New Here..Overwhelmed and Stressed Out..

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Catwmn, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    Hello all,

    My name is Catherine and I am mommy to 3 little boys. I live close to Conroe, Texas which is north of Houston.

    My oldest is Austin. He is 10 and has been diagnosed with ADHD since kindergarten. We tried a LOT of different medications with him and with most of the medications the side effects were worse than the ADHD. However; recently I have begun to consider trying medications with him again. He has really been having conduct issues at school. Not staying on Task, talking excessively, disruptiveness and all.

    Then there are my twins.

    Christian is 8 and was diagnosed with Autism around the age of two and a half. He also has Sensory Integration Disorder. Christian has never taken any medications and his behavior is generally good but lately he has shown signs of aggression and anger, which I think are just frustration because he has issues communicating with us (outside of repeating movie lines).

    And then there is Aaron. He is my TRUE difficult child. The one who will end up sending me to an early grave if things don't change soon. Aaron is Christian's fraternal twin brother. He is diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), ADHD, and recently Epilepsy. He is taking a LOT of medications, and at this point I'm not sure if ANY of them are doing anything for him. His behavior is OFF THE CHARTS!!! He actually will literally run around in circles sometimes he gets so wired up!! And I have witnessed him do things on purpose to his brother s just to make them mad!! He is defiant, aggressive, downright mean at times, irritable, has crying spells, wets the bed, wets his pants at school, has these intense periods of terror, blurts out odd phrases at odd times...and the list goes on. He is currently taking Depakote 250mg in the morning and evening, Trileptal 450mg in the morning and evening, Strattera 40mg once a day, and Invega 3mg once a day. I THOUGHT that since he was on the Depakote and Trileptal he would be a little calmer (since it's SUPPOSED to be a mood stabilizer, AND a mild calmant).

    I am to the point now where I DREAD waking up every day, I am exhausted,stressed out, and sad. I guess I am just looking for SOMEONE out there who understands that my kids ARE NOT EVIL!! My mother won't even come to my house, and says that I should take Aaron to a priest!!

    Has anyone else here had a child like Aaron?? Any pointers for how to cope??
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Catwmn,

    I'm so glad you found us. There are many of us who understand and you will find much support here.

    Has he had an evaluation by a neuro-psychologist and a child psychiatrist? If not it would probably be a good idea to do so.

    Some of your son's behaviors are similar to my difficult child's and I understand the dread, exhaustions, stress, and sadness.

    One recommendation is to make sure you are taking good care of you. Getting some physical activity is always good-even a walk will help! Find a good book, soak in a tub. I know this is easier said than done but it is important.

    You definitely have a lot on your plate-you have truly found a soft place to land-we're here for you.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi, Katherine, welcome.

    I have a few things for you to think about - if the medications for ADHD are not working, perhaps it is not ADHD. With my boys, there is enough ADHD in their spectrum of 'things' to make medication workable, but the main presenting diagnosis is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). When difficult child 1 was first diagnosis'ed as ADHD when he was 6, it only explained a fraction of what we saw. It took another ten years to get the Asperger's diagnosis, which explains a lot more. He could have done with a lot of help over that time - I'd been asking questions and getting fobbed off by doctors and other experts for years, since well before school.

    Behaviour issues - lay your hands on a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It made a huge difference to us and how we handled the kids, especially difficult child 3 (a bit late for the others).

    And the next step - do your darndest to get an appointment with a neuropsychologist, as Sharon recommended. We hunted around to find someone who would see all our kids at the same time, at least for an initial consult. We felt there were things common to all as well as individual differences and we wanted whoever we saw to get a comprehensive picture before he dug deeper into each individual.

    You have one child with a diagnosis of autism, which makes it a lot more likely that one or more of the other kids will have autism traits. Maybe not enough for a diagnosis, but if you take that approach in handling them you can often do a lot better. And if there is enough for a diagnosis of sorts, somewhere on the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) scale, it can help you understand and also help get more support in place for school, to make things easier all round.

