My son can't do basic things at 8 years old. I'm worried. Should I be?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by benjammin74, May 6, 2013.

  1. benjammin74

    benjammin74 New Member

    My son can't tie his shoes, wash himself, brush his teeth properly, spit (he swallows his toothpaste), button a shirt, or brush his hair. I have repeatedly and patiently showed him how to do each of these things many, many times. He only lives with me half the time. He has lived mostly with his mother until the last 2 years, when I got joint custody. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and started taking quillivant 2 months ago, which has helped him and his teacher (he was inattentive and disruptive to the other students). He often gets extremely angry to the point of violence (throwing things) over trivial things, such as difficulty putting on his shoes, or buttoning a shirt. He also cries about trivial things at least 4 or 5 times a day. Mealtime is a nightmare unless he has one of only 3 meals he likes. I have talked with his mother but she thinks he is just fine, and that there is no need for concern. I owe it to him to be the best father I can be. Can anyone here tell me what I should do?
  2. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    Get him into see a pediatrician tell them you are concerned and want an evaluation. I understand I am inexperienced compared to everyone else but that isn't what Just ADHD looks like in my opinion. Glad you are taking an active role in your sons life and long term well being. What I have noticed is sometimes as the parent the other parent doesn't want to admit fully what's going on or that there is something "wrong". Maybe if we learn what's causing the problem we can more effectively parent? Surely this is no cake walk for her, but you have every right with joint custody to take your child to the doctor.
  3. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    A lot of what you describe is referred to as LOW FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE. You might want to pick up the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. Google it and you will also find a website.

    This sounds similar to my son and his diagnosis's are ADHD and ODD. We are still not certain there isn't something else/more going on.

    Good luck and welcome!
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    Oh one question - when you say he can't do those things, do you mean he appears to not want to or refuses/ won't do them? Or that he physically can't?
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well, sir... welcome. Glad you found us, sorry you had to.

    My first reaction? Poor kid. Being 8, and can't tie shoes means lots of things... like being bullied for being different, or being left out of playground time because you can't "keep up" with your peers, or struggling with basic skills like writing (a related fine motor skill) or math (which depends on decent writing of numbers...). And that's just ONE thing on your list.

    Listen... I'm just another parent. My difficult child happens to be about double the age of yours... and we've only been getting GOOD answers in the last 3-4 years. But things have come a long way in the last 3-4 years... and you should be able to get answers sooner than we did. Even then... it's been worth it to get answers! So... what do I see?

    Consistent challenges with self-care usually indicate motor skills issues - and may include sensory issues. Self care includes dressing, grooming (hair, teeth, bath), feeding, toileting. These are extremely basic skills, and to be accepted by others at school these either need to be mastered, OR good alternatives found. For example, my difficult child couldn't do buttons, but didn't want to make it look that way... so he always wore shirts one size too big, and didn't bother to undo the buttons (top one stays unbuttoned anyway)...

    "Picky eater" is either a control issue, or (more likely) a sensory issue. Motor skills challenges and sensory issues often go together. An Occupational Therapist (OT) can evaluate both... and has effective therapies and interventions to help... and the Occupational Therapist (OT) report will be of use to any others who deal with your child.

    And then... there's the "whatever else" list. A comprehensive evaluation should be able to flush that out - especially at this age (it's harder at 3, due to communication limitations, and due to a shorter period of time for "development"). But they don't always cover Occupational Therapist (OT), and often don't cover Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) (especially screening for APDs - the newer ones are often not even checked on the tests used). So... I'd be booking the Occupational Therapist (OT) and the comp evaluation as quickly as it can be done. Occupational Therapist (OT) is usually much faster to get in to... and then, you can consider whether to have him evaluated for APDs.

    But even if he has the alphabet soup of dxes, there may be more... and that's what a comprehensive evaluation "should" bring out of the woodwork. If you were not involved in his early years, it may be harder to get the history - but that is what you are going to need. Did he meet his milestones as a baby? talk late? crawl or not? etc. Try to start pulling the background together.

    It's a long road. But you need to know what you are dealing with, so you know what helps - and what doesn't - and especially, what makes things worse.

    We'll add more as we get to know you... there's ALWAYS more, but... the littlest furbaby needs to go out...
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    My gut level reaction here (since you have been working with him on these issues) is possible Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). High functioning since it hasn't been caught yet or maybe Aspie, but that's the direction I'd start looking. Those low frustration levels and sensory issues go hand-in-hand with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but as said above a comprehensive evaluation is really the best way to be certain. This is more than ADHD, which was also my daughter's first diagnosis (though by no means her last).
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he is doing ok in school, I'd look into dyspraxia. Insane, what is the total name of it? Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)? I just read about it myself and it is a severe problem with balance and motor skills that can affect other aspects of life too.

