New Here

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by adunn03, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. adunn03

    adunn03 New Member

    I am new here and I am hoping for some suggestions. My son is 7 years old and has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. They are also wanting to evaluate him for aspergers. I am at a loss at to what to do with him. It seems like everyday is a challenge and just the smallest issue can set him off and ruin the entire day for the entire family. We adopted him 5 years ago along with his older sister and younger sister. We just recently had our first biological with four kids my life is pretty hectic! I can ask my son to do something simple like put away his laundry ( I break it down and ask him to put away his socks, then his pajamas, then his shirts...) every day he will take his laundry and walk in his room and throw it. He refuses to put it away. When asked why he says he doesn't like that rule so he isn't going to follow it. I have tried taking his clothes from his room and not letting him pick out his clothes, I have taken away fun activities, I have given time outs, I have tried rewarding him when he does it but nothing I do works for him. He is very aggressive and mean when he doesn't get his way. He lies all the time about everything and anything. He will make up huge elaborate stories with a lot of detail and it is all a big lie. I have no idea what to do. I am willing to hear any advice you might have!
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Well, to begin with a probably controversial comment, is it vital that he put away his laundry? If it causes such a huge fuss and is so distressing to him, and then the rest of the family...?
    A question about the lies. Are they like fabulous stories that he tells? What is behind it, do you think? I remember I went through a phase of "lying" as a child, after my parents' divorce. I must have been feeling very insecure.
    Do you have any access to attachment therapists where you live? I am just reading and thinking about this at the moment. I have seen quite a big change in my son's behaviour, and a decrease in his oppositionality, since I have been consciously attaching to him in recent weeks. As the caregiver, you have a lot of power to influence things for the better... not meaning that it your fault, in any way, of course :)
    Just a few thoughts. Others will have others.
  3. adunn03

    adunn03 New Member

    Yes it is vital that he puts away his laundry. I have a full time job a 1 year old and three children under the age of ten. I can't possibly put away everyone's laundry and him not doing it just bc he doesn't feel like it isn't acceptable. He will be faced with a lot of tasks throughout life that he won't want to do but he has to do it. I don't want to pay taxes but I don't think me using the excuse I don't like that rule so I'm not going to follow it would work too well. And the lying no it's nothing fabulous. He might simply lie that he wore a red shirt to school when he is obviously wearing a red shirt to school. His lies are pointless and not attention seeking. Yes he is in therapy and has been since the age of 3.
  4. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Hi and welcome!
    It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Raising a difficult child is never easy and when you add a few sibblings it sure makes it a bit more stressful and complex.
    Right now, we are having issues with Partner who is a easy child because of the stress V creates (not on purpose, just because of his special needs).
    What helped me the most: get to the real "why" V cannot or won't do a task. V's excuse often is "I forgot" "I did not see". I used to take as defiance or lazyness... how can you not see all those toys scattered all over, or this dirty diaper in the middle of your room?!! It still aggravate me, but I have gained a bit of patience about it. Organizational skills are VERY difficult for some of our kids. It does not mean they should not do it, but it means that they might needs more help and support. What your son is saying *might* be an avoidance strategie, trying to hide the true problem: he does not see the clothes, he does not know where to begin. It seems so easy, but in reality it can be very hard.
    Startegies that have helped: using a picture board of the chores. Check one item at a time as it gets done (for us at night: take a shower, brush teeth, put diaper on, wear pj, pick up toys, potty). Sometimes you might have to add more details (shut shower door, close toilet lid) and you might have to start with just a few and increase as he becomes sucessful.
    I still have to remind V to check his board. VERY slow progress, but still progress.
    V also needs to have a very obvious place to put his stuff away. It also cannot have doors otherwise it disappears for him. "out of sight out of mind". I've invested in big plastic bins and open ikea shelves.
    Those are just some ideas.
    V used to have an ODD label until I learned his way of thinking. One thing used to drive me NUTS: I would ask him if he wanted to eat x, y or z. He would tell me no. I would prepare x for myself, put things away. THEN he would tell "Mom, I want x". ARGH! Why couldn't he tell me when I asked him??? the reason: it was too abstract for his way of thinking. He needed to see it in order to be able to answer. Today, he is a bit better but not quite there yet. I usually show him first, it helps him process the information and heps him give an accurate answer.
    My point: try to find out what the heart of the problem is. Could there be a different interpretation of his behavior? What need is he fullfilling by acting the he does, is he using some negative strategies to compensate a deficit?
    Those are not easy questions and are unlikely to be answered in 1 post.
    This board can help you work through it, offer suggestions.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.
    You have your hands full!!!

