Newbie here.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bluemoon, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Hello Everyone.
    I had a good pregnancy, took very good care of myself and did what I believed to be all the right things. No smoking, alcohol, caffine, aspertaime, etc. I was hypervigilent.
    However, I was also under huge stress because of things my husband was doing at the time.

    My son showed his difficult side at 48 hours old. He began to cry and seem very uncomfortable and didn't stop for at least 6 months.
    Never ate a full meal, never slept more than very short periods at a time.
    He was inconsolable.
    doctors. had no suggestions and colic remedies did nothing to help. E (son) was...soooo different. Cried 90% of the time, very hard to interact with or distract, very strong willed, impossible to comfort.

    E was well within normal range in terms of sitting up, cruising, climbing, walking, etc. However, he was speech delayed. He recieved therapy for this and is OK with speech today. Well, he can talk fine. Subject choice is something else.
    Of note: I once heard the speech therapist, a lovely young woman, affectionately refer to my son as "a little control freak".

    Socially he was...there was just nothing there. No interest AT ALL.
    He also fought me about many things like getting in his carseat, getting dressed, diaper changes...
    I asked for help with his behaviors, was told to give him a piece of candy everytime he didn't fight me by the "professional" early intervention sent. I admit, that didn't go over well with me for SO many reasons. Besides, E didn't care about the rewards, or the potential for punishment. It had no effect.

    Friend and relatives with easy child gave me the hairy eyeball and assumed, out loud, that I was somehow to blame.
    Husband went awol (with his young girlfriend) very early on. He was NEVER there.
    Lots of drama with his dysfunctional family...I ended up fostering his niece and nephew for 6 months, finally called that quits because CPS insisted on putting me in charge of their still actively drug addicted parents, too. They were putting all the children, including mine, at risk. I couldn't have them comming around.
    When I agreed to take the kids they were supposed to be sent away for a year. 30 days later....I tried, I really did.

    Divorced, moved, put E in daycare, then pre-K, partly to try to socialize him and partly so I could breath. I couldn't even go to the bathroom nevermind the store.
    He fought like a tiger not to stay when I dropped him off and fought equally hard to stay when I picked him up. Every single time. For months. Eventually I lost the strength to take him anymore.
    He made no friends. He discovered video games. And screwdrivers. Any toy that wasn't a video game, he would dissassemble into a million tiny pieces.
    Dad visited sporatically.

    Tornado hit, we moved again. Exhausted and desperate for help, I married again.
    Big mistake, lasted less than 2 years. Good news is E never bonded with the guy at all....but the guy left us broke. I went back to work, had to take E with me.
    This went surpriseingly well, but only because E had a gameboy by then.

    E started school (K) and I requested my first IEP evaluation. He was denied. Everyone said he was perfectly normal (officially) and they sent me to parenting clesses and told me to make a chore chart. So I did.
    The parenting classes taught me nothing I didn't already know or hadn't already tried and E was completely unimpressed with the whole chore chart system. He couldn't have cared less about rewards.
    The only punishment that had any useful effect was to shut him in his room and I had to lock his door to keep him in there. Putting him a corner (or anywhere he could physically leave) for a time out was impossible.
    Any effort to control him resulted in an unbelieveable meltdown. So did putting him in his room, but it also stopped him from running around wild. It restrained him. Limited him. Mostly, it was the one thing he didn't like badly enough to convince him to change his behavior enough to avoid it. But it only worked when you were at home.
    These days he just goes out the window. He will break it if he must.

    Anyway, while the teachers wouldn't agree he needed an IEP, they still sent home notes almost daily.
    "E is hiding under his desk and won't come out." "E has a fit if another child comes within a foot of him." "E won't do his work, he ignores me."
    I got calls, too. "E is having an uncontrollable meltdown - come remove him NOW!"
    Homework was (is) a nightmare that defies description.
    This went on till 3rd grade.

    I tried to find counceling for E. We were put on a waiting list. 6 months of paying to wait later, I gave up. E seemed better. That's cause school was out for the summer. Our world shrunk to the 4 walls around us.

    3rd grade I found a savior. A principle at another school had become aware of E. She gave me a job driving for her and allowed me to transfer him there. She set up a new IEP evaluation. He was determined to be learning disabled. He got a Special Education teacher to help him and some small adjustments to his routine.
    Trouble didn't stop there, though.
    I had been trying to get E evaluated for other disorders (for years), but in VA the schools do not do that (which I didn't know at first). However, doctors. and such would not do it unless the school would back you up. It was very confusing.
    The principle was working with me, but before we got very far, she died, suddenly, right before Christmas.
    I was back to square one. The rest of the year was like the ones before. I was always having to take E out of there and he was getting worse. He began assaulting me.

    This year, I went on a rampage. Actually, I started the end of last year. I rattled cages, I made alot of noise. I made some threats. I asked for help (ideas) from virtually every single person who crossed my path.
    I found out that there was a person in the school system, a well kept secret apparently, who was there to advocate specifically for children like my E. I hunted that guy down. The school claimed no knowledge of his existance.
    He was VERY real, though.
    I learned that the program he works for gets referals from every single county that surrounds us (through the schools) but not ONE referal from us. Ever.
    I think that's why they put him in our schools, but it was a fairly recent move...and not a welcome one, apparently.

