Opposition defiant disorder

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by firstangel, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    Hi Everybody, I'm new here and a single mum of a 5 yrs old son recently diagnosed with ODD. I'm looking for help and support here, friends, people who have been through what I'm going through and that can undertstand, all the suggestions I can get, because I knew being a single mum was going to be difficult, but I didn't expect it to be THIS HARD.
    And I want to help my son if it kills me!!
    Help me to help him

  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    {{{firstangel}}} Welcome to our little corner of cyberspace, I'm so sorry you had to find us. But you aren't alone anymore. I have a few questions about your son:

    *How is his development? Did he meet his milestones on time?
    *What sort of behaviors do you see that prompted you to seek help?
    *What sort of doctor diagnosed your son?
    *How is he doing in school academically? Socially?
    *Does he have any underlying medical conditions?
    *Is there a history of mental illness, neurological or behavior disorders in his family tree?
    *Any alcohol or substance abuse in either family?

    I know that's a lot of questions but it will help our members point you in the right direction. Just remember that we aren't doctors so we can't diagnose, but we can share our experiences and offer our support. Many of us have found that our children have an underlying condition that fuels the ODD, even though ODD can be a stand-alone diagnosis. Also, what are you doing to take care of yourself? Having a child with ODD can be draining at best. It can be quiet on the weekends but others will be along.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    You've come to a really great place for support. Like Tiredmommy said, it will help if we know a little more about your child and the questions she posed are great jumping-off points for us to know more.

  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Welcome Firstangel! I am looking forward to learning a little more about your son and what steps you have taken thus far. Answers to Tiredmommy's questions will open up some suggestions and may find people here that have gone through things similar to what you are going through.

    I would add one more question - "What type of support system do you have?" Has your son been in day care giving you a break and also if you have a great day care provider, that person may be able to help with advise as to which clinics in your area have the best services for your son. Do you have a good connection with his teachers? Any relatives or friends close by to help watch your son while you take a break from being a parent for an hour or so.

    I can tell from your visit here that you want to do everything possible to help your son. Remember though, that in order to help him properly, you need to be as healthy as you can. Take good care of yourself - not just body, but soul - meaning take time to do things that bring you pleasure as a person. Allow yourself to find joy in your hobbies. This will go a long way with keeping from getting too deep into that burned out feeling.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome firstangel! I'm glad you found us, but sorry you needed to.

    It is really quite rare for a child, especially such a young one, to carry a stand-alone ODD diagnosis. We on the board have found, as TM has pointed out, that oppositional behaviors are typically fueled by an underlying condition such as ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, etc. When the underlying condition is identified and treated (with medications, therapy, school interventions, etc), the oppositional behaviors generally subside and improve. We strongly recommend that children with oppositional behaviors have an evaluation with a neuropsychologist (if that specialty exists in Italy).

    We also recommend reading The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. It has helped many of us here parent our extra-challenging children.

    Again, welcome.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I read your other post for a little more info - you initially thought your son might be Aspie but a neuropsychologist evaluation diagnosed ODD.

    I have a couple of concerns -

    1) Your son is still only 5 years old. It's difficult to get a diagnosis right at this age so it's always good to keep an open mind, get a broader opinion maybe.

    2) As others have already said, in most cases (if not all - the jury is still out) an underlying problem will produce the appearance of ODD. Treat the underlying problem and you find the ODD responding.

    What is ODD? What causes it?
    I find the more I read about psychological/psychiatric 'disorders', the more I feel that labels can be applied to anything, even moon mist. Of course some of these labels are valid, but I'm certain that many are merely the over-psychologisation of what is perhaps a normal response of an individual to an often extraordinary situation. I'm not saying that psychologists or psychiatrists are wrong to use these labels since it gives them a better understanding of the individual. But I think often WE are wrong if we think that a label always indicates a disease process.

    You've had "The Explosive Child" recommended for you to read - I endorse that. But books are always recommended, you could go broke if you bought everything. I recommend getting a book out of the library or maybe seeing what you can find out about it elsewhere. But this is a book which I bought, and I actually have very few such books on the shelf. Most were given to me, but I went out and bought this one after all the reading on this site told me it would help. And it has.

    If you want a bit more of a look at this book and what it advises, check out the Early Childhood forum on this site and look at the sticky on "Explosive Child". What the book is saying, basically, is that we need to get into the child's head and see the world through his eyes. We start from there and work back to what we consider acceptable. In autism or Asperger's, people often lack the ability to learn social skills the way other people learn; they CAN l earn, but need a different approach. If your child has anxiety, for example, or lacks some social skills either similar to autism or simply for any other reason, you will find that their responses can seem very "in your face" but the intention is not the same as for a "noral" person being in your face in the same way.

    Example - difficult child 3's responses when he sees me about to make what he considers a risky mistake. If I pick up a piece of paper with some numbers printed on it that seem meaningless, and I'm about to throw it out - I might get difficult child 3 screaming at me, "Don't be an idiot! That's important! Leave it alone! It's mine!"
    An observer might think, "What a rude child, to speak to his mother like that!"
    A teacher who doesn't know him might say, "Well, just for being so rude, I WILL throw this away!"
    Throwing the paper away after that outburst would trigger a massive rage with probable physical attack.
    It sure looks like ODD and out of control behaviour and raging.

