I'm new, scared, and sad.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ABCDEFG, Jan 6, 2011.


    ABCDEFG Guest

    Hi. I'm really glad I found this site.

    My son is 13 and has been at a Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) for 5 months now. We are in California. At times I think he's getting better, and at other times I see he's really not. A few key points:

    • He has an IQ of 80, for what it's worth
    • He has been stealing since he was about 5, and it is continuing to happen. He steals from family, friends, whoever he can. He does not admit this behavior.
    • He has recently been in juvenile hall twice as a result of assult and property destruction at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and is on informal probation
    • Recently, he began acting out sexually. He says and does inappropriate things at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). A few weeks ago he took a younger child's hand and put it on his clothed private area. He has humped things, etc. This is newer behavior
    • He is WAY behind academically. He doesn't know basic things. I hate to admit this, but I feel embarrassed about this aspect of it in particular. He does not have the general world knowledge that an average 9 year old has, let alone 13 year old
    • He was home with me a few times over the holidays and was, for the most part, an angel and a doll
    • I have a 7 year old daughter who loves him but is scared of him
    • He has had no father figure, and has in fact been abandoned a few times by different men
    In California, laws are limited as far as what they can and can't do. For example, he has been hiding stolen electronics in his crotch area in order to get to and from school with it (on the same premises) and they are unable to search him physically. They aren't able to put hands on him at all, in fact.

    They are considering a more restrictive placement, which might be out of state, as this is not helping. I'm so scared. I don't want him to go out of state. Truth be told, I don't know if it would even help him. I'm not sure that he can be helped.

    Can anyone share any feedback with me? It hurts me to my core to see my son in pain, and to know the possible outcome of his life. I would do anything to help him. Even thinking in the short term about all the pain ahead is so upsetting. Thanks in advance.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Welcome to the board -- you have come to a wonderful community of support!

    Does your son have any official diagnoses (diagnosis's)?
    Aside from a lower IQ, does he have any identified learning disabilities?
    Is he on any medication?
    Is he your bio child or was he adopted? In other words, do you know much about his family genetics?

    Some of this additional background info can be helpful for people in formulating their suggestions or ideas.

    Also, if you get a chance, you can create a signature (go to the Settings tab at the top of the page) that includes some of your basic info so we don't have to try to remember it in each post/thread. Just be sure to keep real names private :)
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I have no advice or similar experience to share to ease your pain, but I extend to you my *hugs* and support. There are others here that have more experience in this area than I do, and I am sure they will be along with questions and support. You're not alone here.

    ABCDEFG Guest

    Hi. Thanks for replying. I will get around to making a signature soon- thanks.

    His "official diagnoses" (for today, because they change so often) are ODD, ADHD, and mood disorder not otherwise specified.

    He has a math learning disability.

    He is currently on Haldol.

    He is my biological son....

  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Has he been checked for autism?

    ABCDEFG Guest

    He has. Although he has some spectrum characteristics, it appears an actual diagnosis has been ruled out.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to welcome a fellow Californian to the board!
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Who diagnosed him? He sure sounds like a spectrum kid to me. If he is, he's not a bad kid...he doesn't "get it." Has he ever seen a neuropsychologist for an evaluation? They ruled out autism for my son too. Guess what? That's what he has and it becomes more apparent as he gets older. These are really quirky kids with no social skills or life skills. Sometimes their IQs test lower than they are. Often they need help in school. I would reconsider it and have him seen by a neuropsychologist. Consider this especially if he had a speech delay or other delays as a young child.

    Good luck, and welcome to the board :)
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    One pattern I've noticed here a lot seems to be ODD + ADHD + mood disorder (any stripe) often = Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), too, usually some type of high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) the older they are. Not to the exclusion of other diagnosis's by any means, it just seems to show up a lot as the next diagnosis following that particular pattern of diagnosis.
  10. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    How so true HaoZi. I am just finding that out first hand.

    ABCDEFG, when was the autism testing done? MidwestMom is correct. My son is almost 13 and is now beginning to REALLY display Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) behaviors so I am having him re-evaluated. I would get a second evaluation from a neuropsychologist or even another psychiatric for now. You have come to the right place. Most here have been there done that in some size, shape, and/or form. A signature would be really helpful for those of us that lose memory brain cells on a daily basis. Welcome.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 1 had "some sort of high-functioning autism" ruled out when he was 6, only to have Asperger's formally diagnosed when he was 14. He was still the same kid. Just the label changed.

