New Member Intro

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Pookybear66, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Hi All,
    Thank you for letting me join this forum. A bit about myself and situation. I am stay at home mom with 2 kids. My daughter is 4 1/2 and fine. My ds is 8 1/2 and has Learning Disability (LD). More specifically a reading problem where he is way below grade level. He forgets the rules and just doesn't read fluently. My question is that my ds is very disrespectful. He doesn't seem to care about others needs or wishes. He also gets angry at the dumbest things (like with not getting a book he thought he ordered from Scholastic books through school). He has always been like this but lately it seems worse. So, I'm asking if this may be just an age/new school year thing or if maybe it's something more I should get help with. Any other thoughts welcome as well.
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Pooky!

    I am on my lunch hour and just popped in quick - but wanted to welcome you! I will check back in later.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Pooky!

    Interesting that your son can't read well, but still likes getting books from Scholastic. Hey, that's half the battle!
    Could it be that your son's Learning Disability (LD) extends to more than just the reading, and he is very emotionally immature, as well? And maybe it will take longer for that part of him to catch up? Just a thought, as many times it's not just a single part of the brain that is affected.
    Do you have a script that you follow when he is disrespectful? i.e. "Remember, you don't use that tone with-me. Please say it over again in a nice tone of voice." If he yells louder, he goes to his room. You have to nip it in the bud.

    My son is still like that and he's 11-1/2. Sigh.
  4. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Thanks for the welcome busywend and terry. Yes terry, he likes getting non-fiction stuff and looking at the pictures. He's very smart and likes learning things but just not reading about them! LOL! He may have "other issues". He is very emotionally immature and not very well-developed socially either. We have only had him tested by the school, but are contemplating a psychiatric dr. He has an IEP for school, but maybe I need to devlop something better at home. I try to do my best and say "Please don't yell at me and use your nice words." But then I ususally end up yelling at him in the end. Then he goes to his room, we both cool off and we start over. Sometimes with success sometimes not. I saw on another thread that someone mentioned the book -The Explosive Child. I think I'm going to get it an take a look at it. Thanks for listening, and thanks for the support. Sometimes it helps to just whine a bit!
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Has he ever had a complete evaluation to see if more than the Learning Disability (LD) is going on? Any intensive testing, other than in school (which is often not very good).
    How was his early development? Did he speak on time, can he socialize appropriately with his peers, does he make good eye contact with strangers, does he rage? Any psychiatric problems on either side of his family tree? Substance abuse. Yes, bio. dad counts. Welcome to the board!
  6. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    MM-Thanks for the welcome! I believe I did already state that we have had no formal testing(by psychiatric dr) but are thinking of doing that. We thought that most of his problems were stemming from Learning Disability (LD). We were so happy to finally have that figured out that we let the other things go. His birth was a bit traumatic-6wks early, in NICU for 3wks due to a heart problem that was able to be corrected with medications for about 1st yr of life. There is no substance abuse and Dad is definitely in the picture though works a pretty crazy schedule. There is some depression on my side of the family.
    It's just that he gets so frustrated with things that most people would consider very trivial and say "oh well" and move on. He just doesn't move on.
  7. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Welcome to another newbie. I used to post a bit a couple of years ago, then stopped, and now I'm back because the support and advice I get here are so invaluable.

    My 15 yr old son is diagnosis'd with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He never liked to read by himself but was content to let me read to him, particularly at night before bed. He also would get ticked off at things that most people would just let go. As a matter of fact, his 7th grade Special Education teacher wondered if he had a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) because of his rigid thinking. His anxiety expressed itself as irritability and often aggression towards me. medications either didn't make a difference or made him so groggy in the morning that getting him up in the morning for school was an everyday battle.

    You're smart to take a closer look at his behavior now, when he is so young.

    I'm sure we'll be reading more from each other, so welcome for now.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    G'day, Pookybear (we're Garfield fans too).

    I can 'hear' MWM thinking. She can probably hear me thinking.

    We can't diagnose on this site, only a health professional should do that. But we CAN and Do often have our own ideas of which direction(s) to begin looking.

    With your son's history and his prematurity, his problems could be connected to that - or they could be independent. But it is one place to think about. However, finding a possible cause doesn't help with what you have to deal with NOW.

