New, need help. ADHD, ODD, Depression

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by mamaj, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. mamaj

    mamaj New Member

    Alright, I'm at my wit's end. I am the mom of a 16yo girl and 14yo boy. My son Hunter is a freshman. In 8th grade I switched him to a different school district due to bullying and other issues. Last year went ok. This year, honestly, I could commit myself or send him away. He had 3 F's at midterm last week. This week he has gotten 2 detentions for fighting (although Hunter claims he did nothing) and I don't know if he got ISS or not because they hadn't determined if him throwing a paper on the floor in chorus yesterday consituted the next step in the discipline plan or not.
    I'm a pretty hands-on parent. My husband (the kids' stepdad) is supportive, but not hands on. Their bio-dad says everything that happens is my fault, even though the same things happened when Hunter tried to live with them for a couple months 7 years ago.
    He is disrespectful, and appears lazy. I say appears because he does whatever he can to get out of whatever it is he is supposed to do. We have tried removing priveleges (even as much as not letting him get a drivers license), adding rewards, nothing seems to work.
    His IEP team kindly reminded me last week that ODD/CD kids are those that end up in prison. Thank you for that vote of confidence. I don't know what to do. Someone please help me.
  2. isis

    isis New Member

    Well, I don't want to pretend like I really know anything, as my own son is going down the tubes, but I don't really consider ODD a diagnosis, but more a cluster of symptoms. So why are his symptoms getting worse? He's perhaps fuller into adolescence, that could result in even worse coping skills. Is his depression worse? How are his ADHD sxs? Does he have anxiety symptoms? It can be pretty anxiety provoking to start high school. Who helps you with teasing this stuff out? Does he have a therapist?
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    Lots of us on this board don't put a lot of stock in an ODD diagnosis. As isis said, it is a set of symptoms - and as such, does identify that this child has a very real problem. But you already knew that. However, it provides no guidance, no interventions/accommodations/medications. Nothing more than a description of problem behavior. Personally? I think it works "ok" as a placeholder diagnosis, as an official recognition that the professionals don't know exactly what is wrong yet but acknowledge that there is a problem. in my opinion the reason so many kids with an ODD diagnosis end up in the prison system is that their REAL problems continue to be missed.

    Sounds like his issues and challenges go a long ways back - so this isn't just teenage hormones, either. Not that those HELP at all...

    Has he ever had a really comprehensive evaluation? Covering ALL the bases? Sometimes it takes more than one evaluation to get there. We had to do Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and Occupational Therapist (OT) separately, some evaluation teams include those.

    What was he like as a toddler? preschool? early school?
    What is he good at? hate doing?
    Any challenging dxes in the family history? (MI, developmental such as ADHD or Aspie, etc.)
    Any medical issues to complicate things?

    We're all just other parents here... if you can tell us a little more, it may help us relate to your situation.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I also don't regard ODD as a real diagnosis. Has your son ever been completely evaluated by a private psychiatrist or neuropsychologist? ODD symptoms usually point to a bigger, larger diagnosis. Also, if his symptoms are now worse, have you considered recreational drug abuse? Unfortunately (I know first hand) this is probably the most common reason a child changes significantly and for the worst as a teen, even if there are other underlying issues.

    Can you go into how he was as an infant, toddler and younger child? It will help us. Does anyone on either side of his biological family tree have any psychiatric or neurological problems, such as bipolar, mood disorders not otherwise specified, or autistic spectrum disorder (Aspergers?). Has he ever been physically abused?
  5. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Personally, I think that comments like that are out of line. They are not helpful and destructive because it makes you feel like giving up, when that is the last thing that you probably want to do.

    Who diagnosed your son? Does he take any medications? If so, when the last time he had a medication check? Could he be using drugs? If things went okay last year, but they seemed to have change suddenly this year, maybe there is something else changing him. When was the last time he has a physical? Maybe his doctor can test him.
  6. mamaj

    mamaj New Member

    Alright, I will try to provide some insight. This will be LONG, but you guys need it so I can hopefully get some help! Hunter was a 32 week preemie, which was pretty significant 14 years ago. He was a good baby, always sick, but happy go lucky guy. I think he was about 2 when I went dear god, what have I got on my hands? It was about then that I kicked my now-ex out. At age 4, he was diagnosed with ADHD and started on Adderall. He was kicked out of daycare after daycare at age 3-4. My hubby and I married when he was 5. He started Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech, Adaptive PE as his pediatrician finally noticed his gait and fine motor stuff was not just a delay, it was a very mild case of Cerebral Palsy. We did APE for a couple years, Occupational Therapist (OT) was d/c'd 3 years ago (no progress so they quit), ST quit when he was in 7th grade. The old school (though 7th grade) was horrific in many ways. They let him slide on a lot, including homework. He had bad grades but they did nothing to help, aside from the shortened assignments on his IEP and a behavior plan, it was a school that I dreaded. I begged and pleaded with new district for 2 years to take him. They finally did and he started there in 8th grade. 8th grade was good for him, I think because the new SPED teacher did a lot of his work FOR him (she got fired at end of year for asking me to backdate my signature on his IEP by 6 months!!!) He did, and still does have a lot of issues with peers. He has been in counseling since he was 4. His counselor signed off a month ago (no progress), but I'm waiting for a call for him to get another one. He cycles. for a couple weeks, or sometimes a month, he is the sweetest kid and tells me what his classmates talked about, brings homework home, and is generally happy. Then boom, he's ****** off at the world. Everyone hates him. He doesn't want to do anything, and gets into trouble. He's extremely argumentative and will do whatever he can to make everyone feel bad.
    My sister has 3 boys: 22 yo died this summer in a car accident, not sure if it was suicide, but he was bipolar. 16yo autistic and is instituationalized for his behavior (choked someone, has beat up my sister). 12yo she says is Autistic/ADHD. I have a cousin who has a severly autistic son. Both my parents have depression issues, my sister is on adhd and dpression medications. My ex is an explosive type guy who HATES Hunter, and has choked him and thrown him across the room. So yes, he's been abused by his biodad and stepmom.
    As far as testing, he has gone to psychiatrists for testing. He has been in a behavioral health hospital 3 times, but not for several years. This was due to suicidal thoughts (due to a bad medication combo), out of control behavior. I had him evaluation'd for autism and they came back with adhd, because he can talk to adults just fine. I'm frustrated, but I just want to help him, not label him! Currently he is on Concerta and just started on Remeron because his psychological testing for his 3 year IEP had depression scores off the charts. He doesn't have suicidal thoughts, just everyone hates me kinda attitude, along with other feeleings that score him high.
    What is he good at? He's good with LITTLE kids, he has a big heart, and he loves guns and tinker with old tractors with my hubby. He loves the IDEA of fishing, but doesn't have the patience.
    He hates all sports, refuses to even try, and he has never ever ever had a friend over. He's been to one friend sleepover in his life, outside of family. He has learned how to drive, but I won't let him get his regular permit to drive until his grades come up.
  7. mamaj

