Introduction. Looking for some support.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DoReMi, May 28, 2011.

  1. DoReMi

    DoReMi New Member

    Hi All,
    I don't usually do forums. WEll, not since my son was very young. I felt compelled to look for support so here I am. My almost 7 yr. old son has yet to be diagnosed with anything particular. He has had social and behavior struggles since before he was 2 yrs. old. We've tried a bunch of things. He was screend for autism (no) but has never been formally evaluated for mental health issues. He is currently seeing a child therapist (MFT) but only started about a month ago. He shows signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), tourettes, and general anxiety. He is very emotional. This can show as a total crying, screaming breakdown over something small or aggressive behavior. I am now ready to look into trying some medications to see if it helps him.

    He has troubles with school. Lately it has gotten worse. His best little friend this year taught him all kinds of horrible language that my son, being impulsive, defiant, and social clueless, uses out loud. Of course the other kid doesn't get in trouble for language but sure thinks it's funny when my kid does. What is making me literally sick right now is that my son with all of his faults, is being labelled by other children and parents. He hurts other kids. No doubt about it. But, he is not a bully. He gets mad or hurt easily and reacts physically. I'm talking, grabs a kids hand and squeezes, leaving a finger nail mark. He scratches. Now, kids are all over him all of the time. He gets tattled on like crazy. Many times, as seen by me and my husband, he isn't doing anything other kids aren;t doing. Things are getting so blown out of proportion. The class envt. is quite toxic. Can you believe a parent actually leaned into his classroom one day and yelled out "Remember. My child is not suppposed to sit next to (GSG)". No wonder my kid is now labelled as a "Bad kid". I am not saying he doesn't do bad things but his behavior has escalated because of all of this. We love his teacher and the principal at this school. His school is only K-2 and the principal s really working with him. So we don't want to switch schools is we can help it. So...

    Anyhow, my son had an altercation with a kid on Monday. This kid has known my son since they were 4. I've know the family for a while. My son likes this kid a lot! His mom has heard me talk about GSG. So it was so hurtful when we heard on another occasion her husband had emailed some teacher complaining about my son and then rushed into the principals office after this altercation. Apparently, their versions of situations are very different than the versions we get from staff and our son. I think they are overeacting for sure but am so hurt that they are mad at us. I just got an email from the mom telling me that parents think that we just don't care about their children and have given up. (Oh yeah. She also said she hope we can set boundaries at home. HAHAHAH. Yeah we don;t try to do that. That's what the problem is) WTH do they know? I know my son has hurt their kids. Did their kids survive? Yes. Are their kids scared? Maybe, however, many of these same kids have been seen by teachers, trying to get my son to lose his temper or say bad words. Then turn to other kdis and ay "See. I told you he'd do that." What do they think we should be doing that we aren't? Do they want us to make private phone calls to them every time my child does something at school? Should I? I mean, I feel like I can not spend the little energy I have left after working full time into worrying about what they think of us. I use my energy to try to help my son. My son is always given consequences (has been suspended numerous times this year) and he always has to write a letter of apology to students he has harmed. What do they want from us??? Do we think it's OK that he does these things? Do they think we have a magic wand that could make him stop but we're too lazy to do it? We are suffering dealing with this. I'm not gonna hold a meeting with these people to prove to them we are caring parents who are suffering and trying really hard to help him. They just see things the way they want to see them. I will admit that I feel guilty a lot of the time that we aren't doing enough. Maybe we haven't been diligent enough with trying to find help. Seems like we try something new and give it time. Then that doesn't help and on to the next. Like it took months to even get himn tested for autism. It took months for us to get in this class for children with behavior issues and then the class was like 6 wks long. After all that, it was a waste of time for our child.

    I am just filled with anger, shame, and guilt right now. I keep saring to myself and husband that we can't worry so much about what other people think. But it's eating me alive to think that all of these parents don't like us. I should add, what makes this worse is that my husband is the music teacher at my son's school. Talk about a negative work envt. for him. I am a teacher as well. Speaking for myself, I am well loved by my students and teachers are impressed with my work. It is additionally hurtful to be judged so harshly when husband and I are teachers. I'm sure that adds to what those parents are gossiping about.

    Thank to anyone who takes the time to read my post. I hope to find guidance and support here. Having read others' posts, you guys are all like heroes in my eyes! This so so crazy hard!
  2. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Welcome to the forum. Sorry your son is struggling so much at school and at home. It's unfortunate that the situation has gotten to the point where your entire family is being ostracized. Glad you have decided it's time to take action to get more help.