    If he likes reading factual books, that is actually really good. What specifically do you think is his problem with fiction? I ask, because difficult child 3's problem with fiction is highly specific - he finds the necessary conflict then resolution in a story, to be too upsetting. Even when he has to write something for school, he has difficulty making his writing really tense. What HE finds tense, his teacher finds really boring! It's a bit like that episode in MASH, where BJ is upset after he got a letter from home and after he's been keeping Hawkeye up for hours listening to him fret about it, Hawkeye finally asks, "What is wrong?"
    BJ answers, "It's this letter from Peg. The gutters need cleaning."
    Hawkeye is understandably sarcastic about what he sees as such a trivial problem, but to BJ, it is knowing that someone else has to do HIS task, the husband's job, that is making him so upset.

    Perspective is the issue.

    Serious suggestion - it may not be this, but purely to get an idea of one possible direction, go to and look for their informal Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. Whatever the result, print it out and take it to your son's doctors. See if it gives them an idea of some of the range of things that are worrying you.

    Also keep a diary on anything that worries you or anything usual. List his talents as well.

    As for how to manage him - get the book. Read the thread on Early Childhood. Focus on praise and encouragement, and treating him exactly as you want him to treat you. Be aware he may need support and TIME to change from one task/activity to another. So if he's playing a computer game or watching TV, give him a fair chance to stop (let him get to an ad break, or a save point in the game) and also warn him of the upcoming need to change Do it in a friendly way - "Son, your dinner is almost ready. Go wash your hands when you get a chance. Get ready to save your game as soon as you can."
    Don't punish - use natural consequences. If he is late to table, then his dinner will be cold. YOU didn't make it go cold, he did. He will have to reheat it, or eat it cold.

    Soon he should learn that you are not the problem. In fact, you are the help he needs.

    Whatever the underlying problem, the book won't fix it. It just makes it easier when you find a more productive way of handling him, and helping him learn how to handle himself.


  9. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Hi, I just want to add my welcome too - Glad you're here. The people here are the best!!!

    At the moment, I can't think of anything to add that hasn't already been said by others. However, I'm really glad you found us while your kids are so young. I think I would have been in a much better position to cope with my difficult children if I had known about this site years ago (my difficult children are now 17 and 1/2 and 16 and 1/2).

    Hope your day goes well... WFEN
  10. hexemaus2

    hexemaus2 Old hand

    Marg said it before me! I was thinking something along the lines of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) as well, although like she said we can only offer suggestions for a starting point. My difficult child 2 is on the spectrum & he showed alot of the same issues you're seeing. However, there are so many childhood dxes that mimic each other or have overlapping symptoms. It's really best to have a full work up done. In our case, that was done inpatient after years of misdxes. We didn't get the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis until difficult child 2 was almost 9 - pretty late in the game, now that I look back.

    I have to second the recommendation for The Explosive Child. It really will give you some alternative ideas for helping your difficult child. I know with difficult child 2, he mirrors any emotion you show him. If you're frustrated, he'll get frustrated. If you're happy & bouncing off the walls - he'll get happy & bounce off the walls. It's the only way he knows how to respond to other people, even at 15. It's very much a case of monkey see/monkey do for him. As he gets older, he's learning more and more how to distinguish situations where it would be inappropriate for him to just mimic the moods/emotions of others around him, but it's a long, slow process for him.

    He also doesn't like to read. Not unless he absolutely has to. For him, it's a problem of converting language to pictures in his mind. He thinks in pictures & most of the time needs things explained several different ways until he can get a picture of it in his mind. The same thing happens when he tries to speak. He has trouble finding the right words to verbalize what he sees in his head. (We've had several speech therapists work with him because we thought he had some sort of speech impediment, but it all boiled down to an articulation problem, not a speech problem.)

    What you describe as far as your child's apparent disregard for others' needs/wishes & his getting stuck on certain things sounds so much like my difficult child 2. (Part of the reason I was leaning towards suggesting asking his doctor about Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or other Autism spectrum issues) For my son (difficult child 2) he has no concept of other people. He has no "theory of the mind" - the ability to put himself in another person's shoes and empathize with their needs/wants/feelings. So the idea that someone else might need/want/be interested in something other than what he needs/wants/is interested in doesn't even dawn on him.

    My difficult child also gets "stuck" on things and just can't move on from it. It doesn't matter if it's a game he's playing and needs to stop, or something he is expecting to happen that doesn't (like a friend not coming over because they get grounded, or doctor appts getting changed, etc.) He struggles with any kind of transition. It's like he has a script in his head of what should happen next & if that doesn't happen, he gets lost and panics because now he doesn't know what to do. He has no "plan B" in his script, so he just gets lost. When he gets lost, he gets anxious. When he gets anxious, he gets very, very irritable & easy to upset. That's when the verbal debris starts flying & before you know it, he's an absolute mess.