    Mind you, now he is older he is doing a lot better in life in so many areas.

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! This is a great place for support, strength and ideas.

    If your son has not had a full evaluation done by a neuropsychologist, I would push for one. The sexual behavior could be from a mood disorder or from puberty hitting and not knowing how to handle the hormones. in my opinion this could be an autistic spectrum disorder. Most kids with problems are developmentally about 2/3 of their chronological age. So for your 13 yo to be about the level of a 9yo is close to that - and terribly frustrating for many parents. Add in your child's lower IQ score and he could appear even younger than 9. When you take the hormones of a 13yo boy (a lot of boys seem to seek out things like Playboy at that age - I know my bro did and most of the boys in our neighborhood did between ages 11 and 13) and you pair that with his lower developmental age and his lack of social skills and he may not actually know that it is wrong to behave in sexual ways in public or with others. It is a tough situation to explain, but an important one. Often the rules for this kind of thing must be explained very clearly because otherwise our kids just won't grasp them, or be able to act upon those rules. At his age he is at risk if someone thinks he is acting out sexually, esp if he is with a younger child.

    I don't know if he has been violent, but it may be why your younger child is afraid of him. My son was 12 when he spent 4 mos in a psychiatric hospital because I found him strangling his little sister in the middle of the night. He had been torturing her (literally - NOT a figure of speech) for a long time but she hid it from us because she was afraid he would kill their younger brother if she told (he threatened this). She also didn't think we actually COULD stop him. They both learned that we not only could, we WOULD - to the point that he was in a locked facility within 72 hours of me finding out.

    There CAN be a better future. It won't be all roses and perfection, but our kids CAN learn to make other choices. in my opinion haldol is NOT the best medication choice for many of our kids. If he has a mood disorder he needs to be on a mood stabilizer - and possibly on two of them. OFten antipsychotics like haldol are also needed, but they usually don't treat the mood disorders by themselves. The sexual behavior can be part of having a mood disorder also - and mood stabilizers can help greatly with that. If you go to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation you will find a medication protocol that is very useful - it can be used to help make medication decisions. For some reason many psychiatrists ignore this protocol even though it is recognized by the board of pediatrician psychiatrists and adult psychiatrists.

    As for school issues, the Special Education section of this board is incredibly helpful - post over there and they can help you get the accommodations your son needs for his education AND they can help you protect his legal rights.

    I am glad you found us, but very sorry you needed to. Welcome!
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Like the others I suggest a new evaluation via testing and a new analysis of medications. If he has ADHD his impulse control issues can lead to inappropriate behaviors. I can't imagine why he is not on one of the ADHD medications to help him along. You note that he is your bio child. Is there a medical history of similar issues on his Dad's side or on yours? Sometimes having that information helps get to the root problems.

    Glad you found us. Feel free to post as frequently as you want. by the way, if your daughter is afraid of him is there a chance that he has assaulted her is some way. If so, she needs therapy asap. It is not unusual for the difficult child to have most of the attention and the easy child to have unrecognized needs as a result of sharing life with a disturbed sibling. Hugs DDD
  14. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    He sounds like a spectrum kid to me too. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is not a textbook open and shut diagnosis. A child can be Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with atypical symptoms as well depending on what the underlying or co-morbid issues are. Wevil is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/GDD/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified with issues of sever speach delays, intellectual\developmental disabilities and is being tested for learning disabilities, seizures and genetics testing for everything under the sun but specifically we're looking at FXS (fragile x syndrome). They are also testing for ADHD.

    She speaks, displays some emotions and caring at times but this was with intensive therapies like speech therapy and occupational therapies and ABA for behavioral therapy. She goes to a school for exceptional children. She's only 5 yrs old. She also has extreme sensory needs and limits. She's a pyro (heat seeker, lights fires for it) and love water (she's flooded my house at 3 am while we all slept just to "play in the rain").

    I'd suggest retesting for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and getting a second opinion. He really does sound spectrum kiddo.