Looking for advice

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Pandora, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora Member


    I've never posted much here, but have read a lot. My situation is when I first joined this group I had one AHDH child. Well, I now have 2 ADHD children, with my 11 year old daughter being recently diagnosed, and presently on Concerta. It has been of much help with her academics, which were becoming an increasing problem.

    I wish I could say the same about my DDs social problems. She has virtually no friends in school, hasn't for much of her school history. We have tried to have parties for her, but with very few attendees. She has never been invited over to any classmate's house or to a party.

    My current problem involves a class trip which is supposed to take place in April. daughter never brought the papers home in November for parents to send in a down payment. I have asked her over and over again if she wants to go on this trip (it would involve 3 days away from home). She has said yes, but never brings home information about the trip, never discusses it unless I ask. I am not even sure if she can go now because of the down payment not being made, but I have asked if she would like me to contact the school to see what could be done. Very non-commital responses.

    Talked to husband last night; I said I think I will contact the teacher myself. He said if you want to that's fine, but if it were up to me I'd do nothing. I am not thrilled with the idea of daughter being away from home for 3 days with people who don't even want to spend 2 hours with her (birthday party). Besides, if she had really wanted to go on this trip don't you think you'd have known about it before now? I got to thinking, why am I spending 300 dollars for my daughter to be a social outcast? At least I am not charged for it during regular school days.

    Has anyone else ever had a similar situation? How did you deal with it?

  2. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm sorry to hear that it's so hard when there is no social connection for them, it hurts us knowing that their alone all day in school. How old is she? Is she on daily medications also?

    It's hard to say I can only answer what i would do. If my difficult child did not seem that interested was more afraid than anything else and it would depend upon age I probably wouldn't send her. It is 3 days away from home, etc.

    The age I think matters though.........my 8 year old nope no way. my 13 year old yes maybe i would.

    does she have at least one friend in her grade or class? are the teachers aware of her needs? are they understanding and would there be constant teacher supervision?

  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We've actually been in your shoes. For difficult child 3's class, it was accepted that they would go away on camp for a week, at the beginning of their final year in that school (grade 6). I wouldn't let him go, because there are just too many issues with him. He would have had an aide there, but unless she was with him 24/7, the combined problems of other kids bullying him (it was only a very few, but that was enough to cause a lot of problems), of needing to be medicated, of him being a lot more 'set in his ways' at the ends of the days when medications wear off (and yet in a different place with people who DON'T live with him as a rule) - we felt it would just be too much trouble, with not enough benefit to justify the expense and the trauma.

    However, when the class had a day trip - a very long day, driving to Canberra & back, three hours' drive each way plus a full day there - I let him go, because the aide was going to be there and he would be home that night. She stuck to him like glue and he had a fairly good day. He actually remembers some bits from that trip, although when we went back to Canberra as a family a year or so later, he took in far more (and says so himself).

    Your daughter's social issues sound similar to difficult child 3's. Although I would say he is quite sociable and outgoing, but he just doesn't mix with kids his own age except at a superficial level. I feel bad, but difficult child 3 has never had a proper birthday party, with other kids. He used to get invited, but only out of politeness, I think.

    In your situation - is there any way you can substitute for this excursion? Can you take her there yourself some time and do the work yourselves? Or is this primarily social? For example - difficult child 3's trip to Canberra for the day was to study Australian government, to visit Parliament House and learn about how parliament works. It was almost totally beyond his capability. They also visited Questacon, a sort of fun science museum. He liked it but didn't really absorb much from there.
    When we went back ourselves, we did the whole educational Parliament House tour again, we got a worksheet for difficult child 3 from the tour guide and I made him do it. We also went to Questacon again and he really seemed to take it on board. In fact, in his English lesson for this week he had to write about how our perceptions change from an early experience to a later one, and he wrote about this very thing - Questacon, and how his second visit was so much more rewarding.

    The school camp I'd said 'no' to, was not primarily educational, it was team-building. And I knew that side of it would be a failure for difficult child 3. As it turned out, he only stayed at that school for another couple of weeks, so it really would have been a wasted effort.

    She really doesn't sound too keen, plus it's expensive. I'd talk to the school, get their views on how important it is, but seriously consider not sending her. What will she do instead? And if there is academic content involved, is there another way she can do the same work?