    My blood boiled. I became a force to be reckoned with. I got an official advocate for E which was key. Parent referals are not respected at all here, as I had already discovered.
    I went to my first meeting and the wheels began to grind forward...slowly.
    Summer went by meeting requirements.
    Then I took a video of my son having a meltdown. I marched into the place and showed that to his advocate.
    She called in her boss and they stepped on the gas. Big time.

    Now E has had his first meeting with the neuro-psychiatric (100 miles away). The Dr. has determined he has ODD. It doesn't end there.
    He will be seeing an occupational therapist for an evaluation and will also be tested for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and ADHD-inattentive type (I don't know why they don't just say ADD) in the next week.

    We are getting lots of attention all of a sudden.
    All the professionals working with him are saying the same thing. They agree with the ODD but feel there is MUCH more than that going on with E.
    They have all said (it's bizarre) that they have never met a kid like E. They are completely baffeled by him. For the record, they are not comparing notes here, they don't even know each other, they each came to this conclusion on their own.

    All this said, my son is a very wonderful and sweet little boy. He is affectionate. He is scary smart...another thing that all the professionals comment on...yet his IQ tested low normal.
    Now, I don't care what his IQ is, I love him no matter what, but the professionals all said, "All that means is that E didn't want to take the test".

    So, I am waiting, still, but we are finally getting somewhere. Soon (maybe, lol) someone will be able to help me understand my son. Help me learn how to motivate him, help him, have a loving relationship devoid of war with him.

    Thank you for reading, I don't know how to make this story any shorter.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Bluemoon!

    While the professionals say they've never seen a child like yours, rest assured, around here, we've pretty much seen and heard it all!

    One thing for sure, it's not "simple" ODD. ODD rarely stands alone and is a diagnosis often used to describe a litany of behaviors which usually end up being attributable to another issue. Sounds like a lot of changes in his short life as well - both physically and emotionally. Basically, you are doing the right thing. Your son needs a complete evaluation - neuropdoc included - multidisciplinary evaluation by an educational specialist, neruopdoc, etc. He needs the gamete of educational testing as well to see how his IQ squares with his actual performance. It can be a long process but it sounds as if the wheels are really turning due to your dedication as, what we call around here, a warrior mom!

    Again, welcome. You will find many understanding parents who have "been there, done that".

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! I've heard the "we have never met anyone like your son so many times." Your school district sounds horrible. If you request an IEP as a parent they have to do one, have to do the testing to determine if there is a disability. How terrible that you have been dealing with this district for so long. I'm glad you have an advocate and that you found us (you will find much support here).
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    You sure you don't live in our little Aussie village? The school district in our part of Sydney has been very obstructive, although most schools here are OK. But really, what you've been through sounds so sadly familiar.

    First - I would advise you take the ODD label with a large shovel of salt. After what you and this kid have been through, it's no wonder he's being oppositional. After all, you have had to learn to be oppositional in order to get attention, haven't you?

    ODD is a coping strategy for a kid who feels they have nowhere else to go.

    Your son is NINE and still they're only SUGGESTING assessment for autism? What the...? I'm so angry for you. But in a lot of ways, you do seem to have doone what you could. You've also taken very good records. Absolutely vital.

    OK, things for you to do for now:

    1) Read 'The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. it's not a cure, but it can give you a different way of handling him that could resolve a lot of the ODD for you personally, at home. You could share these techniques with the school, or let them continue to struggle. No, that's not fair (much as I like the mental picture) - your son will suffer the more, if you don't help the school get it right. But do what you can at home, first.

    2) If you're not already doing this, setup some level of effective two-way communication between you and the school. We used a communication book which travelled in difficult child 3's bag. I would write in it each morning and the school teacher would add her own notes. Between all of them, we got fast clues to early onset problems before they became huge hassles. We also had a record of what we had tried and what had not worked. These days a lot of [people use emails to and fro. But do make sure you include nice things too, so you don't all burn out with the negativity.

    3) Don't blame prenatal stress or prenatal anything. These things happen and generally are more likely to be genetic. You commented on the stress his father was causing you - why? That could be relevant.

    4) for a sneak preview on the possibility of autism in some form (umbrella term, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)) go to and do their online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. You can't use it to diagnose, but if you print it out (regardless of the results) then the printout can show a therapist or specialist the sort of things that are a concern for you. Run the test on his dad too, while you think of it.

    There are some really good books which can give you some perspective on this.

    I really hate the term "oppositional Defiant Disorder" because it sends a (wrong) message that the child is being deliberately obnoxious out of sheer cussedness and orneriness, purely to provoke you. The truth is almost the opposite - imagine you are desperately trying to communicate your needs to someone. You have a spike sticking into your leg. But you raise your hand in class and are told to sit down and behave. Your leg hurts even more. You are increasingly worried that something bad will happen if the teacher doesn't help get this spike out of your leg. But your increased desperation to communicate this receives even more firm "be quiet!" responses. The more frantic you get, the harsher the teacher gets. The teacher is desperately trying to keep order and to teach; you are an increasing distraction. As you can see, this can escalate on both sides.The end result - teaching is still disrupted, and you still have a spike in your leg. But now, both of you are angry and shouting at one another. "Why won't you listen to me?" is the cry on both sides.

