getting ready for neuropsychologist consult tomorrow...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ksm, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I thought it was odd when I opened the packet of info from the doctor's office... and they said it was not necessary to bring the child to the first appointment. Did others do that too? I have a largee packet of info to fill out - and it is hard, as we adopted difficult child at age 7. My son is not her bio dad but was there for the last half of the pregnancy and also the delivery. Many of the questions deal with the mother's pregnancy and delivery. I assume they are looking for birth injuries that might cause developmental problems. I talked to DS and he said when he met difficult child's mom, he didn't know she was pregnant and said she probably had 7 to 10 alcoholic drinks a day - but she did stop when she realized she was pregnant (at 5 months???) She also used crack cocaine for the first 5 months... maybe longer. She smoked thru out the entire pregnancy.

    The children were removed from the home at ages 3 and 5 and spent one year in foster care. I hope the neuropsychologist can sort out difficult child's true problem... is she bipolar? is she suffering from PTSD? Are all these problems related to the prenatal alcohol and drug usage during the pregnancy? I have read that the alcohol problems seem to affect the child's executive function... Also read that those deficits are permanent... so what can be done? She has been on Seroquel for about 6 weeks - and I can't see any help.

    On Monday a week ago, she skipped first hour as she hadn't done the homework - then went to school and told them she had overslept. They called me to verify and she was busted. She had left for school at 7:30 am and didn't show up til 9am. She had a one day in school suspension. On Friday, she had a half day of scchool and knew she had to pick her the bedroom. She goofed off and "started" working at about 2:45pm. At 3:15 nothing had been done so I didn't let her go to the mall. She had one of the worst meltdowns ever. I had to leave to pick up another child from school - and she took off on her bike and told her little sis that she was going to the mall. She did change her mind and came back to the house before I got home. Saturday another meltdown over something stupid. On Sunday, another meltddown because she couldn't ride her bike as she was "too big" for it. Never mind that she has ridden it two days ago. She is not even 5 ft tall... and has a bmx type bike. My son rode one of those even when he was probaly a6 to 8 inches taller than she was. Then we got the "you hate me" "you never get me what I need" meltdown. This morning, the tantrum was caused by her sister turning on the bedroom light about 5 minutes after time to get up. "You don't care about me - the light is blinding my eyes and you don't even care!" speech.

    I don't know what to do... when she is in meltdown mode... you can't communicate or logic with her.

    I don't know if the neuropsychologist will take difficult child on as a patient or not... it will all depend on the interview process with us and the records I will be taking in with us. I am afraid if things don't change soon, we will not be able to have her live with us. Each meltdown is like a new level - and while she hasn't tried to hurt us or her sis yet... the level of rage is so scarey. I don't know what she is capable of.

    She has started a new therapist - but the first two appts were going over the past history... and only has had one on one appointment. She goes again later this week.

    Wish us luck tomorrow - I really hope we get some answers and hope for the futurre. KSM
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    "and she took off on her bike and told her little sis that she was going to the mall. She did change her mind and came back to the house before I got home."

    THAT is very promising and good. Praise and emphasize these moments. in my opinion this type of incident should not be punished because she did see the error of her ways, and ultimately made the right choice. She had a delayed reaction, that's all.

    No, during meltdowns there is no point in even attempting to argue or impose consequences. Need to wait until the meltdown is done and try to discuss it. For a while, if DD1 was willing to discuss things, I wouldn't impose a consequence. If she refused to discuss, then there was certainly a consequence. My logic was to get her to understand what was going on inside her to cause her to do this stuff and to assist in her own diagnosis and care. Of course, while DD1 could be explosive, she was not on the extreme end of volatile, so this worked for us.
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Keista - we did tell her we were glad she stopped and came back. We allowed her to go to the school football game that evening - but extended her loosing her radio for one more day. I felt like there should be some consequence for the meltdown and yelling at me and her sister. The screaming was over the top... I heard it as I was driving away from the house. So I am sure the neighbors heard it too.

