New to Forum

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mamaof2, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Mamaof2

    Mamaof2 New Member


    I'm new to the forum and I've been reading posts off and on all day before posting. I'm so relieved to find this site as we're just now starting with the diagnosis of ODD/Mood Disorder -not otherwise specified/Learning Disability-not otherwise specified with my 14 year old son. We just received his diagnosis after testing and getting all records together. (School, Doctor etc) Results were determined by a Psy.D, L.P. We actually went through testing and all that is involved with that thinking it might be ADD. We've done well with dealing with sons issues through the years until about 6th grade. Then we started wondering. However, During the summer. He's a totally different child. Confused by this we didn't get testing. 7th grade he had many problems, yet again during the summer he did well with us. During the summer we started this process because I decided that I was failing him if I didn't do something to help him as he really stuggles with behaivors and schooling through the year. I'd rather know, than not know and keep on wondering. Last year was hard on us.

    So, Now we know. I will be meeting with his Psy. to go over the report and take steps to help him deal with this. I'm relieved and I'm stressed at the same time. I don't know what to expect. I still don't know fully how to help him. I know he needs help with school but I don't know where to start, how much information I should give and so on. They know something is going on with him as he does get into trouble often. Sorta the class clown sort of thing, with some outbursts. He has a hard time with homework. It was a battle daily to get him to do it. This year he's doing it but not turning it in and so on. I have many books to read to understand how to help him, and not make everything a battle. I know I need to get him and us into therapy for communication help and also anger/coping with stressors.

    I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what to expect. And I still am not sure how to help him. The doctor we're seeing has appointments out to Dec. right now. I took the appointment. for the beginning of Dec. but I wonder what I can do in the meantime to start this progress and be assertive in getting him the help he needs with his learning disability -not otherwise specified. I just don't want to sit around for the next two months waiting. YKWIM? I need to figure out what steps I can take now to help us all.

    My son is a very caring, outgoing child. He does well with making friends. Does not bully kids at school at all. His main issues are power struggles with us and his teachers. He's a great debater. Of course, at times.. it's a pain in the butt and other times I think.. This kid really thinks about everything doesn't he. He doesn't have a hard time with his peer group. Actually the kids he's in class with think he's funny, the class clown and actually look up to him which.. is good and also very bad as they tend to follow his lead with behaviors. He doesn't get into fights. He does argue with teachers, make noises, try to be the funny guy, and at times he has major anger outbursts. Doesn't hurt anyone. Does punch walls when annoyed or frustrated. Throws stuff around his room. Gets very overwhelmed at those times. Those outbursts happen about once a month. He will lie or blame others for just about anything. Especially if he thinks it'll get him out of trouble.

    Just a little bit about him.

    Anyway, Thanks for reading. I look forward to getting to know you all, share support and advice. I'm really in need of it.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome. I'm glad you found us.

    When you get that first diagnosis, it can be overwhelming. You have so much to think about and so much to do. Deep breaths. One step at a time. You will get through this.

    I'm glad you're going into to see the psychologist. It will be important for him to explain the test results and how they affect your son's functioning. I imagine he will also write a report that you will able to share with the professionals who treat your son and with the school for the purposes of getting academic support. Make sure you ask exactly what Learning Disorder-not otherwise specified is and how it should be remediated.

    I'd strongly recommend taking these steps at this point:

    First, locate a competent child psychiatrist skilled in treating mood disorders. Your son may need medications to help him function better. It can take a while to get in to see a good one so you want to start locating one now.

    Second, start the IEP process with your son's school. The website will help you with this process. If you have questions about it, please also post on the Special Education 101 forum on this site.

    You might also want to get your hands on a copy of The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us here parent our extra-challenging children.

    Again, welcome. You're not alone any longer.
  3. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    Adding my welcome as well. This is a very special place you have found. I'm still trying to get my appointment, but I would want a neuro-psychological evaluation to find out detailed information on the Learning Disability (LD) not otherwise specified. I hear it also can aid in dxing ADHD,Mood Disorders and other things that can effect our kids. Sounds like you are doing great with getting your difficult child the help he needs and learning all you can able his problems. He's a lucky kid.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A Psy.D. might have done a neuropyschological evaluation.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome. I also strongly urge you to read the book recommended, "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. If you want a quick preview, go over to Early Childhood and read up on how they suggest applying the book to younger children. While that is not going to be appropriate since your son is 14, you will still get a lot of clues on how the book works. The strategies in it are very helpful especially for a kid you've been finding a challenge (and who challenges authority) but it can also be used for PCs. We also found it to be much easier to use, certainly far easier than the constant struggle and the fighting.

    It is something you can do, even if diagnosis is still uncertain or varied.