    Now, let's look at it again from difficult child 3's perspective.
    His mother picks up off the floor a vital piece of paper, it has the only copy of cheat codes for his favourite game. He'd been playing the game earlier and forgotten where he left tat paper, and it was left on the floor. But oh, now! Mum is about to throw it away! It took weeks to get those codes, the game will have to be played form scratch and all those levels he's earned will be lost. MUST stop Mum throwing it away!
    [the panic at this stage is similar to a parent seeing her child running in front of a truck on the highway - and how do WE react when we see that?]

    If our response to the child's panicked reaction is to follow through, get angry at the rudeness and then throw the paper away anyway - it's similar to a child standing on the road in front of a truck saying to the mother, "I'll only get off the road if you ask me nicely."
    We'd be tearing our hair out and would possibly even run onto the road, grab the child and deliver a sound spanking.
    But turn that around from the child's point of view - to a child who does not see that there was a problem, and whose social skills cannot see a difference in status between an adult or a child (or parent or offspring), then being dragged off the road and given a sound thrashing only seems like an adult asserting control over the child based on the inequality of size. Revenge. Bullying. All for it's own sake.

    What "Explosive Child" teaches, is how to see it from the child's point of view, so you can USE this to eventually help the child see YOUR point of view.

    When it all boils down, few children choose to be oppositional for its own sake. But they get into the habit of being oppositional, because it becomes reflexive, they're too used to adults in their life being oppositional from their point of view). The adult putting the paper in the bin anyway, is an adult "teaching the child a lesson". But such lessons can go both ways, and some kids learn fast. Too fast.

    Too often we have been raised with the view that we are the adults, the children are subordinate, they must learn to respect us. And so we impose our wills and enforce it through our size, our position of control and other forms of control. With a lot of kids, this works. But it is imperfect and, frankly, unfair when you really analyse it.

    Some children need to be controlled. But a suprising number of children, including ones you feel arfe impulsive and out of control, do best when they are taught self-control rather than control imposed form without.

    With most child-raising, parental control is applied first and we move from there towards teaching self-control. But with the ODD-seeming kids, the imposition of parental control (or teacher control) is where the problems start. The child tries to impose their own controls in return, following the example that has been set. These are the kids who learn best by imitation. They are good mimics, they say, "Show me how to do that!"
    The trouble is, they learn EVERYTHING we do. This means you have to watch yourself more closely and ensure you are consistent in everything you do. You can't say, "Don't eat chocolate biscuits before dinner, you'll spoil your appetite," and then let him see you eat a chocolate biscuit. It does no good to say, "But I know I WILL eat MY dinner," because he only sees one rule for him, a different rule for you. And in these children's eyes, anything unfair is deliberately imposed and is therefore to be challenged and overthrown.

    Did you son have any language delay? What are the characteristics that initially had you thinking about the possibility of Asperger's? What is his father like? You indicated in your other post that his father isn't much use to you in this. That seems to indicate a possible familial pattern. However, inheriting something like this isn't a certainty, there are environmental factors. Scientists are still trying to fully understand how these conditions develop, either genetically or environmentally. One of FG3's early teachers told us she understood Asperger's and autism, because of her identical twins, one has Asperger's and the other does not. While ever we have a situation where identical twins can be so different, we know there has to be an environmental/developmental factor.

    I'm glad you found us, sorry you needed to. Welcome.

    Read the book (or any info on it). It can help you cope day to day.

  7. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    First of all I would like to thank you all for your support, this is my first post here and I guess you all remember how it feels..
    Now more about my son:

    *How is his development? Did he meet his milestones on time?
    He did meet his milestones on time. Had some difficulties at birth, but no particular problems apart from gastic reflux (sorry I'm not sure this is the right english) for the first 18-20 months and lack of sleep for the first 5 months because he couldn't keep anything in his stomach and was always hungry. Started walking at 11 months, speaking on time, some delay in using the bathroom and for a couple of months, while we were trying to get rid of the diaper, he used to play with his stool.

    *What sort of behaviors do you see that prompted you to seek help?
    He's always had a "difficult character". 2-3 yrs old tantrums lasted 45min/1hr instead of the usual 10 mins. Real problems started when he joined pre-school at 3. He would cry every morning and even wake up at night because he wouldn't want to go. He wouldn't do group activities, wouldn't listen to the teachers and get mad and shout at them if asked to do something. The teachers suggested a family therapy (his father had already left the house at the time) with a psycologist who noted some development delay (such as very infantile drawings and difficulties in holding the pen right) and suggested to see a child neuropsychiatrist, who diagnosed him with ODD.
    I felt something was not right with him way before that, and thought it might be aspergers because he would avoid eye contact, would have problems with prolonged noises, or with harsh noises in particular, he would completely freak out, stop in his feet and start trembling.
    He had (still has actually) very restricted and absorbing interests, like the solar system for example, and knows every little detail about it, especially numbers and statistics.
    He runs in an odd way and is very clumsy. Can rarely get a joke, tends to get the literal meaning instad.
    When asked questions he doesn't like he won't answer, or change subject or make sounds with his mouth (since he knows that irritates me :))
    But the neuropsychiatrist ruled asperger out of the way, and since his tantrums are getting worse, he can't make friends and he would practically roar at anyone who tries to approach him, I guess she's right..

