It started with poop and progressed to ODD? (I'm sorry it's long)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by LadyJ9, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. LadyJ9

    LadyJ9 New Member

    I know the title sounds bizarre but it really is spot on.

    It was hard, in the beginning, when he didn't speak much by 2. When he got to 3, he still didn't speak well. We figured out it was because his sister, 2 years older than him, kept talking for him. So we told her to stop speaking for him or anticipating his needs and instead let him tell her (or us) what he wanted. Stubbornly he finally began speaking, in full sentences, very, very well. It was as if he knew how to speak all along! I didn't think much of this delay, since I had heard it was common. But then that also coincided with potty-training. By age 4 he was still in diapers and had no interest to go potty. It was random when he decided to go. I thought, he's young still and we are being hard on him, but I was growing very concerned. My husband and I were both working full-time jobs and he was at a home-sitter all day. She was busy watching two other rambunctious boys and always gave a report that he was so wonderful! However, he was still not potty-trained.

    Then we moved. We moved half-way across the country where the kids basically met a whole new side of the family. My husband didn't work for close to two years, I worked from home on a computer, and the kids had a very different social life than before. In fact, I feel like we did a disservice to them, because we moved to a neighborhood that was teaming with kids; And then all the families moved in a year. So they went from some kind of social time to, basically, none. My daughter was in school, so she was fine, but my son still lagged behind. Oh, and we had no health insurance. I apparently made too much to qualify for state aid(not sure how) and spent another two years fighting to get it. But I will get to that...

    So at this point, age 5, he was in underwear and went to the bathroom #1 just fine, but just not #2. He was definitely not trained at night and I was feeling like he was going backwards. He would sometimes have accidents that were both, but I came to figure out he #2 accidents were commonly preceded by his holding it. Here is where we began the range of motivational tools, charts, stickers, rewards, punishments, isolations, take everything away, talk it out, cry it out, yell it out-nothing got through. And we began to find what I called "poop specks" around the house.

    Getting through kindergarten wasn't too bad, but first grade was a nightmare. First grade met with accidents, that meant I had to go to the school and bring him home to change him. I could bring him back, but I rarely did. I was so embarassed and frustrated-insisting he just "go when you feel it". We also met bahavioral problems. Though he was in TAG (Talented & Gifted), he was constantly having problems. First it was disruptions in class. Instead of doing what he was supposed to do, he would wander around the class or make disruptive noises. After a time, he began to overreact to other students. For example, someone would tattle on him for not doing what he was supposed to do and he would yell at them. So as the counselor and assistant principal started to take notice, they enrolled him into an anger management plan. He went through the course, even knows the ways he can manage it, but would choose not do the methods he learned. In the spring of 2013, somehow it got even worse!! He got suspended off the bus at times for not staying seated or just plain getting hyper on the bus. Other times, he got suspended because he woudln't follow the rules. The final straw pushed us into family counseling. Another student tattled on him outside and he got in trouble. The teacher told him to sit in time out and he yelled out, "I just want to kill myself!" So he was not allowed to return to school until we took him to a counselor who could assure the school he would not be a harm to himself or others. Between the school, counselor, and family counseling, it was determined that he was not a harm, but that he is struggling. He got to return to school for about 2 weeks before the end of the school year, when he was yet-again suspended for the last two days. The school advised that we should get him some help and expressed the ODD as a possibility. I was not offended that he may be suffering from this, but I had not heard anything about it-so the research began.

    Jumping to June and July this year, we FINALLY got the state aid we needed to get the kids health insurance because financially we qualified (funny I knew this already). He is still struggling with #2 accidents. His excuse is either it hurts or I didn't want to stop playing/reading/find a bathroom/eat! So I've made it simple for him physically by including fiber gummies, milk of magnesia daily, and reminding him to go often. We have our appointment in a week to address it, but I think it's related to the ODD issue. Why?

    Well several symptoms seem to be pretty much the same. When I point out that he smells like he has had an accident or I find a new "poop speck" he has huge outbursts and insists he doesn't need to go-but thats only sometimes. Other times, he is accepting-cleans up the mess and goes. When I talk about the problem with him, he has progressed to covering his ears or zoning out. The times he does listen, he says, "I know, I know" and does the same thing the next day. If I bring up going potty to be preventative, he is often completely explosive!

