My 9 y/o boy has adhd/odd, I dont know how to help him......

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by penmaker, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. penmaker

    penmaker New Member

    Hello all

    My name is gregg and I am in texas. my wife and i adopted 3 children. our 6 year old we have had since he was 1 and he has adhd/ with a mood disorder. My 11 y/o daughter has adhd and we have had for for 4 years now. my 9 y/o son has adhd/odd and have had him for 4 years now also.


    My 9 y/o who has adhd/odd is uncontrollable. nothing is ever his fault, blames others, disrespects adults, condescending to everyone. He is currently taking intuniv er and depakote er. Something is not right. He has been thru a day psychiatric schooling program which in my eyes did nothing.

    How do you get thru to a child that has adhd/odd? Any ideas on medications that work?

    Please help!!!!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    What do you do for a child like this?
    First... you MUST get the whole picture of what you are dealing with.

    Three adopted kids - are they related to each other? what is their background like?
    The youngest was adopted before the older two... which throws a monkey wrench into relationships.
    Plus, two of them were "older" adoptions... at 5 & 7, right?

    What kinds of evaluations have already been done?
    Has anyone looked into attachment issues? anything from insecure attachment, to Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), depending on history?
  3. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    So sorry you are in a situation where you have to be here...but it's the best place since you do.

    Lots of people here will have amazing are so not alone.

    My 9 year old is on medication for ADHD, Depression and aggression/mood disorder. One of the medications he is on is Risperdone. It is supposed to really help with aggression--but we are seeing MORE aggression, but just went up on his dose to see if we see any improvements. It seems to really help a lot for some (based on research and trials). Carson was just evaluated by two seperate Psychologists. One mentioned ODD as a "possibility" but I am not comfortable with that diagnosis. The other evaluation said he rated LOW for anger. His aggression always has to do with retaliation for a slight towards him (sister teasing, classmates calling him names, feeling "pressured" by teachers). He just always go OVERBOARD in his reactions (slapping, hitting, cursing--and recently pulled a knife from our kitchen drawer). I wish there was something to do that would tell us RIGHT NOW what is going on. But most often it is a "looking for a needle in a haystack" situation. Don't give up looking.

    There are so many issues that your son could be having. Adoption at age 5, maybe just one. That is why you will get a lot of questions--they want to give you the best advice and support. I'm so sorry you have to be here--but, Welcome!

    PS: I live in Texas also.
  4. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    Was going to tell you one more thing. The school (and us at home) have really been trying to work on self esteem and positive enforcments. You know, the catch him being good thing. Carson always was getting in trouble for things. He still gets disciplined--time out (or cool off time) and lectures, loss of priviledges. But we've been on top of giving a lot of praise too--for good behavior ("That was nice, what you did for your brother--good job" or "you did AWESOME on that Math problem!") The school is giving him "tickets" for ever good behavior that he can save to 'buy' a prize with. It takes a while--but it can work with some kids. I let Carson help me "cook dinner" when he finishes his homework with minimum fuss. Just a thought.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. Sorry it's such a struggle for you. There are a lot of factors here which could be complicating the picture. This could be more than ADHD. As for ODD, I won't go there - I hate the term, I think it misleads people into blaming the child, or even blaming the parents.

    A major factor in a lot of problems we see, is how we handle the kids discipline-wise. With most kids, the more conventional parenting methods are fine. They work. But with some kids, they backfire badly and you have to change tactics. If you use those changed tactics on other kids, they still work.

    A good book to get your hands on is "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It helps you get inside the heads of these kids and respond to them in ways they can accept and follow. Never lose sight of your ultimate goal - to get this child to a healthy, functioning adulthood. We sometimes can get lost along the way.

    One starting point behaviour-wise - to teach the child respect, you first have to demonstrate respect to the child, even if you feel they do not deserve it. As Dr Phil says, "someone has to be the hero, and it may as well be the adult who has to lead the way."

    This sounds like "letting the child get away with it" or, as my mother in law says, "letting the child win". But if you have the attitude of this being a constant battle of will,s you have already lost the war. You need to become your child's facilitator and support, not the obstacle. And if all your child ever hears form you (even if with reason) is "No!" then the child will see you as an obstacle, and will never get the connection that actually, it is not safe to run across the street in front of a truck and no, it is not a good idea to rush out into the snow without a coat on. But there are other ways of achieving the same goals without being an obstacle. Giving the child the choices where possible, especially where really, they don't matter to you - it helps. I wonder if these kids have felt that their lives are being controlled and directed by others and that the "ODD" child is actually beginning to kick back and try to wrench control back. Of course a child without supports is less capable of making sound choices, but with you as a guide to help, it is a valuable skill they can actually learn earlier. In the process of learning this, the child can then realise that you are there to help and not hinder, then they begin to turn to you for advice and support. This is what you want. But it can quickly snap back to old conflicts if you relax your self-vigilance.