    *What sort of doctor diagnosed your son?
    A neuropsychiatrist

    *How is he doing in school academically? Socially?
    Quite poorly in both. Can't keep still and finish works at school, and gets into fights with other kids

    *Does he have any underlying medical conditions?
    Not that I know of

    *Is there a history of mental illness, neurological or behavior disorders in his family tree?
    I've had depression when he was 8 months old, got medication and out of it in a about a year. A relapse when he was 3 and a half, medications and out of it in 6/8 months. His father has problems with managing rage, and has tantrums very similar to those of our son, during which he's completely out of control.

    *Any alcohol or substance abuse in either family?
    No. My brother had gambling and drug addiction long time before my son was born and he's been out of it for some time now.
  8. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    As for the underlying condition that could trigger ODD what do you think I should do? The neuropsychiatric hasn't mentioned anything about it, actually she didn't even explained what ODD was, I had to search the web to find what it is about. Should I get another evaluation?
    And what about medications? No one mentioned medications to me before, I found out about them on this board. If D.'s father isn't changing his mind again we will start a family therapy soon: should I ask the pediatrician for medications as well, so that both strategies could work better together?

    MARG: thank you for your post, it was very useful, I will definetly get The Explosive Child, it's exactly what I've been trying to do (with no success though): get into D's head and see things from his point of view. Your example is illuminating, can't wait to read the book.
    I think I have answered to your questions about aspergers in my previous post, and no, he did't have any language delay, but please ask me if there are more things you need to know about it.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You know, he has almost all the symptoms of Aspergers. You may want to get a second opinion. Treating an Aspie as if he has ODD won't help him.

    His lack of eye contact and fear of loud noises and his few all encompassing interests and huge red flags for Aspergers. My son was first missdiagnosed with ADHD/ODD. He is on the high end of the autism spectrum. You don't need a speech delay for Aspergers. In fact Aspergers children tend to speak well and use big words and sound like little professors. But they have trouble with give and take conversations, often just answering "yes" or "no" or blurting things out that nobody was talking about. Or they copy things that they heard on television or from teachers. They have great rote memories and can recite the stuff that they hear verbatim. My son also had a fascination with letters and numbers and learned them very early. Colors too. Can you take him to see somebody else?
  10. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My daughter's underlying condition was gluten intolerance. With your son's history of stomach problems, I would look into this. From what I have read, Italy is good about testing everyone for celiac disease, so you could start there, if he hasn't already been tested. After you do that, you could still try a gluten free diet to see if it helped.

    My younger daughter didn't have the behaviour problems but had stomach problems from infancy. Her celiac tests were negative but it turns out that gluten and milk were the problem. Eliminating those cleared up her stomach problems.

    My older daughter didn't have the stomach problems but did have the defiance and irritability. Changing her diet has meant that she no longer needs medications or therapy.

    It might be worth a try for your son. It doesn't always work this way, but for us, it has been the miracle cure.
  11. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    I've split my answer in 3 parts because the first time I wrote it I did
    something wrong and cancelled it :mad:

    To answer your kind questions of how I take care of myself, well.. I don't
    I'm a working mum, 8 hours per day and one every saturday. D's goes to pre-school and has his judo's practise twice a week. I tend to spend all the small remaining time with him, even if sometimes is energy consuming.
    Luckily my parents are both retired, in good health and very supportive. I couldn't cope without them.

    One thing I would like to ask is: has anyone here had a good outcome of ODD?? I've read some posts and they scared me to death, it's like there is no hope for these kids! Can anyone post a positive feedback???

    Thank you again for your help and your patience with my poor English, I hope this was clear enough. And thank you also because I really feel I'm not alone anymore.

  12. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I just can't see how ODD would explain everything that is going on. I would find a psychiatrist and grill him for more info. "This is what I have been given. What does it mean? What is my next step?" Your peds doctor doesn't have the working everyday knowledge of this as a psychiatrist would. When I was asked why I wanted a referral to a psychiatrist, I honestly stated I wanted to work with someone who had more background in anxiety disorders. That was hard for me to do because difficult child's pediatrician doctor is tops in his field, I almost felt like I was insulting him but I was not.

    What did the neuropsychologist say about the result? What did he say your next step should be?

    Has your son had a complete physical, seen an eye doctor, been sent to a hearing specialist? Maybe someone here can tell you if there is a specialist to see for the possible celiac disease?

    Like others said, ODD is usually a result of a underlying condition. Your son does not feel well or right. He is refusing to follow directions because he is overwhelmed in dealing with what is going on around him.

    It does sound like there is a lot of medical things to look at to explain what is going on. Those things can erase the ODD once taken care of. It may take time to chisel away at but once you find the answers, I am optomistic that the ODD part will go away or atleast become very managable. It is possible that more than one thing is going on so don't stop at the next answer, check everything out - eyes, ears, stomach, ect. ect.

