I need help with my 5 year old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Southern child, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. Southern child

    Southern child New Member

    I have a 5 year old boy who I adopted, I have had him since he was 9 months old. His biological mother had and still has a substance abuse problem. He was not born addicted to drugs but I know she did illegal drugs, alcohol and pills while pregnant.

    He has been given the diagnosis of ODD, mood disorder and ADHD, for about 7 months now. He currently takes abilify and straterra. He is reaaly good at home but at school he is terrible. He just started kindergarten and they are already at their wits end with him. He kicks, yells, tells the teacher to shut up, I hate you, this class and school. He rolls around on the floor, throws his shoes and refuses to do any work, hiding under the table.

    He plays well with the neiggboor boy who is 6.

    His school behavior and how to handle it is effecting my relationship with my live in boyfriend. He doesn't understand why he can behave at home but not at school. He also has started to lie.

    I am so fruststrated and there are no support groups in my area. Anyone have any suggestions??????
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is unlikely that, with his history, his diagnosis is actually ADHD/ODD. There is probably a lot mokre to him than that. I'll bet there IS some sort of special needs adoption support group and in my opinion that will help you more than any other sort of parent group.

    Since, like one of my children, this child was drug/alcohol exposed I think it is important to take him to a clinic that understands the effects of alcohol especially in utero. If you don't, you will probably get a professional who is not familiar with it's effects and also get a diagnosis not taking the possible physical ramifications of the exposure into account. It is unlikely that he has no extra problems due to this exposure.

    I would find a clinic like that. There is one in Chicago that specializes in alcohol and drug exposed children. They must also have them elsewhere, probably in university hospital settings. If that is just not possible, I'd take him to a neuropsychologist AND a neurologist to get the maximum testing I could considering the extra issues involved. A regular therapist, school, and even a plain psychologist who does not do intensive testing and doesn't understand the physiology of the brain is probably unable to give you a good diagnosis.

    It is important to know if the child is affected, behaviorally or cognitively, due to the poor prenatal care. This is different from the mother who gave birth to her child and knows the history and did not abuse drugs/alcohol during the child's birth. You are dealing with many unknowns and it will take a possibly long journey to figure out what all the issues are. medications may help or make it worse...depending what on "it" is.

    Knowing the history of the birthparents is also helpful. The less you know, the harder it will be to figure out your kiddo. It can be done, but it takes time and perseverance and the admission that this isn't the same as a child born to you with the background easily assessed. If he has alcohol effects, these kids have brain damage and when they misbehave they often don't understand why they are punished. Also, many can't retain information day to day. Impulse control can be fair or non-existent, depending. Medication can soothe some symptoms, but not really address the problem of alcohol spectrum kids. I would not marry boyfriend unless he understands that this is going to be a difficult child and that it may not be his fault (the childs).

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do!
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  3. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    MidWest Mom has given you a lot of good advice. I just wanted to add that the start of kindergarten and the new structure/demands often brings out the difficult child in kids. Has your school convened a Student Study Team (SST), or whatever the comparable group is called where you live? That is the first step towards getting a school evaluation, an IEP, and other supports in the classroom (like an aide). If you son is seriously overwhelmed by the setting, as it sounds he is, you might want to advocate for an aide even before in-school and/or outside testing is completed (This worked for us).

    Has the teacher mentioned in what context the difficult behaviors occur? Are there clear triggers for his outbursts, e.g. singing during circle time, transitioning between stations, coming in from recess? I am thinking there could be a sensory component in the classroom, such as too much noise.

    Good luck.
  4. Southern child

    Southern child New Member

    Thank you both for your advise. He does have a T-BOSS therapist that visists him twice a week in school and reports back to the psychiatric doctor. There are not always triggers for him to blow, the teacher says it's like a light switch. He has already changed classrooms and teachers once so far this school year. I asked at the last conference if there were any resources for him but they said that at this time they were not even ready to test him.

    I have no idea where to go to get a neuropsychologist consult, you mentioned maybe one of the university hospitals. I live in Naples Florida so I guess maybe Miami or Tampa?

    My boyfriend(who's a cop) refuses to discipline him anymore and actually told me today that he will have nothing further to do with him and his behaviors...nice, since we live in his house I'm not sure what to think about this. He refuses to believe that my difficult child has the diagnosis of ODD or anything else and says it all comes down to discipline. The problem being that we don't agree on the discipline, he believes in spanking and I don't.

    What if anything can we do to help resolve this issue betwwen us???? Or do I just need to move out??