    And the behaviors besides the potty issues are there frequently as well. When I tell him to go clean his room, he will look at me and just say "no". Or other times, I'll ask him and his sister to do a chore together like dishes and he will spend 3 hours whining, having outbursts, and complaining the whole time. He helps himself to snacks by sneaking them from the kitchen and then hiding the wrappers under his bed or he will taunt his sister about playing a game until she gets so frustrated, she gives him the controller and he's just happy he got his way.

    I read it best in one of the excerpts from one of the books listed in the forum here. It's like he knows the consequences, but thinks that they just don't apply to him. And that is exactly how they described him at school as well.

    Soooo, looking ahead I am waiting on a referral to a psychologist to go through the insurance and then I am so very eager to get my son in to be seen. I'm wondering what kinds of questions I should ask, what I should be doing to help. I do have a log of some of his behaviors for about a 3 month period but had been slacking in recent weeks. Should I bring the school reports of his behaviors?

    Also, I am just so beyond frustrated and to my wits end trying to understand, cope, and help my son along. I know there is some confidence issues and I know there are things he is just plain unhappy about, but I don't know how to help him. My patience is wearing thin and nothing bothers me more than hearing the family tell me how they think they could do so much better with our son than us.

    I'm relieved to have found this forum because I hope it will be a supportive place to find others struggling with the same challenges I face and know we can all get through this together. And to know I have a place to go to get answers/guidance to help my son lifts a huge weight off my shoulders too.

    I am sorry to unload SOOOO much-but I have been just....lost....for so long. And feeling so alone! The most supportive person, other than my spouse, is my sister-in-law who just everytime she sees me-showers me with compliments about how well I do raising my son. She sees me struggle and helps a great deal to lift me up. Reading some of the other posts here, I see I am not alone.

    Thank you for this forum-and any advise-and thoughts you have. Please share! I'm just beginning to see help on the horizon and that, it's world-changing!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Welcome to the board, although sorry you had to be here.

    My first suggestion would be to see a neuropsychologist for a good, thorough evaluation. ODD is pretty useless, mostly used by therapists and not those who really test and know how to evaluate. He has a lot of symptoms of high functioning autism, which can look like defiance, but isn't. Also, along with that possibility, late pottying can mean sensory disorders which can stop a child from knowing when he has to go...or from not liking the feel of the toilet. I would not ask him why he does this or that...he probably has no idea. None of this is his fault and kids don't wake up each day wondering how to make us miserable. If they can do well, they do! :)

    Instead of trying to figure him out yourself, I recommend a high level professional. As stated above, I prefer neuropsychs for diagnosing. Psychiatrists are also legally able to diagnose, but often miss neurological problems, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Your child sounds frustrated, not "bad."

    Typical parenting such as reward charts and stickers almost never work with our differently wired kids. You need to seek who understands and will think outside the box. You may want to buy Ross Greene's "The Explosive Child" to better understand yours and to take the pressure off of him and yourself.

    It is very hard for our differently wired children to adjust to change so it is best to do it slowly or at least talk about it and show them pictures in advance. That may help, may not help. Your child's lack of social skills is not likely due to which kids are there or not is probably part of his problem, whatever it turns out to be. It is not his fault or your fault or anyone's fault. It's just how he is.

    I would start on the professional path right away because early intervention has the best outcome. Therapists are not useful in diagnosing.

    I'm glad you found us, but very sorry that you had to. However, trust me, we understand and have been there and many of us are STILL there.
  3. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    LadyJ9, welcome! My son is already 27 and more or less straightened out now, but your description sounded so familiar and I just wanted you to know that although I am sorry you needed to find somewhere like this board, you are definitely in the right place for support and talking to people who have "been there done that." You definitely are no longer alone. I'm sure others will be along soon to give you helpful advice. I had to cope with the "poop" problem for so many years so I know where you are coming from.

    Love, Esther
  4. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    I would start with a thorough exam by a proctologist. That would confirm or eliminate a physical reason for fecal incontinence.

