I'm tired :-(

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by forkeeps251, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    This is my first post here, so Hi all...

    I have a 5 year old that just started kindergarten, and I am getting REALLY tired of being called by the principal all the time about his behavior. I KNOW he has problems... I highly suspect he has ADHD and I wonder about ODD and maybe a sensory issue as well. DS was delayed in speech, and still is, and we have a family history of those behavior problems as well.

    By now we have set things into motion: The school psychologist is going to observe him in the classroom and attend his ARD meeting early next month. I'm on a waiting list to get an appointment with the local children's hospitals department of psychiatric services. I've also started filling out the paper work for him to go to a study center that looks really good. To top it off, I've been in almost daily communication with the school about my efforts, their efforts, and about my son in general. We all are working on it, because clearly my son has some problems... BUT....

    I'm wondering if he really needs to be sent down to the office THIS MUCH. The teacher knows that he has some problems, but is sending him to the principal ALL the time. The first few times it was hallway behavior... not standing in line "correctly" or talking in the hall (Keep in mind this is his first year of school in Kindergarten and we are five weeks in). One time is was for biting... OK, that I get. Today it was for screaming in class. Again, I'm wondering if it really warranted a trip to the office. Since we know he has some issues and we have gotten the ball rolling on getting him professional help, I'm not sure how it is helping to have him go to the office every day, especially with some of the issues just not seeming like that are THAT big of a deal. My mom, who is a retired teacher and taught for 30 years, said if she had kept on sending the same student to the office for poor hallway behavior, she would have been told to stop and get control of her class. His teacher has 23 kindergarteners and no aide, so I don't doubt she has her hands full... but still.

    Does anyone else see this as excessive? I hate to say it, but I'm close to asking him to switch to an intergrated classroom, if they have such a thing, where there may be more than one teacher.

    Also, I've ordered "The Expolsive Child", and I can't WAIT till it arrives because based on the reviews it sounds exactly like my son. In the mean time though, I have no idea what else to do other than wait for professional help. I'm also at a loss as to how to "punish" him, since nothing seems to work, and neither do rewards.
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Thanks for telling us about your son. Well, while pointing out that I am in a different cultural context, from what you say I quite agree with you - why on earth is he being sent to the principal all the time, if they say they understand there may be psychological issues? Sounds very push-you/pull-me to me... I think the message being given to your son is a negative and potentially damaging one because if he does indeed suffer with ADHD and ODD, he cannot "help" much of the behaviour that he is being punished for. Can you go talk to the principal directly? As for rewards and punishment - my son also has some version of ADHD/ODD and punishing him has never had any effect except making him depressed and hostile. Rewards do seem to work, on the other hand. If you can't use that to any effect, what is left? Talking, I think, explaining - and negotiating. I have often been surprised at how my son responds well to be being told things, explained things respectfully.
    I do hope you and the school begin to get a handle on what is going on, and some intelligent, workable solutions. Warm wishes.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    First, welcome...

    Its a good thing that you already have evaluations "underway". But you're right. These things take time. And in the mean while...

    Mind a few more questions? Just because it helps fill out the picture, and may provide more clues about things that might help.
    - family background - is he adopted? step child? living with both parents, or a shared custody arrangement, etc.
    - siblings?
    - do you work? (this is NOT about the impact of working/not-working... rather, what kind of time you might have available)
    - more details on family medical history
    - what was he like as a baby? milestones, behavior at home, that sort of thing
    - is he younger than most of the class? or in the middle? (entering K at 4.5 years old vs. at 5 or 5.5)ve mo
    - has he ever had Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation or therapy
    - has he ever had Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation or therapy

    Others will have more questions, too...

    I agree with Malika - yes, the kid has problems but the teacher does too. Sent to office for "not standing in line correctly"? Ummm..... we (people around this board) know what its like to have teenagers who haven't mastered that one yet. Really. Biting? ok, physical violence definitely requires a trip to the office. Your assessment is pretty accurate.

    Bigger question is.. what can you do about it.
    Long run - you're already going there. Get evaluations, then get interventions and accommodations etc. While you're at it - if you haven't already, get an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation done for sensory and motor skills issues, and a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation. These results will be useful to others who deal with your child - but will also bring therapy to bear on the problems.

    Short term - I'd be meeting with the principal and teacher - Special Education teacher if you can - to see what kind of a game plan they can come up with to help everyone survive while you work through the process of getting evaluations etc. done.