    I do understand that you want/need to spend every spare time with your son. Do you enjoy the job you have? If so, that will help - stress at work (especially with a co-worker) would make things even harder for you. I am glad you have parents to help also.
  13. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    Thing is that the neuropsychiatric didn't explain a lot, just gave me this peice of paper, raccomended family therapy and I had to find out what it was about once home. My guess is that she wanted to wait for both of us parents to go back for family therapy in order to give us complete explanation. But maybe I'm too optimistic??..
    And no one ever said anything about having him tested for celiac disease, or having his eyes or hearing checked, which I'll do immediately.
    I'll try to talk again with the neuropsychiatric about AS syndrome and eventually look for a second opinion because (I quote you MidwestMom)
    "they have trouble with give and take conversations, often just answering "yes" or "no" or blurting things out that nobody was talking about. Or they copy things that they heard on television or from teachers. They have great rote memories and can recite the stuff that they hear verbatim. My son also had a fascination with letters and numbers and learned them very early" is exactly the way my son acts and adding this with the other symptoms he has, makes me want to go further into this.

    Andy: I do love my job luckily!! :) And my co-workers are great..

    I was wondering: might the underlying condition triggering ODD symptoms be a consequence of the separation? Is it possible or it necessarily must be a health condition?
  14. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Hey, firstangel. I'm glad you have your parents for support. I don't know what I would have done without my Mom! (My dad is deceased.)

    NO. I absolutely do not believe such extreme symptoms would be brought on by the separation. Sure, children have difficulties related to that, but they also have difficulties remaining in a home where people don't get along. I hope you aren't blaming yourself.

    The self-care is so important, and I've had trouble with that myself. Remember it doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive, though. It doesn't even necessarily have to make you find a babysitter. Things you like to do around home, for instance. This morning, I took a time-out here to stretch out in the sun in my kitchen and pretend I was somewhere warm! It was neat to feel the sun beaming down on me so warm while just on the other side of the glass door, the deck is covered with snow! Burn a candle you like. What about pets? I've loved having my two big dogs for the last couple of years! Getting them, by the way, was a move that would have caused HUGE conflict here if I'd still been married. Probably would never have been able to get them. There are a few advantages to being a single mom, being able to make certain decisions without any negotiation.

    Try to re-think possibilities that would work for you, to have some positive, de-stressing time for yourself.

    And keep posting!
  15. firstangel

    firstangel New Member

    I am blaming myself, of course. Not for the separation though, that's the one thing I got right. I blame myself for getting back to work when D. was only 2 months old, it was part time, but it was too early nontheless. I blame myself for not being able to help him, for not understanding him, for loosing my patience too often, for his being so miserable he had to develope all these symptom for me to notice..
    But you're right, I will take care of myself eventually, I know I have to and I need to.
    And thank you for your help last night, I really appreciate it, it had been a bad day and your answers made me feel better and not alone.
  16. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    You're welcome. I'm glad I was able to help a little.

    I really think nature has somehow programmed moms to assume that when things go wrong, it has to be because we made some critical mistake. It's really an unfair quirk of nature. As soon as we find that one of our possible "mistakes" was not the culprit, we immediately go searching for another way we caused the problems.

    Over the years, I've met a few moms I really believe are bad mothers. They are not the ones searching the internet for answers and taking their children to professionals for evaluations. Despite that, some children of these "bad moms" thrive anyway. Back to the "nature vs. nurture" argument. A complicated mix for sure.

    Many mothers go back to work soon after baby's birth, for whatever reason, and most often they think at the time that it's the best choice overall. And...most of the time the child has no ill effects. Even if the child did, though, is it reasonable to think it would be this severe?

    I hope you will work on the self-care sooner rather than later. This is one way to help your child too. A happier mother makes for a happier child. Children always pick up on our emotions and stresses, no matter how hard we try to smooth it over and act like nothing is wrong.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I really think, if your son sounds like my son, you should read up on Aspergers more. It is often missed by professionals and it does need intervention or the child will not learn the necessary social skills for life. I don't see how the neuropsychologist could not question Aspergers if your son repeats things he hears, has an early interest in letters/numbers/colors/memorizing things (these kids can be early readers, yet have no comprehension), has poor eye contact, and can not sit still. The not sitting still often gets a wrong diagnosis of ADHD. Does your son have trouble stopping one activity and moving on to another? Does this cause him to rage? Does he get upset in crowded, busy places?

    It is common for spectrum children to have stomach problems too. Mine doesn't, but a lot do. I'd test for both.

    Here is an article I found about Aspergers in childhood:
    What are some common signs or symptoms?

    The most distinguishing symptom of AS is a child's obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Some children with AS have become experts on vacuum cleaners, makes and models of cars, even objects as odd as deep fat fryers. Children with AS want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors.

    Children with AS will gather enormous amounts of factual information about their favorite subject and will talk incessantly about it, but the conversation may seem like a random collection of facts or statistics, with no point or conclusion.

    Their speech may be marked by a lack of rhythm, an odd inflection, or a monotone pitch. Children with AS often lack the ability to modulate the volume of their voice to match their surroundings. For example, they will have to be reminded to talk softly every time they enter a library or a movie theatre.

