New and need some help

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nikki88, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Nikki88

    Nikki88 New Member

    Hi everyone, I just found this site, and I am really glad that I have.
    My difficult child is 7, and we have been dealing with her being what we thought we just strubron and strong willed since preschool. Now she is showing signs of ODD- her Dr did just diagnosis with it a few weeks ago. We are doing behavior mod with her, and the more we crack down the more out of control she is getting. School is an absolute mess, with her spending more of her time out of the classroom then in the classroom. I will say that her support system at school has been really great about all this, and have worked with us to find a behavior plan that works. difficult child has a huge conflict with her teacher, and that's not helping at all. At home shes cursing, hitting, non stop fighting with her `15 year old sister, and just won't listen. We are doing 7 minutes of time out, and each time she finally get's calm enough to start her time, she gets out and is right back at it. And when her sister is home it is 100% worse, to the point where it's hard to have them both home at the same time. Today we decided that we are taking everything out of her room, other then her bed and making her earn her things back. her Dr today put her Clonidine.

    Any thought's on that medicine?

    Thanks :)
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'd say more is going on than meets the eye. Start with The Explosive Child by Ross Greene, and get testing done by a neuropsychologist to see what's really going on. Also request (in writing) an IEP from the school.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi Nikki. Sounds like a busy life! Welcome to our world of challenging kids. You will find that many of us will have questions because we really can relate (each in our own ways) and it will help us to share what we have experienced and you can then see if it would apply to your situation.

    First, I am wondering what kind of doctor diagnosis the ODD? What kinds of assessments have you had done? Many of us here have kids who fit the ODD diagnosis but a large percentage of us have found that this diagnosis is really only saying that the child has a problem and it affects behavior. It does not lead to very many treatment methods nor does it help figure out what is causing those behavior challenges. As you have already found out... using traditional behavioral methods of rewards, punishments, time outs, earning things, even the room stripping and re-earning typically results in more frustration for our kids because the bottom line is something is going on that is preventing them from doing better. Either a lack of skills, a lack of organizational abilities in the brain to access the skills when needed, impulse control issues, misunderstanding of high level communication, neurological or developmental conditions or mental health conditions. Some kids have a few things going on.

    So, before we talk medications (and my son uses that and yes we like it but for now....)

    If she has not had a complete assessment of each developmental area....even if it is not obvious that there is a problem, that is a really important step. There is nothing worse than the feeling you get when you find out that you have missed something that can be helped with specific interventions, something that may be really subtle to the outside world and poopooed by doctors or teachers or therapists or mental health people....but ends up being a HUGE deal to your difficult child's development and coping abilities.

    So, to start if you can possibly swing this try to get her a complete speech/language/social communication evaluation which should include looking at her ability to process sounds and language. You may need to also look into having her evaluated for auditory processing problems by a specific kind of audiologist who has an interest in this area (she can have perfect hearing but still have problems with the way the brain hears sounds in noisy settings or how it interprets sounds etc... my son has a language processing the words/sentences are heard but his brain does not hear them the way they are said)
    Next, an Occupational Therapy (Occupational Therapist (OT)) evaluation to look at motor development (motor planning, fine motor development, etc...and they will be able to give an impression of a PT evaluation may be needed) along with sensory integration evaluations which will look at how she is able to take in sights, sounds, tastes, touch, smells..... some kids are sensitive, some kids seek them out because they are not registered and it can make kids look like they are being very oppositional and defiant when they have to fight through these issues... can also make them look like they have attention and hyperactivity issues.

    While you are getting these done, in my humble opinion it would be really important to get an evaluation from a neuropsychologist (and some use a developmental pediatrician but neuropsychologist is what I have had best luck with). These folks are psychologists who have extra training in the brain and how it connects to behavior and moods...they can do a differential diagnosis or at least help identify the underlying challenges that are contributing to the ODD issues. Many of us do nto use the ODD diagnosis at all because to some people it can imply that the child is just willfully not obeying rules to get what they want when indeed they very very often are not ABLE to do better because they are lacking critical skills and abilities that would allow them to do better. It can look very deliberate but if they could do better then the punishment/reward thing would usually work. It can take a while to get into a neuropsychologist and when you do bring the Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and Occupational Therapist (OT) results so they can put it all together. THEN you will know much better what you are dealing with (for kids get older things do sometimes continue to reveal themselves).

