New - Reaching out to all of you for help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KayDee89, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. KayDee89

    KayDee89 New Member

    When my little sister was a baby she was intensly attached to a pacifier. IF we could get her to fall asleep without it, no doubt she would wake up in the middle night and cry until she got it. We didn't fight this, but, sometimes we misplaced them. This called for a 2AM trip to Wal-Mart or someplace to buy a pacifier. Then, it was just considered she was spoiled and attached. But, now I think it could have been our first sign that DK was a "difficult child". Other than this, I don't remember many things that could classify her as a difficult child at that age. It was later that it really started to show.

    I am here for help for DK. We truly need to do something with the school that DK attends. In the first two weeks of DK's 2nd grade year she was sent to the principals office SEVEN times. The teacher worked very hard with DK, and it worked. She took the time to help her. To try and help her past her frustration. This worked, she went to the office less and eventually not at all. DK has a reading disability, and she can barely read. So it is very easy for her to get frustrated and quit trying. Her stubborn behaviour gets her sent to the office.

    DK started 3rd grade pretty well. But, of course, that didn't last long. So after she got kicked out of school my mom took her to the doctor. The doctor basically told me mother that she was a "bad mother". She called the school and told them that if DK acted out to send her home. She gave my mother further directions to put DK in a room with a bed and her homework. The next week DK was sent home EVERY day by 12pm.

    My aunt convinced my mom to take DK to another doctor. This doctor disagreed with the previous doctor and put DK on medication. DK worked well on the medication and wasn't sent home. But after about a week DK started crying at a drop of a hat. My mom would ask her, "Whats wrong?" and DK would simply reply, "I don't know." My mom made a judgement call, and had her stop taking the medicine. (This was Christmas Break)

    Coming back to school, DK did pretty good at first. But, soon the trouble set in. DK was sent to "recovery room" aka in-school detention for 10 days for "refusing to do work". Then she was expelled for 3 days for "refusing to do work" in the recovery room. The principal called my mom in to the office and told her that they would have a routine. If DK was sent home early she would not be allowed to attend school the next day but was allowed to attend school that following day. For example;

    Wednesday - DK is sent home from school.
    Thursday - DK is not allowed to attend school.
    Friday - DK is allowed to return to school.

    This past week on Wednesday DK was sent home early for "refusing to do work". She was not allowed to attend school Thursday. On Friday DK went back to school but at 9:30AM my mom got a call and was told DK was being sent home for "refusing to sit down". She was at school for an hour and a half! For DK it is first strike, your out. No compromise.

    My mother and I carry this guilt around, like we neglected DK. But, disciplining DK has never been easy. As a baby/toddler she wasn't so difficult. She was quiet and content. She was very easy from what I remember. (Other than pacifier dilemmas.) As she got older it worsened. And since then, it has never been easy.

    I have been researching difficult children since I read an article and realized how closely DK related to these children. As I researched I realized how much DK related to them. And suddenly, I had clarity on a lot of things that I never understood.

    I used to think that she was just spoiled. I always wondered, where did we go wrong? Why couldn't she just put on those socks and shoes so maybe for once we could get to school on time? What was the big deal about the socks anyway? Did she just want attention? And also why did she think she needed to wear that shirt or those pants for weeks at a time? It was nothing short of war to get them off her to wash. Why was she always so aggressive? Why so much attitude? Why did she throw tantrums/fits for hours? Why couldn't she just be quiet? Why couldn't she just be DIFFERENT?

    As a child myself at the time, I wasn't nice. Me and DK have always been close. My mom is a single mom and works full-time so as a child I was left to take care of my siblings. I changed her diapers, bathed her, did her laundry, fed her. She wasn't easy to deal with. Throwing things, kicking you, screaming, crying for hours. Later she would come and hug you. Be the sweetest person on earth. But, it was so hard. I hated her at times. Now, I realize, it wasn't her fault. She was BORN this way.

    Before we can deal with the school, we need to learn how to help DK. Which is why I'm here. I'm not sure this is the right place, but I hope.

    What should be our first step in helping DK?
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Hi and welcome to the board.