    I would suggest getting a referral from his pediatrician and/or the special services folks at your difficult child's school for someone who can do a thorough psychiatric evaluation on him. In our case, it took a complete multi-disciplinary team to diagnosis difficult child 2, but he was a little older & had already had so many dxes that no one could agree on what his issues were. So, talk to both the pediatrician & the school and see what ideas they can give you in terms of having a more complete evaluation done. There may not be anything else going on beyond the Learning Disability (LD), or there might be more. You won't know until you start asking and digging. You'll know when you find the right diagnosis that truly fits your child - or at least comes close. If they give you something you don't agree with, ask them how they came to that conclusion. Ask them to spell it out for you so that it makes sense. If you still don't think you're on the right course, keep asking for more testing, keep speaking up. For some of us, it's the only way we've gotten to the real root issues that should be addressed.
  11. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Wow, you all are so great. Thanks for the support and ideas! I got the book yesterday and have been fascinated while reading it. My ds is very much as described by the "inflexible-explosive" characteristics. He does seem to have a problem with "inefficient thinking" sometimes he goes to extremes when you use an example. For instance, if we say something mild like "I don't like your behavior" he turns around and says "oh so you want to get rid of me/kill me/etc" something so absurdly extreme that it bothers me terribly. This book seems like it will help change OUR behavior in how we deal with this which may be the most helpful thing. He really is a sweet boy but just frustrated and frustratING sometimes. About the reading, he does NOT like to read at all. He doesn't get how the words sound out a lot of times. He forgets in the minute you remind him of the sounds to what the next time he sees it again 3 words later. It is again the frustration factor. It's too frustrating to do it so he chooses not to, instead of learning how to deal with it appropriately. So, I may get a full workup for him, but in the meantime I think the best thing for him is to teach him how to deal better with the world being a frustrating place.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I think the best thing for him is to teach him how to deal better with the world being a frustrating place.

    Absolutely! I could use that in my own life, as well. :)
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Pookybear, I think you hit it on the head - these kids are often extreme, thinking inefficiently etc and we would have to work really hard to make them change this - and endure all the problems associated with them fighting this too (and probably still not succeed i making them change the way they think). But it's easier and more effective for us to change OUR way of reacting and interacting, which then makes it easier. We meet them where they are (because WE are the adults, we are capable of doing this) and we can then slowly, as they can cope, move them back towards the way we want them to be.

    I tell people that they need to change their mind-set - this is what I mean. Once you make this kind of change in how you react to your child, you find your feelings about your child and their behaviours also undergoing a phase shift. This also makes it easier.

    About your son's reading - I'm going to suggest something, and I'm working here on the premise that somewhere in your son's head he needs to process information like my difficult child 3 - like someone with autism. (Currently watching a documentary about Kim Peek and they just announced, in amazement, that he processes information differently. Well, duh. They also said that because of his problems in conceptual coding, it means there are deficits in other areas. It DOES account for his prodigious memory, however. He wouldn't have that, if he could think and process more like the rest of us).

    To your son and reading - I found difficult child 3 needed to get the lot in one holistic package. However, my son was able to pick up phonics really easily. Sounds like this is an area of weakness for your difficult child. So you need to adapt this to take into account his problems.
    What I suggest you do is read a book to him. In other threads I have suggested reading it together, getting him to read some of it too. With difficult child 3 I used to read the "boring bits" while he did any dialogue (with funny voices). But if he's having constant difficulty 'locking in' his recall of the correct phonic link between the sond of the word and the look of the word, then you are going to need a different kid of repetition.
    You need to link, through repetition, the look of the word, the sound of the word and the context but in a way that doesn't ask anything more of him than to just listen. It's vital that he take this in so you need to lower his resistance to the challenging component of this task. You NEED him on side for this, it needs to be something he enjoys and wants to do, as much as possible.
    So two things you could use as the texts to read - a book he likes/wants (his choice); or TV/movies of his choice. When watching TV or a DVD, use subtitles. Try to avoid other languages (because they have different pronunciation rules and it can be confusing). Something that helped us a lot was a TV program for adult migrants, that taught them English. There was no sense of being talked down to (which really sets difficult child 3 off, always did even when he was a toddler) and also only English was used. The actors spoke clearly but a little slowly, which made it possible for him to understand. difficult child 3's language delay is completely caught up now, but he still can't absorb fast text. A comedian whose patter relies on speed will lose difficult child 3. He wants to, but just cannot mentally keep up and also absorb all the words that were spoken - it has something to do with how his brain processes language. It is NOT normal, even though he sounds and seems so very m=normal these days.

