Just discovered you guys here today, and am grateful to have a place to talk with folks that are in similar situations. Our difficult child son is 16, going on 17, and has been under treatment for ADHD, ODD, bi-polar since age 4. We lived in rural areas for the first 7 yrs. after the initial diagnosis, so most of the suggested treatments were of the "pill it and kill it" variety. Public school couldn't deal with him, programs and treatment centers couldn't cope with him, and counselors and psychiatrists have given up on him. He has spent time in three RTCs, and the last one here in Cleveland released him back to us because they had made no progress with him, and felt there was nothing more they could offer. (They also managed to set him back academicly by 3 yrs.) We've had him in the local Positive Education Program for schooling for the last 2+ yrs., and he's earned no high school credits, while running away from and refusing to go to school at every opportunity. Last year, after watching some Discovery Health specials, we had him tested for Autism, and the specialists returned a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. Now, we suspect he meets the criteria for CD, but his current psychiatrist is resistant to "slapping another diagnosis on him". The problem, as I see it, is that if no one makes the official diagnosis of CD, we can't get the more specialized therapy that the condition calls for. We meet with the psychiatrist again tomorrow, and we have a couple of other support team members sitting in to help us get things settled, hopefully. Our son's major issues: Academic - barely functions at elementary school level, despite a high IQ, and will not apply himself to school work. Has had several "honeymoon" periods with new schools, then begins avoiding or running away from school. Homelife - Shunned by peers his age, due to immature behavior. Refuses to do chores, or rushes through them when pressed. Constant demands for attention, and to have special food/games/toys/electronics. Destructive to his own belongings and other people's. Throws tantrums whenever he cannot have what he wants, or is faced with consequences for negative behavior. Acts out in stores and other public places, often to the point of our being asked to leave if we cannot control him. Often disrupts housework, or my homework for night school classes, and has caused my wife to miss multiple doctor's appointments. I was unable to work a part-time job of 25 hrs. a week because of regular calls from school and home about disruptive behavior. Interventions - We filed under Unruly Child statutes with Juvenile Court last year after major truancy problems, violent behavior, and multiple hospitalizations. A change of schools and several months of improved behavior before our court date resulted in the magistrate tabling the charges and leaving him with us and in the community. Our son is 6 ft. tall, 150 lbs. and easily able to hurt me or my wife if he chooses to do so. His recent tactics have been to demand hospitalization when we try to enforce consequences for negative behavior, and suicidal behavior if we resist taking him to the hospital. We are finally getting the county Board of Developmental Disability working with him, but I fear that the lack of decent treatment/diagnosis early in his childhood has allowed his CD to progress beyond the ability of anything less than round-the-clock care and intensive behavioral therapy to improve things. Meanwhile, my wife's health has been steadily deteriorating. Our son was her miracle baby, as it took three years of failed efforts and finally giving up to the Fates before our son was concieved. Her first husband refused to father a child for her. Her depression and anxiety were not diagnosis'd or treated properly until our son had been under treatment for several years for his problems. She cannot deal with conflict, and tends to withdraw when he becomes contentious, although she has been trying harder to be firm with him since his return home from the last Residential Treatment Center (RTC). As for me, I discovered my own condition (Asperger's) while researching our son's problems, and understand that it has impared my ability to deal with him effectively too. I tend to be more harsh with him, because I see no reason for him to behave the way he does, and to not change his behavior to benefit both us and him. I've also tended to respond to him as though he was deliberately bullying me and my wife, because I had major problems with being bullied as a child myself. My wife and I are both recieving individual counselling, but we have not been able to do family counselling because of limited resources, and our son's unwillingness to participate when it has been tried before. So, this is where we stand right now, and I hope to be taking part in the forums here regularly. My wife and I have had no family support, no one willing to take our son off our hands, and spotty support from agencies and programs in our area, as many of them have suffered funding shortages. I want to keep our son in our home and get him as much help as possible in the fifteen months we have left before our son turns 18, but I also need to finish school myself and start my new career, and get help for my wife's medical issues. We tend to hover between exhaustion and overwhelming frustration, and the toll on our relationship as a married couple has been high. For now, encouragement and support would be greatly appreciated, and as new issues come to the forefront, I will be grateful for any advice or suggestions you may have. And I hope to be able to return the favor for some of you as well. Thanks for lending an ear (eye?), and giving us somewhere to turn and someone to talk to.