    Funny how she could ride her bike to run away... but couldn't ride it for something fun... KSM
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    You asked if you take her to the appointment? Are they asking that you not go? I read fast so maybe misread. Yes, I went to everything every single time (and there have been many). I do write a big ADOPTED and I have limited info on birth history on the form. but I do write what I know. Kids who dont have the physical features of Fetal Alchohol Syndrome can still have Fetal Alchohol Effect and two trainings I went to for CE credits said that people think it is more mild...but it is not necessarily so. Just didn't get the physical facial changes... I think the invisible disabilities are the worst. (not saying that is what she has of course, just when I read about the drinking...of course you will be letting them know it all so they will be helping you sort thru that. I hope they take her, why wouldn't they, it is an assessment...maybe they dont take kids who just have normal developmental issues? how they decide that before an assessment I dont know, maybe they just have a screening for who they take and who they dont??? I dont know, can't wrap my head around that)
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    ksm, kids who had prenatal drug/alcohol exposure have compromised impulse control and often some brain damage that may be hard to sort out from a mental illness (although they often have both, sicne if birthparents were stable, drugs wouldn't be an issue). They are vry hard to figure out. For our son, who had a similar history, it took eleven years for somebody to tell us things that made sense...yes, he saw a neuropsychologist from a top clinic in the country. He finally stated to improve a lot. And he was also lucky that eevn though he was born with crack in his system, he did not have a full scale Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and basically had a sunny nature. That does not mean he got off without problems, but his quality of life is going to be very good because he got good interventions, improved to the degree he could, and has some wonderful community services down the road.

    A neuropsychologist will be able to tell you about your child's strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully, he understands prenatal drug/alcohol exposure or he may misdiagnose problems related to that to psychiatric disorders. Taking children like ours to regular therapists and psychiatrists, with little knowledge of how drugs before birth affect our children, I have found to be very unhelpful. I've even had a few say, "That has nothing to do with the way he is." REALLY????

    I hope you found a good neuropsychologist. They will track every part of his development and his behavior (seeing a meltdown would be a good thing), and be able to explain his deficits and strengths. I do find it odd though that he doesn't want to see your child at the first appointment, but maybe he just uses it to collect info. He did this with us too, but also wanted to observe Sonic while he did so. It was hard for us to fill in his birthfamily's info as we had so little of it...just that she had given birth while high, named him, and walked out t he door. We knew nothing else since she had spurned all prenatal care.

    Our complicated kids, with "iffy" genetic history to share, are harder to diagnose, but hang in there. Eventually, you will know who your child is and how to give him the best life you can. been there done that (((Hugs)))
  6. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    The paper work said not to bring the child to this appointment. I have a big list of things to take to the office, though. I think that after the initial consult, if they feel it is a problem they can help with, they will try to get health insurance to then OK further testing. Good luck. They have refused testing when the therapist tried to arrange it.

    difficult child does not have the facial features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) - but has always been what I called "high strung". She would be the first one to get upset and the last one to calm down. Wants her own way. Can't take "no" for an answer. Feels like if she talks long(and loud!) enough she can change our mind. Honest... she will say "If you will just listen to me then you will understand..." And we do let her have her say - and usually the answer is still a no. We try to explain and repeat back what she said, and why it is still a no... but it is futile to let her keep talking. Once, we gave difficult child and little sis a time out so they could work out a compromise... and after an hour, difficult child states..." this is never going to work! I keep trying to compromise, and she still won't do it my way!"