    And if it turns out to be something else again - it's still better to know, so you can begin to handle it more appropriately.

    Good luck, keep us posted on how you get on.

  4. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    I agree with the others. Marguerite is right about the ADHD medications. My peanut was on them for almost three years with very little improvement and switching medications alot. I was told that the ADHD medications can actually aggrivate other disorders. I have been down the road that you are on..actually I am kinda still on it. My son peanut tried killing himself back in June and my life changed over night. I am not saying this will happen to your difficult child, but try to get a more acurate diagnosis.

    The more acurate the diagnosis the more detailed the treatment plan and goals will be to help him at home and at school. Please take time for yourself. I know its hard, but extremely important. I sometimes soak my feet in a relaxing warm tub while I watch a good show. You dont have to do big things, but try the little things. I am so happy you found us, now you know you are no longer alone in this craziness. My prayers go out to you for strength and peace.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome Katherine. :flower:

    Not only do I not believe your difficult child Aaron is evil, but I also have a Mother that suggested the same "treatment".

    I ditto the others. You want a neuropsychologist appoint for an evaluation ASAP.

    Have you tried a daily routine with the twins? I know that I'd have never survived Travis' (look at my sig) childhood without a strict daily routine. It kept rages down to a minimum, comforted him to know what was going to happen at any given time of the day, and helped me keep my own sanity.

    You've landed in the best possible place. Tie a knot in your rope and hold on.

  6. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    Aaron is also Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). His fraternal twin is full blown Autistic. It's a tough thing to cope with. I know in my heart that there is something more to it than what we are "treating" with the medications.

    Both of the twins have IEP's and special education at school. We live in a small town that doesn't really HAVE a Special Education program, so that basically means they are in the "regular" class and do less work. I wish we could do more. But with no insurance(except for medicaid) and no financial resources we are left out in the cold. It is one of the most heartbreaking things about all of this that makes me feel so much like a failure as a mother.

    Thank you for the welcome. I am so glad I found this place...
  7. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    I am actually off to take a bubble bath right now... :bath:

    Thanks for the welcome...
  8. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    I am going to ask my neurologist if she can recommend and neuro psychiatric when I speak to her on Monday.

    The twins are on a rigorous routine. Down to the minute pretty much...We use picture communication schedules too.

    I feel like we are doing all of the right things and nothing is's so frustrating..

    Thanks for the welcome!!
  9. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    Hmm...I typed a reply and posted it and then it was gone...strange..

    Aaron has not seen a neuro psychiatric...but we do have a neurologist and a psychiatrist.

    I am off to go soak in the tub as we speak... :bath:

    Thanks so much for the welcome...I am so glad I found this board!!
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator


    You might want to take a look at the Strattera. One of its significant side effects is moodiness and aggression. Instead of treating ADHD symptoms, Strattera might be exacerbating the problem. Just a thought . . .

    In addition, both antidepressants like Strattera and antipsychotics like Invega can lower the seizure threshold. Seizures can present with behavioral symptoms. You should ask the neurologist about the effect these medications might have.

    Again, welcome.
  11. Catwmn

    Catwmn New Member

    It's so funny that you would suggest that!! I was just researching the Strattera today and found some things that said the same thing!! We are going to the Psychiatrist on Friday so I am definitely going to take it up with him!!

    I wonder what he would be like JUST on the seizure medications? Since they are BOTH mood stabilizers I would THINK it would be a DREAM!! Or maybe that's just wishful thinking....


    Thanks for the welcome! I spend too much time in my car too!! (hugs)
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Katherine, you can make it easier on yourself by just typing one reply to everyone. Most of us are making similar suggestions to you, or if we're not we're often in agreement with what others have said (if not, we tend to say so!) so if you want to specifically address something someone said, just refer to them by name in that sentence. If you want to reply privately, send a PM (private message). But you don't need to do a separate post to each of us. We all read everything anyway, it's only making work for you. And you already have a lot on your plate (I know - you are living my life too).