    Maybe this teacher can't handle "issues" and he should be in a different classroom. Or maybe the teacher has a number of challenging kids and really should have an aide in there. What are the options? and what can you do on a "trial" basis, knowing that until dxes are available, you really don't know what will work?
  4. keista

    keista New Member


    So as not to overwhelm you, I'll just say DITTO to what Insane said.

    And some ((((HUGS)))) for the tired mom. Put your feet up and relax whenever possible (I always look forward to kids' bedtime!)
  5. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    To answer the questions:

    - family background - no, he is not adopted and he lives with both his parents (married)
    - siblings? - yes, he has a 9 year old brother, who would fit the description of what I've seen termed on here as a "easy child" :)
    - do you work? yep, we both work, but my husbands job is pretty flexible and not always full time
    - more details on family medical history - Our GP told my husband (his father) that he was Bipolar. I don't think this was an accurate diagnosis, nor do I think our (ex) GP was qualified to make it. I think at the time he was suffering from depression due to a bad work enviornment. He was diagnosed with, and treated for ADHD when he was young, and also had anger issues growing up, although they have become more managable as he has gotten older. I was a bit of a day dreamer but never had any other problems, other than I was very shy.
    - what was he like as a baby? He was a little delayed in walking, but quickly caught up. Very delayed in speech... it is kind of hard for me to judge though, since I only have one other to compare him to that did everything early
    - is he younger than most of the class? or in the middle? He is five and a half (a Christmas eve baby), so he is towards the middle age wise
    - has he ever had Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation or therapy - YES, he has been in speech therapy since he was 2.5. He was very delayed, but now has caught up to where he is on target for vocabulary, but still has a LOT of difficulty with articulation. For years, we have blamed whatever behavior problems he has had (short temper, easily frustrated) on his speech delay, but as he has gotten to school it seems as thought that can't be our scapegoat anymore.
    - has he ever had Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation or therapy - no... Right now the only thing that they think he needs is play therapy. I'm hoping that we will be able to following through with that and get an idea through that as to what other directions we should head in.

    I'm considering trying to meet with them before his ARD meeting. His teacher is the one that suggested that we just talk at his ARD meeting, but that isn't till October 3. I've had people suggest to me though that maybe by sending him to the principal's office, it is having the OPPOSITE effect that is intended... in other words, he is getting out of class and the people in the office are very nice, so it isn't something he fears happening. Even if it was though, I don't know that it would work.

    I'm off to pick him up now.. Thank you thank you thank you all for responding. It helps so much just to know that I'm not the only one dealing with stuff like this... I've read a bit before posting and it seems like there are a few other people who are going through the same things.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    5.5 yo starting Kindergarten - he's in the older age range... which means this is NOT just "immaturity". Some Christmas babies are ready at 4.5, and others are not....

    I can see where you might suspect ADHD as part of the mix - might be true, or might be one of the other things with similar symptoms, but not a bad "assumption" given the family history - looks to me that it is on both sides of the family (the daydreamer inattetive... is a "classic" form of ADD - not the hyper stuff, but trouble paying attention). At least it provides some clues as to what might be going on.

    But... if you've both been working, then he is familiar with day care - right? If so, school is not normally so big a leap as it is with a stay at home mom-raised kid (there's + and - both ways... I'm not taking sides here). Given that to be the case... there is a LOT more going on. On top of the testing you've got lined up, you might want to consider...
    - pushing the school for a detailed screening for learning disabilities
    - pushing the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) (or getting a new one) to evaluate for auditory processing issues, including (this one is newer so push for it) screening for auditory discrimination/auditory focus issues - these are where the person hears and processes language normally, but cannot pick out language (or any other particular sound) if there is background noise... and classrooms are NOISY.
    - getting an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation done - sensory issues alone can be a big problem, and he's at a good age to screen for motor skills as well.

    Starting school is a key pressure point in a kids development. Hidden disabilities and disorders can have a major impact very quickly. And if not dealt with quickly - will lead to secondary issues that are avoidable but serious (anxiety, depression, etc.)

    Hang in there!
  7. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    He was in daycare... with mixed results. He was at a home daycare and did GREAT, NO problems at all, and then we tried a preschool at a private school and that was horrible... we ended up withdrawing him but I think that quite a bit of his problems there were related to the teacher in charge. At that point he went back to a regular daycare facility, and did fine there as well. It wasn't as structured as the preschool. I had suspected based on his experience at preschool that it might be hard for him in school, but I didn't know it would be THIS bad.