    Read the book. I found for me that simply reading the book brought about improved behaviour in my child. At some level it must have been changing how I responded to him, but I didn't think it was. Or perhaps it was changing how I perceived his behaviour. Anyway, especially after I began to put the techniques into practice, we saw a lot of improvement. However, the biggest conflicts were between difficult child 3 and husband, and it doesn't take much for them to be in conflict again. husband has made great strides in how he handles difficult child 3, but it is difficult for him. And difficult child 3 can be very reactive, also feels very entitled sometimes.

    With chores, what helped us (still does) is to work as a team. If difficult child 3 sees me working alongside him, he works more willingly. I can also usually engage him with "If you help me do X, I will help you do Y." And of course while you work together, you are also modelling for him how to do a certain task, and he is learning. For example, I teach my kids to cook, to sew and to do laundry. Especially their own laundry. But if a job seems insurmountable, often a child with ADHD needs extra help to break up the task into manageable bits.

    A child with a keen sense of injustice, with attention issues and a history of feeling shoved aside will be carrying a huge load of resentment and suspicion. All this is on top of any other issues they may have.

    So make a list of what you want to fix. Then look at the list again - cut it back to three things. Ignore the rest for now. Utterly. And also remember - that list is not "We MUST fix it as a top priority come what may!" ALWAYS back off before a meltdown. Learn to recognise his warning signs and never force an issue. This sounds like giving way but in fact it is teaching him that you are trying to lead him, not drag him. When he is calm you can re-visit the issue. If you keep running into a brick wall with it, you need to change direction or change issues you're dealing with.

    Example - respecting adults. I found difficult child 3 did not do this because adults were not respecting him (from his perspective). So I changed how I dealt with him. Observe yourself - how do you deal with this boy? We do tend to give our kids orders, even if we couch them with "please" (which we often do not do). But for some kids, they will dish back to others, the way those others have treated them. If your son is doing this, then I would strongly urge further evaluation because it indicates a deficit (maybe only mild but it doesn't take much) in social understanding.

    When we started showing respect to difficult child 3, he began showing respect to us. But one of his teachers would not take the message form me, would not listen and continued to do (as she did to all her students) the whole sarcasm control thing. And so to her, difficult child 3 gave back the same behaviour she showed to him. You cannot punish disrespect in kids like this, because it is anger, frustration and a sense of justification that is driving it. Punishing this only causes more resentment, anger and sense of justification. Instead, you pause and say, "Let's calm down now and look at this. You just said 'X' to me. Did that help me understand what you wanted? What would be a better way for you to get from me what you want? How about if you had said 'Y'?"

    Staying calm works, but it is not easy when the child has made us angry. But if we respond to our anger at the child by yelling at the child, all we do is model for the child how to respond in anger. What we need to teach the child is self-control, and first we have to model it. These kids generally learn by imitating us, and if you watch your own behaviour, you may be horrified at yourself. But don't let guilt get in the way - this is normal. We learn to parent, by following the examples we were taught by our parents. And they did not have good books, they just had the methods THEY were taught. And as I said, these methods work, for most kids. But not for all, and when these methods don't work, the failure can be spectacular, as you are finding.

    Read the book. it helps.

    Welcome to the site. Many of us have been where you are now, and are happy to share what worked for us.

  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi Gregg. I am an adoptive parent too. My son is 14 (15 in Jan) and was adopted at nearly 3 yrs. he has multiple problems including attachment problems. Have you looked at that at all? Kids with attachment problems can look very adhd, and they run the show for themselves because they fundamentally believe they have to care for themselves, and they often push people away before they can become attached so they can't be hurt again.

    medications help us with many things and they have at times (the wrong medications) caused way more problems than we started with. It is such a scary business. I wish I had answers for you, just ideas and support....

    Have your children, especially the difficult child you are talking about, had complete neuropsychologist evaluations? any other evaluations? Are you worried about any other areas of development? School issues? How does he play with others? How is he with his sibs?

    You have your hands full. Only asking questions because people will be able to say, hey mine is like that too and here is what I did.....etc. Not judging in any way.

    It is really hard, not only to deal with but socially to have a child who is off-putting to other people. I know, I live it.

    Do you have the book, The Explosive Child? It is very good and is one that many of us find useful when typical parenting does not work for our kids.