    mamaj New Member

    Oh, and I have no concern over drug use. He has no friends, and never does anything besides go to school and sit home with the family. His big sister watches out for him as well. We have this talk often, and I am not a parent that just gives my kids the benefit of the doubt. I'm very cautious and scared about that kind of thing.
    On a side note, And I know this is completely wrong, and I have never done it, but those of you in my shoes might understand when I bite my tongue wanting to say "WHY can't you be like your straight-A sister????????" No, i never will do that, but sometimes I sure feel it. Shame on me, bad mom.
  8. mamaj

    mamaj New Member

    Great for instance, and pretty darn mild: Call from Hunter (he's in detention) "Can (cousin) spend the night?" Me, no you are grounded for your grades. "But mom, I finished soooo much work today in detention" Me: Great job, but your grounded "Why mom why" Me: I'm hanging up now. He calls back "Mom please, why" I keep my calm, "because I'm the mom, see you soon" and I hung up. When he gets home he will be slamming doors and probably refuse to go to town with me. He will be screaming at me then, I am sure. This will upset us all, and will wake up hubby who works nights. This is not a 14yo's behavior. (Where is the "ok" and some sulking maybe?) He has NO respect for elders at all, well, a select few I guess, and that scares me. He should be through that, but he's not.
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    And they didn't give him an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)/Aspie diagnosis?? Why?
    This just screams "autism spectrum somewhere".
    In which case...
    - no, he isn't 14 - he's at least 4 years younger than that
    - no, he doesn't get the "respect your elders" stuff,
    - and on and on.
  10. JKF

    JKF Well-Known Member

    When I read your description of your son he reminds me soooo much of my oldest difficult child. Mine was also a preemie. 33 weeks. Spent a week in neonatal unit. Was a happy baby and advanced on schedule but once he hit two he became a terror and has been ever since. He's been diagnosis'd as bipolar and also possible aspie. I don't have any words of wisdom because we are still fighting a hard battle but I'm sending lots of gentle hugs your way!
  11. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry but as soon as I read your post I too, like InsaneCdn, thought some form of autism. My son is Aspergers and a lot of the behaviors you describe so totally remind me of your son. You say autism runs in your family so it may not be too far off. Anyway, you have my empathy. No advice here just hugs and support. Hoping this weekend goes well for you.
  12. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Having trouble with my phone but I'm with the others ....I about spit my juice out when I read he was not on the spectrum because he did well talking to adults. That's just crazy. Many kids on the spectrum ONLY do well talking to adults. Ugggg. Do you have access to a neuropsychologist? (Specialized psychologist who does broad based in depth testing )... The other issue is that if he has mild cp there's higher risk of injury in other areas of his brain too. Yeah, a neuropsychologist who can have access to all of his past records and your extended family history, could be a big help. I hope there's someone like that around you.
    Welcome ....glad you found us!
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would take him to a neuropsyh. their testing is better than any other professionals and the label you don't want is what will get him the help he needs. Nothing else will. It sounds like way more than ADHD to me. My son is on the spectrum and he can talk to ANYONE just fine. Sounds like the professioinal who diagnosed him without autistic spectrum doesn't really understand it as a spectrum with different degrees of impairment. Your son has never had a friend. That's a huge red flag for the spectrum. Not saying he has it for sure, but definitely try again with a neuropsychologist. Also, there is a lot of not only autism but psyschiatric problems in his family genetic tree. He really needs to see a psychiatrist too. Both autistic spectrum and psychiatric illnesses are inherited genetically, even if the kids never see their biological parent who passed along 50% of his DNA. So he is stuck with what he is born with and your job is to get him rightly diagnosed and push the school for the right interventions by getting the right label. It does not sound as if he was ever a "typical" child and many premature babies have problems. Not all, but many.

    I'd get proactive about finding out exactly what is wrong so that you and the professionals can start to help him before it gets even worse. (((Hugs)))...first hand I know how hard it is, but don't give up and don't shy away from anything because you are afraid of what you might hear. This is about your son, not you.

    Keep us posted!