Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by feelinalone, Mar 12, 2008.
I totoally feel your frustration and your pain. I know becuz of my husband behaviors due to his illness and my difficult child behaviors due to hers, it created such difficult situations, and often one of their issues made someone elses issues more difficult to get help for, and I felt caught in the middle most of the time. Plus, often what any of the helping organizations wanted to do was not always what my heart or one of our docs said was good or right......and so often things made so little sense.
In hindsight, my person opinion is that I used so much time effort and energy jumping thru useless hoops doing what some of these places suggested- and often the act of jumping thru these hoops caused MORE difficulties......and seldom did anything ever come to anything helpful or useful long term or in the end.
I truly have little idea exactly how we made it this far.but I do know it was NOT due to ANY help from any agency or wrap etc. MOstly all they did was make things MORE complicated.....
(ssent us respite workers I had reported to CPS personally, set dtr up with a mentor that was a victim of domestic violence WHILE she had my dtr with her, sent us respite workers with various assorted substance abuse issues etc.....all kinds of weird things)
How did we live financially? Good question......I am not sure. I know I did a few borderline things, float checks for example- which are not possible to do now with so much electronic posting.....lived off credit cards, for daily living needs......A few food baskets here and there.....truth is it is hard to get help from the food pantry place, cuz you hafta get referrals from at least 2 social service agencies first, in writing.....means you hafta GET to those agencies- difficult if you have no access to a car......and you have to convince them you need help getting food......
I had my husband here to technically say he was watching my kids, whew- just thank my lucky stars nothing EVER happened when he was alone with them while I worked.altho at one time CPS DID tell me I could no longer leave my kids with him....
Ironically while my kids were GETTING respite, I was PROVIDING respite......and I kept saying gosh, wouldn't it work out far more easily if you simply assigned me to my own house to do my own respite- becuz they had a hard time placeing respite workers here for my kids schedule----and I had a hard time finding work within my respite workers schedule--but no- cannot provide your own respite. SO I got paid to go do respite for others and someone else was supposed to come here and do my kids, altho usually whoever was assigned here did not bother to show up.
SO much paper pushing, so much people shoving you off, "passing the buck" becuz they do not know how to help- and so far I see very few agencies who will really listen to what any families NEEDS are.
It is VERY sad.and the long term repercussions are not going to be good.
Sending you best wishes to find something that WILL help in your circumstances.
Hmmm ironically my kids have Medicaide BUT I have this major difficulty- no docs here will ACCEPT Medicaide. Nice. THats just SO helpful, huh?
Has your child ever been completely evaluated? Why are you so against medications? I don't like them, but if it makes my child able to function in the world, I'd rather have that.
I don't have any advice for you regarding how to navigate "the system". On one hand you want to work for your degree so that you can provide a better life for you and your son and get off the food stamps and medicade, but in the meantime, they are telling you to stop going to school and take care of your son? How?
$440 a month won't pay rent, let alone food, utilities, transportation, clothes, sundries, etc. Kind of a cruel joke.
What do you feel is in your son's best interest? What issues do you feel are the most important to be handled first or what do you believe his biggest hurdle to be? Perhaps sitting down and prioritizing his care would be a start. Are you attempting to stop all medications, or just happy dropping the stimulant?
Raising a difficult child alone is a hefty task.
LDM, most of the time, if you can get the benefits, then you also sign up for subsidized houseing.....and then typically you pay one third (or so- not supposed to be more than one third) of your income for your houseing. It was sad for us, becuz we had a house, we had a mortgage, our mortgage was worth more than our house was worth BUT our house mortgage was also CHEAPER than the apartments around here....but becuz we had the house, we could not get help for it. and moving is not cheap- but they had no help for moving expenses...it gets so complicated.