    But to find out exactly what areas your child is floundering in, I would take him to see a good neuropsychologist. He will be tested in all areas of function and his strong, weak and neutral areas will be found out. The violence could be from a number of disorders, and is probably partially due to frustration. He could also have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Sounds a bit over the top of ADHD. Usually a child's first diagnosis is ADHD, but it is rarely the last one, nor does it usually stand alone. How was his early development fron infancy? Did he have a chaotic first three years?

    I wish you luck.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The motor skills stuff goes by a number of different names - its changed over the years. Officially, the Occupational Therapist (OT) research community prefers Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - developmental coordination disorder. Most common prior name was developmental dyspraxia.

    For more info on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), try - look on the left, that's usually where the link for "developmental coordination disorder" hides.
  9. SiriusHertz

    SiriusHertz New Member


    Your son sounds a lot like mine. They're the same age, and I'm worried about it, and am in the process of having him evaluated. We're also a divorced family; fortunetly, my ex is finally realizing there's a problem and getting on board with dealing with it. It's meant closer contact with her than I prefer, but if that's the only price I have to pay for raising a happy, healthy son, I'll pay it gladly. I started by putting together a parent report on everything I know about my son, and everything his mom will tell me, and had her review it too. That may halp open her eyes about there being a problem.

    I've only been on the forum a few days, but it's already helped a ton. I've mostly been lurking, reading, and learning. Just having a community of like-minded people who understand the struggle of raising a kid who isn't "normal" according to his teachers or peers helps.

    Best of luck!
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi and welcome! I agree with the others here...sounds like more going on than adhd. I Hope you can find a good neuropsychologist and occupational therapist to start spring through some of this.....
  11. benjammin74

    benjammin74 New Member

    Wow, thanks for the wealth of information! He has struggled with school in the past, but the ADHD medication has definitely helped. The school also put him in a special program with easier homework. He has also managed to make a few friends! Compared to my 12 year old daughter, he reached all of his milestones much later. He has always struggled with eating. He eats extremely slowly, chewing even soft foods for a really long time. He was unable to speak clearly until he was 6 or 7, when he had speech therapy. There are still some things he struggles to pronounce correctly. I read about Asperger's syndrome and not all of the symptoms fit, but he does have difficulty carrying a conversation and gets obsessed over things. I haven't noticed any repetitive hand movements. He can read just as good as my 12 year old, and seems to be of normal intelligence. I'm not sure how his environment plays into this, but it is as different as night and day between his mom's house and mine. His doctor recommended lots of structure to help with his ADHD, so we have created a daily after school schedule. He gets lots of outside play time as well as father-son time. Things are different at his mom's house. I don't want to say anything disparaging about her so I'll leave it at that. One thing I will say is that he gets a new toy every day that he is there. Her parents live nearby as well and buy him anything he wants. Their houses are both bursting with toys. Again, I'm not sure if that plays into it but it doesn't seem normal to me! People have suggested it may have something to do with his diet as well. It is a huge battle to get him to eat vegetables, and one that I don't always have the energy to fight. I do try, even at the risk of tantrums and screaming, and crying. I plan on calling his doctor tomorrow and scheduling an evaluation. I'll check back in and let you know how it goes! Again, Thanks for all the information!
  12. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified; pervasive developmental disorder- not otherwise specified. Part of the autism spectrum (before the revisions to the diagnostician's manual). Just based on what you have written, this is what your sons symptoms sound like to me.
  13. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    My first thought after reading your post was some form of autism as well. My son has asperger's and like your son developed milestones later than normal. That was my first clue. He didn't sit up till he was nine months old, didn't start walking till he was sixteen months, and didn't talk until he was two and a half. At the age of ten he still couldn't tie his shoes no matter how much his dad and I worked with him on it. Now at the age of twelve he can tie his own shoes but he is still very slow at it. He can't wear belts cause he can't buckle or unbuckle. My son is incredibly smart despite his disability and social issues. I'm glad you are planning on calling his doctor for an evaluation. Good luck with everything and keep us posted.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I fell into that trap, too. The technical descriptions of Aspie and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)... didn't fit. Then I started reading real-life biographies of Aspies and... it makes more sense. Not that any one Aspie is like another Aspie but... kids on the spectrum are wired differently, and THINK differently.

    Try reading "look me in the eye" by john elder robinson, for one.
  15. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    My daughter hit her milestones okay - even started talking way early. I didn't get clued in until later, by another autism mom, and I thought she couldn't possibly be autistic (this was when she was in pre-school). Time went by and more things started coming to the surface, and even people that worked with autistics previously didn't see it in her - I had to have an expert test her. I've learned a lot since then. What I have is a 11 yro who can calculate the volume of a cylinder that is still learning to brush her hair and can't wash her own hair. Fights me on showers. Veggies? Yeah, doesn't happen, but I'm an Aspie, too (learned that as well) and won't eat veggies either. Luckily we don't have a gluten issue so lots of whole grain breads and pasta here.