    Well, I will stop. (smile) So glad you came to join our club (I say the club no one wants to join but so glad it is here to join!) I love these folks and hope you find them as supportive as I do. Talk to you later, Dee (buddy)
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with Buddy about attachment problems. It is almost impossible to adopt an older child and not get them...the symptoms can mask as everything from ADHD to CD. Here is a link about attchment problems in older adopted kids, who have had their early years interrupted with unreliable or multiple caregivers. Attachment disorders require a therapist who understands adopted kids...hope the link it helpful.
  8. penmaker

    penmaker New Member

    Ok this is the situation,

    my 9 y/o came to live with us when he was 5 and we adopted him when he was 6, he has a bio sister we adopted also, they both came to live with us at the same time. Prior to there arrival we had already adopted my 6 year old, we had him since he was 1 year old.

    They came into the foster system for neglect and drug manufacturing by the bio parents, he tries to remember things that happened but he was too young, his sister has to correct him all the time. they were in foster care for 2 years and in that time they were in a shelter for a short time.

    Here are some of the issues we are having:

    - Blames everyone else for his mistakes
    - outbursts of anger
    - spiteful
    - absolutely refuses to comply to rules and requests
    - very whiny and shows fake crying ( he turns it on and off like a light switch)
    - when fighting with younger brother , seeks revenge and very manipulative.

    Last night we had a police officer talk to him and he bowed up to him.

    He has had 2 full psychological evaluations done, the both came back adhd/odd

    He was on guanfacine and straterra and they changed it to intuniv er and depakote er. The problem is finding a good psychiatrist in this area that will make an office visit last more than 10 minutes! Plus finding a counselor that has any brains in there head has been like looking for a needle in a haystack.

    We are currently seeing a occupational therapist, we go for our 3rd visit tommorrow, she is telling us his "core" from the brain stem down is way under developed for his age, but his brain is closer to being on target. She is shedding some light to us, but I dont understand all that.

    Margaurite- you said the following: Example - respecting adults. I found difficult child 3 did not do this because adults were not respecting him (from his perspective). So I changed how I dealt with him. Observe yourself - how do you deal with this boy? We do tend to give our kids orders, even if we couch them with "please" (which we often do not do). But for some kids, they will dish back to others, the way those others have treated them. If your son is doing this, then I would strongly urge further evaluation because it indicates a deficit (maybe only mild but it doesn't take much) in social understanding.

    This is exactly how he is. we have also been told to get him tested for Aspergers, which he has many of those signs, but the test costs around 3000.00 and insurance wont cover it.

    So thats where we are currently.

    Thank you so much for everyones input!!!!!
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would still think he'd have attachment issues, which can be very frustrating. He can't remember his early life...maybe he needs help remembering. Have you taken him to any psychologist with a lot of experience with a lot of experience with older adopted kids? There is a big difference between kids born to us and those we did not raise from birth.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH gosh, if he has Aspergers/Autism, then the traditional behavior stuff even more than many other kinds of things is just not going to work well, Likely making things worse. Are you in the USA? A comprehensive school evaluation, specifically asking for an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) evaluation (then they dont just use the school team, they can pull in the certified Autism people from the district, not the psychologist only!!!! unless the psychiatric has autism cert. ...) will be FREE. Some districts dont have it together but if you ask for the right thing then you will have a better chance. Schools use Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) as a spectrum so even if it is Aspergers (which the medical community may not use in the DSM 5 too) they will just say he has traits that fit criteria so he can have an IEP.

    It is very very very common for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Aspergers to be diagnosis ADHD and ODD (and anxiety disorder). Then after years of frustration that nothing works, ta da.... some form of autism.

    It does sound like he has a chance of attachment problems too. each symptom you list is on the Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) list. But it overlaps with Asperger's too.

    ADHD medications may not work for Aspergers because of the symptoms are from his inability to process things as non Aspies do, then it appears like ADHD, but it is not the structural or chemical issues that cause ADHD so medications wont help with it. (some kids genuinely do have both that is another story). Given that he qualifies for Occupational Therapist (OT), it is even more suspicious for the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis.

    I thnk this is really hopeful. a child with autism can't take on another person's perspective, wont interpret social cues appropriately without direct teaching. The learning style is very different.

    If you can find an autism clinic, they can maybe do an assessment for less and your insurance may pay if you find a developmental pediatrician who specializes in autism. I would be stuck if I had to come up with that money too, but your kids are there post adoption funding...dont you have insurance thru your state for them??? If you possibly can, this could make the difference. You said Please Help so if I seem too into it, sorry....just have seen this story personally and professionally so many times. It is truly heartbreaking. I am sorry people haven't helped you more. You took these kids in and you are all blessed to have each other but there have to be ongoing supports for our kids who are so very hurt and especially when there are other special needs.