    When we are all trying to work with our children it is a struggle. Sometimes as parents we look for the solution, we want to find someone who can help; who has the right pill or the perfect therapy. And while all help is welcome, sometimes there is no fix available; we have to use anything and everything we can. So while looking for the pill or the therapy, we can still apply our parental instincts and lateral thinking, and put in place as much as we can. We then have a better idea of what needs to be fixed still - what is left after we've done everything else (including things we simply hadn't known about before).

    And never forget - YOU are the parents, you have the best knowledge of all, of your son. Trust yourselves, have faith in yourselves. Also recognise that somewhere inside your son is a good kid who really wants to do well but who sometimes feels overwhelmed and despairing of ever finding his way out of the confusing maze. It can make him angry, or sad, or confused - or everything.

    If you can share this site with your husband, it can also help your communication and help you both work as effectively as possible as a team.

  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome, You are doing a great job in looking for ways to help your son.

    The time lines in getting help seem like forever. Like you said, seems by the time an issue is discovered it is Spring and school will soon be out for the summer. The summer goes well so we think, "Good, positive changes, this year will be different". Then the problems start mostly Nov - Dec. That is because Oct - Nov is a lot of review from the previous year and the real true new materials are introduced the end of the 1st quarter or the beginning of the second quarter. So, we try to get a handle on it again this year and by the time we realize we are working with a true problem, the summer arrives again. I think the schools sometimes also puts off the IEP as long as possible hoping you will drop the pursuit over summer.

    Anyway, the others here have give great advise and you are doing awesome in the search for answers. Keep us posted.
  7. Mamaof2

    Mamaof2 New Member

    Thank you so much everyone for the welcome and your comments. I really appreciate this site and will spend time on it reading as much as I can.

    My son had diagnostic assessments:

    Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV)
    Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-II)

    Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory - Adolescent (MMPI-A)

    His teachers and I have also filled out stuff for his report.

    His results were:

    Verbal Comprehen. Average
    Perceptual Reason. Average
    Working Memory Average
    Processing Speed Low Average
    Full Scale IQ Average

    Reading Low Average
    Math Low Average
    Spelling Low Average

    He's in 8th grade. His writing is horrible. His slow processing has been noticed by teachers this year. They say he looks like he's in pain while writing. Thinking too hard just to write and it still ends up very hard to read. I've been thinking that maybe I could get him a small processor to help him. Type up stuff instead of writing while we work on writing at home? I dunno.

    Are there other Neuro tests that could be done or should be done with him? I'll make sure to make a list of questions for his Psy. Doctor.
  8. Mamaof2

    Mamaof2 New Member

    I also forgot to add something pretty frustrating about this already....

    I spoke with my son's father about the report when I got it. Right away he said "I don't believe that there is such thing as ODD." Which then told me he's not going to be on the same page as me and my son's step dad with this stuff. That bothers me. I've went through so much to get this diagnosis and figure out what's going on only to have his father already debate me on it. I have no idea if I'll be able to get him on the same page as us. He thinks therapy is a joke and really just wants our son on medications. Ugh. I want to do whatever I can for our son and if that means medications I'm open to it, However, I know he needs therapy too. Indv. and Family. To help us with communication and to help him with stressors in his life and anger management.

    Even my own mother said "He's just a teenager there's nothing wrong with him." She's right. He is a teenager. There is nothing WRONG! with him. He's not bad. He's a good kid who struggles and it's my responsibility to help him through those struggles the best I can within reason. I don't think it's unreasonable to want him to be in therapy. This doesn't change who he is at all.

    My son's step dad is on the same page as me and will be reading and working toward how to react towards son when he has behaviors. I feel like I have one person on my side. So, that's good.
  9. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    Oh honey I can relate to Dad being a pin head about your difficult child's diagnosis and needs, they are way too wrapped up in "it's about me" then difficult child
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Wanted to add my welcome! My daughter is a wonderful girl. But she has a brain disorder (Bipolar)... sometimes it gets in the way of her having a *good day, productive day, stable day...etc* It is just like any other disorder or disease, I have to help her treat it and that (for us) includes medications, therapies and Doctors...
    Either you're going to try and understand my child or at at least not judge... or please just keep it yourself!
    This is the attitude I have had to kind of arm myself with over the years, for myself also, I have BiPolar (BP) as well.
    We can try and educate but don't spend too much time, it is tiring. Your ex, will maybe, hopefully come around.
    Hang in there, read up and continue looking for any help you can get.
    It is scary when you first here Mood-Disorder.... but it is not a death sentence. There is hope with education.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome. My son had neuropsychologist testing and learning disorders were described to us as when kids have discrepancies in different areas of testing. Your son is pretty much across-the-board.
    Actually, that testing he had was pretty much just for school. The MMPI is a psychiatric test (taken it three times myself), however it would miss certain disorders, such as high functioning autism. He has some red flags for this, but the testing he had wouldn't necessarily show it. I would actually want a neuropsychologist evaluation so that everything/every possibility can be looked at. That was just part of the testing that can be done.
    I'm glad you're at least getting some help. How was this child's early development? How are his social skills and life skills? Does he have sensitivities to noise, certain foods, materials? Any strange quirks? What kind of learning disabilities do they claim he has?
  12. Mamaof2