And yes, we got wrap and respite at first becuz county was shoving me to get nurseing degree so I could take on all our financial responsibility myself....BUT - they offered NO help for transportation, childcare, etc....and yes, when THEY wound up unable to hold up THEIR end of it all---yup- then they wanted me to drop out of school- nevermind everything I had invested in the semester....nevermind I was weeks from graduation. Nevermind that would complicate some of the other things we had in place at that time.
ALl those people in those offices ? It is not their life. It is just their job. SUre there are SOME in those jobs that have personal experience living this life, but.a lot more who do not. Plus they cannot always comprehend the true picture, the reality of the day to day life....and they have their rules, criteria for their programs etc and they do not want to figure out how to squeeze anything to fit the criteria mold - if it does not fit, they simply give up and shake their head at you- and go on their break, or clock out for the day and go home to THEIR life. Besides, their desks are full of people who DO fit the mold more easily--so they simply put the harder cases out of mind and do what they do for the persons who they can make fit the programs. (we can see this happening with JJJ right now)
My husband has combat PTSD and psychosis and major disasociation with it. SO the standard protocol is to put him in PTSD combat day treatment at VA. OK, fine, BUT he also has emphysema, crumbling spine, and he cannot always GET to day treatment. OK so the other vets who have PHYSICAL illness get to have a bus come get them......OK cool, BUT they cannot accomodate a psychotic person. Hmmm. Plus sometimes at day treatment, they discuss things that rile the guys up- but then, hey the end of the day hits, and gosh now what to do with these combat vets who have just brought out their intense exepriiences and now the clock says time to go home? Guess what? They send those guys home, ANYWAY......but see, PTSD day treatment is The Protocol. Noone is TRACKING how it works out at home etc.
I really feel for you. I understand being a single parent. I am one too, with no father for my children because he died 3 years ago. It's hard. I work full time, make too much for ANY assistance at all, I am strapped every month even without all of the medical bills.
I have really wanted to go back to school, put it off this last fall because of my difficult child. When he appeared to be doing better, I signed up for Spring 2008 session. I am currently taking 2 classes (one online, so I am only gone 1 night a week). This is the ONLY thing that I am doing for myself.
My difficult child can be very violent too, so I know how you feel about that - and mine is 12 and only about 1-1/2 inches shorter than me. I physically can't move him. I am really beginning to think that he might be benefited from residential as well (which I have no idea how it would be paid for). Right now he is in the partial hospitalization program (he is picked up in the morning, and brought home at night). But we aren't getting anywhere with it. Last time he was inpatient he was "an angel" when he was there and they weren't seeing what my daughter and I were seeing at home. I am more afraid for my daughter's safety than mine - he tends to go after her. I think the partial program and even the inpatient program is too easy for my son - just like you mentioned about your son with "limited" school time, snacks even if they don't eat right, play time, etc.
I don't really have any advice for you, just empathy. I don't even have family to come help, like you have your sister and brother in law. All I get are "I'm sorry you are going through this, it will get better." It's me and my daughter dealing 24/7.
I wish you luck.
My husband and my dtr both LOVED being inpatient psychiatric hospital.
did it help anything? nope. but it sure had some high bills for us to figure out how to pay. Actually several times in the long run it made things worse, becuz psychiatric hospital would change medications- and then non hospital psychiatrist would get confused and things would wind up getting worse. plus we often had the darned docs engage in power struggles over how to handle things, and what medications to use etc.and it complicated things even more, forcing me to be standing there playing referee saying HEY GUYS HELLO!
Even things my dtr learned in psychiatric hospital- they were very hard to bring out to day to day life. In psychiatric hospital, everyone had the same script and the peeers knew what everyone was doing and why- but in "real life" the peers, schoool, etc had NO idea just what difficult child was doing or trying to do even when she DID try to use her newly learned psychiatric hospital skills. :-(
I finally changed my signature to better reflect the situation. Sorry, I kept forgetting to do that!