    You were fairly clear about the diagnoses of your other kids - that's why I felt it needed to be said, to consider the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) connection where Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) has not actually been diagnosed (as in husband, as well). Not that changing the label NOW for husband makes a lot of difference, but my husband is fairly sure he can see Aspie signs in him. From stories his mother tells, I can see the Aspie connection. But I can also see it in my side of the family - even in me, at least a little. And in various nieces, nephews and THEIR kids. Not all of them, just a trace here and there. A couple of adopted ones with Asperger's or more...

    Katherine, we've made a lot of mistakes but finally seem to be getting things right. it's still no picnic, but after years of thinking we would be permanent parents into our twilight years, I'm seeing wonderful things in my boys. There is a lot you can do - sounds like you're already doing a fair bit of it - and it is hard work, but there are amazing rewards.

    Are you in a position to consider home schooling? A lot of people argue heavily against it when you're dealing with kids with social skills problems, but we've found it has made a big improvement in difficult child 3's social skills. People forget, that at school in a full-on environment, autistic/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids are not at any advantage for learning social skills; in fact, they are at a number of big disadvantages. School classrooms and playgrounds are not a natural environment - when, ever in their life after the finish school, will they ever be expected to sit in a room of people within 12 months of the same age, all working on the same stuff, with ONE senior person in supervision and authority over them?
    Kids in general pick up social skills by osmosis. It's the way people learn, by experience and example. But Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids do not learn social skills that way, they need a lot more help in this area; modelling, rehearsal, reinforcement, reward. It just doesn't happen in the rough and tumble. And with home-schooling, we are NOT stuck at home. If I go shopping, difficult child 3 comes with me. There he interacts with a wide range of people spanning a wide range of ages and social types. He's outgoing and happy to talk, but difficult child 1 was not. However, difficult child 1 also shopped with me, helped me load and unload the trolley and began to talk to shopkeepers who got to know him.
    With time, I've been able to let difficult child 3 go off on his own shopping search. While I'm buying vegetables, difficult child 3 is downstairs pricing out computer games. He comparison-shops, sorts out the best deal, he's even organised price-matching between stores - something I never thought he'd be able to do. He has a mobile phone with him so we can call each other.

    I used to get constantly disrupted by phone calls from the school. I'd have finally got difficult child 3 back to class after he'd been home ill for a week (or longer). I'd have arranged that if he got sick he was to be given his work sheets and allowed to go to the sick room. I'd be on my way to keep one of MY appointments and I'd get a call to come fetch him, he was vomiting and had a fever. We finally learned that the vomiting AND fever were stress-related - he was THAT stressed! It got so if I had an appointment with my doctor, I'd keep difficult child 3 home from school so I wouldn't have to cancel my appointment.

    Now he's portable. We go on holidays. We take a couple of days off and go interstate or visit family. He brings his schoolwork with him.

    We have access to a system that makes my life easier - Distance Education. It's basically correspondence. State-sponsored in our case, but I believe there could be something similar available in the US? Before he was in Distance Ed, when I was still trying to keep him in mainstream but he was always sick, I kept running out of work assigned by the school and bought a lot of resources for him, mostly on the computer. Some educational games taught him more in two months than he had learnt in five years of schooling.