    Unlike the severe withdrawal from the rest of the world that is characteristic of autism, children with AS are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. In fact, they may approach other people, but make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by wanting only to talk about their singular interest.

    Children with AS usually have a history of developmental delays in motor skills such as pedaling a bike, catching a ball, or climbing outdoor play equipment. They are often awkward and poorly coordinated with a walk that can appear either stilted or bouncy.

    Many children with AS are highly active in early childhood, and then develop anxiety or depression in young adulthood. Other conditions that often co-exist with AS are ADHD, tic disorders (such as Tourette syndrome), depression, anxiety disorders, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
    How is it diagnosed?

    The diagnosis of AS is complicated by the lack of a standardized diagnostic screen or schedule. In fact, because there are several screening instruments in current use, each with different criteria, the same child could receive different diagnoses, depending on the screening tool the doctor uses.

    To further complicate the issue, some doctors believe that AS is not a separate and distinct disorder. Instead, they call it high-functioning autism (High-Functioning Autism (HFA)), and view it as being on the mild end of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum with symptoms that differ -- only in degree -- from classic autism. Some clinicians use the two diagnoses, AS or High-Functioning Autism (HFA), interchangeably. This makes gathering data about the incidence of AS difficult, since some children will be diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) instead of AS, and vice versa.

    Most doctors rely on the presence of a core group of behaviors to alert them to the possibility of a diagnosis of AS. These are:

    • abnormal eye contact
    • aloofness
    • the failure to turn when called by name
    • the failure to use gestures to point or show
    • a lack of interactive play
    • a lack of interest in peers
    Some of these behaviors may be apparent in the first few months of a child's life, or they may appear later. Problems in at least one of the areas of communication and socialization or repetitive, restricted behavior must be present before the age of 3.

    The diagnosis of AS is a two-stage process. The first stage begins with developmental screening during a 'well-child' check-up with a family doctor or pediatrician. The second stage is a comprehensive team evaluation to either rule in or rule out AS. This team generally includes a psychologist, neurologist, psychiatrist, speech therapist, and additional professionals who have expertise in diagnosing children with AS.

    The comprehensive evaluation includes neurologic and genetic assessment, with in-depth cognitive and language testing to establish IQ and evaluate psychomotor function, verbal and non-verbal strengths and weaknesses, style of learning, and independent living skills. An assessment of communication strengths and weaknesses includes evaluating non-verbal forms of communication (gaze and gestures); the use of non-literal language (metaphor, irony, absurdities, and humor); patterns of inflection, stress and volume modulation; pragmatics (turn-taking and sensitivity to verbal cues); and the content, clarity, and coherence of conversation. The physician will look at the testing results and combine them with the child's developmental history and current symptoms to make a diagnosis.
    Are there treatments available?

    The ideal treatment for AS coordinates therapies that address the three core symptoms of the disorder: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. There is no single best treatment package for all children with AS, but most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

    An effective treatment program builds on the child's interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the child's attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior. This kind of program generally includes:

    social skills training, a form of group therapy that teaches children with AS the skills they need to interact more successfully with other children

    cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of 'talk' therapy that can help the more explosive or anxious children to manage their emotions better and cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines

    medication, for co-existing conditions such as depression and anxiety

    occupational or physical therapy, for children with sensory integration problems or poor motor coordination

    specialized speech/language therapy, to help children who have trouble with the pragmatics of speech " the give and take of normal conversation

    parent training and support, to teach parents behavioral techniques to use at home
    Do children with AS get better? What happens when they become adults?

    With effective treatment, children with AS can learn to cope with their disabilities, but they may still find social situations and personal relationships challenging. Many adults with AS are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's not necessarily abnormal, although sometimes we feel a bit concerned by it. easy child as a baby once painted the inside of her crib with the contents of her nappy.

    Thank you for the detail in his early problems. Yes, the relationship break-up has to be considered, but sometimes it's easy to blame everything on that and not consider a possible coexisting problem. Similarly, it's easy to blame something else when it could just be the break-up.
    In this case, though, pen grip is mentioned as being a problem - that isn't the relationship's fault.

    Your description of the behaviours - I am amazed that Asperger's has been ruled out and would want to know why, since there seem to be very many hallmarks of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. I have noted that sometimes some specialists have very fixed ideas on what constitutes Asperger's or autism, and these fixed ideas are often very inflexible (I guess! - they ARE fixed ideas!) and also differ from the way others are diagnosing it. Asperger's is still very subjective in how it is diagnosed. For example, I am in Australia and my kids have been diagnosed through a slightly different process. In the US, difficult child 3 might get a diagnosis of Asperger's rather than autism, because some specialists see Asperger's as the correct label for ALL high-functioning autistics. I've even had specialists here describe difficult child 3 as Aspie, because he can talk. In other words, if he has language, he's Aspie. But he was diagnosed when his language was very disordered, which means by that logic the diagnosis changed once he acquired language. This goes against most understanding of autism, which is that it is for life. However, the diagnosis doesn't mean that the person can't learn to adapt and pass as 'normal'. But when they do, they still need to be given credit for the constant effort they have to put in, in order to cope and seem to be fine.