    This is not defiance. This is urgency and desperation.

    What is driving the urgency? In other words, what is the spike in the leg, for your son? It's something in his head, something he has partly learned, and something he is wholly interested in, which he feels he must have. Identify this, and you have part of your solution.

    The way too many adults deal with this kind of 'urgent' behaviour, is with increasing firmness. But this can pretty much create the problem of ODD. So how do you handle it? Not with increasing firmness, that's for sure. It may seem paradoxical, but the first place to start is to find what the child loves to do, feels he MUST do, and let him do it. To a point. Let him know that he has some access to something that will suffice. Use this as currency. Next step - don't try to correct everything all at once. Choose two things you desperately need, and try them. IF he is capable of complying, then the reduced number makes it more possible. But everything else has to be left off the "to do" list until he is ready to move to the next stage.

    A desperate child (the spike in the leg again) who gets multiple, sometimes confusing, instructions (and multiple step instructions are a nightmare for the ADD-inatterntive kid, they can't remember past the first step) can hear, "sitdownbequietdon'ttalkdon'tputyourhandupshutupIsaidshutupgototheprincipalwhyaren'tyougoing?"

    Is it any wonder they sometimes crawl under the desk and don't want to come out?

    I have been where you are now. We are now doing well. Feel free to pick my brains.

    I am also not the only one here who can help, who has been where you are. Help is here, grab on.



    PS re the Special Education fight and getting the right help legally and morally - check out the Special Education forum. They are a mine of information on whose rear to kick.
  5. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    I just wanted to say hi Bluemoon! You articulated your story so well. You are doing a GREAT job and he is very lucky to have you. Take care of yourself and WELCOME!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Sorry that things are tough right now. I agree not to blame yourself.

    You may want to take this little online test and see if it rings true for your son. He sounds like more than ADD/ODD is going on here.
  7. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Thank you all so very much.

    Need to clarify...when I asked for the IEP in K, they did do one, they just said that he didn't qualify...then they sent notes home complaining about all kinds of weird behavior.
    I kept those notes and they are now in the 2" binder I have packed full of all the efforts I have made, a paper trail of results and denials, observations, medical records, and every post I have ever written about E on the single parents forum I belong to.

    THAT, by the way, turned out to be a wonderful resource, like keeping a journal and getting support all at the same time. This place would/will be as well.

    As for E's Dad, he was cheating all over the place, but two instances in particular caused great stress for me during my pregnancy.
    One was when he was caught (repeatedly) with an underage child. Nothing could be done because the child (and her mother) were thrilled with the relationship and would have denied and protected him if I had approached the authorities with anything short of proof on video....a fact they rubbed in my face.

    Also, he had had an affair with a girl I worked with who had once been my friend. When I was 7 months pregnant (and before, too) she was following me around work trying to get me to physically fight her...probably so she could get me fired.
    Meanwhile, I was pregnant and my boss considered me a dead end employee because of it, and she was being groomed to be his personal lackey, so I could get no support from my superiors. All this = LOTS of stress that I tried to manage intellegently, but...(actually, there was way more than that but that was the worst part)...I'm sure it effected my body and therefore my baby.

    That's the long emotional answer to your question, Midwestmom. The more to the point answer is that yes, in restrospect his father does have indicators of ODD, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and probably others, as well as a deeply ingrained family history of similar problems. In fact, few got out alive. I'm not being a drama queen, it's a fact.

    He was speech delayed and still has a pronounced speech impediment, he seems devoid of empathy and, quite franky, is a criminal. He has been to jail and is a pathological liar. He has not curbed his criminal activities, he has just gotten better at not getting caught. (He also just had another baby).

    He will convince you that he is much too kind to ever take advantage of you and also that he is not bright enough to pull it off even if he tried...and odds are good you will fall for it. Most do. I did. So did the marriage councelor until she caught him the millionth lie.

    Anyway, I digress....
    I also have a very checkered history, genetically speaking. My mother has Borderline (BPD) and has never been able to find successful treatment....though she has had every kind there is including shock therapy. She is an invalid due to her mental illness today.

    I suffer from depression, as does my sister and a cousin. They are on medications...I don't know which. I have tried medications in the past, but seem to do better when I focus on being proactive, staying on top of my symptoms.
    Raising E has been a real challenge in this area, though.
    My father is an alcoholic, and just generally a very weird guy.
    In myself it's hard to determine what is a possible disorder and what is a result of a very bizarre childhood.

    Generally, I understand just enough to understand that I don't understand anything well when it comes to E. I just know that I would do ANYTHING to help him be the best that he can be. I owe him the best life I can give him.

    Thank you all for your support, I am going to check out the links you have provided.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thanks for the info on the sperm donor. Enlightening.

    I do not discount the harm stress can do. I had a sociopathic work colleague who was actively sabotaging me, while I was pregnant with my first two children. When I was pregnant with difficult child 3, I had a quieter time of it, since I had left that job. However, I was volunteering at a charity and there were some personality clashes there. Still, I was under a great deal less stress and spent most of the pregnancy staying home quietly, getting my charity work done from home and via email. If stress were the factor, this baby should have been the one with fewest problems. Instead, he is the most autistic in the family.