    A friend of mine has recently switched her boys to home schooling. They are easy child kids, they were not being bullied (to her eyes - I saw more, and it was mostly teachers) but she wanted flexibility for her boys to develop at their own rate, and to also work more intensively on their weaker areas. I gave her a lot of resources difficult child 3 had outgrown, plus others we'd been given and gone through already. The flexibility is great - if it's a sunny day and difficult child 3 has earned a break (in my eyes) I call her up and say, "Want a lesson at the beach?" and we meet down there. The kids play in the sand, digging channels, making sandcastles and trickling water. This way they learn about particle packing, about erosion, about building and design, about gravity. Or we explore the rock pools - I have a science degree so I teach them about the creatures in the rock pools and why they live at different heights above the tide level. We look at the splash zone and see the different creatures there. We examine the shells on the beach for the discarded 'housing' and see the chemical changes wrought by pure sunlight, as purple shell pigment is changes by the sun into orange - carotenoids are modified easily by light energy as well as heat. The kids make necklaces or pendants with shells - creative art. Or maybe a collage, or some other artwork. They might sell their artwork - commerce. Or they might collect bait and go fishing - home economics. All from a visit to the beach.

    This suits difficult child 3 because he learns holistically - he does best when he gets the whole lot presented in one big lump that HE can then take apart and look at in bits, as HE is ready to. He then puts it together again and is at last able to extrapolate and connect outside the area we've presented. That's how he learned his Geography - playing "Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?" And from playing the game, at last he was able to understand news stories he saw on TV and is now following at least SOME current affairs stories.

    You give them what they can handle, in a way they can handle it. And what they can handle can horrify you when it's so restricted in some areas, but delight you and amaze you in others.

    difficult child 3 has just taken nearly two weeks to do a worksheet he should have been able to do in half a day. Meanwhile everything else has been neglected. BUt he is also capable of watching and absorbing senior high school physics and chemistry. Biochemistry. It's a TV show for high school students, he watches it in his breaks.

    And no homework - because it's ALL homework. Where before he would be struggling at home after school to do all the work he hadn't done during the day (sue to too many distractions), now he's ready and waiting when his friends get home from school. His friends are all years younger than him, but they know him and understand him.
    Not all neighbourhood kids are his friends, but he has three or four houses nearby where he is always welcome, if they are home. I can even keep him working on schoolwork for another half hour after school hours finish, because he has to give his friends time to get home from school, get changed and get THEIR homework done. Sometimes he helps them with their homework - it's lovely.

    difficult child 3 is 13. To those who don't understand, we describe him as an "8 year old genius". We estimate that's where he is socially (although it's not fully the picture) but in some areas academically, he's utterly amazing. Yet when he began school, he could barely follow simple instructions and his language was at a two year old level. He wasn't fully toilet trained. But he could hack into the classroom computer or anything else electronic.

    Katherine, they are hard work. Get "Explosive Child" because I think it will help you a lot. And try to find ways to just love your kids and enjoy them. The more you can do that, the better you will all get on with each other and the easier it will be for you to lead them. It seems to be a step back behaviourally, but it's not. It's about ten leaps forward, if it works for you. These kids have an inbuilt need for control and you can't fight it. You need to learn to steer it instead.

    Keep us posted. And enjoy that bath!

  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Welcome! I am glad you found us!

    I completely just spaced out on what I wanted to say to you!

    Oh yeah!! LOL! The yelling out things at random - has anyone checked out Tourettes? Does he have any motor tics - like blinking, schrunching up nose, lifting shoulder(s), snapping, etc.? Even a cough can be a tic - although that would be vocal like the yelling out he does.

    Here is a link of all the tics:

    Hey, it may be way off, but at least if you know about it and it has been ruled out you get closer...

  14. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Hello and Welcome. My difficult child sounds a great deal like your difficult child except for the intentional mean beahavior. Our difficult child wouldn't intentionally hurt a bug.

    He has asperger like traits, mood disorder traits, ADHD, executive function disability, nonverbal learning disability etc, etc, etc. High average IQ, can't make change to save his life. When he was younger he was so hyper that he didn't take the time to go to the bathroom and his bladder was ready to explode. Accidents happened.
    I couldn't understand how someone could be manic 24hrs a day 7 days a week. Pressured speech, movie speak, weird words at times. It was always bad and got worse at other times. I never saw a depressed day in this child's life until puberty.