    However, it also sounds like you don't exactly know what your are dealing with, in your son. If others are suggesting he be evaluated further... perhaps you should pursue that. Don't get an "Aspergers evaluation" though... get a comprehensive evaluation, where they look at the whole picture. There can be multiple things going on.

    For the moment, let's assume he IS an Aspie. In that case? Maybe it's time to start learning how to parent an Aspie. Because it is counter-intuitive for most people. And it is very intensive. Aspies don't think like you think, they miss some cues and are very attuned to other cues, can seem very oppositional when really they are just totally overloaded and pushing back to survive...

    To make THAT big a deal about laundry? Well... OK, I "only" have two kids. But... I work full time, too. And I still put away the laundry for my difficult child. It's either that or... it gets tossed on the floor and used from there. Why? Because it is too much work to remember where everything goes, stack it neatly, and get everything closed up again. And yes, it IS effort. Some Aspies have coordination difficulties that make even opening drawers a challenge, for example. Many challenges are not obvious, until they are recognized on various evaluations. We were told for 10 years running that we were vastly over-reacting, that our difficult child couldn't possibly be that bad, etc. Reality? NOW they tell us that there's just no way that there are others in the system like him, he's just so complex, unique and challenging. (NOW they tell me???)

    Not all comprehensive evaluations cover ALL the bases, and there can be a waiting list to get in. Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluations are easier to get - and an evaluation for sensory and motor skills issues can be valuable on many fronts... Occupational Therapist (OT) report is useful to person/team doing comprehensive evaluation, Occupational Therapist (OT) has therapies and interventions that really DO help, and Occupational Therapist (OT) can suggest interventions and accommodations for home and for school.

    He's seven. If you notice that he sometimes listens and sometimes doesn't, take note of what is going on at the time... how much background noise? (including subtle stuff like fans or water running) Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) can cause a LOT of behavior problems... from being labeled "bad" for not being on-task, not following directions etc., to mental burn-out from trying to listen which leads to fatigue and the issues that go with it... And seven is the earliest they test for APDs. If you are testing for APDs, make sure they cover the full spectrum, including auditory figure ground and auditory discrimination - these are not covered on every Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) test sequence.

    We had to give up the idea of "making" difficult child do or be or not do/be anything. We had to lead by example, recognize and teach missing skills, learn what his triggers and drains are, and invest every waking moment in making life work, somehow, for all of us, including difficult child.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    IC, she says he is not her biological child. If he is adopted, that brings up many other possible issues. If he was adopted, at what age?

    I would like to know more about your child. Did he have a chaotic early life? Was he maybe drug exposed? Have you ever had him evaluated by a neuropsychologist? If not, why not?
    I'm with Malika. If he wants his room with clothes on the floor, until I found out why he is doing it and what is wrong with him, I wouldn't fuss over it, especially since you and him are expending so much negative time over something that in my opinion isn't that important. He is only 7. He did not ask to be one of many children. You decided that for him. None of my children, even my neurotypical children, folded and put away laundry at that age. I understand that you are busy, but he is just a kid, and he does have issues, and perhaps they are more than ADHD. ODD...many of us here don't care for or believe the really just means "defiance" but in no way does it explain WHY the child is defiant.

    Is there a biological or adoptive father in the house? Can he pitch in since you are so busy and have many children?

    Back to the possible adoption, if he was indeed adopted, a very early chaotic life, and perhaps a birthmother who abused drugs and alcohol, is going to g ive you a very complicated, difficult child who needs a lot of help. Also, DNA is huge, even if the child has never seen his bio. parents. He could have attachment problems or fetal alcohol issues...and most therapists know diddly about either one or how to help. Can you tell us more about your child? The more we know, the more we can help. Hugs and hoping to hear more! :)
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    KTLC is right....

    Challenge your own assumptions...

    What is the real reason he isn't putting away his laundry?