    I've also noticed something, and I just put it together today, but since he has started school he has started messing around with his shirt. It is weird, he never did this before but now he is constantly figiting with his shirt, pulling on it, and stretching it out. Today when I picked him up I noticed a bunch of holes in his shirt. The lady in charge of the after school program said "Oh yeah, he chews on his shirt". Apparently that was the first time it had caused holes, but not the first time he had chewed on it... and while I've noticed him stretching it at home, I've NEVER seen him chew on it. This has just started happening since school started. I've wondered, is this him dealing with stress? It seems odd to me and I can't think of another reason he would just start doing this.

    Today he was in the office for screaming :-(.

    Thanks for the advice on what else to get him evaluated on... I would have never thought of some of those things. I'll do some research to see what I need to do to get that started.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    in my opinion the chewing on the shirt is a self calming technique. I would point that out to the school Occupational Therapist (OT) ppl if you ask them for an evaluation. Also, the tugging on the shirt thing. Is it as if he want;s the shirt off because it itches? Or is he kinda like boxing with his hands under his shirt?

    My son is 15 and still occasionally chews on his shirt. The worst was in 2nd grade when he'd be running his hands on the inside of his shirt (the boxing like thing) but he had a pencil in his hands. His shirts all looked like Swiss cheese! Fortunately school staff was all aware, so holey shirts were not a problem at school.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is STRESS. Anxiety. Whatever other label you want.

    He's stuck in that classroom, he hasn't got a clue what is going on or what he is supposed to be doing (we'll get to that later), and he gets punished for either not knowing, or for not being able to handle it.

    Your job, as the parent of course... is to support HIM.
    evaluations - critical.
    Just as important - start trying stuff yourself. And start asking HIM what is hard.

    For example - does he understand what the teacher is saying? does he have trouble making his pencil work like the other kids? is there bullying going on? (yes, this early.)

    At home - does he cooperate better and follow instructions better in a quiet setting? Does it help if you are facing him and talking directly to him, as opposed to talking over your shoulder or to his back? Does he not quite get what you're saying - even in ideal settings? All of this would point strongly to Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) or Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) or straight auditory issues. The fact that he's already in Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) means there are issues... and accommodations are called for. But... you need to figure out part of what works.

    The reason I asked about whether you work or not... is that sometimes it pays to go and observe in the classroom for yourself. What is REALLY happening? I was in the kindergarten class and caught the two critical issues at that point - but it took us YEARS to get medical and school backing for these. (auditory and motor skills). It shouldn't take you as long as us - some of this, the tests didn't even exist when we needed them. But... jump on it if there's any way you can volunteer in-class.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Although some diagnosis. are hard to figure out, one is pretty straight forward, when it is severe enough, and that is autistic spectrum disorder. With his speech delay, screaming, and inflexibility I'd have a neuropsychologist evaluate him. Even when kids catch up in speech, an early delay is a big red flag for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Not saying he has it, but has some big red flags and I'd want to check it out.

    The reason your son is being sent down to the office is because he is being disruptive and he does not have a diagnosis yet so he is being treat as a "normal" child. Without testing, and an IEP, he will not be given special passes for his behaviors. They expect him to do as other kids do until they see a confirmation that he can not. Then they will set up a meeting to decide how to accomodate him.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That's interesting you should say that, MWM. Yesterday I was talking to J's childminder and she told me she took care of a 4 year old girl who couldn't speak properly and who wasn't toilet trained. She said the parents thought the child was hyperactive but that she (the childminder) felt it was probably autism...
    One of the things about this board, forkeeps, which is an invaluable forum of advice and support is that people tend to "see" other children as having what their children have - have done it myself! Please remember that no one can diagnose sight unseen, over the cyber waves, and you of course must put yourself in the hands of the live professionals you have around you. I do hope you get some good insights soon.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I actually don't think all kids have autism. But a speech delay and clueless social skills and screaming in school at his age...unless the child is severely disturbed that is probably what his diagnosis. will be. It's more from experience than projection. Of course, I always tell the parent to see a neuropsychologist, but this child has big red flags for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that should not be ignored. In the case of most disorders, early intervention is the best treatment for a healthy prognosis. I think this child should have a complete evaluation. The problems presented here are quite severe. in my opinion they are way past the ADHD category, but the professional tester will be able to make a more through and informed diagnosis than anyone here can. Even me...lol! :)

    I certainly hope everyone here realizes that we can not diagnose and are only making suggestions :) :)
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    MWM -

    There are other alternatives - things that we really hope are NEVER the case but unfortunately do exist... if a child is molested very young, the impact is huge and ugly... and can "look like" Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). There are probably others that I don't know about. Not that I'm suggesting this is very likely on this thread. But... its out there.