    You need to get a comprehensive neuropsychologist assessment. Not everyone is qualified to diagnose autism spectrum disorders especially when it is an atypical presentation. That's not to say it's autism but it's one reason you need a neuropsychologist assessment done as soon as you can get one. You need more information on what you are dealing with and you need it right away. It can take several months to get one depending on your situation so you need to give this your attention now - not next school year.

    Pick up Ross Greene's book The Explosive Child today and read it tonight if possible. It's widely recommended to folks on the board and you may find it very helpful in figuring out how to structure things better at home. The more your son stays stuck in the reactive pattern the more he will be reactive in my experience. It's a matter of brain development. It's the same as a habit. If he's doing it every day then it's being hardwired into his brain and I know you don't want that to happen.

    As for school, it is Special Education time. You should already have had the principal referring your son for assessment if these behaviors are clearly a sign of a behavioral disability. This is required by IDEA under the child find regulations and I am rather surprised, given the level of disruption you're describing, that he didn't make that referral.

    Send a letter to the district Special Education director today, copy to the principal, requesting that your son be assessed for Special Education services, stating the reasons you suspect he is a child with a disability. This can be delivered a variety of ways but no matter how you do it (hand delivery, fax, mail) you need proof that the letter was received.

    California has some really strong regulations giving specific time frames for schools to respond to such a request, conduct an assessment and hold an IEP meeting. Given that it's the end of the school year you are very unlikely to get the assessments done until next school year unless you can make a strong case that your son is a danger to himself or others in the classroom. But the sooner you write that letter (today) the sooner the clock starts ticking for them to conduct the assessments. I think it's 60 days to conduct the assessments and hold a meeting once they have your consent to assess. They have 15 days after they receive that request to either deny your request or present an assessment plan. So you are looking at it being November or December if they take the maximum time to get through the process.

    When you get the the assessment plan you want to check every box on the form and, if there isn't one for it, mark Other and say you want an autism assessment. You have the right and responsibility to have him assessed in all those areas - don't let the school district tell you otherwise. No matter how many little boxes they checked - you check all of them. You may not think he needs a speech assessment for example, but he may have underlying language processing problems (which fall under the aegis of speech and language) that is setting him up for some of these problems and needs to be addressed right away.

    In the meantime, you should get your son to a CHILD psychiatrist for evaluation of psychiatric conditions and possibly treatment.

    I strongly suggest that you and husband get family therapy. Having a difficult child like this is a strain on all couples/families and you will be amazed at how much this will help you deal with each other, your child and your community more effectively. And you will feel better too.

    You probably won't want to hear this, but you may want to start considering how you and husband can work it out for one of you to work part-time so that you can be at home with your son more. His behaviors are likely to get worse before they get better. You will need time to deal with doctors, school, support systems and, not least of all, your son in ways that simply take time. Time spent NOW educating yourself and working to identify and intervene with your son will save you so much grief and time later - don't delay any longer.

    Hugs and sympathy. been there done that.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good god, hon, take him to a neuropsychologist. He has a lot of symptoms of autistic spectrum, regardless of what the one professional said, and if it's not that the neuropsychologist will still be in a good position to guide you the right way.

    Who diagnosed him the first time? Did he have intensive testing, such as 6-10 hours?

    For now you need to (and this is hard) disregard what clueless parents say about your child being "bad." Just focus on getting help for him. Those parents really don't know what they are talking about.

    Huggles :)
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I just want to add my support - I feel your pain and definitely understand how you feel. It's horrible when other parents blame you for the way your child is - and unfortunately it happens all too much. You can chose to write them off or educate them. I've done both. I also find that my difficult child tends to hurt the friend he is closest too. I don't know why that is exactly, but for my difficult child it might be an anxiety thing or jealousy when his buddy wants to play with someone else or when he feels his buddy putting distance between them. I definitely also feel that difficult child is often the one who gets blamed and/or disciplined for things even though others were doing the same things. It's like everyone is hyper aware of him and has their eyes on him waiting to catch him doing something.

    I agree with seriously about writing a letter to your SD (today!) and requesting a full and initial evaluation for special education services. I would mention that with all issues thus far, you feel they should have identified your child via Child Find and that you would like to get the evaluation rolling asap! You can google sample letters requesting an evaluation or there is one on this site somewhere. I would send it certified mail with return receipt to the district, and then hand deliver a copy to your school (asap).

    I also agree if there is anyway possible for you to work part time, do it. It takes a lot of time dealing with a difficult child. I am a full time stay at home mom (have a 4 yr old too) but my time is consumed with meetings, dr appts, corresponding with the school, educating myself, etc.

