First post...insight anyone?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by arewetheonlyones, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. arewetheonlyones

    arewetheonlyones New Member

    We have been dealing with separation anxiety with difficult child 2 since he was in pre-school. It has now escallated in the 4th to severe anxiety disorder, ADD, and panic attacks. We have wonderful doctors helping us, but there is no one that I can find that is dealing with anything like this. My husband and I are exhausted. difficult child 2 is now jumping out of cars to avoid school, banging his head on car windows, kicking and screaming things that we have never heard out of our sweet little difficult child 2 before. The school has been somewhat co-operative. Until his melt down today. They told him they would keep him at school until 9 tonight if they had to, to make him calm down. Our very sensitive difficult child 2, is now needing constant reassurance that they can't keep him from us. We have to physically drag him into school at least 2 days a week. Which is an improvement, a month ago it was 4 times a week. The doctors' are backing me up and explaining that this is a medical condition. They are just trying to get his medications right and that it is not an over night thing. The school just wants him to "**** it up and get back to class". When he is in that frame of mind, he can't do anything. The doctor today said it was time for an IEP. This is all new to me. Can anyone give any insight? We don't even know what an IEP will do for him. difficult child 2 is so distraught by his own behaviors and his perceptions of reality seem to a bit off some times. We discovered he was being bullied at school about a month ago but that has stopped since. These problems were there before then, but have worsened since. He has started secluding himself at home. We are very concerned and feel very alone in this world right. I am so glad to find somewhere that won't tell us, "Just spank him." This isn't something we can spank out of our child.

    Glad to be here!
  2. DramaQueenLucy

    DramaQueenLucy New Member

  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    It sounds like it is long past time for an IEP. An IEP will give your student rights under federal law. The school can step up and do a number of things but won't be required to without an IEP in place. For instance students with severe anxiety sometimes get homebound instructors instead of attend regular classes (not a good long term solution but can help short term until medications or other interventions kick in). If the district can't meet his educational needs then they can be pushed to provide an alternative setting such as a therapuetic day school, a small safe therapeutic environment (don't mention this right out or they won't want to give you an IEP).

    Hugs to you--I know this is really hard.

    What kinds of specialists have given out the diagnoses?
  4. arewetheonlyones

    arewetheonlyones New Member

    Tested? Which one? The neuro pschy evaluation - no. We just learned of that today on this site. He has been through the ADD/ADHD testing. But that's about it. Everyone keeps telling me to be prepared for the fight with the school on the IEP. I'm not sure what fight everyone is talking about. The docs say not to worry. They have to work with us. Since there is no "over night" cure. They have to work with us until they can get his medications right. They tried klonopin a few weeks ago. He was taking two tablets (.5/each). He had a terrible reaction to it. Vomiting, couldn't walk, couldn't function, would just fall over unexpectedly. Of course, we worked up to that much. But everything lower than that, he was still having panic attacks. My husband and I just want to say forget it, we are home schooling. It is not worth torturing our child every morning just to go to school. But the docs say that socially that would be terrible for him. I don't know what to do any more. I have been patient for 9 years. I can't watch my child go through this any more. It is absolutely heart wrenching. I guess we will continue to hurry up and wait. Any other testing suggestions?
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    My difficult child and I were there last year. He started 5th grade not wanting to go to school and we had not a clue what was going on. He developed a lot of somatic symptoms (is that the term for unexplained medical issues such as not being able to breath, chest pains, seeing spots, ect.). I spent the first few weeks in school with him. I even sat next to him for a few weeks before sitting outside the door with my feet inside so he knew I was there and then to just being in the building. My difficult child had fallen deep deep deep into anxiety but I did not know what it was. He was unable to ride 5 minutes to Target to get a LEGO set that he had been asking for. He just couldn't make it that far from home.

    I was blessed with difficult child having a teacher who believed in both me and difficult child. The private school difficult child goes to worked with us. I ended up admitting difficult child (upon his request) to a children's psychiatric hospital. He was put on Flouxetine (contraversial I hear but worked for him) and clonazepam (took the edge off but lead him into nasty mean behaviors). We added intense therapy (once per week with the psychologist and daily with each issue once discharged from the hospital) and he worked very hard on gaining control of his life. He has coping skills that the school allowed him to use whenever needed such as journaling. When he became upset, he was allowed to turn his focus to journaling. He was allowed to call me at work whenever he needed to talk.