    I think when so many of us jump in - and yes, tend to see what we are familiar with - the really important part of the message is: Yes, there is something wrong, and yes, you need to (and can) do something about it... here is "one possible scenario". If as a group we come up with 5 possible scenarios, well... so much the better. Food for thought to take to the professionals. But it is the comprehensive evaluation that "should" come up with the real answer for the kid in question.

    Which of course is why everybody who shows up on this board gets asked right off the bat... what evaluations have been done?
  14. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    To be honost, I've never thought that autism was a likely posibility, although of course I'm not expert. I do intend to get him every type of evaluation that I can find for him. I've looked up some of the signs of autism, and there are so many he doesn't have compared to the ones he does have (speech delay and screaming). He has never had a problem with eye contact or responding to people. He can be a little shy from time to time, but not that much. He LOVES to be cuddled and held, and he doesn't have any sort of repetative behaviors. I guess the things that could indicate some sort of autism are the speech delay and the outbursts at school. He is a little bit of a loner... he would rather play with a few kids, but if the only option is a big group, he will seperate himself from it (sometimes even hiding), but other times he does OK in a group. He may be a little sensitive to sound, loud noises and especially other kids singing (can't say I blame him there ;-)), but that is about it, and he seems to like music at any volume (he loves music and loves to dance). Mainly though, it is that in most settings, he does fine socially. Kids actually seem to like him, so far... I'm suprised when I got up to the school the number of kids that say Hi to him and call him by name... although he does NOT pay attention to names and actually only knows one kids name so far.

    I've begin noticing more and more I think there is some sort of stress or anxiety going on, in particular on "bad" days, however I don't know if this is a "cause" or a "symptom", if that makes sense. Is he acting out because he is stressed? Or is he stressed because he is acting out? Hopefully we can get some answers soon. I can't get any sort of appointment for him right now except play therapy, but hopefully if that doesn't help it will lead to something else.

    The good news is, that he had a good day today!! *phew*!!!!
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Other parents may have different experiences... but for us? it was always the first one. Stressed came first, then acting out.
    As we found and dealt with stressors, behavior improved (and then more stressors got added, but that's a whole other story).

    Has he ever had an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation? That would catch both sensory and motor skills issues - which would give you more guidance on some of the stressors.

    I don't remember... has he had Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation and/or therapy? If not, might want to add that one too. Have them look out for auditory processing issues as well as speech... auditory processing can cause major stress.

    Both of these (Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)) can be done independent of other evaluations... and, both provide useful info to other evaluations... AND both have therapies to help.
  16. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    We took difficult child 2 to the autism specialist to shut up our pediatrician who would not leave us alone about difficult child 2 having autism. Weren't we surprised. We were also surprised when difficult child 1 was diagnosis with autism at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC). We thought we knew what it looked like with difficult child 2, difficult child 3, and husband being on the spectrum. difficult child 1 has other diagnosis along with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) that make diagnosis him harder. I guess what I'm saying is don't rule out the testing. Get it done by a good tester then even if he doesn't have it you'll know he doesn't have it. Plus, a good tester even if he isn't on the spectrum will be able to say 'well, this is what I've noticed while testing him and this is what it might be and this is who might help.' A neuropsychologist would be good. With difficult child 1 I've come to the mind set I don't care if they call him a purple elephant with green spots as long as it helps with the symptoms I see.

    I'm glad he had a good day today.
  17. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! I agree with getting all of the testing done that has been suggested - Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a possibility, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, Sensory Integration Issues could be a biggee which usually couples with many other things. The fact remains that they're only suggestions - not diagnosis'. Naturally people will make suggestions based on what they've witnessed and dealt with...I myself would never consider speaking about something that I didn't personally experience with my own or other closely worked with kids.

    HOWEVER: these suggestions help you to go in a certain direction for research and consideration. It's not about people going with what they know - it's about reaching out and offering a helping hand.