    Interestingly, Kim Peek when he is talking about information he has learned, he pronounces words phonically. I noticed this, the program didn't mention it. It's something I've noticed that difficult child 3 does - he often mispronounces a word even after he's heard it pronounced correctly. His mispronunciation is directly connected to the phonic logic of the spelling. For him, it is how that part of his brain works, it lays strong emphasis on logic in phonics because that was how he learned his reading so very early.

    With difficult child 3's mispronunciation, even if he habitually gets the pronunciation wrong (after correction, too) he still understands the meaning of the word (often he learnt the meaning form context).

    Explain to difficult child that you are trying something to help his brain learn; that everybody's brain learns differently, and if you can work as a team to find a way that works for him, all he has to do is tell you if it's helping or not. Ask difficult child to select a book he wants and you will read it aloud to him. If you can tape record it at the same time, even better - it will help if he can play the tape any time he wants, while reading the book. The aim is for him to listen to your voice AND run his finger under the line of test. Forget that this is considered a bad habit - at this stage, he needs to see the connection between the word on the page and the sound as you say it.
    Something that will annoy you, but you need to put up with it - he is likely to want you to stop and go back. If he has the chance to listen to a tape, he is likely to play it over and over, to zip back and listen to a bit again and again. He MAY be past this, I don't know. But from experience - no matter how annoying this is, how much it seems that what he's watching is just not sinking in - let him do it.

    That's why maybe watching a documentary on DVD, with subtitles, could be a way to help. Let him rewind, fast forward, do whatever he wants. Over and over. But encourage him to keep the subtitles on. There are a lot of really good documentaries out there. You might be able to borrow some form the school or a local library. Or friends. But be prepared for him to maybe ant to watch them over and over. difficult child 3 would fight watching something for the first time, but after that he would be back at it until he had it completely memorised. He also keeps asking me to explain what something means - he knows he has difficulty with complex meaning, especially double meaning. By asking, he gives me the chance to continue the interaction and also the learning experience.

    difficult child 3 finds reading narrative difficult. He's had to do it for school and for us it's a major headache. We've found our ways around it but it's hard work for us. Factual writing - not a problem. For difficult child 3, the problem is conflict.

    Something else that is really good - comics. Comic books, especially those written for either very young children, or older readers. Despite difficult child 3 being a very good reader, and having been reading fluently since he was a toddler, he still prefers reading books for early readers. He's in high school, for heaven's sake, and he STILL re-reads every "Spot" book he can get his hands on!

    With Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids, ADHD kids and a number of other diagnoses, they are often highly visual. This means that simply reading the book to him may not be enough to get the information into his head. Linking the "audio file" to a matching visual input can speed up the learning of the whole. Making it as holistic as possible reduces the problems of fragmented information.

    So often we're advised to break up a task into simple fragments, but with difficult child 3 (and other high-functioning autistics I've encountered) they may do better if the steps are made easy in terms of short grabs, but not if you break it up into a smaller workload as well. A short but intense effort is better than a longer but simpler task. It's hard to explain without a good example.

    Your son may not have Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but I'm betting that in this, he is sufficiently similar for this to help.

    Watching this TV program tonight on Kim Peek has been interesting and informative. I've also learned that a lot of what I have observed in difficult child 3, and implemented as the result of my observations and my instincts, are only now being seen as "amazing breakthroughs", "experts now believe" and "contrary to previous thinking". But I'm nobody special, I'm just a parent paying attention! We ALL have this ability to observe, make assumptions, test those assumptions and to change the way we do things to take advantage of something that works even better.

    So value your parental instincts. Be prepared to make changes, according to what you observe to be effective. Be aware that when he begins to really work at it himself, your son will know better than anyone else, what works best for him. He may not even be fully aware of what he is doing, but if he's bright (and it sounds to me like he is) then he will be subconsciously looking for mental stimulation and will follow the path that gives him the most knowledge acquisition in the shortest time. It may not be 'knowledge' as you or a school curriculum might value it, but somewhere in there, is something that he feels he needs.