    Perhaps he perceives the world differently than you?
    Or... he may be really confused - as my difficult child was.
    At school, when he tried to tell the truth (he couldn't do X, or Y was too hard), he was treated as a liar, at first nicely (they call it "encouragement"), then by force. So, he learned to tell them what they wanted to hear - which meant telling lies to do so - and was rewarded for it. SO... now, what is a lie and what is the truth? We're STILL working that out 10 years later.

    If he's an Aspie... the approach of traditional therapists just doesn't work AT ALL. been there done that.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Adopted? at age 2?
    What was his background like?

    The first three years of life are critical in learning how to form normal attachments. If that is severely disrupted, it can cause major behaviour issues...
  9. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Just a side note: I make both boys fold and put their laundry back on teir shelves!:devil:
    Not systematically, but I also have a handfull of kids, no husband to help during the week and a fulltime job. Sometimes, I need help.
    on the other hand, I now V will not do a great job at folding but I know he can try and focus. So I let it be less than perfect as long as I know he truely tried and not just stuffed it all on the same shelf.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Did he come from a choatic background? I was thinking attachment disorder. That is very common with older adopted kids and it is not easily takes a very special type of therapist. Was he exposed in utero by birthmom by drugs and/or alcohol? Another reason he may be difficult, if so. Genetic issues? He has his birthparents DNA. Any mental illness there? You have a complicated trio. I adopted one from foster care and he had many issues that a regular therapist was not equipped to handle.
    If you are not in an adoptive parent group, I greatly suggest it. Many adoptive parents of older kids and sibling groups are facing what you face and swapping stories and where to get help is invaluable. These kids will not be like other kids. Regular therapists are useless. Is there a chance he has fetal alcohol issues?
  11. adunn03

    adunn03 New Member

    Yes my son was adopted at the age of 22 months. He was a drug baby and addicted to meth when we got him. He is incredibly smart and tests on a third grade level when he is only in the first grade. He has been to every type of doctor or counselor that you can imagine and had every type of test ran on him. I refuse allow his background and diagnose be a crutch for him. I understand some things may be difficult for him but my job as his mom is to make sure he is prepared for the real world and to do that he has to learn to overcome his difficulties. Putting away laundry is a minor issue that we deal with and just used as an example to show his behaviors. He is knows where his clothes go. We colored pictures and put them on the outside of his drawers as labels. His clothes are folded and sorted for him. All he is responsible for is opening the drawer and laying it in there. That is not too difficult. My daughter has been doing the same task since she was 2 and she was also adopted and a drug baby. The issue isn't that it is too difficult it is simply that he doesn't want to And doesn't see why he has to do something he doesn't want to do. We have the same problem at school, church or where ever we go. As far as not liking the label of odd, well it doesn't really matter if I like it or not, every professional that I have taken him to has diagnosed him with that so I am going to assume that since they know more than me in that department then they are correct. He is defiant. Why? I have no clue and if he is asked he will say bc i do what I want and you can't make me do anything. As far as the aspergers goes I have no idea on that bc all of my dealing with kids with aspergers is nothing like my son.
  12. adunn03

    adunn03 New Member

    He was adopted at the age of 22 months. Before he was pretty much locked in a closet for hours on end. He couldn't talk at all and was severely malnutritioned when we got him. Both biological parents have mental illness but we don't know if they are genetic or caused from drug abuse. He has been to tons of doctors and counselor and psychiatrist trying to get him help and to get me help but so far nothing seems to work.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    As far as the ODD label goes? we lived through that label too, and... it worked as a placeholder (told others that we weren't just crazy or overreacting), but... it provides nothing else, and usually there is some other problem.You have two threads going... but I'm going to answer the OTHER one, on this thread, because... the problem is one and the same.

    The history you gave of his first 22 months? Basically locked in a closet? Well, there may or may not be a raft of other things going on as well, but I expect your primary diagnosis to be something more like Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) - reactive attachment disorder.

    And most professionals do NOT know how to handle Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It is very difficult to treat or to handle - and it is NOT your parenting that has caused this.
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Hi there, welcome!

    Wow, you have a special family. I too adopted my son about the same age from foster care. He did not have the same level of trauma your son has, but he did have pain from a brain mass which complicated things (then had brain surgery at age two years three months.)

    I understand not wanting them to use their history as a "crutch" in terms of them reaching their potential and not being destined to be a product of their early experiences.

    That said, if a child has genuine neurological damage or changes then they perceive the world in a different way. Parenting them requires so many different methods, and those of us who have been down your road will tell you, typical parenting methods just do not work well for many kids.