    I highly recommend you also have him THOROUGHLY evaluated by a pediatric Occupational Therapist. I agree with MWM that is sounds like there is probably a lot of sensory stuff going on. My son acted out big time over certain smells, people touching him, too much noise, etc. We found a good Occupational Therapist (OT) that tested for EVERYTHING, including things I never would have thought of. My son was diagnosed with ODD in 3rd grade. We got an IEP and things improved a little. Got to middle school and their "philosophy" and approach to ODD was to rule with a heavy hand and "show him who's boss". That caused almost daily suspensions of some kind, mediation with the state Department of Education, and my withdrawing him from that school because he'd become so depressed over not being able to do anything right that he couldn't function AT ALL. This Occupational Therapist (OT) discovered the issue with the sounds and smells. She found that black words on white paper looked like squiggling worms to his brain. His brain didn't register when his pencil was touching the paper so he wrote WAY to hard and was on the verge of carpal tunnel at the age of 11. I tell you this to show that there's more reasons that you might think for a lot of behavior.

    I second MWM's suggestion to have him evaluated by a pediatric neuropsychologist. We found a very reputable one at our state children's hospital. He was AWESOME and thorough. He was the one that figured out that ALL of difficult child 1's issues were caused by Autism Spectrum Disorder. My son thinks VERY differently that most. He has a hard time putting his thoughts and feelings into words and acts out instead. We are working on identifying, expressing, and dealing with emotions. He is being taught social "rules", how to talk to other people, how to play with other people, how to SHARE and TAKE TURNS with other people, how other people see situations, how other people feel, etc. He has to be actively taught these things.

    Lastly, I would submit a request to your local school asking for a thorough evaluation for special education services including THOROUGH academic, psychological, speech, Occupational Therapist (OT), and behavioral testing. Put the request in writing and send it ASAP to the special education director and the superintendent RETURN RECEIPT RQUESTED (ask the post office person to do this). This puts the school on a federal timeline to get the testing done and get a plan in place to HELP your son in school. It also limits the suspensions to 10 days a year and makes the school come up with other ways to deal with his behaviors. Suspending is the easy way out. It would also prevent them from sending him home to "be changed". They would have to come up with a way to deal with it at school. In other words, it makes them work WITH him to teach him what they are supposed to be teaching him.

    Good luck. You came to the right place for help. This site and the wonderful warrior moms here have gotten me through the worst time in my life with my sanity in place. Their advice is practical and comes from having been there done that. Welcome to the "family". I hope you stick around.
  5. justour2boys

    justour2boys Momto2Boys

    The other posters have given you alot of good information but I want to add one thing. The poop "issue" has a name, encopresis. And there is a lot of information and help (and support) out there on the web. With time, patience and a plan, it can and will get better.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi and welcome. We also dealt with encopresis when my son was younger. In fact it lasted until he was 13 I believe. Now he is perfectly fine. It did drive us crazy though at the time. I would definitely get a dr check him out for this issue. Also if you look in our archives there are many threads about this.

    You could check with a local children's hospital to get a full and thorough exam on him. I am not as big a fan of neuropsychs as some of the other's. Children's hospitals will have many doctor's examine him from their specialty.

    One thing that you do have going for you is that this is happening now. Children's mental health is growing in their knowledge of everything. When my children were young there was basically only ADHD and ODD.
  7. LadyJ9

    LadyJ9 New Member

    Thank you all for your feedback!!

    I have read up on encopresis and was referring to my son as having it for awhile, but my husband made a good point. He requested I refrain from calling it that until he's actually diagnosed. And he came at it from the angle that it could be physical. Thus, the appointment on 8/12. I believe it may be a combination of both. My son is convinced he has an impaction, but that is more due to my over-explaining it all to him. It feels so much like a power-struggle though (along with all the other ones we have)...

    Reading this, is another perfect description of my son from TeDo "We are working on identifying, expressing, and dealing with emotions. He is being taught social "rules", how to talk to other people, how to play with other people, how to SHARE and TAKE TURNS with other people, how other people see situations, how other people feel, etc. He has to be actively taught these things." That's something we have figured out he has troubles with-empathy, basic social "rules", things of that nature. Where as I can tell my daughter "Stop staring," when someone is in a wheelchair or has a physical deformity reminding her that they are people too and have feelings-she gets it. Treat them like anyone else and be kind. She remembers quickly and reacts quickly. My son would say, "but they still look funny. I want to see the wheelchair, " and continue to stare. That's just an example, but echoes of many other instances.