    I am sure others will add questions like these:
    1. how was the pregnancy/birth history
    2. is she adopted?
    3. did she meet milestones for development on time or late or really early in some areas???
    4. does she have any special interests that she likes way beyond a typical interest? (or a few things )
    5. how does she do with friends? How is her play in general?
    6. is there any mental health history in her bio family? (again not judgement, many of us can relate)
    7. how is the academic part of school going? is she in special education or are they just accommodating things for you?

    OK, so...the Clonidine is a blood pressure medication. My son uses a patch form of it. It helps reduce the aggression he can show. Once you start she may get light headed esp going from lying to sitting or sitting to standing...and do not stop it once she has been on it because it can cause a blood pressure spike and even strokes. But if it works, it is a great thing. Ultimately no medication fixes things in my humble opinion. It can put them in a place where we can work on skills.

    Some books that may really help include...The Explosive Child by Ross Greene and What Your Explosive Child is trying to Tell You by Doug Riley (sp?)
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi, Nikki. Welcome to the board.

    Many of us don't find ODD a useful diagnosis. We KNOW our kids are defiant, but ODD rarely stands alone and usually has another, bigger diagnosis causing the behavior. Can you please give us some background on this child, from infancy on? Any early trauma? Both parents still living with her? Any early delays or quirks? The more you tell us the better we can help or try to help. What kind of doctor gave her the ODD diagnosis? Has she had a workup, like with a Neuropsychologist? I really like their testing and find them very good diagnosticians. I would not trust a pediatrician or a plain therapist or social worker or anyone at school to do the diagnosing.

    Our kids usually do not respond to logical discipline and do not do well with behavioral therapists. We need professionals who can think outside the box.

    You may want to do a signature, like I did below, in order to give us an overview of your family.
  5. Nikki88

    Nikki88 New Member

    Thanks everyone!
    I find alot of this to be very overwhelming, not just dealing with the behavior issues, but also in figuring out what is causing them and the best way to treat it!

    Her pediatrician Dr wrote the rx ( she specializes in behavior) and she's very anti- medications, kind of like a last resort and to help try to take the edge off. But right now we have other factors with our family- we found out just a month ago that my father in law has cancer, then 2 weeks later that it's stage 4, and now he is in the hospital and were not sure that he going to be coming out of the hospital. Also my 12 year step daughter, that we haven't seen or heard from in almost 3 years, showed up this week. So right now we are wanting to keep difficult child as structured as possible, and on a regular routine. Basically her life has been turned upside down. And with all these other factor's it is really hard to do behavior mod right now.

    I feel like alot of this stems from me, and inconsistency. When she was 4 and 5 to us this was a "phase" and she would grow out of it. She was very sick as a baby and she is also our youngest, so she has always been babied. Then when it was time to go to school, she was not a fan. We had a really rocky start last year, but by the end of the year, and alot of work she was basically a model student, but we were still having the issues at home with not listening, cussing, and hitting. This year at school started out well, and about 6 weeks in went down hill. And it's gotten worse ever since.
    Her counselor said that as we started modifying her behavior that things were going to get way worse before they got better, but now they are just spinning out of control with her.
    We are right now doing the full Vanderbilt behavior packet, and some sensory assessment. And then going from there, I'm all for her getting the help that she needs, and want them to check everything.
    I say this because I went through 7 months and about 12 different medications, to find out that I have adult ADD, and I don't want my daughter to have to go through the same thing. I am pretty sure that I have ADD my whole life, and just never got the right diagnosis.

    Her first dose of medications seemed to go well last night. She was a little sluggish, but she actually sat down and WANTED to do her homework, and even wrote a 2 page story that she didn't have to do, for her this is huge because she hates homework.