    Back to your son - think about how the world must seem to him, from his point of view. I can't say what is really going on in his head, but I can guess and hopefully get close. The poor eye contact - sometimes it's because they don't understand the visual cues from the face and find looking at a face distracts them from what the person is saying. Sometimes it's a control thing - they find looking at a face a bit confronting and a bit scary, because the other person is looking back. I remember as a young child, being scared of a friend of my mother's because the lady had thick, dark eyebrows and silver hair - the contrast made her seem to have a cranky expression and I was scared she was cross with me. But if I didn't look at her, I was more comfortable with her talking to me. Despite this, looking back and even with modern diagnostic guidelines, I don't think I would have got an Aspie diagnosis. I might have come close, though. I'm sure I had Aspie traits.

    Back to your son again. Other issues - I'm sure he has some sensory problems, from what you describe.
    At 2-3 years old he was having very long-drawn-out tantrums. Unusual because at that age kids tend to not hold on to things for very long. But in Asperger's, and also in otherwise normal but very bright kids, they are capable of holding attention for a very long time, on something important to them. The brighter the kid, the more likely it is for them to have something they want very much and to feel injustice keenly. What they perceive as injustice, that is. If the tantrum is about something they feel they have a right to, and you haven't explained you reasoning (thinking, as most adults do, that you can't reason with a child of that age - and often you're right) then you get the long, noisy, upsetting tantrum. Oh, yes. We went through with when easy child 2/difficult child 2 was about 10 months old. She WOULD NOT have her afternoon nap but instead would sit there and scream in rage at having been put in the crib. I had put her in the crib because I could see she was tired, rubbing her eyes and yawning. She needed a nap. But she didn't know how to sleep and got so enraged that she couldn't sleep. She would be falling asleep while raging, sitting there with eyes shut and swaying but mouth still open and screaming. Then she would fall asleep sitting up, fall over and wake as her head hit the pillow. The screaming would then begin again and we had to go through this over and over.
    I tell you this to explain - sometimes the tantrum can't be avoided, especially if the child is too young to understand an explanation (or to accept it).

    Your son objected to going to pre-school - this is normal, if he finds it upsetting or if he dislikes what happens there. I can't say what was happening there but it is important to try to find a way to help him deal with pre-school, even if it means trying to work with the staff to make the experience less stressful for him. Something was going on there that he found difficult, and he was trying to tell you.

    Other things you describe - the special interests, the odd gait, the anxiety (you haven't mentioned it, but it is there), and especially the noises - oh yes, Asperger's certainy seems to fit.

    The noises - from my experience, you can't stop these. The best you can do is help him change to something that is hopefully less intrusive. Please don't punish him for noises, it is not only too difficult to stop, but if you try to make it stop completely, they break out somewhere else. I see this as a stimulant, or self-stimulatory behaviour. There is some voluntary control, but only limited. They often do it unconsciously, but it seems to help them soothe themselves. The more you make the child anxious about needing to be quiet, the more anxious the child feels and the more he feels he needs to make some sort of noise. It IS different to the tics in Tourette's, but the difference is subtle.

    I suspect, especially with the marriage breakup, you have been using a lot of traditional strict parenting in order to not only maintain as much control as possible, but also to be SEEN to be a good strict parent according to old school rules. But this can make a child like this a lot worse and greatly aggravate discipline issues.

    A highly intelligent child tends to want a lot more self-determination than an average kid. Add in Aspie traits and you get an even greater push for self-control. Often at an age where self-control seems a distant dream, especially if the child seems to have social problems and impulse control problems.

    A child with sensory issues plus social issues is trying to avoid situations that aggravate anxiety and make him feel bad. I don't know what his particular sensory issues are, but I'll give you examples again:
    Picture a child who finds sudden loud noises scary. A child who finds certain pitch of sounds painful. A child who is very aware of every vibration, of every footstep, of distant construction work. Put such a child in a crowded room full of squealing children shouting, calling, yelling excitedly - the child is going to feel off-balance, afraid, maybe angry and upset. He won't know what to focus on and to listen to, and may find it hard to pay attention or to sit still when required. Socially he can't cope with other kids in his space. Or he might not understandsocail boundaries and in trying to make friends, he might get right in someone else's face. Or another kid accidentally knocks over his tower of blocks and he is sure they did it on purpose to upset him. Everything in this child's world has to be checked for safety and to make sure it won't suddenly do something unexpected. He feels he can cope better if only he has a say in what happens around him; but instead he is surrounded by anarchy, by a lot of individuals all doing what THEY want. The adults or the children - it doesn't matter, to this child they are all the same, they are all intrusions into his space with their own unpredictabilties.

    However, this child wants to fit in, he wants to have a friend and to be a friend. But he doesn't know how. So he chooses his favourite thing in the world and ties to talk about it with the person he has chosen who he thinks could be a friend.
    Adults around him try to control him and his actions and he resents this. They respond by scolding him or getting cross. This shows him how to express disapproval, so he begins to behave this way when he feels angry or out of balance. This way perhaps, he feels other people will take notice when he feels disapproving.
    The more people get cross or angry with him, the more he will copy these tactics and use them in return. This is why you need to change tactics with a kid like this - you need to set the example of how you want this child to behave, and you need to do it BEFORE you expect better behaviour.