    Mamaof2 New Member

    Son's early development was beyond average. Walked early, talked well early, potty training was normal. He was a quick learner, even had piano lessons he did very well at, at a very young age. Social Skills are good. From a young age though he related to Adults more than children his own age. As time went on he's done well with his peers. Gets along, makes friends quickly, outgoing, likable. No fist fights with his peers. Life skills.... Hmmm. Doesn't care to do anything having to do with chores, cleaning his room, brushing his teeth, taking care of himself. However, he's gotten better with self care. He takes showers daily, Dresses in clean normal clothing. Cleaning I can't get him to do at all. Surprise.. he's a teen! Laugh. Some of it's perfectly normal teen stuff but to an extreme with just about everything. He's not usually violent which is good. Mostly has problems with Anger when it's really bad.

    He has sensitivities to heat. Needs everything to be cold. Has two fans on him at night. It's a battle to get him to close a window even in the winter. Hates wearing winter jackets even when its below 0. Likes to be very cold. That's the only thing I can think of that is a huge problem for him.

    As far as what learning disabilities does he have. Honestly, I haven't made it that far. I know that his teachers have noticed that he processes things slowly. He writes slowly. They think he's a bright kid and they think he's a very smart kid who is just not doing his stuff. However, the results of his test show that he's anywhere at a 4th grade level up to a 7th grade level for learning. Depends on what it is....

    Word reading = 7.5 grade Equ
    Reading Comprehensioin 4:5
    Pseudoword Decoding 5:5
    Numerical Operations 4:6
    Math Reasoning 7:7
    Spelling 4:8

    So, I'll need to speak with his psychiatric. to see if we can figure out what is going on more. I'm at a loss as I have yet to speak to his Dr. about the results and what to do next.

    Did say based on his Personality test he found...

    "Presently has a very limited interest in school or investment in success, presently does not expect to succeed. Dislikes reading and studying, may be viewed as lazy. Has hard time starting and finishing projects as he tends to give up easily. Allows other people to take charge. May outwardly deny difficulties and look on the bright side even in the face of problems"

    All of that is very very true.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm. Another few questions
    Does he speak with an advanced "Little Professor" demeanor using big words? Does he have any obsessive interests? Does he know how to have a give-and-take conversation with peers? Does he have trouble transitioning from one activity to another? Does he have any fears?
    Do you have his Verbal IQ and his Performance Level IQ? If the verbal iq and performance iq are very far apart this can cause extreme difficulties in learning and in other areas as well. It's called a "Non-Verbal Learning Disability." I have one! You talk very intelligently and people expect a lot from you because of it. However, your performance ability is not equal to your verbal ability. I can talk my way into any job, but when hired, I struggle even doing factor work--anything with my hands is a big fat deal. It has made life difficult.
    He sounds like a puzzle!!!! :) So many of our kids are.
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just popping in to add my welcome! So glad you found us but sorry you needed to. You have found a great group for support!
  15. adearing01

    adearing01 New Member

    My difficult child is 7, but since starting Occupational Therapy back in May, he has come a long way with his writing. He gets sensory help, writing help etc. Maybe look into this either with the IEP at school or a private therapist.
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's a shame that not everybody is ready to accept a label of any kind. But don't be too hard on them - it is very difficult to accept tat someone you love could have a problem. Denial especially from the people who love him such a great deal but who don't live with him, is a common occurrence. You can't force them to accept anything until they are ready.

    Some practical suggestions for you - I wouldn't push the handwriting. He knows enough to be able to sign his name and to write a shopping list in longhand. Frankly, he isn't going to need much more - we rarely do longhand writing these days, so we? And to push it so hard, when he has such difficulty, is perhaps a waste of energy which could be better spent in learning what he needs to.
    We've had to do the same thing with our boys and probably should have done this also with easy child 2/difficult child 2. They all have hypermobile joints (does your son? Sometimes it's not obvious but it does lead to a lot of pain and the risk of early arthritis). easy child 2/difficult child 2 has recently bought herself a laptop computer which she uses for taking her lecture notes as well as for taking notes in the field with her studies.