    Now: What I can suggest FACTUALLY (lol!) is that you put something in writing requesting a formal evaluation for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for your son. This will force the school to operate with your son effectively and appropriately. DO NOT LET THEM CLASSIFY HIM AS EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED. Other health impaired if you suspect ADHD or Autism if it's been diagnosed. You also need to ask for a FBA (Functional Behavior Assessment - which is what I think the school psychiatric is going to do - but make sure that you request it in writing anyway) so that a BIP (Behavioral Intervention Plan) can be developed. The BIP is cool because when done right, it'll be put together with the school and your input on redirection, triggers, rewards, etc. Eventually, the phone calls will lessen because they will have a written document to refer back to.

    In the meantime, see if they'll do a 504 health paraprofessional to be assigned. This can be done with a doctors note quoting suspected ADHD that will help redirect him.

    Glad you're now part of the group...for Education, I'd pop over to the Spec. Ed. forum - those ladies know their stuff!

  18. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Well... my reply just "disappeared"! lol
    Here a quick summary:
    Welcome, you will learn so much thanks to that forum.
    Keep you mind open and don't dismiss anything. The same symptoms can be found through a wide range of diffrent diagnosis. Tht's what make soooo hard.
    You're off to a good start but be patient. Evaluatons take time and you will need several before you get an answer. They are all useful though: even if they don't give you a diagnosis, at least some stuff will be ruled out and that on it's own is precious info.
    Welcome again!
  19. forkeeps251

    forkeeps251 Member

    Thanks all for the replies. Good advice about the IEP... I will bring that up at the conference. I think the behavior plan is what they are working on and what we will discuss at his ARD meeting. I think I will need to take some notes from this thread with me before I go :-D
  20. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Looking at the autism spectrum can be overwhelming, but as a mom of a child on the spectrum and an Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who worked with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids for 20+ years that did pop into my head too. We are not there looking at him so of course can't diagnose anything but offer suggestions to look at. Unfortunately diagnosis can still be so subjective depending on the experience of those you work with. An advantage of getting the right label regardless, is of course your abilty to advocate for the appropriate accomodatons. by the way, sending to the principal is NOT an appropriate accomodation, however, as you are discovering, there are those that just do it because they are overwhelmed-regardless of the effect on the child. I hold my breath daily hoping someone in the wrong place (a sub or a mainstream teacher) wont grab my son and send him to the office for another lame suspension. If those kinds of interventions would actually work we likely all would say GO AHEAD and do it! but since many of our kids are not able to be cured with a suspension it simply does not work....(for multiple reasons but that is my flippant one, smile).
    For a label of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (in the schools) or a diagnosis (in the medical setting) of autism or aspergers or other Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis, a child only needs to have one or two symptoms in several categories/groups of symptoms. That is why kids look so different with the same label. So seeing that he does not have many of the symptoms still may not rule it out. BUT there are certainly kids who simply have language delays, sensory issues and difficulties with transitions (like the constant hallway issues-very hard on kids with autism to go from one thing to another) without meeting criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). I have worked with numerous kids who were diagnosed ADHD, anxiety disorder and/or seemed slightly delayed or even gifted in early school years (with notes about sensory isses often scattered in the records) only to later be labeled Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Often the social issues are not as evident until social language demands increase in later years and the demands for more complex sharing and turn taking plus taking another child's perspective are required. I denied it in my own son and was actually working at an autism center at the time! It is a painful thing to consider for sure, but in the end for us it was the best thing to accept in our case. The strategies for teaching/learning and discipline are vastly different from kids who are having more general conduct issues (also legitimate but just can need different strategies). Hopefully each of these people on your assessment team will listen to you and your concerns during the evaluation. process and will spend enough time with your son to actually find out what will meet his needs in a more gentle, appropriate way. My son has a veiw of himself as "bad" because people actually tell him he is rude and he has been in situations where he has constant consequences. I protect him as much as I can but you are right to stand up for him. Welcome to the sp. needs. world...youre right, it is tiring but it is well worth it!
    me: 47 yr old single adoptive mom to son (adopted at age 2)
    son/difficult child 14 yr old with autism, acquired brain injury (surgery at age 2 to remove blood filled mass leaving frontal and temporal lobe injury with overall mass effects), borderline cogntive delays, anxiety, adhd, temporal lobe seizures, attachment issues. Symptoms: severe anxeity and fight or flight responses, impulsive, verbal and physical aggression, social and communication issues. Loves watching sports, really desperately wants friends-not much of a clue though,smile...loves swimming and therapeutic horseback riding.