    An older child with problems like this, is someone you can generally talk to about it. One of the first things that you need to explain to such a child, is "We don't know why this is the way it is for you, but it is not your fault."
    The second thing you need to explain is, "You are different. That is OK, but it might help you understand why some things seem more difficult for you. it is because they ARE. But that just means you have to find a way to do it. We will help you. And you may find that some things are actually easier for you than for other people, so it's never all bad, or all good. It just IS."

    Your son won't answer a question if it's too difficult - that fits. I had forgotten this, but we had this with both boys, difficult child 3 especially. It was a combination of the required answer being too abstract, plus the request not being properly understood.

    What these kids don't always understand, even if their language is not delayed at all, is anything abstract, anything not very clear, anything subtle. Sarcasm is very bad, because the words don't match the situation or the facial/vocal expression. Think about such a child's communication in terms of internet communication. Sarcasm doesn't work online. Similarly, a lot of abstraction needs more explanation.

    A child is throwing a ball inside the house and accidentally breaks his mother's favourite jug. The child says, "Sorry, Mum."
    The mother replies, "Sure, son. It's something I live for, to have a ball thrown around my kitchen and have it knock over my favourite jug. And you think an apology will put the jug back together?"
    If the child recognises that the mother is being sarcastic, he will understand that his mother is NOT happy with him. But an Aspie child might even 'hear' permission to keep throwing the ball around. At the very least, it has given the child mixed messages. Snd you need to be VERY clear.
    For years I had to make sure I never said, "You're right," but instead said, "You're correct." And now I do it all the time to everybody. Especially to a young child who is learning the difference between right and left, you have to avoid any double meanings. The child can have a college-level vocabulary, but not understand WHICH meaning you intend.

    His father's history of having a bad temper - that could fit with an undiagnosed borderline Aspie, or similar. It may help explain that this isn't out of the blue, but it doesn't nail anything down.

    Now I'm going to go back and read what everybody else has written.

    Your concern about ODD - there are no pills, no formal treatment as far as I know. What I've been told about ODD is that it is untreatable and incurable. Not a helpful label therefore.

    So my response - I ignore labels of ODD and instead look to how the child is thinking and feeling, and work from there. "Explosive Child" methods really do make a huge difference and from my observation, a kid who otherwise would meet the criteria of ODD can be managed differently (using techniques that allow the child to have input and control) with the parent stepping back form authority figure, to the child's supporter and helper, and almost miraculously, you can see improvement. No pills, nor formal treatment. Just a different way of managing the child.

    I just got to the post where you have asked if the odd could be due to the separation. A very good question. Yes, it could be. But a great deal of what you describe (the odd gait, the 'little professor' talking about the Solar System - I used to do that!), the sensory issues - that is not the break-up, I'm sure. It's possible that at least some of the anger could be the uncertainty of life after the break-up. It does happen. I have seen it time and time again. But there is I believe something else underneath which needs a different approach. The family therapy is a good idea, it will help. But it is not the only answer.

    You mentioned you live with your parents and they are a great support. How do they feel about this diagnosis? And how do they feel about D and his problems? Do they blame it all on the break-up? Or do they feel there is something else born in the child which needs to be identified?
    I ask this because even the most supportive of families can often be in denial about something wrong with someone they love. This can make it more difficult until they learn to accept things. I've had friends and family insist there was nothing wrong with my kids, "they just need a spanking now and then," which if course was not the answer! Not that I was sparing with spanking. But by then I was realising it wasn't working. I can look back and see tat to outsiders, it did look as if I had been letting my kids do what they anted, letting them run wild and doing nothing. The trouble was, I held a very tight rein but with the boys and especially difficult child 3, it just didn't have an impact.
    What finally worked was when people saw the problems for themselves. I dropped in on a friend on the way home from difficult child 3's pre-school and mentioned that we were looking at the possibility of Asperger's (then). She insisted, "There's nothing wrong with him." He was 3 years old and sitting on her lap.
    So I said, "Ask him about his day, then."
    So she said to him, "difficult child 3, what did you do today at pre-school?" [this is like your son not answering questions he finds challenging]
    difficult child 3 responded with, "Bird. Water." He got off her lap and ran to the window.

    ODD can be the result of environmental factors. In fact, I believe it is, in most cases (if not all). The environmental factors generally are the interaction between that child and adults in that child's life. If a child begins to feel constantly at war with the people around him, he will develop oppositional behaviours purely in self-defence. it is NOT a child choosing to be difficult out of sheer enjoyment of being naughty. I HATE the name, because it is misleading and causes more harm, I believe. It develops in the same way that siblings can argue back and forth, "It is" "It isn't!" "It is!" IT ISN'T!" Until when one says "white," the other automatically says, "black" on principle, in self defence.
    So yes, environmental factors are important. But these are environmental factors superimposed on an underlying problem. That underlying problem could be the break-up, at least partly (it does cause uncertainty) or it could be something like ADHD, or it could be bipolar, or it could be Asperger's. Or something else. But it doesn't matter exactly what it is - if you can change the environmental factors (ie change the way you handle him) then the ODD behaviours should begin to ease. Use "Explosive Child". The counselling will also help.