    Lately her biggest arguments revolve around It's Not Fair!! And... Why Do You Hate Me??? I know that alot of this involves her biomom not doing the work to get custody back. The fact that drugs came first and kids second (or third). Biomom has been a real flake and even though we tried to allow her to keep in touch with the girls (based on what therapist thought would be best) she hasn't followed thru. At this point, we get a phone call about every 3 months from her. And the girls aren't really interested in talking to her any more. Even when she lived close by - she couldn't manage to show up to visit them. difficult child thinks we hate her because she is not our biograndchild. She doesn't know who her biodad is... and neither does biomom. My son, the only father she knows - is still in her life and is consistent. But she never acts this way around him. KSM
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm just a parent... but... with all the chaos in the first years of her life, for a minimum I'd be guessing that she has attachment problems. Not necessarily full-blown classical Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). But... attachment isn't an on-off switch. Its a whole range...

    Just something to toss in the back of your mind.
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I have thought of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)... it is wierd... she adapted really well to the foster home she was in... and also to us when we got custody a year later. She always seemed to "fit in". One therapist suggested that maybe the fact that she seemed to adjust so quickly was that maybe the attachments weren't as strong... Does that make sense? Like, it wouldn't be an easy adjustment if she was truly attached.

    She does seem to get overly "attached" to new people... like when we meet someone on vacation or at church camp... they are her "best friend ever" after only a few days. She really doesn't have friends... at 13, you would think that there would be phone calls and sleep overs. But there isn't. Last week, when the therapist asked about friends... she rattled off lots of names from school... but none of those people ever iniate any activities, or call.

    I just hate seeing her so miserable. And I hate that there are times that I can hardly stand to be around her. It is so difficult to keep trying - and keep getting my feelings hurt by her. She could have so much going for her... but she is so negative about everything. KSM
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, that totally makes sense. She isn't completely detached, has some concept of attachment and wants it... but doesn't have enough of it to know how to get it or what it really is.

    It would explain A LOT of her behavior, though.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    That is a good point. That is true for my son. When you look up Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) online you get the full blown detached kids. But there are sites online and in the real world there are good therapists who understand it is a spectrum much like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). My son is insecurely attached but not unattached. He has a conscience (doesn't always have access to it sigh...) and really does love and rely on me and the main adults in his life. But everything is unfair, and he is hypervigilent and wants to make sure no one will ever hurt him so he will go on the offense before that will ever happen to him again. It is an emotional survival thing from being so hurt by a broken bond with their first main caregiver (usually bio mom, but sometimes due to illness or other reasons the bond was disrupted).

    It is something to consider, and it sounds like you are....poor thing. Hope you can find some answers AND more support.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    It is not uncommon for our difficult child's to refer to "their best friends" when they don't, in fact, know their names or anything else about them. During various evaluations difficult child#2 did that consistently and when asked for details like "what games do you both like?" etc. it became apparent to each professional that he did not have any friends. He actually often didn't even know their names. I found that very sad at the beginning but subsequently accepted that with his Asperger's he just didn't get it.

    On a brighter note, he now does have a few "friends" (close acquaintances who sometimes he shares some time with). It's a long process. DDD
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Attachment disorder is abnormal attachment. While you may be able to fit in with new "parents" (it can sometimes seem as if everyone is Mom and Dad to a child who is constantly being thrown around), it is hard to feel any real love or family type attachment. Then, on the other hand, much like my son whom we adopted at six years old, although he complained for years that he didn't feel a normal attachment to us (it bothered him), when he met his wife he OVERattached to her. She was IT. She always had to be at his side and still does. If she were different, she would not enjoy is level of attachment because many would find it suffocating. What Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) people can not do without a great deal of help if form normal attachments.
    I would not let myself get too hurt if a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) child acts detached. They can't help it. You are lucky she is not a danger to you and others because many Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids are pretty much antisocial personality disordered kids who don't have feelings for others. And don't care that they don't.
    There are various levels of attachment problems. Basically, if you don't adopt a child very young, and if that child had a lot of caregivers, there is almost no way the child will not have attachment disorder or some sort. It is a coping mechanism. Because they can not count on anyone to take care of their needs, they learn early that only THEY can take care of themselves and soon they don't really trust letting anyone else in. And loving them usually does not help. It is complicated...
  13. buddy

    buddy New Member

    ksm, what you are saying makes a ton of sense. MWM said it beautifully. I was told the same thing. They just develop that way for survival. Like kids in an orphanage. Even if it is a wonderful one, they dont get that normal experience of a primary parent who is their ultimate protector. My son called me mama day one and had no problem coming with me. He didn't want to go back to his one and only foster home with a loving older woman who had him from seven months. He only new life in an AA community, even his SW was AA and still he just clung on to me. When we went to a fast food restaurant, he wandered to anyone asking for food, if he needed help with his shoes he would just ask anyone standing near.