    If there is a chance this is Aspergers .... there is a TON of hope. I am sure others here will share their stories with the add/odd/anxiety becoming actually Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)..... hang in there, this maybe is one piece that can really help!
  11. penmaker

    penmaker New Member

    Well we are utilizing post adoption services now for the occupational therapist, unfortunately there "budget" has been cut for funding from the state. All our kids have Medicaid thru the state but most doctors here don't take medicaid anymore and the ones that do, do very little for the child becuase they are not paid enough.
    It is a very vicious circle!! Trying to get these kiddos help is like pulling wisdom teeth.
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    OH wow, I hear you. Ok so going outside of adoption workers, maybe call your county and ask for a disability case worker? Then see if they can hook you up with whoever their other clients are using for evaluations. It may mean driving a bit for the evaluation. Really, this has to be so frustrating for you but this could make the difference between a lifetime of residential care versus appropriate intervention.

    Does he have special education at school? If not, request, in WRITING a comprehensive evaluation for services including an Autism Evaluation. You need to send it certified mail because that will give you a receipt which starts the clock for the time line for the evaluation. IF they say, no we wont because his academic work is not behind, (many say this) you reply that you know that this is not the law and that social and behavioral aspects of school are equally eligible for qualifying for an IEP.

    Does the Occupational Therapist (OT) think Aspergers? Ask her which clinics her other clients go to ...this is a good way to find out who takes MA.

    You need not any doctor, it is neuropsychologist or developmental pediatrician or an autism clinic. Autism clinics often take ma because so many of their kids are eligible due to their disability and they would be out of business...are you in a small community or a larger city? I just did an internet search and found two huge clinics I hadn't thought of for my son who also has ma.

    I know it is exhausting. Huge hugs for you and your family. Early intervention is crucial. You can read a ton on your own too remember...there are tons of books on parenting kids with Aspergers and it makes a big difference.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I agree cautiously with keeping an open mind about Asperger's. But you have a complex situation here. The others are right, attachment problems could well be complicating the picture.

    The thing is - whatever the reason, and it does help to identify the reasons - the book helps anyway. It helps you deal with what is now, whatever the label may be. It's like an emergency first aid kit, as well as a long-term management strategy, that you can put in place either on top of any other intervention, or even use it to set the pattern for more professional help.

    In the meantime, read up on all these things - attachment disorders, Asperger's, ADHD, anxiety, social immaturity. Anger management.

    On the topic of blame - we found (again, using the Explosive Child methods, adapted for this) that we had to keep saying, "Sometimes this is not a blame issue. Sometimes there is nobody to blame. And generally, blaming doesn't fix it. Let's focus on fixing the problem and forget about blame."
    We do tend to focus on blame, because if it is someone else's fault then it is someone else's job to fix it. But when the washing is on the line and a storm comes up, it is not the time to say, "whose job is this?" No, it's all hands to battle stations, everybody pitch in and rescue the washing. Then you are thankful that it didn't get too wet, and that it had a little time to dry on the line first. Finding things to be thankful about can turn the focus from negative to positive. A journal of positive things can help - at the end of each day, what were three things to be thankful about? You can be thankful you're still breathing. You can be thankful that whatever happened that day, you're about to put your head on the pillow. You can be thankful that you had something to eat and have a roof over your head. From there, you can find more to be thankful about. Even if bad stuff happened, you can be thankful it's in the past. Thankful that tomorrow is a fresh day.

    Unconditional love is really important, and perhaps hardest for an adopted kid to accept is real. it takes a lot more reinforcing.

    Good for you grabbing the post-adoption resources. Use what you can. And what you can't get, do for yourself until you can get something more. You are capable of this, you know your child better than anyone else. And you have us as a resource.

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi again :) What I meant by adoption speicialist is a regular therapist who works a lot with adopted children. We have one here, in fact he is a psychologist but works with nothing but adopted kids and he is GREAT. Most psychologists are not trained much about attachment disorder and how that muddies the waters. I didn't mean that the adoption agency supplied the professionals. in my opinion they don't pick the best and brightest.

    We have Medicaid too and we have found that university clinics almost all take it. We found our adoption psychologist there. He understands my kids in a way that regular psychologists do not. The adoption itself is a trauma. One day I will post Jumper's excellent school report about her adoption. She is such a happy, typical kid but adoption has impacted her life and has been hard for her at times. She does not have attachment issues because we adopted her straight from the hospital, but if SHE is impacted by it, it makes sense t hat a child who has not been in a regular home with a regular family and who has been neglected by birth relatives as a young child would develop stuff that other kids don't have.