    I will definitely look into getting him with a neuropsychologist and Occupational Therapist (OT), but should I continue with the family counseling? I feel like the counselor is not getting anywhere with us. The last session we tried to each explain our individual problem that week with our son when he stepped out to go to the bathroom (by the way, he has began making this a habit at EVERY session), the counselor said well it seems like you are all focusing on him when this is a family issue. I'm sitting here thinking, the counseling was a RESULT of HIS threat!! We are all trying to make a change, but it "appears" our son is not. And I think it's because the counseling can't help when he can't actively participate bc he's not being understood. That whole "wired differently" thing. It is very frustrating with that.

    I will also, hands down, get in touch with the school about all we have to do to get the special education services going. I read about the formats and help with that in other posts here and will look back to them. I have to admit, it saddened me when towards the end of the school year, I was in the office with the assistant principal about some behavior issue with my son that day-my son was sent back to class and she says, "Well we need to look ahead to next year. We will need to find a teacher that is firm and consistent. I will put a note in the file if that is okay." I said okay, and then she goes on to say, "Well he may be removed from TAG, will that be okay?" I felt like I didn't have a choice but to say okay. He (we) were the ones causing a problem (the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few), Soooo. Hopefully if the special education services get going, he will still gain some of the advantages he needs.

    Oh and we are definitely investing in that book. I've already told my husband about it and decided it was wise to become familiar with the information therein.

    At the end of the day, he is a charming child (like many of yours) and appears very normal, at times. I know if he could do good, he would! He has a great sense of humor loving kittens alongside super heroes, is so creative, an avid reader, and loves to be involved with everything. He also has issues that are probably sensory related. He is sensitive to loud noises (but only sometimes); does strange things like when he gets in "hyper-mode" he will smile and tuck his bottom lip under his bottom teeth (sounds weirder than it looks), but is a clue that he's not communicating like we understand. It is also a clue, he will NOT listen. Or he will walk away spinning with his arms out when we tell him to go do something specific. Often it is another clue that it won't get done. And he is explosive. From bullying behaviors like hitting, yelling or screaming out, slamming things, throwing things, and acting intimidating. There is so much!!

    But thanks to all of you, I feel I am in the right place and on the right path to getting him help and adding peace to all of our lives.

  8. soapbox

    soapbox Member

    Skip the ODD label... at most, it's a nice placeholder in that it means your kid definitely has a problem (a.k.a. it's not just your parenting - but you already knew that). There is no help for ODD - no medications, interventions, accommodations, or therapies.

    The key factor is... WHY is he being so ODD?
    And that will take multiple evaluations and multiple trial-and-error approaches.

    But he sure sounds Aspie/Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)-ish to me.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and welcome!

    Many of us have discovered that just because someone is a therapist - they will not necessarily have the "answers" or the best approach for YOUR child. (Don't even get me started on the usual suggestion of Behavior Charts - AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!)

    If a therapist does not seem to be helping - it is OK to go find a new one.

    While you are waiting to hear back from professionals - you may want to do a little reading on difficult kids. We usually recommend a book called "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It will give you a few insights and strategies to start.
  10. TeDo

    TeDo CD Hall of Fame

    Lady, please please please don't "discuss" this with the school. They will try to talk you out of it, try to negotiate an unofficial "plan", they might even tell you he won't qualify. been there done that sooooo many times. Special Education services are an added expense for the school. They will try everything you can think of to try to talk you out of it and/or into something else. Simply put the request for evaluation in writing and send it to them registered mail with return receipt requested. This puts them on a timeline with federal penalties if they don't. ANYTHING else, and you don't have those incentives and no protections for you son. If they don't get it in writing officially, it never happened and I guarantee you they will do it.

    In the best interest of your son, put it in writing and make it official. If you're not sure what to do or how/when to do it, ask here and WE will tell you because they definitely won't.
  11. LadyJ9

    LadyJ9 New Member

    No worries-I am on it when it comes to paper trails. BCBS tried to drag it out on payment and I tracked them for 9 months!! In any case we are moving forward. The first appointment is set with a psychiatric and I've made it very clear I want a Neropsych evaluation as well. I am sending the letters tomorrow morning to the principal and the Executive Director of Special Education (they had like 4-5 regular directors, I didn't know who to choose to send it to, so I decided on the top). And the federal time line begins..