    Example: difficult child 3 used to watch videos over and over, skipping back and forward to view short scenes over and over. Often his viewing was out of context and he had no idea what the video was about. A neighbour with a similar son commented that his son "had nothing going on in that head, it was just mindless activity." but it was not.
    difficult child 3 also memorised huge chunks of text from videos, DVDs, songs on the radio - everything. There seemed to be no understanding with any of this in the beginning - "the light's on but nobody 's home". However, at a later date he used chunks of this text in context in similar social situations. A bully was chasing difficult child 3 and instead of the situation getting out of hand (as had so often happened in the past) difficult child 3 just delivered a line from an obscure computer game; "I'm sorry, I've got no time for this, I'm busy right now. Can I come back and ignore you later?"
    I've also seen difficult child 1 do the same thing, very subtly. A local comedian dropped in and began throwing jokes around. difficult child 1, who had been studying humour (in the same way difficult child 3 studied videos and DVDs) simply drew on his prodigious recall and was able to match the bloke line for line. I had to step in and stop them, difficult child 1 was having fun and the comic was losing his sense of humour, he didn't like being outclassed by anyone else. It was all humour based on puns and word association. Interesting.

    I'm glad you're getting a lot out of the book. Keep us posted on how you get on.

  14. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Don't underestimate yourself-YOU hit it right on the head too! My ds is very smart. He does watch Star Wars videos repeatedly. He used to do this with construction videos when he was younger. It's interesting that I never really attributed his behaviors when he was younger as "a problem". I just thought they were cute. But thinking differently while reading this book has made me realize that he's always been like this. So, since I now realize it's something we just have to learn to live with because "this is just who he is", I have to figure out HOW.
    Thanks for your wise words. The school also recommended the audio/visual thing and told me to get books-on-tape. I didn't have time to do that over the summer but have just started to do that now. I will have to look into whether my TV has a close caption button because I know that is something some TV's have and that way he can watch his favorite shows and still benefit. We read to him every night before bed and he really loves it. He does still have favorite baby books but really enjoys the Star Wars and other adventure chapter books. I know someday it will get easier for him. but right now it's hard to watch him not be "like everyone else". Somedays I cherish him, and somedays I want to .....
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    'It's interesting that I never really attributed his behaviors when he was younger as "a problem".'

    They're NOT a problem, they're actually him finding his own solution.

    They are, however, indicative of an underlying problem.

    Can you see the difference?

    If the behaviour is a problem, you try to stop it. But if the behaviour is actually a coping skill because of a different problem, you allow it and support it.

    "We read to him every night before bed and he really loves it. "

    So he loves books. He loves mental stimulation. Sounds like he thrives on it.

    Think about "Star Wars" - it is highly involved, very complex, good vs evil. It's also highly steeped in mythology, it uses (deliberately) a lot of mythic concepts and motifs which helps it plug into our consciousness at a deep level, so it appeals to our innate sense of justice. That sense of justice is very strong in kids like this. Very strong in very smart kids as well as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids.

    A lot of Aspies are into "Star Wars" or sci-fi in general.

    I understand the sadness of not having a 'normal' child. However, as you go on you will find joys that you could never have, with a normal child. In some ways, Aspies & autistics are "super-normal".

    Yes, they are frustrating at times. It's not much consolation, but they find us and everyone else equally frustrating.

    Sometimes it's like raising a little alien, a sort of mini-ET who is slowly learning how to blend in with society so he won't be recognised as an alien and interrogated by the government. Other parents liken it to artificial intelligence. All sorts of analogies. But as I learned from the TV show last night on Kim Peek, the books are currently being rewritten and it is parents who have driven the change in awareness of the doctors. They are discovering and accepting things we've known for years, things we thought were common knowledge - autistics CAN feel emotions, they often feel them very intensely. They just don't always express it in ways we recognise. A child who looks stone-faced all the time is assumed to have no feelings - that child just isn't letting his feelings show on his face.

    Your son doesn't have a diagnosis yet. I would strongly recommend that you put Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) high on the list of things you want investigated first. There could be an ADHD component as well - increasingly, they are thinking that ADHD is part of the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) spectrum. But again, I don't know how well-accepted this idea is. Just be ready, in case.

    A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) label isn't necessarily tragic news, certainly not the way it used to be thought. Kim Peek's parents were told that he was profoundly handicapped, he would never be able to learn or function. OK, he needs a great deal of help in very basic things including getting dressed; but his breadth of knowledge is amazing. Dustin Hoffman described him as a gift to the world.
    Similarly, difficult child 3 and difficult child 1 both 'failed' their first IQ test. We were given a particularly depressing forecast for difficult child 3, similar to what Kim Peek's parents were told. But boy, were they wrong!

  16. Pookybear66

    Pookybear66 New Member

    Thanks Marg for that clarification. That is actually what I meant though I guess I didn't express it that well. I truly believe that all his actions are "the best and appropriate method" for him to deal with whatever situation is at hand. Why is an important part of it, but we don't have anything set up at this time.