    Your son's condition, whatever it turns out to be, is what it is already. The stress during pregnancy could be a connection, but genetics are just as likely, if not more so. His father's problems could well have a genetic component, although they do not sound very Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) to me. One thing about Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is that they tend to be honest. However this is a learned response as a rule, because they find it difficult to imagine a scenario sufficiently well to pretend it is true, in order to convince you of their lie. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids therefore tend to be really bad at lying, so they're always getting caught. Over time they realise that honesty (for them) is the best policy. But some of them, especially those who are not called on their lies, will keep trying to lie (and generally not be too good at it). The lies are usually not too detailed, more along the lines of "I didn't do it," or "I am a good person, trust me." In Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) you tend NOT to get the "I don't have my homework because as I was walking to school some aliens in a green flying saucer flew down, jumped out of their spaceship, knocked me to the ground, wrestled my backpack off and stole my homework. They said they needed it to line the cage of their pet woefnaon." For someone with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), this is just too risky a lie.
    Mind you, honesty isn't always the truth. What a kid believes is not necessarily true. "He deliberately knocked me down!" is a common cry from a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid who has a history of being bullied; however, the kid may have just accidentally bumped into him. It comes down to perception.

    E's dad's cheating, including with poor choices - it still could be consistent with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), but it could also be connected to other conditions. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) people who have never been called on their behaviour but have instead been left to do exactly what they want, can end up making the same poor choices over and over. They do seem, on the surface, to be a bit eccentric but harmless, often with some level of honesty perceived. Usually that honesty is genuine. But a genuine honesty ("I would never hurt you") doesn't mean that the person is going to stick at what they promised. A weak person can blow with the wind and either change their mind, or change direction due to impulse control issues. It could be that H's dad is basically an honest person who makes promises he means, but then forgets or cannot keep. The capacity for self-deception in individuals who cannot keep their promises, is to help them cope by forgetting they ever made any promises. Their conscience can't nag them, if they can't remember if they ever promised anything.

    You say you suffer from depression - I'm not surprised. Your depression is not necessarily a factor here. More likely a result.

    One point I want to emphasise with language delay - even after they catch up and seem normal, there are still problems lifelong. The speech dysfluency you noted in E's dad is one manifestation, it is connected to word-fiinding problems purely because when we make mental connections between words and concepts, we are young enough for millions of brain pathways to form. The more pathways, the faster we make mental connections. But language delay means that when the child eventually does learn, the brain is not so malleable and thousands of connections are made instead of millions or billions. For example, difficult child 3 has an amazing vocabulary, but still struggles sometimes to find the right word. Interesting, his sister has word-finding problems even though she had no language delay. She and her little brother also have partial face blindness; she didn't realise she was partially face blind until she was 20.

    Do keep us posted on how you get on.

  9. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Thank you, Margurite.

    I felt inappropriate spelling out the circumstances regarding E's Dad and events during my pregancy...I do not want this to turn into a rant about my personal life...but I also want to be completely honest about anything that has or even could have effected my son. The history is therefore relevant in terms of diagnostics, but yes, I know that what it is, is what it is now.
    I did go through an awful period personally, emotionally, when reading about the genetic links as well as the environmental contributors to ODD and other disorders, but to dwell on what cannot be changed and wallow in guilt over it is simply counterproductive.
    That said, you quite acurately described the kind of lying E's Dad does. He IS an awful liar (though a very good sneak). He doesn't actually tell lies so much, he just gives very vauge answers that can be interpreted lots of ways...sometimes they don't make much sense, but they are never imaginative. Because of his difficulties with speech, there is a tendancy to try to "help" him communicate whatever it is that he is getting at...and when you hit on something that sounds like a good way for him to go, he will agree that THAT was what he was trying to say. This is unbelieveably effective as long as he keeps his activities very compartmentalized and seperate, and he does. Usually he says nothing at all unless you just about pry it out of him. Ahhhhh, hindsight.....

    I don't have much new to report about E. We are just in limbo, waiting.
    Our relationship (and my blood pressure) have much improved since I called a cease fire on the homework wars. Of course, this also means no homework gets done, but that's only a little less than got done anyway no matter how hard I tried.
    Two nights ago I got inspired to try to encourage him to want to do it. I mean, I always tried that, but I figured out another way and wasn't already at the end of my rope when I said it, lol. I figured maybe he'd listen this time.
    I told him that I was not going to fight with him over his homework, but that I wanted to be sure he understood something about his choices regarding it. That if he did not do it, and did not get credit for at least completeing it, even if it wasn't perfect, then he was a great risk of being left back in school.
    If he got left back in school, then his only friend would go on ahead to 5th grade without him...and it would be that way forever after. Ira would always be a grade ahead.
    E would be left behind with children he did not know at all. Ira would probably move on to be friends with kids in his own grade and E could lose him as a friend.

    It didn't work, but....I tried.
  10. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Good job on leaving the homework wars behind. People can only live in chaos for so long. I think sometimes it becomes a part of them if it continues long enough. Leave school work up to the school. Let them worry about it and you can worry about the relationship you have with your child. I may not be how you imagined parenting, but if it gives a little bit of light to both of your lives, it is worth it - in my humble opinion of course! In fact, I had to do the very same thing with my difficult child. I could not live in the battleground that was my home any longer.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I think this is the best way to put this - from what you describe, E's dad's diagnosis, should he have a diagnosis, would not be inconsistent with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). The language delay would narrow it down further, probably, to high-functioning autism.
    Now this is not necessarily bad news especially if YOU know and can work with E on this. But some changes need to be put in place. And what changes you try for will also depend on how you want to handle this.