    I am so glad that I found this forum, so many people have no idea what we are dealing with when it comes to her, and they don't understand why she "just doesn't act right".
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you should take her to a neuropsychologist. No pediatrician is equipped to do the testing it takes to know what is going on and I disagree that this is mostly because you babied her. A lot of kids are babied and they do just fine. I would want to make sure there is nothing going on beyond that. JMO.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    gosh your life right now sounds truly full and overwhelming in many ways. We are here for you and you can only do the best you can do. Why not start with those books... They are actually pretty easy reads because I bet...really, you are going to start to read them and see some things that you can really relate to. The Explosive Child helped me to get rid of that "I think I have not been consistent, or given enough consequences etc..." guilt. You realize that the traditional model for behavioral change just simply does not work (at least not for all things) and can actually create more stress and problems in your family system. Imagine if you took a child with CP and brought them to physical therapy and said... ok, if you walk nicely then you get a reward if not you are going to sit in that corner until you do it. It would be absurd right? They have not built the muscles, done the stretching, worked on the balance, had the support for the little movements they need to learn to work up to taking those steps. Many of our kids need those underlying causes and skill deficits supported first.

    You are not the cause of this. It sounds like she had some honest to goodness risk factors in your family history and her early development that could be at play here. A behavioral agency can be wonderful but also narrow of focus. I too have a pediatrician who specializes in kids with behavioral issues (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), mental health, adhd, etc...) and he is my gate keeper by my choice...Ihave all reports and other docs send updates to him. He himself sets limits on what he does though because he is NOT a neurpsych..he knows what to do with the neuropsychologist info though. He is not a speech/language pathologist....but again knows how to interpret the results and suggestions. We also use a neurologist due to my son's issues and have a psychiatrist for managing the psychiatric medications...just because that is her area. but she is mental health focused so I dont use her for best judgement on treatment...though I do listen to her input just to weigh all the ideas.

    It is a lot to take in, and you dont need to do it all at once. I sometimes take a day off (in fact did it yesterday) phone calls and just be a normal mom doing a fun activity with my son.

    I am sorry for the illness and challenges your family is facing. For what it is worth, keeping some perspective (hard to do) is really important. You are all a family and special first....these added challenges are things in your life, they are not your full life (can feel like that sometimes). I know this can sound trite. It really does help me. I even wrote an introduction to my son when he was in the hospital once... It was titled with his name and it said as a sub title...more than Autism, more than Brain Injury, more than a behavior problem.... and I filled it with pictures of our family, his friends, his activities and let them see a child who functions really well in many ways...not the kid we saw at that time. I find now, that little paper helps ME.

    HUGS, Dee
  8. Nikki88

    Nikki88 New Member

    Thank You :) We are going to be taking her, her Dr wants to rule everything out, which does make me feel good because I know that she is not just wanting to pump difficult child full of medications and move on to the next person. She even called the school today to check on her, as today was her first full day with medications. I thought that was a little above and beyond.
  9. Nikki88

    Nikki88 New Member

    Thank you so much! I am going to download them on to my kindle this weekend and start reading!!
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hang in there...

    Sounds like a really good doctor. I have a couple of those too... even have home cell phone numbers. It is a true blessing.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    While you're in the process of getting evaluations done... see if you can pursue two more. These are done by separate people anyway, but the info they provide adds much to the overall evaluation process - even if nothing shows (because of what it rules out).

    1) Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation - sensory issues and motor skills. Either can really complicate things, can have both! Occupational Therapist (OT) has therapies etc. to help, as well. If you need stats to argue for a referal, "per CanChild, 50% of kids with ADHD also have Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD)" (you can find CanChild and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) info at - and even if you can't get the actual Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) diagnosis, there's lots of good info on handling motor skills issues at school and at home) The early grades at school are SO heavily weighted to fine motor skills, that even minor issues become huge.

    2) Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluation... if she had major language processing issues, it would probably already be obvious. But there are other possibilities - APDs like auditory figure ground, where the person's background noise filters don't work well... so, they hear normally, and work well one-on-one in a quiet space... but classroom may be a disaster.

    Those who do comprehensive evaluations will be familiar with the reports generated by OTs and SLPs, and will include such info in their analysis and report.