    Hang in there - you have found a great place with wonderfully supportive people who know exactly what you are going thru. Oh also, be sure to take time for yourself and get any help you need to cope. I have put myself last for so long and am trying hard not to do that. If I am functioning better, I will be able to help my son more effectively. :)
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    Hi. I'll echo what Seriously and Midwest Mom had to say.

    Dealing with the other parents and school personnel can be extremely difficult, but especially in your situation, I would do my best to accept your portion of the blame (as you say you have) but also "throw it back" It's gotten to a pattern where your child is getting bullied into his reactions. Sure, he's 'overreacting', but the kids know this and are CAUSING it. I've dealt with this with my two oldest. I started demanding that the kids who pushed my child into the frenzy be held accountable as well. At the same time, my kids learned coping skills to help them to reach out for assistance at the first sign of a "meltdown" and to temper their reactions.

    At the 504 meting for DD1, after citing some situations and examples, her teacher (awesome woman who really "got" DD1), looked at me and said, "If you REALLY think about it, she was JUSTIFIED in her reactions." Ah, yea, she was. However, DD1 was also overreacting. We needed to help her learn to react appropriately to such situations, and make sure administration pauses and thinks a bit before automatically threatening her with a suspension.

    Good luck, and stick around. This is a great place for support and guidance.
  6. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi, Your situation sounds very similar to what we went through when our son was in kindergarten. The other parents were the worst. They completely vilified our son and actively tried to get him expelled. One parent even threatened to call the police. It was one of the worst times of my life. I truly feel bad for you. You and your family should not have to go through this.

    The first thing I would do is arrange a meeting to with the principal to see what he is going to do to make sure your son is safe from the bullying other children are inflicting on him. The baiting and enticing him to say bad words is a form of bullying and the principal needs disclipline those kids. Next, I would ask what he is going to do about the parents who are aiding their children in creating this toxic environment. Make it clear that your child has a disability (not yet diagnosed, but stress that you are working on it), but that those parents and their children are just behaving badly. They are victimizing a child.

    Secondly, get a full evaluation. Send a letter in writing (with delivery confirmation) requesting that the school district start the evaluation process. They have 60 days from your request, so it probably will not start until school resumes in the fall. But, start the clock now.

    Then, if you can afford to or if your insurance will pay for it, get a full, private neuropsychological evaluation ASAP. Waiting lists can sometimes be long, so get started finding someone now.

    Also, get an appointment with a child psychiatrist ASAP. A neuropsychologist can help with many diagnoses, but is not the best person for diagnosing mental illness. From what you have described, both types of evaluations are in order.

    From your description of your son, he sounds very much like my son did at 6 years old. He clearly has Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and that was evident from about 4 years old. But, he also had a lot of behaviors that weren't fully explained by the Tourette's Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) diagnosis. It took a lot of work to tease out whether he had Asperger's Syndrome or bipolar disorder. They can look similar and it is good to have a full evaluation by a both a neuropsychologist and a psychiatrist to sort things out. This is especially important as you start to think about medications because the wrong medication can be worse than no medications.

    I should add that with the help of a very caring and dedicated principal, we were able to continue at the same school without further problems from parents. I hope the same will be true for you. I will be thinking of you and please continue to post and let us know how you are doing.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    This is such a hard thing to go through... I am sorry that you are all suffering from people's lack of understanding and tolerance. Do you feel the situation would improve if you had a concrete diagnosis that you could share with the school staff? You say he has been screened for autism and found not to have it - who gave this assessment? Would it help, or worsen, the situation if the teacher could be enjoined to address the issue of "differences" and tolerance and raised the children's consciousness about it? What is the policy of US schools in general on this? In Britain, for example, any form of bullying or discrimination on the grounds of disability is treated very seriously (in theory, doesn't always work that way in practice, of course). Good luck... these "witch-hunt" mentalities, targeting individuals who do not fit the mould, are unpleasant and emotionally upsetting. It's all very well saying one shouldn't care what people think, but you are human!!
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Just wanted to say a quick Hi and second the suggestion that you a neuro/psychiatric exam can be extremely helpful, not as a replacement for a psychiatrist but as a supplement. Glad you found us. DDD
  9. chriscrosses

    chriscrosses New Member

    My child was diagnosed bipolar (in the autism spectrum) at five years old. We have now learned that he was hypersensitive to artificial food colorings that are in everything we eat, and I mean everything. Once we removed the food coloring from his diet, he is a normal kid with no bipolar issues to speak of. I am not saying this is the case for everyone but it is worth a try. *
    Lasted edited by : Jun 2, 2011