    First - you want to avoid him ending up like his dad, with regard to the truth being rubbery. So encouragement and reason will be good weapons. You're already trying that. Don'y give up if it doesn't seem to work. Sometimes discipline methods don't work, because the child is simply not capable. Such as the homework - it could be simply asking far too much of him, to have to sit down after an already-difficult day at school, to do even more work. It certainly was a huge problem for us. difficult child 3 could work during school hours only. After school, he was mentally exhausted, tired, irritable and needing a break. If he had a day away from school, that is when I got him to do his homework, and he would often get it all done in a matter of minutes.

    Second - encourage honesty. That means don't punish, if he is honest about something he did wrong. Natural consequences can still hold, however. So if difficult child admits to having eaten the last fifteen biscuits in the jar, then the natural consequences are, I'm not in a rush to make more biscuits. Or if I have to (because company is coming) then difficult child has had his share and should leave them for others first. I also will be not trusting difficult child around the biscuit jar as much and will also be pushing healthy snacks a lot more. It does depend on why he ate the biscuits, and if he makes a habit of it. But honesty above all. Rule-following above all. And this also means, teach him the right rules. A Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-ish kid will quickly work out for himself what the rules really are, and they may not be what the rules are meant to be.

    Example on rules - difficult child 3 at his old school, was told that bullying was unacceptable. Hitting other kids was wrong. But in reality, difficult child 3 saw kids hitting one another all the time. They hit him a lot. They did not get punished. But if difficult child 3 hit back, he was punished (because he was either dobbed in or was caught). Sometimes he was in trouble for hitting when he hadn't hit anybody. So although the rule officially was, "kids must not hit or they will be punished," the rule became, "Kids can hit difficult child 3 and not get punished. difficult child 3 gets punished anyway, whatever he does, because he is difficult child 3."
    Later when we moved difficult child 3 to a different school (where bullying was strictly forbidden) there was an incident with difficult child 3, thankfully observed by the principal and reported to me. difficult child 3 was jostled as the kids tumbled out of class. A kid said to difficult child 3, "Out of my way, dummy!"
    difficult child 3 did not move but just stood there saying, "Go on. Hit me."
    The other kid, to his credit, fetched the principal (because it seemed to him that the new kid was trying to start a fight).
    It turned out that to difficult child 3 the rule now was, "First they call you names. Then they hit you. And if you put up with it, it will be over soon."
    difficult child 3 had heard the name calling, and was waiting for the next step to be over with.

    So it is important to help your child learn the real rules in life.

    ODD is a ghastly label that misleads people badly. It is natural, if you feel resentful of your child's behaviour, to not want to cut him any slack. But your child happens to have problems to an extent where he NEEDS slack. Perhaps the first area is homework. You need to cut back on battles and frankly, if you can, get this one tossed out. The aim of homework is to consolidate learning. He needs to be able to demonstrate that he knows the work. But there may be a better way for him to show what he knows. I was talking to some new kids at difficult child 3's correspondence school yesterday (we had an open day) where all the work is homework! I was telling one boy to discuss with his teacher, a different way to do his maths so he can get through it faster. Our method, worked out with difficult child 3's Maths teacher, is to start the problems with the harder ones only. If he can do the last problem on the set, then he can skip the rest because generally the last one uses all the skills needed for the rest. if he can do the hard one - he's proven he knows it and can move on. Boredom and repetition can be a huge issue, especially of the kid is bright.

    At difficult child 3's school, there is a great deal of this flexibility. A lot of the students are PCs who are dancers, actors or athletes. But a lot are Aspie, or have some other learning problem. The flexibility gives the best outcomes for student success. ANds tat, surely, is what is should be about?

  12. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Agreeing completely, Marg, and thank you.

    I pretty much have thrown out the homework (the need to do it) in the last 2 weeks. I made it clear to E's teachers that I am not going to have that fight anymore and if they can't deal with that then that's too bad. Of course, I didn't say it anywhere near as harshly as that, but I spelled out the issues it causes and the uselessness of even trying to force him to do it. They can either understand this, or not. At this moment in our journey, I don't care anymore what they think about my parenting abilities.
    Prior to this, they didn't even have a clue...but they do seem to be gettting one now. Amazing what a doctors. confirmation can do.

    I will try your suggestion with the math, see how E responds. If it is favorably, I will discuss it with his teachers.
    To be honest, I don't think my son really benefits from the homework. We would spend an entire evening with him swearing to me that he doesn't know how to do even the simplest parts of it...meltdowns and...well, it's a totally negative experience for all.
    However, he almost always gets A's...often 100%... on tests. Unless he is aggravated over something and then he will fail it...purposely, I think.

    I remember his SE was so tickled one day because she finally managed to convince him to take a test. However, he failed it completely. I asked her, "Do you really think you got him to take that test? Really?" by the way: I love her and this was not said snidely...we were just discussing how difficult E can be.