He's an angry boy. He has a lot to be angry about. He has a lot of control issues. His life circumstances are out of his control. He wants to be "the man of the house". His awareness of himself, our situation and the rest of the world is increasing with age. Once he does something, he knows he can do it again. He's very smart and very determined. Once he realized acting out at school would get him sent home, he did it more. When they tried not to send him home for every little thing AFTER he learned he could get sent home, he escalated until they caved and called me. When his mind is set, he's going all the way. He seems to derive "pleasure" in attaining his goals through violence or manipulative cunning vs. earning things through appropriate behaviors and following directions.
He can also tell you why he shouldn't do the things he does, how he should do things differently, and apologizes for his behavior. Is any of it sincere? That's debatable.
I know that he needs to work on control issues more. I feel he needs to learn a degree of "fear" that is healthy in human beings. I think he needs to learn to chanel his energies, determination and intelligence into worthwhile goals/hobbies. I think he needs to learn more empathy---and this isn't to say he's never had it, just that he seems to have "lost" it somewhere along the way! He used to LOVE being helpful and used to enjoy making other people happy --still does sometimes. It seems he regressed in the area of egocentrism. Everything has become about him. He wants attention, and a lot of it. He suffocates me when he's not attacking me (I mean his neediness, not literal suffocation!). He needs to find "peace" with dad being in prison, however in the world that can be achieved, if at all possible. He needs male role models. He needs more people and activities in his life period, though he doesn't realize the little that is available to us is pushed away by his behavior.
I could go on, but I'll leave it at that for now.
HI - so it really sounds like you are frustrated, tired, angry and at the end of your rope. I know that feeling all too well. My first thought after I read your posts was that there is little compromise in your thoughts. Ayeeeee before you get defensive hear me out because if I hadn't lived it I probably wouldn't recognize it. Okay? K.
In our lives we make a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes as women we think we make more than men. Sometimes as Mothers we are sure we make more than anyone else. And in part I believe this is true. As the Mother of a difficult child we sacrifice a LOT of things that most other parents don't have to. This is not limited to Our careers, our friendships with people who don't understand our children or blame us for their behavior, the dreams we had for ourselves and the dreams we had for that tiny baby that once born was going to change the world just by being there with you.
When I we pregnant with Dude - I had glorious visions of my son coming to me in an audience at college and yelling "And this" (shakes diploma) "Is all due to my Mom who supported me as a single Mother, sacrificed so much - Mom I love you." (and the crowd goes crazy). It included seeing myself as a PTA Mom, baking cupcakes, helping out in a classroom, amazing kids with my slight of hand tricks, drawing for them, and just having what I envisioned a good life." My marriage would get fixed, my son would be handsome and loving, smart - genuine. Little league games, school plays, I even thought about his name and how it would look on the door of his office as a lawyer or veterinarian.
And over the years....a little bit of those dreams died each day. I would bargain with myself and say "Well okay - we didn't have home room cupcakes this year - but we can make a present for the teacher. Or So he's not in sports - I'll help him with chess or share a passion for books or animals. And as the years went by I ate the bittersweet reality that MY DREAM was not meant to be. I tried to push square pegs into round holes and MAKE my son fit as much as I could. And he didn't. The harder I tried, the worse he got. He must feel as though he's a tremendous disappointment to me, and he isn't. But I had to learn to let go of my dreams.
And when someone suggested medicines? OMG I went ballistic. THIS was the ONLY baby anyone knew who was "green" - cloth diapers, no preservatives, breast fed etc.....and now you want to poison him? Oh God tell me this isn't happening. WHen it came down to either being expelled in 1st grade or staying in school - I cried all the way to the pharmacy and bawled the first time I handed him a pill. He was so little - he was so cute, he was so angry - and lashing out. At 6 we had him placed in the state hospital and evaluated and they put him on medications (3) got him stable and sent him home.