    Honestly, I think dealing with the school is one of the first steps in helping DK. There are federal laws (IDEA 2004) which require school districts to identify children in need of (for lack of a better term) specialized education. Sending a child home every day and not allowing her back until 2 days later is not educating her, which they are required by law to do. I can't imagine what kind of effect this is having on DK. School has got to be a huge source of angst for her. I would post this over on the Special Education 101 board. Martie and Sheila who moderate that board are a wealth of information.

    If DK does not have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) in school along with a BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan), then your mother needs to send them a letter, mailed Certified with Return Receipt requesting an evaluation. Again, more info on this on the SpEd forum.

    Second, who has evaluated DK? If it's only been a pediatrician, it's not enough. They aren't skilled in evaluating complex neurological and/or behavioral, emotional and mental health issues. There are different options to you. There are developmental pediatricians, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and multi-disciplinary evaluation (usually done at a children's or university hospital). We had a neuropsychologist exam which is anywhere from 6-12 hours of testing. We found out more from that than we did with years of therapists. There is info on the multi-disciplinary evaluation on the FAQ board. There are also others on the board that have more information on all of the above.

    And finally, good for you for reaching out for help for your sister.

    Welcome to the board. You'll find a lot of support and been there done that information.

  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The medication you mentioned, I'm assuming from the effects you described it was a stimulant for ADHD. ADHD is very often the first diagnosis (diagnosis) our kids receive and very often it's either incorrect or not the whole picture.

    Since you mentioned the socks and clothes, I'm assuming you're thinking sensory issues and/or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (Autism Spectrum Disorder). In that case, I think a developmental pediatrician and a neuropsychologist are the route to go. I'm sure others will come along and share what's worked for them.
  4. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I agree with everything wyntersgrace has already said. * And I am so sad for you and your sister and your mom. It IS hard to live with the difficulties, and it sounds like the school is only contributing to the difficulties at this time. Not only are they increaseing DKs difficulties and her self esteem, and denying her education, but they are setting her up to really really hate school completely (if she does not already) They are also creating a bad cause and effect scenario. DK is going to learn very quick that school will send her home, so if she is not already, she soon will be intentionally causeing problems so she CAN go home, and who could blame her if it is such a miserable experience for her- NOONE willingly stays in a miserable environment.
    Sometimes if you spend time reading other peoples posts here, you can also learn things and find out ways other people handle things. and you can see if those methods worked for them or not.
    I wish you luck, what a wonderful and careing sister you are!
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Good on you, for all you're trying to do. We can help here. Can you get your mother to read all this as well? We have a lot of questions we could ask, which will help us with ideas of what you could try to do.

    So far, she sounds like all three of my younger kids. Each of them got extremely attached or extremely averse to various objects in infancy/childhood. Also, they need to be handled differently.

    I grew up with some very old-fashioned ideas in my environment and I also helped raise my sisters' kids when they either stayed with us for long periods, or lived next door. I know how it feels to see a problem, want to help but feel powerless because you're "just a kid". I was able to help one of my nephews get assessed - I was worried he was sub-thyroid, it turned out he had some mild spasticity and learning problems from oxygen starvation at birth. Now I'm wondering if it's not something more. Doctors don't always get it right first time. In fact, they often get it wrong. Most times when they get it wrong, they can come close to getting it right, they just need more time and more observation, as well as input from other health professionals.

    Your sister doesn't sound spoiled, nor does she sound basically naughty. She's too young to be primarily a naughty child. She also has that reading problem clearly identified and there has to be a reason for that. Spoiling a child and being a bad parent doesn't lead to reading problems.

    The medications helped, but they caused her other problems. That tells us a lot. If the medications helped but she can't take them, there are other medications. If the medications in general are a problem, there are different teaching techniques.

    It is also possible that it wasn't the medications causing your sister's depression, it might have been that she was thinking she's a bad kid and can never be good no matter how hard she tries. or she might have been thinking other bad things about herself, because she had to take medications. Somebody might have said something mean to her, for example. It could have been an adult or it could have been another student. Kids at that age can be really cruel. difficult child 3 got called some really bad names which he then used to call other kids (often the same kids). But it was difficult child 3 who got into trouble, and I got a note home telling me to stop difficult child 3 from using such bad words!