    I am so sorry your son had to go through that horrible bullying experience. I have been very fortunate in this way. We live in a very small town and I am very involved in the schools and an authority figure to the children...pretty much all of whom I know very well...but they like me. Go figure, lol?
    Therefore, I quickly get reports about anyone doing anything that it is thought I would not allow. Harming E is certainly high on that list.
    The children know that E is "different" and have asked me why he acts the way he does. I told them that while he is very smart, his brain doesn't work the same way their's do. Whispering can sound like screaming to him, and screaming can make him close his ears completely. If a friend gets angry with him and says he doesn't like him anymore then E will believe he has lost that friend forever, even if it was only said in a moment of anger. It would hurt MUCH more than was intended.
    He might cry like his heart is broken, cause it would be, or he might get very angry and act sorta crazy (they've seen this).
    The children have been very tolerant and considerate of his issues ever since. :)
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Me too. But knowing what was really going on, and having the school not only admit it, but follow through and discipline the kids involved, was another matter. They might RESPECT me, but the teachers were terrified of the parents of the bullies.

    In general, the kids were great. It was about a dozen of the boys who were out of hand, and even these kids were not bad kids at heart, most of them. The nucleus of three or four were the big problem. The school 'endorsement' of bullying was a huge problem and I witnessed otherwise really decent kids, attacking another kid "in fun" and would not stop when I said, "He doesn't like it!" The kids said, "It's OK, we're allowed to do this."
    "Not on my watch!" was my reply...

    I did best with these kids when I sat down and said, "Whatever problems you have had with difficult child 3, is now in the past. We will forget all you did, I ask you to forget all difficult child 3 did. When you meet, you will be polite to one another and not exchange blows. If he hits you, come to me and tell me. If you hit him, I will come to your mother and talk to her. I hope that from here we can all be polite to one another and there will be no more bad feeling. You are a decent person, that is why I am trying to resolve things this way. I know we can all do this."
    I was almost 100% certain that difficult child 3 had never hit him unprovoked, but the way kids interact can be complex, often too complex for an autistic kid to fully understand. But I put it on an equal footing, because I knew deep down this other kid, if he stopped to really evaluate who did what to whom, would realise he had transgressed more and had the most to gain from my offer of amnesty.

    It worked. I followed trough by "catching out" the former bully doing something nice for difficult child 3, and thanked him. I had to look hard at first. And the look on the kid's face as I approached him was "Oh no, she's going to yell at me for something," when I was in fact about to praise him for being a good sport in the football game he had been playing (on the opposing team to difficult child 3). He was startled, then grateful, for my praise. Later on, he made a point of showing difficult child 3 a few finer points of how to play the game well. Again I thanked him, in front of difficult child 3. I then told the boy's parents that I thought their son was a good sport and very kind. From there, the niceness has exploded. He and difficult child 3 are not friends, but they get on well when they meet now. A far cry from some of the incidents we had, repeatedly, at every meeting.
    Basically, this boy had hassled difficult child 3 because he was a soft target, and he needed to feel better about himself after himself being a bullying victim. Sometimes it is that simple.

    When dealing with various problems, you need to think outside the square. Teachers also, need to be praised and encouraged. After all, who else understands just how frustrating the kid can be? If a teacher vents, I pat them on the shoulder and say, "Oh yes, I know. There there... you get to go home and have a total break. I get to take the little darling home and deal with things from there. I DO understand!"

  14. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    So, E and I went for the evaluation with the occupational therapist today.

    Guess what? He caught a tennis ball even one handed. Granted, it was done in such a way as to make it very easy, but he did it, just the same.

    He was very cooperative with them in general, but they also talked to him in a way no regular teacher could or most people ever would. Like he was much younger, really.
    The only sign of ODD was when he refused, repeatedly, to high five the therapist. It was very much intentional, not a sensory thing just a silent NO, but it was no big deal and became a joke.

    The whole thing was very interesting, but I won't know the results until I see her report. I don't even have a very good idea of how he did because I'm not sure what everything they did means. He may have gotten answers right (and some wrong), but it's more important how he came about doing so. Know what I mean??

    She did reccomend that I take him swimming. ALOT. He needs to build muscle tone and she thinks that would be an excellent way for him to do so. I am hopeing the local rec center might have some kind of swimming lessons I can get him involved in, or maybe I can work something out with one of local hotels that has an indoor pool.
    I work with a girl who manages a hotel, but I'm not sure if they have an indoor pool. I'll ask.

    Oh, they also told me to get a "wiggle pad" seat cushion for him. They said it helped him a great deal to sit straighter and focus. I'm wondering if I can get maybe a small inflatable pillow and make one, just not blow it up all the way?

    Well, that's all that's new, for now.
  15. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    OK, was the big day of the testing for ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
    Of course, I don't know the results yet...not of the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation, either. The anticipation is killing me! I am so hungry for understanding.

    I got to sit on the other side of the two way mirror and watch and listen. I saw many things that I think support an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis....but just cause I think it doesn't make it so.
    I didn't see any sign of ODD. E was very cooperative, and when he couldn't do something, he said so and it seemed to me to be very genuine. A real can't, not a won't...and believe me, I've seen alot of won'Tourette's Syndrome from him in my day. Usually when he hits a can't and then someone continues to nag him to try. Then everything becomes a won't.