    With difficult child 3, "use of computer" was put in his IEP and the Dept of Ed bought an Alphasmart Neo for him to use. At first I would have preferred a laptop, but have since seen the advantages of the Alphasmart - it's cheaper, it's tough, it's very simple and cannot be used to cheat very easily. In our education system (NSW, Australia) kids like difficult child 1 & difficult child 3 are permitted to use a computer during exams. However, the computer being used MUST be free of any text files before the exam. This is just not practical, for a laptop computer. It's also difficult to police and difficult to ensure, for a laptop. But the Alphasmart is really easy 0 it has a maximum of 8 files, it auto-saves and via a USB cable it can download work as a text file to either a Mac or a easy child.

    We've used the Alphasmart a lot for difficult child 3 - when we're travelling, we get him to do a travel diary. He takes photos using our digital camera and while we're in the car or wherever, he also takes notes on the Alphasmart. It has a small screen which allows him to view three lines at a time; he can scroll through the whole text using arrow keys. It runs on batteries which rarely need changing.

    Your son sounds like he has splinter skills. With his early development, I would be wondering about hyperlexia. With splinter skills, it can be very difficult to get an accurate idea of their capability, using psychometric assessment. We've been told that we should consider the high score in the subtest as an indication of where his overall IQ should be, if he didn't have the learning problem. So instead of viewing him as an average ability but surprisingly gifted in maths, consider him a kid who is doing OK but feeling very frustrated because he knows he should be able to do a lot better, he is much brighter than he seems. This can also lead to a kid being very negative about himself, feeling like a failure and feeling very disheartened. You can also get raging caused by the frustration. The slow mental processing - it could be connected to learning difficulties in there, it could also be an attention/distraction thing - there are a number of possibilities. Again, he would find this very frustrating.

    difficult child 3 has social skill issues but they mostly show up with kids his own age. He is best when dealing with adults, or with kids who are much younger. A lot of adults he meets casually have no idea he's autistic; a lot express disbelief. The brighter a kid is, the more easily they can mask their problem areas. And they're not trying to be deceptive; they learn, FAST, that they need to blend in as well as they can and do this almost without thinking.

    When you describe the power struggles with teachers, with you etc, these ARE social skill problems. Again, these are a common thing in high-functioning autism and Asperger's. Again, whether your son has this or not, he has enough similarity for "Explosive Child" to help you. It is especially effective where ODD symptoms are observed and are an issue. You say you feel he will benefit from therapy - I think you're right. But you can do this too - it can only help. I freely admit, when we kept getting this book recommended to us I was feeling a bit burned out, "booked" out, the last thing I wanted was yet another book with yet another system of charts, lists, meetings, family meetings, sticker charts and other interminable additions to my already overloaded schedule. When I finally read the book (I was getting increasingly desperate - the arguing, the insistence on absolutely every tiny little detail being thrashed out in every discussion was driving me crazy) I found it to be an amazing help. And far from adding to my workload - it made it easier. MUCH easier. It removed most of the battles and over time has removed even more, as he has learned to organise himself much more than I would have ever thought possible.

    Therapy really helped difficult child 3 with dealing with his anxiety. A lot of his arguing and his raging was directly linked to his extreme anxiety, but superficially it wasn't immediately obvious. Also linked in to his anxiety is his desire to please, and to also blend in and slip below everyone's radar. He wants to be friends with everyone, he wants to please. But sometimes it's all just too hard, because he's trying to do it all and it can be just so overwhelming he feels he can never succeed. Again, the book helped here as well, because it reduced the load to a more manageable level. As he was able to cope, the load was increased.

    So - therapy has helped. The book has also helped - it helped me find a different way of handling him, which in turn made it easier for him to reach his goals and to find his own feet. And medications have helped, for us - ADHD medications. They're not helpful to everyone, maybe not even most. Other kids do well on medications to deal specifically with problems they have.

    What often works best, when you look back on it all - a multi-pronged approach. But if you plunge right in with a multi-pronged approach you will never be sure what helped. You need to try things separately first, before you throw everything at once at the problem.

    I believe you when you say that he is a good kid - I'm glad you can see this in your child. So often we get burned out, mentally exhausted by the battles and we lose sight that somewhere in there is a good kid who just wants to be happy and to be able to do what everyone else can do.

  18. Mac&Cheese

    Mac&Cheese New Member

    Although a "newbie" with limited knowledge...Don't sweat the handwriting!!! My easy child writing is HORRIBLE...Straight As. Always been horrible! I would concentrate most on his reading/comprehension. It is the MOST IMPORTANT educational need. You have certainly worked hard for your son, I admire all you have done in an effort to get him the help he needs. I by the way, have ordered the Explosive Child and await its arrival. Thanks to all the great people on this ws.