difficult child refused to go to school today

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by odd&adhd-family, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. This morning for the first time my 7 yr old difficult child refused to get out of my car at school this morning! He just hid under his coat or tucked his legs under his arms, hiding and not talking. Tried to talk to him to find out why, didn't get anywhere. Silence. Only after calling husband and him telling difficult child to get out of car or else did he finally open the door and half-way get out. I had to pull him out the rest of the way, then lock the car immediately cause he was trying to get back in. Then I had to pull him into the school where he remained in the lobby refusing to go any further. Luckily one of the heads of school who knows him well at this pt. saw our struggles and took over from there. I don't know why all of the sudden he would refuse to go to school.

    He had a WONDERFUL day yesterday!:D Then he woke up grumpy and non-compliant this morning. I am constantly at a loss with him...:(
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    If this were happening here in Australia, and if there were a diagnosis (as there is in his case) then school avoidance or school phobia would put him into the eligibility for Distance Education (state school correspondence). There are other 'behaviour school' options for ODD kids, too, although I've observed these kids when they attend Distance Ed study days (when they attend on the same day as difficult child 3) and I don't think the behaviour schools always 'get it' with some kids.

    Who diagnosed him? The combination you describe leaves open some other diagnoses such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. Have you had a look at the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test on www.childbrain.com? You can't use this as a formal diagnostic test, but whatever the result you get, you can print it out and keep a copy, maybe show it to the doctor.

    Regarding medication - if the child has ADHD (and not something else that just looks like it) the medications will work, in the same way insulin works on a diabetic. There can still be problems (again, as with insulin - some forms of insulin in the past had side effects or other issues; you also have to match the dose with the need) but it can be sorted fairly quickly. Stimulant medications work paradoxically on ADHD kids. These pills will NOT boost a child's ability, if the child does not have ADHD.

    A woman I know who has ADHD actively campaigns against using stimulant medications. She turned to me one day and asked me, "So what do you think about these parents who drug their kids into submission?"
    I replied calmly (she had walked right into it, didn't know) - "I happen to be one of those parents. What is more, I 'drugged' my youngest from the age of 3. His dramatic improvement from the first day has, in my opinion, totally justified this action. Far from being 'drugged into submission' he has been happier, more directed in his activities, more able to learn effectively and the first major miracle we saw was his progress from single word communication to full sentences. In less than a week."

    Stimulants don't stay in the body for long. They wash out at most in a couple of days, often less. Shorter acting medications can wash out in hours, although sometimes a little residual rebound can be there next morning. Maybe. Long-acting pills - two days, tops. And generally the doctors start off on short-acting to find which medication works best, then make the switch to the same pill, long-acting.

    We were reluctant to try medications with both boys. With difficult child 1, he was 6 years old and we were sure there were behaviour ways t fix it. I also was shocked wen the pediatrician insisted on talking about the diagnosis in front of difficult child 1 - I didn't want our lad upset. But the doctor said, "Do you think he doesn't already realise something is wrong? ANd what he is thinking and feeling is likely far worse than anything we could say."
    And he was right. That particular doctor as a jerk in so many ways, but in this, he was exactly right. difficult child 1 DID need to know, and he was relieved and happy when we left the doctor. The reason was very sad. "Mum, now I know I'm not just a naughty kid. It's not my fault!" He had a huge grin of relief on his face.
    He's now 27 and one of the most upright citizens you could meet. Despite lying to me in his earlier years, stealing from my wallet etc, he woke up to himself in his early teens and is now a model of virtue and honesty. He doesn't look it; even close friends have sometimes seen him across the mall and thought, "He looks really scary," but they still know he's a great guy. At his church the kids were scared of him until he was introduced to them, and they realised he's just a big kid himself. Still learning how to be a grown-up, but wherever he goes, the kids are hanging off him, even though he does look like a biker thug.

    difficult child 3 is now 16 and a couple od days ago told the pediatrician that he can feel it when he hasn't got his medications on board. The doctor said, "That's because as you get older, you get more aware of your body. You are maturing."
    difficult child 3 replied, "But my brother and sister are older, and they can't tell. Am I more mature than them?"

    Just lucky, I guess.

    What I'm trying to say, is my kids, stable on medications, are much happier in themselves, feel like they are nicer people, realise it's not their fault, have more confidence and achieve a vast amount more. It turns them into normal people, in other words.

    It's not always a perfect fix, and it only lasts until the pills wear off. You can then have problems with rebound (although switching medications can change this). But normal for half a day I feel is better than horror, 24/7.

    For the kid, it is often worse than for us. They feel like everyone else has the problem, they are held accountable for behaviour they can't completely control, they are often asked to comply on a broader front than they can manage. It's like being asked to make a gourmet recipe with about 40 steps to it, and all your child can manage is to get the flour out of the cupboard.

    Anxiety can be made worse by stimulant merds. But if the anxiety is being aggravated greatly by pressure of expectations, and medications make it easier to comply, then the medications can reduce anxiety also.

    difficult child 3 has really bad anxiety, but it is worse when he is unmedicated.

  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My difficult child had a few days right around the same age as your son. Just refused to go to school. In teens, we almost anticipate their refusal to go to school, but in little ones, it seems to odd. In my difficult child's case, she was extremely self concious and imagined that people were staring at her or talking about her. It's highly unlikely that was the case and it wasn't until she was in 5th grade that we realized this was her issue. Like you, the principal happened by as we stood in the lobby and took over. I was mortified at the time because difficult child really put up a big fuss - almost temper tantrum, but the principal has seen it all and handled it like the expert she was. By the time difficult child was in 5th grade I requested and evaluation and consulted with a pediatric neurologist who helped by at least explaining what was going on and eventually difficult child started medications, which also helped a bit. I am not one to push or even advocate the use of medications most of the time, but I have to say, that when it's warranted, medications can be a lifesaver for the child and his parents.