    Some things I noticed was an almost complete inability to use his imagination. He couldn't pretend to brush his teeth even (with imaginary tools, etc.) He seemed to get anxious over the request and he shut down some. Then (the next request) he wouldn't pretend to wash his face with a real cloth and soap...ok, maybe that was a won't but it didn't seem like a stubborn or angry won't, he just looked very uncomfortable.

    He had a hard time talking about fact, as expected, he had a hard time talking about anything but his video games and even reverted back to talking about them when asked questions that seemed to baffel him. Like, "What is a friend?" He said he didn't know...though he did say he had 3 friends. When asked to tell the Dr. about his friends, he told the Dr. what games they had and how well they were able to play them.

    Also, he doesn't really have 3 friends exactly. He only has one that he sees outside of school and the other was a girl who is much older who stays with us sometimes. More like an older sister, really. Apparently, anyone who is not an adult who ever plays with him is his "friend"...which I guess is normal for a 9 year old now that I think about it, lol. Except they are only friends if they have played video games with him. Nothing else counts.

    Dr. asked if he ever annoyed his friends and he said no, but then said one of his friends gets annoyed with him but he has no idea why...that he only knows he gets annoyed because the friend told him so. In stories, E was unable to identify anything that he thought the characters might be thinking.

    When asked if he ever got lonely, E said no. When the meaning of lonely was clearly explained, he still said no. When asked if he liked to be alone, he said yes.

    He admitted he gets mad at me sometimes, but couldn't say why. He didn't even seem to be sure that he got mad at me "Well yeah, but not really, not so much..."...which was weird for me to hear because of his rages.

    Another thing I noticed is that when the Dr. demonstrated making up a story using different objects, E was more interested in putting stuff back where he thought it was supposed to go and talking about the objects themselves...not what they were pretending to be.

    He was facinated with know those pins in a clear block that you can press on and they shape to the impression of the object? He loved that! I'm gonna have to get him one.
    Thing is, we went to Wonder Works once and they had a body size one of those and E had no fact all he seemed to want was to get the heck out of there. I suspect he was overwhelmed and overstimulated....which reminds me.

    When the Dr. asked him about what he does during summer, E told him that he does what he does all the time...he plays his video games. Said he even had a "plan" once to finish all his games all the way through before summer was over.
    Not one mention of the trip to Dollywood and Splash Country. Nothing about the 4 wheeler trips through the mountains. Nothing about the trips to the park, water slide and swimming. The only mention of leaving the house was to complain that he hates the drive to NY cause it takes ALL DAY! That's how he said it.

    It was a very interesting day.....and now I resume waiting.....

    Oh, I forgot. When we arrived at the doctors. E refused to get on the elevator because the doors were already open. He found that upsetting and scary. We had to take the stairs.
    He never saw an elevator before that was waiting for him. Go figure, lol.
    Lasted edited by : Oct 4, 2010
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, does this sound familiar!

    Although I will say, difficult child 3 is more in tune with emotions, but only because we have taught him about emotions formally, from very young. We didn't realise at the time that that is what we were doing, but it did work for us.

    The pin press things - we got one too, or rather one of our kids did. Not sure where it is now. Over time we have acquired a lot of the things that difficult child 3 obsesses about. A lot of paperweights have various spinning wheels, falling oil droplets etc and those got collected a lot over the years.

    So much of what you describe fits with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). As you said, you have to wait for the result.

    You have also spotted one of the common causes of ODD-like behaviour - continually asking a kid to do something he simply cannot, which then leads to "I will not" (because I can't) which can then spill over to the next thing you ask the child to do, even if it is something he can do. They reach a point where it is easier to shut down and refuse, than to do the little they can do. But approach them the right way, and they can comply.

    We had a classic example of this last night at mother in law's. The Commonwealth Games are all over Aussie TV and difficult child 3 arrived to note that his favourite network was only showing sport. "Simpsons has been bumped for the sport," difficult child 3 commented to mother in law.
    mother in law said to him in joking sarcasm, "Oh, how sad. The Simpsons isn't on! What will we do without it?" (mother in law hates Simpsons).
    difficult child 3 got very sniffy about this and said, "I should have known you'd be rude about it," and walked out.
    mother in law looked at us, trying to urge us to make our son apologise for being rude to her. "Don't you teach him to respect his elders any more?"
    husband tried to explain, "We teach him respect by setting the example for him. It's the only way he can learn this."
    mother in law was getting huffy now. "So I'm not even allowed to talk to him?"
    "Of course you can talk to him! But he doesn't understand sarcasm, and it seemed to him that you were disrespecting him. He's never going to cope with everything, we are teaching him with the stuff he CAN do."

    The trouble is, people in mother in law's generation do not understand kids these days anyway, and especially do not interact appropriately a lot of the time. She has always tried to interact in joking, fun ways but always requiring respect. The trouble is, most easy child kids can quickly learn the "Do as I say, not as I do" but Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids just can't do it. If you disrespect a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid, that kid will assume that you are showing them how to behave, and they will disrespect you. Not in a tit for tat kind of way, but purely in terms of "So this is how she wants me to behave."
    So when you scold a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) child while you stand there with hands on your hips saying things like, "What were you thinking!" you had better be prepared to get the same things dished back to you. And for some people like my mother in law, having a child stand there with hands on hips scolding you and saying, "What were you thinking?" doers not go down well.

