for doing that.
  8. buddy

    buddy New Member

    This additional information makes me question even more about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Really many many kids do not look autistic and one would never guess it unless they were familiar with how broad the spectrum can be. For those of us who have lived it, worked it, for years, you develop a radar and some things people say just jump out at you. Or if you meet the child they catch your interest really fast because you can see the little signs. Not to say she for sure has this, of course we do not do that, not a diagnostic center here. Just lots of experience an ideas for you to think about.

    Great you are going to consider it. So many kids on the spectrum are mis diagnosed until they are older. (especially with ADHD, ODD, Anxiety Disorder) In the mean time they can be viewed as behavior problems or mis-medicated (there are some kids who need medications who have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) but they may be very different than medications for ODD or bi-polar etc.) I am sure other parents will chime in with things that stick out for them. Maybe additional possiblities for diagnosis. I would especially check out Sensory Processing Disorder or Sensory Integration disorder... given that you are saying she has a history of sensory issues and the selective "ignoring" and the transition meltdowns, etc. What you read online may be more classic autism so also check out Asperger's. There may be someauditory and/or langage processing issues as well based on the issues you are sharing.

    Let us know how things are going.... Dont worry about how she may manipulate that picture schedule system. You can hold it and even give her each step. You tear it off and she can just put it on the all done side (dont worry about the order on the all done side, they can stick it anywhere) No reward until the pictures are all on the all done side. If you dont care which order she does things in let that go too...she can brush teeth then dress or dress then brush teeth. Pick and choose only those battles that really make a difference! smile!!!
  9. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Some of the things I do:
    Praise good behavior
    get down on their level to give instruction
    make sure I have their attention before giving instruction
    be close to them physically to give instruction
    with the 'I have to finish this first' I tell them it will wait for you. Then I put it where they can see it waiting. They get a shirt on. Then I give it back to them.
    I hold out two things and have them choose (speeds up things from having them choose out of the drawer)
    Sometimes they do sleep in their clothes for the next day.
    I can't get ready and get them ready at the same time. I have to get ready first.
    We have the same thing for breakfast everyday. If I get board of it I change it, but then we are having what I changed it to everyday (at least a few weeks).
    I have their morning schedule (drew pictures) on the white board so they can see it. (helps me remember the order of things too)
    I'm not picky if they decide to wear the snow boots without socks or when its not snowing.
    Sometimes we eat in shifts. Just less behaviors that way.
    Sometimes someone eats in the kitchen instead of with the rest of us. (Not a punishment, just sensory need)
    I count to 7 before repeating myself (slow processing speeds) or punishing
    I have a count down for time out. When I get to 1 its time out. I start at 2. This is very rarely used though.
    I use deep pressure to calm them down
    I work with them. Sometimes I have to do hand-over-hand to get them to work. Again rarely used.

    Good luck
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The spacey, staring, and seemingly not hearing you makes me also chalk up another one who thinks "Aspergers" seems to fit. These kids also are very exact and do not transition well and think different than other kids.

    I would take her to a neuropsychologist. in my opinion you will get better results than from a psychiatrist. psychiatrists are not really all that good at diagnosing things like Aspergers because it's a neurological problem, not a psychiatric one.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
  11. rimpley

    rimpley Guest

    Thanks for the info all! I did post again in response to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and it told me that a moderator had to approve it. Maybe because I posted a link to the website I was looking at? I don't think Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) fits because of how social she is. She's a hugger and her friends (and the poor dog) get the brunt of it.

    I will look into Aspergers and see what I find. I honestly don't know how I would get to a NeuroPsychiatrist. I will look into that as well.
  12. keista

    keista New Member

    :) I'm reading your words and laughing at myself. I mentioned the possible missed diagnosis for my daughter. I was so 100% convinced she wasn't Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) partly because I perceived her as being appropriately social. And as a matter of fact, she is. More so than her brother. BUT I wasn't noticing the subtleties of her social ineptness either. I chalked it up to anxiety or being a 'control freak'.

    When you say that someone is getting the "brunt" of her hugging, it indicates that maybe she is hugging way too much. Which is socially inappropriate. That is the actual distinction - the inappropriateness of the social interaction.

    by the way Asperger's is on the Autism spectrum. It's just of the very high functioning variety.
  13. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Until you wait for a thorough evaluation (neuropsychologist, pychiatic, etc...). Try to do 3 things: regular hearing test, speech evaluation and Occupational Therapist (OT).
    All those 3 are easier to schedule (in the US) and do give precious info. At the bare minimum they can rule out a lot.
    What you describe reminds me a lot of V. He was recently diagnosis with sensory processing disorder (SPD). His report shows EVERY single sense being affected (7 of them, it is a little different than the "regular" five senses). And that kind of diagnosis can look a lot like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). V also has issues with motor skills and I was completly shoked by it!
    If your daughter was anything like that, it might explain why the morning routine is so tuff.
    Until you have some answer, I would try to lower my expectation. If you need to help her get dress, just do it. It is not worth meltdowns. If you have to repeat a hundred times, try to stay cool and remind yourself she truly does not hear or does not process the info. If issues are ruled out later on, it will always be possible to reajust your expectation.
    Try to give her warnings before transitioning. Such as, in 10 min, in 4, in 2min... You can also say things "3 more times: 1, 2, 3. ok now we need to go". It sounds stupid, but it does help.
    Also, try to stick with your new methods for a little while. It does not always work right away.
    And I agree with everyone, make things visual. This forum has helped me putting a visual schedule together and after about 10 days of trying to use it, V is finally accepting it and asking for it.
    Change takes time and patience. For the both of you!
    Have you explained to her why you guys seek professional help? If not, try to get her on bord. Maybe explain that you ove her very much, but there are a lot of yelling and conflict. You want the family to be more peaceful. Explain that to her when she is in "a good place".
    Welcome !
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    As well as looking into the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)........

    Those staring off into space spells and seeming to be in her own world can possibly absence seizures. Travis had them for years before they were finally diagnosed. He probably never would have had it diagnosed at all except my neighbor was telling me about her husband's absence seizures and I had a major AHA moment and took him to a neurologist to be checked.

    Welcome to the board :)