    Attachment disorder, like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is a spectrum. Some kids are just distant but can function. Some are so severely unattached that they are dangerous. For those who never heard my sad story, we adopted an eleven year old boy who had a perfect resume...his only problem was supposed to be cognitive delays. To make a very long story short, we found out three years later that he had secretly been having sex with my two younger kids. He held a knife that he had stolen to them and forced them to act out on each other too. And he hid it well. We had no clue. The other kids were younger than him and so petrified of him that he shut them up until we finally connected the dots (daughter kept getting bladder infections). He was charged by the courts with Sexually Assaulting a Minor (my daughter), although he had assaulted our son and a foster child in our home too and who knows how many kids in the neighborhood. There was more, but that was the absolute worst t hat he did.

    After being removed, he didn't really miss us, except for our money and his toys. He was taken to a lockdown for young sexual predators and diagnosed with "Severe Reactive Attachment Disorder." They assumed he'd been sexually abused himself, but he had such a traumatic early childhood that he didn't remember and had NO idea, when asked, why he had hurt Sonic and Jumper. He just said "I don't know." I tell this because Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids can be very dangerous to younger kids. It's important to see if this is an issue, and in my opinion since these kids were adopted older a lot of the behavior is probably due to attachment issues and early neglect. There are attachment therapies, but you won't find them just by going to a regular psychologist. In our case, our son had to leave our house. Our other kids were terrified of him, and we did not feel we could care for him anymore. We have not regretted our decision.

    Please take him to somebody who understands lack of attachment and w hat neglect and abuse in the early years can do. that he can't remember indicates extreme abuse that he may act out on other kids. The sad thing is that with many Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids, the more you show love toward them, the worse they behave. They are afraid of love. They don't even want it. They don't trust you or any adult to love them. Again it takes attachment therapy to maybe reach them. I learned two hard lessons from this: "Love is not always enough (or even helpful) and you can't save every child." I t hought, before this, that any child could be healed with love. WRONG! Not if they are afraid of it or don't even understand it.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do. This child probably has a mixture of many problems. If he was exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero, those are also big factors in his behavior. Sometimes I think some of our kids never had a chance and it's so sad :.\\
  15. My destiny

    My destiny New Member

    Hi my name is valerie and Im joining this room because my 7 year old daughter was just diagnosed with ADHD and odd , I had never heard of odd before until just recently, it's so tough to deal with, she is a smart girl and actually a top A student in her class but when she is directed to do something it's a fight, she hates direction and does not like to do things when she is told to do them, she has been suspended twice this year from second grade, she has destroyed the principals office and her classroom, I'm still trying everything I can research on, so far my most recent attemt is a reward system here at home and so far she has been doing great in school the last two weeks but I don't think that will last too long! This is all new to me and I'm reaching out because I need more advise from parents that have gone through this and continue! I can use the support! Thank you
  16. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi my destiny, welcome. First let me say you are so not alone. It is scary and tricky to navigate all this. Typical parents with typical kids just can't understand. I would really suggest you start a "new thread" under general parenting and then we can all chime in. I think you will find some amazing support here.

    I promise to respond more then but will wait because I dont want my response to be buried in another thread....

    If you can, go to settings and start a signature and then people will know more about your situation. You will be asked lots of questions and I will give you a heads up, it is just to help...not to be nosy. So, you can add to your first thread what her birth history is, any early developmental concerns, does she have friends, how does she play with others, does she have any special talents or interests, does she have rapid mood changes, how does she do with transitions?.... What kinds of things set her off???

    Here, people dont think much of ODD diagnosis as it just says...there is a problem with behavior. There is nearly always an underlying cause for this. It is the cause that needs intervention. Many kids who are initially labeled adhd/odd have other more all encompassing issues... but it can be severe adhd, and with that she just can't follow directions and so gets so frustrated..... you get the idea.

    so go ahead and start your thread with as much info as you are comfortable sharing about your little gift from god... difficult child. See you soon.....
  17. penmaker

    penmaker New Member

    I am feverishly trying to get a neuropsychologist done, Ill be back when I know more to update yall!!!! Thanks
  18. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Penmaker, if they're a good neuropsychologist, it could be months to get in. I made the appointment in May and the first available opening was late November. I hope you're not going to remain incommunicado for that long. Glad you are getting it set up though. That and reading The Explosive Child. You could even get an intensive Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation going. Good luck.