    I was told to make sure the mom role was very clear from day one. To ask others to not hug even for a while (now of course not). but still we follow the rule that everyone has to run things by mom even if people know us well and they know my answer would be yes or fine. He can't have candy unless they tell him to ask mom. If he gets hurt, mom has to clean it and put the bandaid on etc. We did lots of reciprocal bonding things like rubbing lotion on arms (cant do with kids whose sensory issues wont allow) to be gentle and loving etc.

    If you google attach china you will find a wonderful website that has kids adopted from all over now (it was started by moms who adopted from china but quickly grew to any kids) when I belonged it was a very young site now has grown to be really amazing. they have both a site explaining Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and one you can join with permission because they dont want people on it who are just curious. that part of the site is for people who really do have attachment challenges with their child(ren). Lots of super clingy velcro kids, kids who have huge anger issues, etc. And the parents are very honest about their feelings and the things they have tried. They also talk about school issues---you think schools dont understand more common mental health issues, wow this issue is nearly off their radar except if they have a diagnosis they think of the kids who are so hurt that they start fires and dont have any attachment to people.

    I have read that some of the kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) will do better in a residential/larger group home setting that specializes in Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), just because there is not the pressure to attach. They still have family contact and can focus on doing better in school, etc... and eventually have a good life on their terms. Near us there is a woman (nun) who pushed hard and got a home built for just that purpose. Gave the kids support meeting them at their level of attachment. Interesting theory for kids who really are suffering and can't make progress on the attachment front.
  14. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys!I think we are on to something with the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) ideas. The therapists has never really brought that up as a possible issue. We were always grandma and grandpa to her, and it was a good fit then. But about a year after becoming legal mom/dad the behaviors started. The therapist made it sound like a good issue... that we had been in a honeymoon phase, but now that she was sure that we were going to be there, she felt safe to not "act happy" all the time and could show us her other feelings.

    She was always the type that I considered "outgoing and social". If we were waiting in a doctor's lobby, she would grab a book and climb up on a strangers (usually male) lap and ask him to read to her. Even at 9 and 10 she was clinging to other people. We finally got her to understand social boundaries and it is better now.

    Yesterday, I got copies of some testing that had been done 4 years ago when we were concerned with ADD. They did quite a few tests and afterwards we were told ADD and anxiety. Well, when I got the copies, many of the tests showed other deficits. Things I had never really heard about until this list... like deficit in the executive function, some audio and visual problems with memory. I would retype things... but don't have time this morning. I hope the neuropsychologist will explain those things to me - it even listed ODD and Dysthymic Disorder - something no one had even mentioned to us before!

    Wish us luck today! Hoping they can help my beautiful teenager... I talked to her last night and asked if there was one thing that she though was the main problem, it was "I wish these rages would just stop. The last one was so bad it even scared me." KSM
  15. a_demann

    a_demann New Member

    I know I'm a little behind but just wanted to share about our experience. We just went through the whole nueropsych evaluation. the intial meeting is just with the parents it's easier to have a one on one so that the psychiatric can get all the info needed without the intereptions of a difficult child. After that first initial appointment the psychiatric will meet with the child for 6-10 hrs depending on the testing needed (which psychiatric determines by the initial parent meeting) after all the testing is done you go back for a feedback appointment and the child won't be needed at that appointment either. We just finished our testing three weeks ago and Monday is a feedback appointment and I can't wait. I think it will be a good experience for you and hopefully get the answers you've been looking for.