Sending him home would have been great if I had been going to classes for myself to learn how to deal with a kid like him. My bitterness and sarcastic tone overshadowed the best of intentions I had to fix him and love him. At times I thought about being vindictive - to a 6 year old. He was so blankety blank mean. He destroyed things, he embarrassed me in public, he made sure I lost a 40k a year job with a future. He was out of control and I was STILL trying to put him in the Go to school, be a good kid, I'll be the PTA mom, and soccer camp person....and he wanted NOTHING to do with any of MY DREAMS and this made ME angry on so many levels I can remember shaking his shoulders one afternoon and saying "YOU JUST CAN'T GIVE ME ANYTHING CAN YOU?" and storming to my bedroom expecting him to cry and we make up - and instead he went outside and played like nothing happened.
For a while I was on Food stamps (2 months) and I found a PT job to work and be at home. I got community assistance a few times, and tried to return the foodstamps card after the 2nd month because I got a job. Dude was getting out of the hospital and so I had to put him in daycare. Currently we are blacklisted from every day care in the county. News travels fast - bad news travels faster. And I was alone. I had a crazy x husband who was trying to hunt us down and kill us. I had a mentally challenged mother in law who cried every time she got near the phone with my son on it - begging him to solve a drug addicts problems - (her son my x)
It was insane. And...I was going to therapy at the same time and So was my son. Medicaid paid for his - I cleaned offices and bathrooms to pay for mine. I got no child support, nothing. We were on our own.
Eventually - someone talked to me like I'm talking to you and told me their story. See my son at age 6 took a hand held sling blade off the wall (antique decoration) and shot out the door of our home and after another child in the neighborhood. If I hadn't caught him - the kid would be dead and my son would be in jail still. He had snapped. And he was so out of it he destroyed an ER waiting room and 2 police came and handcuffed him to the bed which he proceeded to destroy. What was I to do? I had to work - I needed a place for us to call home. I had to put gas in my car, I had to pay bills, I was TRYING so hard to make a place for us, and he was slipping out of reality. He beat up teachers at day care, he pushed a toddler and made him hit his head - they had to take him to the ER. He pushed little girls, caused fights, hit everyone when he didn't get his way. He threw stuff, screamed, busted a window, threw his mattress OUT the window - tore his bed apart, literally - and all this while I'm trying to BEG someone for help.
Finally the therapist I was seeing (not believing me I think about my son) suggested that if he was a danger to himself or others - I should take him to the ER. I did that - and like I said he went to the hospital. It was the worst day of my life and in some ways the best.
While he was in the hospital - he got help with how to control his temper and exercises to do when he was getting upset. They showed him alternative things he COULD do other than hit. I got headbutted one time he broke my nose. No remorse. But after he came out of the hospital - we both started counseling, I went to every parent group meeting I could - If Dude got out of control there - we left. I tried to get educated as much as I could and talk to as many people who would KNOW the contacts for my son if they saw him. Sitting in my house keeping him from the world did not do either of us any good.
So when you say you aren't sure about giving him medications. I understand. But if he was diabetic would you say NO WAY - not insulin for MY kid. And if he could get some help with his anger wouldn't you send him where others have gotten help? Anywhere =even a hospital??? And if you thought you could go to group meetings and talk with other parents about how he behaves - and get help - could you overlook the feeling of being embarrassed? I tell people I can slap a Maxi pad on my forehead and walk through walmart now on a Saturday and not be embarrassed.....and I mean it. I'm a lot tougher thanks to my kid. I've developed some really neat faces to make when people stare too.
I'm telling you - it's okay to let go of the movie in your head of how you think your sons life should have been. Only you knew what was playing in that theater anyway! Your son has a whole different thought. And that's okay too. If you can't figure out a rubics cube by turning the square over and over - you can't peel the stickers off =you just have to get help. If that help means doing things you don't think you can do - you can. If it means some time with a therapeutic foster family who is trained well - and you aren't sure about letting him go to them - ASK THEM WHERE YOU CAN GET THEIR KIND OF TRAINING and apply it to your lives.