    Do not blame yourself in any way. as parents we do what we have to do. Children adapt. Even Aspie children adapt. Chances are, you going back to work has given your son the best chances possible.
    Like you, I was a working mum. I was a stay-at-home mum for my last child, difficult child 3, and he is also the worst-affected. However, I found that he did better when I put him into child care. Plus I found him so exhausting (and I am not well) that I put him into a local child care place, part-time. From what I understand now, I believe I did the best thing I could have done for him. He had a lot more stimulation in his life especially socially, so he was socialised much earlier than he would have been otherwise - always a good thing.

    I worked full-time when my first three children were born and they went into child care (long day care, too - from 8 am to 6 pm) from 14 weeks old. They thrived then and later, as a result of that early socialisation. easy child especially when she began school, was in a classroom full of other kids who had also mostly been in long day care from a very early age. her teacher wailed to me, "I have a classroom full of leaders and no followers!"
    Years later easy child is still a leader.

    Because my older children were in long day care from an early age, I could see the difference in difficult child 3 given the same environment. He simply did not take to it the same way. There would be times when he would find somewhere quiet and get away from the other children. He didn't come when he was called - he wasn't being disobedient, he just didn't recognise that he was being called. so look after yourself, because the best gift a parent can give yo their children, is a parent who is well and happy.

    Guilt will only slow you down and reduce your effectiveness as a parent. You have no reason to feel guilty at all. After all, you have identified a problem in your son. You have come here. You have been looking for help for you son. These are not the actions of an inferior parent.

    So forget the past, look to the now and the future. I believe that the vast bulk of your son's problems, if not all, are due to something inborn. There is an environmental overlay which is simple the result of you trying to be a good and consistent parent, plus possibly some distress over the departure of his father. But you cannot completely control his environment. Therefore you have no reason to feel guilt for what you cannot control. That includes your need to go back to work when you were either a single mum, or the breadwinner. Or even one of the breadwinners.

    If your going back to work and your relationship breakdown were the cause of all this, then why not a great many more kids?

    Think back - when did you first notice problems? And of those problems you noticed, how many other children in the child care centre showed the same problems?

    So do your best to dump the load of guilt. It's weighing you down and serving no purpose.

    As for what you can do for D now - work on the problem areas with therapy. Do what you can yourself - after all, you spend a lot of time with him. That is good - use this time well. Read books together. Play games together. Use these as currency and reward - this is what was given to us as a technique, by difficult child 3's therapist. To use my time with him, playing a computer game (which he likes) as reward for achieving certain goals (having an entire evening with no tantrums). Plus we did our best to help him avoid a tantrum, by watching for the warning signs and doing our best to avoid them.

    We've been through a lot of therapy with difficult child 3. But what has done the most good, is what we do at home with him. Sometimes it's following through on what the therapist has set up. Sometimes it's what we have worked out ourselves (including reading books like "Explosive Child"). And a lot of it is difficult child 3 himself and his constant efforts to, as he put it, "get better at pretending to be normal."

  19. RED777

    RED777 New Member

    Hi, I'm also new to this site. I am a single mom of 3 boys, my middle child is the one that drives me nuts. He simply refuses to obey simple orders and instructions and really has a terrible temper when things don't go his way. Very resentful and angry too. If he is openly dissobeying me, he sometimes manages to SMILE at me in defiance when I loose my temper...I love him but he's impossible! He was always this way, even when he was only a baby, he's been screaming at the top of his lungs even before he learned how to speak. He whines and screams all the time to get his way, if I ask him to settle down he winds up, if I ask him to be quiet he keeps talking, if I ask him to brush his teeth he'll go to the bathroom and sit there for 20 minutes and not brush. He has a hard time getting out the door in the morning and makes all of us late for everything...I've tried everything from spanking and time out to simply hugging him, nothing works...I also believe he's gotten worse since baby #3 showed up and I can say he's like this 70% of the time.

    Now here's the catch...HE IS ONLY THIS WAY WITH ME! I can tell he wants attention but with 3 children, I need to give them all the same dose of love or all hell will break loose.

    Thanks for hearing me out..
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Welcome, Dinaboa.

    You risk missing out on help by posting back here at the end of someone else's thread. How about you start your own thread and tell us more? Then we can help you specifically.

    Also, if you do a sig, it will always be there at the end of your posts so you won't have to keep explaining your family dynamics every time you post. It will save you time and energy.

    Keep it anonymous, for your own protection and your kids' protection. It also allows you to vent when you need to, about teachers, doctors, family - without any of them knowing it's you.

    In the meantime, read your way around this site. Go into the archives, into any forum you feel could be relevant. And one more thing - read up on "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It's a book which has helped a lot of us with kids like this who are a challenge to parent. The parenting techniques you can adapt from this book can be applied to easy child kids as well as difficult children. Also, I found it easier to use than a lot of other methods. No charts, no diagrams, nothing you don't want or that won't fit in with your lifestyle. You use what works and leave the rest.

    For now, don't read too much into that smile - some kids smile when they're nervous, rather than it being a smile of triumph. The more you react to it, the more likely it is to happen, whatever the cause.

    Anyway, welcome.