    School was a nightmare from the get go. Fortunately, reading clicked and he is self educated in facts. Things like spelling, grammar, and other foundations of our educational system went right over his head.

    I don't know how you do it with 3 children who all need your attention. Tell your mom to do the praying and novena's(couldn't hurt) and you do the research and find earthly help.

    I just wanted to say hello and that I remember vividly what my life was like with a grade school child.

    (I just moved from Texas. We drove through Conroe frequently. We vacation on Galveston beach)

    by the way, Sheila is very knowledgeable about the school system and what is available. She lives in your neck of the woods and has struggled with limited school resources for her son. You will find her hanging out in the Special Education Forum.

    Good luck.
  15. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi Catwoman, welcome to the board!

    You've already gotten some sound advice, just wanted to add some gentle hugs and support, and reinforce that you found a great place.
  16. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    If you want to consider homeschooling and its not in your budget..its not in mine, you can check into virtual school online. They are publicly funded but are done in your home by you with no out of pocket cost for books and some required supplies, some even supply the computer and will reimburse you for your internet bill. I know only two in our area, however they are both offered in other states: and
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    My mother won't even come to my house, and says that I should take Aaron to a priest!!

    LOL! I suspect that's where the author of the Exorcist got his original idea ... from one of our kids.

    Has anyone else here had a child like Aaron?? Any pointers for how to cope??

    Ohhh, yeah. Lots of people here have been there done that. You've already gotten some good replies.

    My son ran around in circles, too, but he really is ADHD and the medications do work. I can see you have other issues, and you will get good advice here on other medications and ideas.

    Welcome. Glad you got a bubblebath.
    :bath: :flower:

  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, I just re-read your bio ... you have 10 cows and 2 bulls? Are they friendly?

  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi Catwoman! I am SOOOO glad you found us!! Sorry you need us, but glad we are here.

    If I had a PENNY for every time someone suggested we take my difficult child to a priest, or for an exorcism, I would be richer than Bill Gates. For 7 years we lived in a very Catholic area of OH, where I was raised, and had SOOOO many people telling us that. It did sometimes seem like a last resort kind of thing, as he would scream at the holy water in church (or anything else in church - much to my husband's dismay). It was easy to solve, no church!

    The behaviors were harder. We struggled for a long time. We homeschooled him because the local school was making him suicidal - they punished HIM if the teacher sent a note home that had a spelling error!!!! And so many more things. He was trying to kill himself at age 7. He is aspergers.

    We ended up letting him live with grandparents in the same OK town we now live in. It seems to be pretty good all around. He even has plans for after high school!! He is a junior at almost 16.

    With autism disorders in the family, I would have the oldest re-evaluated. Just my opinion, but most of us here get ADHD as teh first diagnosis. I have come to regard it as pretty useless in and of itself. My pcdau even was diagnosis'd ADHD - she has seizures and anxiety and PTSD and never had an ADHD day in her life!!! Her symptoms disappeared with seizure medications and therapy for the pTSD.

    Remember, be nice to mommy!! It is the most important thing you can do. Beating up mommy is NO GOOD, cause if Mommy isn't happy, nobody is happy!

    As I see it, you have both autism and seizures in the family. Good chances that is where to start looking in regard to your oldest.

    There is a book out called Mom's Gonna Blow or some such. If I can find a link to it I will send it to you. It helped ME because it described how to identify the physical changes in your body that happen when you get mad, and then it helps you change the behaviors so you don't have as many blow ups. Anger was an issue for us, and this helped a LOT. In a very gentle way. I will post a link if I can find one.


  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It was easy to solve, no church!

    Susie, you just ruined the whole premise for the Exorcist, LOL! Most movies would never be made if people were as pragmatic as all of us!

    Nomatic, healthy eating is very important. A lot of our kids have "hidden" allergies, and it's hard to keep them away from dyes, milk products, and gluten.