    My son like yours has a complicated group of things going on. Mine has cognitive delays that yours does not but he is on the spectrum (you say they suspect that for your son) and he also has attachment issues due to his early history.

    As you know from being a mom....especially now a mom to a child you had from newborn age on.... a person's core ability to trust and how their brains are wired is established from pregnancy on. Baby has needs, cries, mom (primary care giver) meets those needs, baby develops bond and trust, and on and on.

    Abuse affects people at any age but when it happens from birth to three years of age it can create permanent structuring of the brain to not be able to securely bond. This, like autism is on a spectrum from just being insecure in bonding to being really unattached and not having any ability to care about others feelings. It is a real thing, a brain injury of sorts, and not a choice. Drug exposure can do permanent damage too. ODD often implies to people that kids have skills and are simply choosing not to use them. When you can find out what is driving the ODD like behavior, then you have a great place to start. And you are right, time outs, rewards, consequences do not do the trick ....usually because fundamental pieces underlying being able to perform those tasks are missing. THEY dont know that though. So they say they just dont want to. AND they have heard they are naughty for so long.....they start to believe it. Our kids live every single day being corrected for their negative behaviors. It doesn't matter if we are amazing and provide tons of can imagine how it tears them up to have teachers, staff, us, siblings, peers angry with them over and over through the day.

    Unfortunately spectrum symptoms and attachment disorder symptoms and drug/alcohol exposure symptoms overlap and it can take some time to sort it out. Some kids are labeled autistic when it is really their Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) symptoms and vice versa. Others, like my son, actually have both As time has gone on it has become clear that the dominant issue is the neurological disorder....the autism and the brain injury. (make no mistake, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) changes their brains and the effects can be just as permanent) Either way, our kids actually do not see or feel the world as others do. It is usually all about them, and their immediate gratification. Not to be purposely selfish, but because that is how they are wired. They need specialized techniques to learn about how their behavior impacts other people and the connection to positive and negative consequences.

    Therapists and behaviorists who are not specialized in attachment or autism can do more damage than help so if you think that this could be part of the issue then it is really important to find a center that specializes in reactive attachment disorder. One by us works with kids who have both autism and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). Even if it is from another state, they can help refer you to other places.

    You have tried all the right things, all the things that typical parents try and still he has issues, and no kid really wants to be in trouble all of the time. At this point, it makes sense that he does not have the insight or vocabulary to say..... Mom this is just overwhelming to me, I get lost in tasks that are just too much. My son says "I dont care" and "Good, I want to do it wrong" and "I dont want to" and it is clear that he truly does not have the ability for some things. We have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Just a thought....I'm topic jumping here, sorry..... You may have done this but you could try to put pictures of the types of clothes that belong in each drawer/shelf on the outside of the drawer? Have two baskets, one for dirty clothes and one clean. If they dont make it to the drawers/closets etc....then he can dig in the basket.

    Have you ever read the book "the Explosive Child"? Its by Ross Greene. That can be useful too to help come up with ideas for working out solutions to lack of skills and discipline.

    It can really help to go to a neuropsychologist to help sort through what some of the true issues and diagnosis are. Their job is specifically to look at his developmental history and behaviors and to connect what he is doing with how the brain works. They look at both neurobiological conditions as well as mental health issues. (if you go to only a mental health provider they often only focus on mental health conditions). I know you said that they are looking at other assessment etc....but if not a neuropsychologist or a team approach (like a developmental pediatrician/Occupational Therapist (OT)/Speech language Path/psychiatric/etc....) then often kids are labeled as ADHD plus ODD plus Anxiety....sometimes mood disorder. This can be legit for many...but with your son's history a deeper look would be really helpful I suspect. We only have a short time to do this right for them. It can be a real fight to get to the bottom of things. childhood flies and the thought of a miserable time for him and for you is so unfair, you have given your heart and time to do a great job, I pray that the people working with you can really give you answers and tools.