    When you're a parent, or even a sister, of a difficult child some people treat you as if you have the same problems, or as if you've done something wrong. It's not fair, but I try to look at that in a positive way - if I didn't have a difficult child making these people look at me differently, I might take a lot longer to realise just how mean those people are. This way, I find out sooner and can avoid them.

    There is a good book we recommend on this site (among others) which can help with discipline and behaviour problems, with difficult children. It's called "The Explosive Child" and it's by Ross Greene. You can look it up online and find out more. There is also a lot of discussion about this book in the Early Childhood forum. Get your mother to have a look and maybe see if she can read it, it might help at least at home. But if you read it, don't try it out until you've sorted it out with your mother. If you're not both working as a team with your sister, it can cause problems for the other person. It really helped us a great deal, because difficult child 3 thinks a different way, he needs time to do something he's been asked to do. He had a lot of trouble at school especially with some teachers, and was often sent home or sent to the principal's office.

    From things you have said, I wonder if she has problems with sensory integration. Kids with this often find certain sounds, smells, feels a problem, or they prefer them. For example difficult child 3 as a baby would only go to sleep if there was a towel in his crib. When older, he would cuddle a trowel to help him calm down. I made him some trousers out of an old towel, he wears them after we've been for a swim and he really likes them.
    His older brother gets upset with me when I wash his clothes because it means they don't smell right any more. He's learned to let me wash them, though, because people like him better if the smell doesn't knock you over when he walks in the door.
    Their sister - hooked on the feeling of fur. She made a fur fabric cover for her school folder and carried the folder everywhere instead of putting it in her bag.
    All of them refuse to wear certain clothes. labels inside clothes can be a problem and I often have to cut them out. It extends into food - difficult child 3 won't eat anything with a creamy texture.
    You can get Sensory Integration Disorder as part of other disorders, including Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). But it's not necessarily bad news - the kids just need to be managed a different way. They learn differently.
    I'm not saying your sister has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - we can't diagnose on this site anyway. It takes a long consultation with someone who really is qualified, to make a diagnosis of this and many other things. But it is just one example of what could be causing what you describe.

    I think your sister needs to see another specialist, people here would recommend a neuropsychologist. If you were in Australia a pediatrician would be a good start, but things work differently in the US. I'm thinking there is a lot more going on with your sister and it sounds like your mother is feeling at the end of her rope. The school sounds like they don't want the bother (perhaps because of that first specialist) but if your sister gets a proper diagnosis of learning problems etc, she should be able to get help from the school, in ways that are legally binding. In other words, the school HAS to help then.

    There is more information on this in the Special Education forum, too.

    Keep us posted, let us know how you get on.

  6. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm dropping in to offer you my welcome - I hope we can help you find answers for your sister.

    You'll never find a more knowledgeable & supportive group of parents.
  7. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Hello and Welcome,

    It is nice to see a sister with so much concern for her mom and sibling. The school does not have a right to send her home so often. Is this a public school? Your mom should ask for an for an iep meeting and educational/psychological testing if this has not already been done. You will have more rights under IDEA (special education law). The school needs to find a way to work with DK and help her to be successful as possible. Sending her home for not wanting to do work is backwards thinking and they are just reinforcing the behavior.

    Continue to work closely with a doctor and consider additional testing to be sure that DK is giving helpful medication.

    There is a wealth of info on this site. You have come to the right place. Keep us posted; hopefully things will improve soon.

    Good Luck,
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Just wanted to say hi - and welcome. Yes, you did find the right place by posting on our board. And may I add you are an amazing sister. AMAZING. I am blown away by your maturity.

    Others have said so many great things. But bottom line it is not your fault. DK needs some help. She needs to have some testing by a psychiatrist, and maybe some medications that help her calm down.

    What has been done so far in terms of testing by the school, or by doctors? There are many laws that the school districts have to adhere to if the child is disabled in any way, including reading, or behavior - but you have to have the testing in place to prove the disability and enforce the laws.

    My son was very much like your sister. By third grade I was in the school every day fighting for him to stay in the main stream school setting - rather than detention or alternative school. It was very, very hard.

    Keep posting. You have definitely found the most amazing, supportive group of parents on the planet.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board.

    Yes, you are an amazing sister. Both your mother and lil sis are lucky to have you.

    You have already gotten some great advice. I just wanted to add my warm welcome.