    We did not go the route of an IEP because the school was on the same page with us and actively following what my difficult child needed in each situation as well and looking "outside the box" for ways to help him. What an IEP will do for you is to set up the educational tools your difficult child will need to learn and the school will need to follow the rules of those tools - such as allowing difficult child to have a beveridge at his desk at all times, decrease the homework, have an aide in the room, ect. You make a list of what will make your difficult child's education a success and implement those things through an IEP. Since your difficult child's school is taking the tone of him "just get to school and do your work", you do need an IEP to protect his education.

    We lived a total nightmare for almost one year so I do know what you are going through and I can't imagine doing so without the active support of our school. Many times, the normal discipline procedures set by schools will make our difficult child's behaviors worse. They add to the anxiety.

    One encouraging thing: One week after my difficult child was admitted to the psychiatric hospital, he asked me, "Mom, do you know what I hate most about being here is?" "No, What?" "That you don't get to watch me grow up." He was referring to the fact that he really felt that he was gaining some control and learning ways to cope. He was starting to feel confident.
    (He had only been overnight without mom or dad maybe 2 or 3 times in his 11 years of life. Being in the psychiatric hospital unable to pick up the phone and call home was the hardest thing he ever faced.)
  6. arewetheonlyones

    arewetheonlyones New Member

    We have been diagnosed by a behavioral psychologist who then in turn referred us to a great pediatric psychologist. Any other suggestions?
  7. arewetheonlyones

    arewetheonlyones New Member

    That does make me feel better. The docs keep reassuring us, that we are no where near out of options yet. that is just a hard pill to swallow when your difficult child is screaming at you "Help me, Momma!" as the school staff is dragging him by his hands and feet so you can get out of the school. I know there is an answer, we just haven't been able to find it yet. We try using your typical calming exersises (deep breaths, count backwards from 100, etc.), but we can't usually get his attention enough to start those. Thanks for sharing with us! It helps to know some one else has been there!
  8. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Ask your psychologist about a Stress Eraser. You can view it on (I hope that is right). It is a handheld device that allows a person to focus on breathing. For kids your difficult child's age, it can be like a game. As you breathe correctly, you earn points. The goal is to reach a certain number of points each time you use it.

    These are about $300.00 (we got ours through GNC - looked up the info on line at and gave the numbers to our local GNC store to order for us). So, you don't want to jump into getting one unless you feel comfortable that it will work. My difficult child's therapist introduced us to it last winter. I wish I would have gotten it earlier but the cost kept me from it for awhile.

    One thing that our therapist had us add to the breathing exercises was an imagery exercise (not sure if that is the correct term). difficult child is to visualize a happy memory and then think about all the senses - how that memory tasted, sounded, looked, ect. I think actually focusing on breathing is often times hard - sometimes the more you try to breathe correctly, the more anxious you get that you are not doing it right. The imagery helps to calm you down so your breathing naturally calms down also.

    My difficult child hates to write but the school and I were able to get him to journal at his worse moments. He was to write down how he felt or how he saw the situation. He did not have to share what he wrote if he did not want to. It was most successful in school when the teacher had to seperate him from the class due to his misbehavior or inability to focus on what the class was doing. I was able to get him to journal at home a few times.

    Have you considered an in-hospital stay to find the right medications quicker?
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I know this has been a difficult and long term problem. While it is true that some kids just have separation anxiety, it really seems strange to me that the school would EVER threaten to keep him there until 9pm or he calms down. And it seems off kilter that he thinks school wants to keep him away from you.

    What are they saying to him, what have they BEEN saying to him, and what are the other kids doing/saying to him?

    With my own son, the separation anxiety was much less. Wiz, my oldest, went through school refusal in 8th grade. The school, and several psychologists told us that we had to "force" him to stay at school all day no matter what.

    My instincts SCREAMED that this was wrong. I finally put a stop to that (one therapist wanted us to have a garbage can put by his seat in every class so if he had to vomit he could do it right there! NO!) We worked it out with the Sp Ed teacher that Wiz could leave ANY class at ANY time to go to the resource room AND that he could call me at any time. We had it put in the IEP.

    I do think an IEP is overdue if you are going to keep him in school. Push for accomodations like this.

    IF you live in an area with a large homeschool group, you may find homeschooling to be a very viable option. You can do things with the homeschool group to deal with the social issues while staying home when he really needs it. We did this for third and fourth grades with Wiz. We made far more progress those years than we did in the years before or right after.