    I would also be looking into Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - the social issues sound a concern. ADHD kids sometimes are on the outer socially, because their behaviour can be a barrier. But she sounds aloof and withdrawn. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids often get a diagnosis of ADHD initially. And as for the medications working - they really do work for difficult child 1 & difficult child 3 as well, but they're Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) primarily, with the ADHD label thrown in.

    It's the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) label that has got us the aide time for both boys. If it would make this possible for your daughter too, it might be worth checking it out. How does she score on the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test on www.childbrain.com? You can't use that t diagnose of course, but you can get a 'feel' for how applicable it might be, and you can print the result and get the doctor to have a look.

    I hope you can make your decision comfortably and with confidence.

  4. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I think it depends on how she interacts with the other kids. My adult difficult child went on a week long camping trip with his class in 8th grade and did fine. My now 15 yo son has a difficult child in his band that went on a trip and was treated badly, even thou his mom went. The kids would dodge him, tell him to met somewhere and not show, stuff like that. It had to hurt.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi! Sounds to me like you're more hurt than her. Does her lack of friends make her sad? My son is on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum. He's supposed to go to an overnight with his teammates from Special Olympics. I'm worried too because he would rather be home (he always would rather be home). I think it's good for him to go and learn to be away from us. He's fourteen! He isn't wildly enthusiastic, but he's not protesting either. However, we don't have to pay for him to go.
    How do you feel about your daughter's diagnosis? Do you feel ADHD is the entire answer? Who diagnosed her? Did she have any early delays? Rages? Welcome to the board!
  6. Pandora

    Pandora Member

    daughter is 11, and has only rcently diagnosed, like in the last 3 weeks. She has had problems paying attention in school for years, it was attributed to boredom and general disinterest. The ADHD possibility clicked in my head when listening to the physician who is treating her younger brother for ADHD. She is actually happy to be on medication (Concerta) and both she and her teacher are very pleased with the noticable improvement.

    The school has been very good with all of my kids, very responsive to DS, whose ADHD was diagnosed in kindergarden, been treated by Concerta for over a year with pretty good effect. daughter has always gotten additional help from the school staff for her social issues. One staff member did not believe she had ADD, but MD disagreed, so I went with her MD.
    Personally I think the MD called it right.
  7. Pandora

    Pandora Member

    daughter is not wildly protesting the trip, but has done absolutely nothing to indicate any interest. She has one sort of friend in her class, who actually RSVP'd to attend her upcoming birthday party, no one else from her school did. I would say yes, I am hurt. I also just plain don't like the idea of sending her on this trip with the same group who can't even bother to RSVP to decline her invitation, and I can think of better things to do with the money. I get the impression any desire she has to go on this thing is because everyone else is going, never mind that I predict she'll be in for a rather lonely 3 days. I am currently attempting to find out just how education this trip is, it's called Nature's Classroom or something.
  8. Pandora

    Pandora Member

    I am amazed that sort of thing even occured when the boy's mother was present....
  9. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I wouldn't push it. It won't be the last opportunity for her to be social. my daughter is also socailly awkward and has had many problems in this area. She begged to let her go to summer sleep away camp at age eight. First one week, then two then three etc. She loved it! Some years were better than others but it was a chance for her to interact with "new" kids who knew nothing about her past and what names the other kids used to tease her! Think about following an interest that would involve interaction? Brownies, a sport, art classes, instruments, karate . . . anything that would involve being with kids so she gets more practice on social cues. Even soe museums have full day "classes" . This is only one trip and only one opportunity of the many others that will come along. If daughter isn't chomping at the bit I wouldn't push - she gets to learn natural consequences at the same time. Just my 2 cents
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member

    is this friend of hers going as well? 11 and she will be carefully watched by teachers as you said their all great in understanding needs of her and your other children.

    see i'm a bit different i keep pushing my little one into door everyday when my heart cries no she has hard time coping but if she speaks to one child thru day sings one song in music class makes one small connection in her day i see that as progress.

    so i think i may throw caution to the wind as long as i had cell of teacher so you can harrass them thru trip LOL..........and i may just send her. sure there will be other social opportunites in future but as long as she's not truly afraid and having either panic attacks or extreme anxiety she may benefit somewhat from trip.

    so yup i'd send her it will be so hard for you. youll problem be miserable for 3 dys but she may have sometype of benefit from trip.

    ofcourse this is just my take on it you have to make the best decision for you guys only you know what's best.

    good luck with the decision

  11. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wouldn't push it either. She's only 11. There will be many other opportunities for her to interact socially. If she's not sold on going and expresses no real excitement, forget about it and move on to something else.