    I can totally relate to your son's behaviors and how hair pulling it is to have them use such disrespectful actions and words. I still struggle not to take it personally and to realize it is a limitation of his ability to process and function in the world as others do. It is intensive to sort through different ways to help them learn to be responsible and you are right it is very important. Just that at this point you do not really know his limitations and skills and he is screaming that for some reason it is just too much right now. I'm NOT saying give him a pass, but you may need to actually put one shirt in while he puts the next then you the next etc....and yes, you have other kids but he will take more time. It is what it is. He will learn to do it and if not, as others have said, there will come a time when you have to decide if you are going to let that be a big power struggle or if you are going to prioritize things like the aggression as bigger issues to work on.

    here is a site that I like for helping to understand attachment disorder in case you feel this may be a part of it (and from his history, it is quite likely on some level). It was started by parents who adopted from China but the trauma and bonding history has the same impact no matter what country this happens in. They now have parents from any adoption situation part of their site and board. (they have a discussion group through yahoo you can sign up for through their site...much like this, moderated though and not viewable by the public)

    There are other nice sites too. Just do a search for Attachment Disorder or Reactive Attachment Disorder...BUT do not freak out at some of the extremes....there is a range of severity.

    (like some kids are cruel to animals or abusive to siblings or start fires, etc. My son was obsessed with blood and gore and as we worked on things those obsessions are gone.)

    Sorry this post is all over the place, I wrote it while helping my son get ready for the night. I hope it makes some sense. I really get being lost in this. I have ONE and it is have other children who are just as important. But in any family where there is a child with special needs, it is just the way it is, they need far more time. I know you live that every must be very challenging.
  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Just to be clear... I am NOT saying children should not fold or put away laundry, as some general principle :) What I was saying was that in this particular case, it sounds like it would be more skilful and fruitful to try to understand the child's absolute resistance to doing so. It seems to me that, given his extremely abusive history at the most formative age, he is doing incredibly well. Truly. I don't think responding to children with compassion and understanding is giving them a crutch - on the contrary, I believe it is providing them with the strongest bricks you can to enable them to build themselves, so that they will be fortified and equipped for the "real world".
  16. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Hello and welcome adunn03.

    Have any of the professionals discussed the possibility of Attachment Disorder with you?
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    So he was severely abused and may have been born with drugs and alcohol in his system.
    You can't take him to a regular psychiatrist or therapist and expect results with this sort of background.They probably don't know much about unattached children. Most don't. Son was obviously traumatized both in and outside the womb. I suggest finding an attachment therapist who understands abused, adopted kids. Attachment disordered children have learned early on that the ony person they can't count on is themselves and they can appear very selfish, but it is for their survival. Being locked in the closet made him fear and resent other people and not trust anyone, and you can't love that trauma away. He needs a special kind of help that most therapists are not capable of doing. I suspect his sisters also have attachment problems, if they were raised in such chaotic and abusive circumstances.
    Be careful. If your seven year old tends to get violent you need to watch your baby 24/7 or he could get hurt. How does this child treat other people? Animals? Does he pee and poop inappropriately or is he fascinated by fire. Does he steal? Does he have a conscience? These would be scary, but expected behaviors due to his background and he needs help...intnesive help...NOW.
    You can probably get a referral to attachment/adoption therapists if you go to an adoption group. You can't treat son like he is your normal every day kid who just has ADHD and ODD. He has more intense issues than either one and it will be a long, hard, tough road parenting him. You need the right kind of help and you need to make sure all three children can and do bond with you. I'm an adoptive mom and living with an unattached child can range from frustrating to dangerous. Get help ASAP!!! Hugs!
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Child born additcted to drugs, like one of my kids, have a much harder time regulating their emotions. His early trauma will be with him can't normalize that. Whether or not he can grow to be a normal adult is up for grabs right now. He needs interventions and help for that and attachment help. It is not all up to us as parents as to how our damaged children turn out. My son is nineteen and doing very well considering. He is on the spectrum because of the drugs and this makes him need adult services. It is in my opinion unfair to expect your child to just be a normal kid who listens to you easily with all he has been through. Don't you think he needs more than that?
    Again, my last words...find him an attachment therapist. And I'd take all three to see that therapist. You can't have that sort of background and not be somewhat tormented and need special help. You don't think being locked in a closet impacted his development? You think it's just plain ODD? Most professionals do not understand traumatized, older adopted kids who did not have love in their first three years. He doesn't listen to you because he is used to taking care of himself and he is his boss, not you...but if you think it's just ODD, well, maybe you'll look back when he is older. But early intervention is best.

    Ok, I'll shut up now. Have they ever been tested for fetal alcohol effects? (my last