Don't get discouraged - this is a lifelong battle.....and knowing that there is no magic pill or anything helped me get a grip. I figured as soon as we knew what this was - there would be a pill. Have a headache? Take an aspirin. Have a sprain? Take a Tylenol. Have a kid like mine? Take a ritalin. And if it were that simple - there wouldn't be this board, or thousands of families all trying to find mental health help. Ask your professors at school - someone has to know something for a single mom to do. Bug people - keep notes and I bless you with the strength of 100 pit bulls. (shazam) lol
Keep coming back here too - it is a GREAT outlet. Ask about books you can get free from the library - educate yourself about your son and his condition as much as you would if you wanted a Ph.d. in Mothering.
What an eloquent speech. Thank you for that. I too, know exactly the dream that is lost, the career that is no more, the head-butted broken nose that saw no medical treatment, the looks in the grocery store, and the feeling on giving psychotropic medications to my children. It is a Battle which we cannot surrender to for we are the only soldiers willing to fight for the lives of our children.
So, thank you, for you incredibly insightful comments. Someone reading this board tonight will be saved by you.
Butterflydreams---sorry you're family is of no help. I've only recently got this help from my sister and her husband and I'm CONSTANTLY in extreme gratitude for it cause I knew how it felt when NO ONE was helping me. I'm so humbled by it...they keep telling me to call when I need them and I start feeling bad cause they're taking on the burden yet going through their own stuff (they're supposed to be getting a divorce! brother in law isn't working and sis is actually staying with-grandma, completely stressed herself with 3 kids...but they both want to help me out....warms my heart!) Everyone else in my family says the "it'll get better" thing too. I hope you find some help along the way, it's so hard to deal with.
Dreamer---you have so much experience to draw from! And I once was on the list for section 8 housing years ago. I probably didn't change my address on it when I moved though...I can't recall, but I never got any housing assistance anyway. The wait lists are ridiculously long! I've used " emergency rental assistance" once before from some church when I needed help with rent one month, but you can only get it once so that's out. I worked in a transitional housing office for a workstudy job a while back and was always so frustrated cause they only gave it to people transitioning out of shelters, yet people could get up to 2 years assistance through that program. People would call in saying they were on the verge of eviction but unless they had stayed in a shelter for a month, we couldn't help them. Too bad I got fired from that job, my boss was a big fat -B- and fired me cause my son and I got sick back-to-back and I was in school full-time so I missed several days of work. You have to wonder why she wouldn't be understanding in that line of work?! Good Lord.
Ah cr@p, it's time to pick up difficult child from daycare---don't want to be late! (ok, yes I do)
yeah, the wait list here for houseing is ....3 years + long right now, and has been for at least 15 years.
I was gonna leave husband once.....signed up for houseing, waited my 3 years........my name came up- but becuz husband and I were still in our house, they would not let me move to houseing, and until I left I could not put anything ELSE into place.
Before my son was born, I helped out my own brother-- he had his own difficult child and they were at whits end. I wound up taking in my bros stepson into my house---after they left him at phsop- and I had him for a few years......BUT..my bro at that time washed his hands of ALL kidlets. He had ASKED me to take in the stepson, tho- altho they contributed nothing to care or support--(and neither did county or state) But thats about the extent of any "help" LOL- me helping my bro with his stepson.
I understand your feelings of being totally against medicine for your child.
I had a personal experience that changed my feelings about it. About 4 years ago, my daughter hurt her back and was out of school for 6 weeks. During this time, I decided I was depressed and asked my doctor for an a/d. The very first day that I took it, I felt like I must have been depressed my whole life. I wasn't irritated by the things that used to irritate me, that I thought would irritate anyone.
I had more control over myself than difficult child 1 did. I didn't scream and hit people. But I did always have an irritated tone in my voice at home. I knew I needed to work on it but the words would just be out of my mouth before I could stop them. Once I got on that a/d, I wasn't irritated by little things anymore and the tone just went away. That made me truly believe that there is some chemical process that affects our mood. So it made me feel that it would be unfair to difficult child to expect her to cope with something that wasn't really in her control when help was available.