    I think it's sometimes harder for us than it is for them. My son has very few friends as well.

    The birthday issue is very sad. Were the invitations sent in the mail to the girls' homes so that the parents were the ones responsible for the rsvp issue?

  12. Pandora,

    This sounds very much like what our difficult child used to do. He was extremely ambivalent about school and Boy Scout trips - he really wanted to go, but was afraid. Our difficult child used to have friends over for visiting and also get invites - until middle school - when everything stopped cold. We didn't know it then, but we now know that his Asperger's Syndrome was the problem. He simply couldn't (and can't still) relate well with his peers, and though they often (still do) try, they can't relate to him.

    His school trips were lots of fun, though. His class went on a week long trip to Savannah, Georgia to study history and city design. They also went to a couple of Georgia barrier islands to study ocean life and ecology. One trip was to a completely uninhabited island (Cumberland Island), where the class hiked 5 miles to a primitive camp site. They spent a week there. He also has gone on numerous Boy Scout hiking, camping, caving, and climbing trips. All of this is right up difficult child's alley - he loves nature and adores camping and hiking, but what to do? Not only does he have Asperger's Syndrome but he also has a severe physical disability. He additionally has an incredibly strong desire to be "normal" - whatever that is :) .

    husband and I put our heads together and decided we would make it happen. The school (and Scouts) are always looking for chaperones for school trips , so we always volunteer - trading off on the trips. All of the trips so far have been wonderful successes. We have gotten to know all of difficult child's peers better, and we are able to model good relational behavior - both for difficult child and his peers. I wouldn't do it any differently. It has been a wonderful growth experience for us all!
  13. Pandora

    Pandora Member

    Sorry not to have gotten back to everyone sooner. I have decided not to send her. I more or less just told her we were not going to send her, she said Well I really didn't want to be away from you guys for 3 days. There is some alternative activity for the students who are not attending.

    Will write more tomorrow.
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    If it were me, I'd let this trip drop, especially since she hasn't shown much self-driven enthusiasm for it. Frankly, my 11yo difficult child would not really be ready for something like this, and if he were just starting medications, I would be further hesitant to send him. There will be other opportunities, and by then her peers will have had time to adjust to the "new" social skills that she may develop now that she's on medications.

    In the mean time, I would suggest one-on-one play dates with the one or two kids whom you know would respond to an invitation. I'd keep the get together short and simple to maximize the chances for a positive experience. I've got two difficult child's with similar social issues. They don't get invited to parties, and the numbers that show to their birthday parties can be quite slim some years.

    The types of play-dates that have worked well for my boys are usually one-on-one, with some kind of non-competitive outdoor activity or quiet indoor activity planned -- a park outing for an hour or two of bikes or skateboards, a short nature hike in our hills, or inside our house for an hour or two of Pokemon/Yugioh card games or video games. It's just long enough for them to do something fun before anyone has a chance to get bored and start acting up.

    Something else we decided to do as a family to bolster the social network for all three kids is an annual Halloween party. The kids get to invite their class and/or sports team. We average about 60-75 kids (the party is held in three overlapping shifts, so they're not ALL there at once). We've done it the last three years and it's really done a lot to improve peer relations at school. I realize not everyone can weather an event like this, but it's another creative way to help reinforce a difficult child's social network.

    Good luck!
  15. Pandora

    Pandora Member

    I sent the invitations with my daughter to school. I have had 2 mothers call to say their daughters were coming. One mother called to say her daughter couldn't come because of another activity, but could we do a playdate sometime? I said fine. The others have never responded, including 2 who have me really ticked. They had not been initially invited, but asked daughter if they could come. So I made them invitations, neither has called. I brought cookies to her class on her birthday; one of those 2 came leaping up to me saying her mother hadn't called because "the phone was broken." Now she told daughter she can't come, but apparently the phone remains broken because I have yet to get a phone call.

    Like I said, I've got better ways to spend $300....