    I am homeschooling my daughter for the third year now. She has great social skills, but she has medical problems the school will not work with us on.

    I recommend doing a search for homeschool groups in your area (use "homeschool group X City, AL" in a google search). Get the information before you decide that it is just a bad idea.

    Whatever you do or don't do, remember that YOU and husband are the experts in your child. The "experts" don't know your child that well. They only spend minutes per month with you, as compared to hours per week. I can also tell you that the times I made the most damaging mistakes with my kids were when I ignored what my instincts were telling me.

    I do recommend getting a neuropsychologist exam as soon as possible so you can be as sure as possible what you are dealing with. others will explain these exams better than I can.

    Welcome to our little corner, glad to meet you!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I third the neuropsychologist evaluation. An ADHD test isn't intensive enough to know what is really triggering your son's behaviors. neuropsychologist testing is the best type of testing---6-10 hours and more than just trying to fix it with medications because you probably CAN'T fix it just with medications. Good luck and welcome to the board ;)
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi, arewetheonlyones, welcome.

    I like the ideas you've been given here.
    Your difficult child needs a thorough evaluation.
    I like the Stresseraser idea, too.

    Gosh, poor kid. This is going to take a while. The teachers are not on the same page!
  12. arewetheonlyones

    arewetheonlyones New Member

    What type of doctor do I look for to do a neuro psychiatric evaluation? Is this something is doctor has to refer us for or can you typically just call?

    I really appreciate all of the support. I wish I would have found you guys years ago!! husband and I have felt so alone in this world. We have looked for parent support groups or anyone that is or has dealt with this, just to get a point of view from someone that understands it. We found NO one. Thanks for being here!

    We had another really rough morning today. There was punching, hitting, screaming, etc. just to get into school. My difficult child was also telling me he was seeing shadows this morning. Does any one know anything about this? We have never had this symptom before. The Lexapro was increased yesterday, so I don't know if that has something to do with the "shadows" or not. I did call the doctor and left a message this morning. I haven't heard back yet. Just wndering if anyone knows anything about this shadow business. I have never had that problem with my medications.

    Thanks guys! You all ROCK!!
  13. Ropefree

    Ropefree Banned

    arewetheonlyones: Welcome. The question about the iep. It appears that given your son has had these conditions that he does and has qualified for the FAPE IDEA IEP services: evaluations, monthly medication monitoring, conseling, social skills training with a conselor at school such as a friendship club, and anything else specific to his learning needs.
    I firmly feel that having a morning be a possitive event on a daily basis is essential.
    Perhaps trying a totally new stradigy? When my child is having trouble I have found that when offered hope he will try something to help himself. I like to offer him options.
    Getting up earllier and walking together befor a shower and breakfast. Children want their parents attention more than anything. This is a way to engender a lifelong habit and to give your child the time needed everyday to wake and be alert and unlearn the habit of morning grumpies. Also it allows your children to know that they and their health matters to his parents.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I orginally used a psychiatrist with-an interest/specialty in neurology. Wait, maybe it was the other way around.
    Anyway, I hated his opinion. He spent 5 min. with-us.
    The second one was a PhD in pscychology and education (2 PhDs, I think). That ofc did several hrs of testing.

    Seeing shadows is not normal. I don't know much about kids and Lexapro, but that would definitely be my first guess. If it's something new, and the medication is new, it's pretty obvious.
    My mom was on it, but she was 77.

    I agree with-Ropefree, try to come up with-another way to get your difficult child to school. Maybe start a carpool, so he can look forward to someone else picking him up?
    Or buying a special breakfast cereal and surprising him with-it?
    Or getting him up 15 min. early and letting him watch cartoons?
    You get the idea.
    Something to get out of the pattern you're in.

    What happens just b4 he rages in the a.m.? Is it because he doesn't like bright lights? Or just because he's tired?
    Or does he hate school?

    We got our difficult child a cute alarm clock and that worked. For a week. ;)
    He broke it, but hey, it worked while it worked.
    It was supposed to give him some control over what time he got up, and take away the routine of hearing our voices.
  15. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    If you are not doing it already, document all changes you notice (good and bad) when introducing new medications or changing doses. Keep it updated.

    When N* was 14, Lexapro was prescribed and within days, she was hallucinating. No Lexapro, no hallucinations. I'm not trying to be an alarmist, but if he's seeing things, you should check with his doctor.