I knew there were risks to the medicine but I knew there were risks to her being without the medicine, too.
As it turns out, I later discovered that difficult child 1's and my problems with depression were really caused by a food allergy. We eliminated the foods and don't need the a/d any more. But again, the food was changing our brain chemistry, in a bad way, and making it difficult to cope with frustration, anger, anxiety, etc. difficult child 1 is a pretty typical pre-teen unless she eats the wrong food. Then it is right back to the old difficult child ways.
All of this convinces me that some of these kids really can't control themselves, through no fault of their own.
I hope this doesn't offend you. You know your child best. I just wanted to share my own experience with medications and how they helped me.
Since you are opposed to medications, have you tried any diet changes? We are gluten and casein free. It has made a big difference. We do have to be super, super strict for it to work, though.
How long has he been on the medications?
in my opinion, you really have to factor in the fact he is coming off medications right now - and was evidently on the wrong ones to begin with. I don't think you can make any choices regarding him until he is medication free for at least a month. You have to think of his brain right now as if it is being mixed with an egg beater - it must be all over the place because the brain chemicals are constantly changing as you you d/c the medications.
A phosph can d/c the medications faster, and safer.........have you thought about that?
Also a phosph will not do a true IQ psychiatric test unless you demand/request it. It is a full day, or 2 day test where you get his IQ as well as many other facts about his brain and functioning. This is really the only way to diagnosis Aspergers and other such neurological disorders - I would suggest this be part of difficult children future plan.
I think Star made very good points. You are focusing on the "it won't work" part of this.
Our kids NEED us to be super flexible - like a sideshow attraction.
We HAVE to learn new skills constantly. We HAVE to come to terms with our own grief, the grief for that wonderful baby, child, adult we were ready to raise. It stins, and is super hard.
We also have to get out of our own way. Sometimes we need to make SURE the tdocs and psychiatrists and others SEE our kids in their full difficult child-glory. Otherwise they don't believe us and can't/won't help us. Take videos. It really helps.
I did something rather controversial while my son was in psychiatric hospital. After many weeks of honeymooning I could see they were sending him home soon. Without addressing any of the problems. They believed me, but they "can't treat what they don't see".
I made them see it. I went into therapy, with advance warning to the therapist, and triggered every behavior I could. It sounds so very cruel, even to me.
I was fighting for his LIFE. Not just him being able to be productive, to live outside of prison, but for his LIFE. At 11 he had a history of serious suicide attempts. I can live with a day of "cruel" button pushing. I can't imagine living after my baby killed himself. (Your difficult child is not showing this, I just want to show you MY mindset)
He exploded. Violent, foul mouthed, destructive, hideous. He spilled all sorts of stuff I didn't know he had done. MOSTLY stuff he had done to his little sister, some to his little brother.
That was the day our healing started.
We ALL had to learn new ways to behave. I took all sorts of parenting classes, husband did when his schedule allowed, and he juggled that schedule like he had gone to Clown College! The other kids, and my parents, all were going to therapy.
It took radical shifts in thinking and behavior. He is now a junior, all college prep classes finished by the end of this year, and a 2 year vocational program in place and paid for through grants.
You are adamantly against so many things. That is your right. We will support you. But we do have some experience and information.
One piece is that mental illness is most likely a result of mis-wiring in the brain or of brain chemistry problems. If the solution is physical, then sometimes a physical solution is needed. (NOT talking about spanking, hitting, or other types of violence - those jsut don't help.) If his brain chemistry is off so much that he can't function, and that he can't make safe choices, then he may need chemicals to balance things. And medication is a tough, long, scary path. We want a quick fix. But it isn't there. Even after teh medications are at the right level it takes weeks or months to see if they work.
If his brain is wired differently, then there may be things to help fix the wiring. In children with sensory integration disorder the brushing therapy literally helps create new pathways in the brain. Other therapies can help like this with SOME disorders.