    Last night we gave up trying to explain to mother in law. She didn't understand how her joking reference to Simpsons could have been taken so badly. And I know if difficult child 3 had been able to say to mother in law, "Well, what a pity your favourite detective show isn't on! What on earth will you do without it? Go into withdrawal?" she would have been very angry with him.
    He actually handled her very politely, but the trouble was, she was joking and he didn't take it as a joke. He indicated he was hurt but kept his tone of voice polite and left the room. mother in law called to him to try to engage him, to try to win him back, and it only aggravated matters. That was when he began to get angry with her (because to him, it seemed she was trying to escalate the insult). And when SHE got offended, when to his mind she had started it, he really felt out of sorts because he had been set up to fail in that interaction. Or so it seemed to him.

    mother in law just doesn't get how to talk to him. And this is odd, because she used to. But now she is getting older and more frail, she has stopped trying because frankly, it is too much effort for her in so many ways.

    This all seems trivial, and very subtle. But these are the sort of interactions that happen all day every day, and how you handle them, and how you allow difficult child to handle them, will determine how successfully (or not) you and difficult child negotiate the day.

    The first big rule - sarcasm is OUT. Do not use it. It is confusing, it sends mixed messages, it is likely to provoke a rage. Over time we have worked hard to teach sarcasm to difficult child but he still isn't good with it. He understands irony but it needs to be pointed out. He does not value irony as a source of humour. And people who regularly use sarcasm and irony, or even merely saying mean things and who then try to backpedal with "But I was only joking," need to learn that some jokes are just not funny.

    What you are seeing with your son now, is a snapshot of where he is now. You have just seen that emotions in others are things he doesn't understand. He needs help to understand emotions in himself. This I would place as a high priority.
    There is a poster you can get which has simplified faces, each depicting a different facial expression and each with a label. This is worth getting a copy of, and putting up behind the toilet door (which is a major learning centre, often neglected).
    There are also computer programs you can access, stuff online, which would be worth finding and getting him to do - a sort of emotion tutorial. There is also a very useful website which has a test for prosopagnosia (aka face blindness). Run it on him when you get home. Run it on yourself. Because if he has problems recognising emotions in others, he might have trouble with face blindness too, and the sooner yo know this, the sooner you can begin to teach him coping strategies.
    easy child 2/difficult child 2 copes with this by focussing on something unusual about a person's appearance. This includes what they are wearing. She will say the person's name and then quietly say to herself, "Jane - green dress with diamante trim" and for the rest of the day, she will remember the name and the person.

    We have come a long way with our younger three kids. Sometime it feels like we still have a long way to go, but when we look back we know we've done a lot.

    Once you know what you are dealing with, you know what you have to focus on first. Don't try to fix everything all at once, and learn to value the innate gifts of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). There are some and they are worth valuing. Help difficult child value tis about himself too, because having good self-esteem helps reduce anxiety, which often goes hand in hand with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Even if it's just the constant, "Am I doing this right?"

    When your child can see that your main focus is to help him learn and help him cope, the ODD reduces dramatically.

  17. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Thanks, Marg. You are so right on about the mirroring of the way they get treated. E "disciplines" me back exactly the way I do him. Drives me nuts! (though to him I ignore it.) Actually, maybe that's why he ignores me. Man, I have alot to learn.
    E actually does seem to get sarcasm...though he probably wouldn't if it was over something that really upset him. Honestly, it would feel cruel to me to be sarcastic about something important to him. I think he gets irony....maybe...sometimes.

    Do you have a link for that face blindness test? I wonder if the Dr. tested him for it? I confess, I didn't get to see the entire procedure because they neglected to tell me I could. The Dr. just said, "the room is down there" and pointed, then he walked off with E. So, I went down the hall till I saw a room that was not somebodies office...and I waited.
    Finally I got anxious and started snooping around and stumbled across a woman sitting in a hallway watching my son through this "window"...I tip toed up and asked if I could watch, only to find out that they were wondering where I went! I was dissappointed that I had missed so much, but glad I decided to be nosy for once, lol.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    They wouldn't have tested him for face blindness. I doubt it. It's less important especially at the initial stage. People can have face blindness for all sorts of reasons, but you do get it to a degree, to a greater extent in Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

    With the apparent disrespect thing, the ONLY way to handle it with kids like this is for you to behave towards him exactly as you want him to behave towards you. Other people will look at you like you've gone nuts, when you don't shout at your child but instead say "please" and "thank you" to him even if they feel he "doesn't deserve it". The thing is, we are the adults, we need to be big enough to start the process off. Being petulant and saying, "I won't be polite to you until you're polite to me" only teaches them to be petulant in return. And THEY are the kids, not us.

    We use Explosive Child a lot and keep the number of things being worked on, to about three or four, max. Not too much at once or it can all be too much to handle.

    I looked on Google for "face blindness" and "test" and found a lot of links. I think this one is good -

    If it doesn't pan out, Google what I did and explore.

  19. Bluemoon

    Bluemoon Guest

    Thanks again so very much!