From been there done that, when we dealt with the brain chemistry imbalances, and with the physical problem of tooooo much sensory input from living with too many other kids, my son turned around. Very little of the manipulation, no violence, and a reasonably happy kid.
If we had insisted he stay in a situation that overloaded him (life at home with husband, me, and his 2 sibs) he would not have recovered. If we had not paid attention to his brain chemistry problems (unipolar depression) then he would still be suicidal, if he was alive.
While medications are very scary, so are the diseases. I know the pull of school, work, money, lack of family support. been there done that. I was HORRIFIED to learn that biplar has a MORTALITY rate of 30% (the bipolar child - first version), and depression also has a very high mortality rate.
What kinds of interventions do you think would help? You don't have to post them here, but write them down. Be as specific as possible - when he starts to rage, it would help to XYZ. Then you have more of an idea what to ask for when you go for help at school, the DV shelter, etc... (and you may need a supervisor to get help there - often the first level people are just out of school and don't know all the ropes).
Try the support groups. Go 4 or 5 times to each one that feels appropriate. It will be enough to get you over the "new person" feeling and to get a true idea of the feel, direction, and possibilities. I would bet good $$$ that MANY of the peopel there with kids have dealt with some level of violence from them.
Sorry so long. I got wordy again. I do understand the dislike, even hating, of medications foryour kids. I DO support you. I think if you can read some books about the working of the brain in children who have any types of disorders similar to your kids it would help. NOT help you see that "medications are the only way" but see what specifically may help your child.
feelinalone, I was thinking about your post last night before bed and when I woke up this morning Susiestar had taken the time to explain some of what I was feeling. When I read your descriptions of your son, I see collectively in your posts a long list of attitudes and behaviors that you feel that your son has to learn. It reminds me of the kinds of first posts that we often read where parents have this list of things they blame their child for in contrast to those we read later when the parent is further down the road and realizes the child has a neurological disorder. I did a lot of blaming my son for his issues in those early years and when we finally had a diagnosis I started blaming the neurological condition instead. This may not sound like a big deal but for me it was huge: when I had a list of behaviors I blamed him for I drew lines in the sand and expected him to reach them and experienced a lot of anger and frustration when he couldn't. When I started to grasp the depth of a neurological disorder on a child's thought processes and behaviors, I started to change. I started feeling far more compasion as I realized this wasn't a case of "he won't", it was a case of "he can't". He can't follow my oral multi-step instructions because he's totally tuned into printed language...and I need to increase use of printed language and put a plan in place to boost auditory processing skills. He can't see things through the eyes of others because he's been wired up with an egocentric mindset...and that needs to be addressed with social skills training at home and school: speech therapy, coached playdates, etc. He can't comply with my request because he's been wired up with a knee-jerk reaction to authority...so I need to back down my expectations and relearn how to approach him to accomplish my goals. He's manipulative...because he has problems in the area of sensory integration/executive funtion/language and auditory processing/fine motor/etc so he needs compassion and adaptations until he catches on to the training.
I'm confused here--after two inpatient stays and an IEP, and a description of what appears to be a violent, fairly non-functional child, aren't you suspecting there are underlying neurological disorders? Was the iniital assessment route through psychiatrist and therapist or has more thorough diagnostic work been done?
I don't mean to be unkind here-I grew up in a home with a single parent struggling to keep it together with a difficult child child so I know how draining it is. But I think the chances of progress are slim unless connections are made between behaviors and underlying neurological issues, which in turn can facilitate understanding and guide interventions.
I'll just chime in that I have bipolar. I was one great big suicide trip until my current medications. I can finally live life. I'd literally be dead without my medications. I went to therapy for twenty years and until I was put on this particular medication, I could not function at all. I am not a zombie, I'm just not sick anymore. I consider my medications just something I take at night, like if I took insulin for diabetes. The behaviors your son has are very extreme. in my opinion he is likely mentally ill and that is a physical problem. (((Hugs))) I know it's hard, trust me.
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