Strong face yet crumbling inside......

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Rose, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. Rose

    Rose New Member

    Just like the title says, that is me. I have a 9 yr old son that has me at my wits end. He was evaluated last year by the school district psychologist for 2 weeks and she stated he was not ADD/ADHD. She says he is extremely bright and I should have him tested for GT. However, the school counselor says he has impulse controld issues. He is in a circle group with her and it seemed to be helping last year, but this year it isnt. It is barely 2 months into school and he already has 3 office referrals. His teacher makes notes of his behavior every day. I had a conference with her yesterday and she told me he yells out every day, but after he does, he realizes he shouldnt have done it and covers his mouth. He has a hard time completing his work at school and is failing 3 subjects. He does well if she is right beside him, but once she is walking around his mind wanders. He picks at students and tattles, but in turn gets tattled on for things he does. Many a day when I am up at the school I will have one of his classmates come up and tell me something he has done or said. When I do see him in the hallway, I make it a point to give him a high five and ask him how his day is going. Days will go by where he has no behavior problems and then other days it may be 4 days ina row he gets notes home. His teacher told me yesterday that he is very polite(yes ma'am, no ma'am, etc), but thinks he has to raise his voice to get her attention. When he does get in trouble for something, he will automatically deny it or suddenly forget what actually happened, but then as it is talked about to him, he will remember. I feel like he has been labled a liar at school because on one of his reports last year it was written....HE ALWAYS broke my heart. He has admitted that he denies because he knows he is going to get in trouble anyway. I have always told him it is better to tell the truth and that way people believe you. His teacher also told me that she has noticed that he often plays alone now at recess and doesnt like to work in groups because he doesnt think anyone wants to be around him. He is such a sweet kid and has a caring heart, but we are doing our best to get through this. I just want him to be happy and right now, I dont feel that he is. He loves to fix things, draw, video games, etc, but at school and at home he can flip like a switch and 5 minutes be fine again. I have looked up symptoms of ADD, ODD and many others, but everything has so many symptoms and so much the same, I am lost. He has an appointment on the 17th to go for a check up and I am going to take his referrals, letters from teachers, etc with me and find out what is going on. Anyone have any insight??
  2. PollyParent

    PollyParent New Member

    Impulse control can be so many things.

    As you can tell from my signature, I have gone through a similar journey in trying to figure out WHAT is making my son act the way he does. Ultimately, we've landed on the general idea of Asperger's syndrome, but you're right. There is so much overlap in so many of the descriptions of behavior associated with each disability.

    Hang on, it's going to be OK.

    Here's the thing. Most kids, especially ones as young as 9, really do want to please their parents and teachers. Not all the time, but for the most part, they'd rather do well than get in trouble.

    See if you can stop focusing on the Trouble and try to get a better idea of what is going on inside of him that makes him act out. I've found that teachers are consistently surprised when a disruptive child enters the classroom, and there's a lot of focus on the disruptive behavior, and not so much attention paid to figuring out what will help this child settle into his environment.

    He may be having trouble finishing the assignments because the assignments are bumping into a learning or processing disability, or he may have trouble finishing assignments because it is hard for him to get his thinking organized enough to work his way all the way to the end. My kid won't even start an assignment he predicts he's going to have difficulty with. So then there's a battle about compliance and he has nothing to show for it.

    It's hard to tell what to look for without having more details, but I'd at least look at ADD and ADHD, but I'd also look for more complex reading and language disabilities too. Lots of those do lead to conduct disorders. You'll need to get a neuropsychiatric evaluation to really pin it down, but you can start by talking to teachers and school psychs to get some ideas as to what they would test for first.

    Then do more research and keep talking to professionals and getting more tests until you're comfortable with the diagnosis.

    Good luck. Keep writing us here -- there are some amazing people on the boards who have tons of information for you.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Hello and welcome to the board.

    I personally wouldn't trust the evaluation of a school psychologist. Our school psychologist wasn't even aware that panic disorder was part of anxiety. Their training is different from that of a private practice psychologist.

    You're right; so many symptoms overlap with all of the various disorders/illnesses. With the myriad of issues you have stated, I would recommend a neuropsychologist for an evaluation.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would take your son to a private neuropsychologist (this is a psycologist with extra training in the brain. They do EXTENSIVE testing in all areas of function). Rather than guessing, in my opinion, a neuropsychologist can give you the best idea of what is going on with your son. We had twelve hours of testing, longer than any professional bothered with before. My son is on the autism spectrum, atypical and high functioning, but his first wrong diagnosis. was ADHD/ODD and his second wrong diagnosis. was early onset bipolar. You have to be careful who you trust with your son and I would never trust the school district. They never came close. Are there any psychiatric disorders or substance abuse issues on the family tree on either side? Any early developmental red flags such as late speech, motor problems, sensitivities to food/clothing, inability to transition from one activity to another without a meltdown? Does he play with toys appropriately and know how to socialize with his peers?
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Rose and welcome to the site. It's great that you see the need for further evaluation of your son. Your desire to help him and your love of him come shinning through your first post!

    Continue on the path you are on insofar as further testing. He really should be seen by a specialist not his pediatrician, I would suggest a developmental peddoc or a neuropsychologist.

    Your boy sounds like he is a smart, sweet little boy who is struggling with things he cannot express or perhaps cannot control. Continue the communication with his teachers. It may be that once you see the private docs, you might want some academic testing done at the school to see if he qualifies for some classroom modifications.

    Keep on plugging. Glad to have you on the board.

  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi, Rose. Sorry I'm coming to this late.

    I think you've been doing well with him so far, but there is a lot more you could do that you just haven't been told about.

    Advice so far here - spot on. Don't be complacent about anything the school assessment tells you, it's not in their interests to find anything wrong that would require them to do something, or spend more money. Only if it's REALLY obvious, or a major problem, or the kid is failing badly in everything - it takes that for some school psychologists to do anything. The teachers could be tearing their hair out, but the person who assesses often sees the kid one-to-one, and under these circumstances you've already said he's fine, he can pay attention. So I'm not surprised the school psychiatric said he hasn't got ADHD.

    The "lying" - he's lying to get out of t rouble. I think he probably has more anxiety than most kids, perhaps because it's much harder for him to stay on task and not be impulsive. But lying by saying, "I didn't do it," or "I can't remember" is not a complex lie. REAL lying is when they invent something entirely, make up an alternate reality and try to sell it to you. It doesn't sound like he does that. In fact, it sounds like he's so bad at lying that he always gets found out. Tell him this - it's better to tell the truth from the start, than to try to lie and make a mess of it. And he can't lie without getting caught, so he'd better get into the habit of not even starting to try to lie. He will find he does much better. This will need you to help him practice telling the whole truth, but really praise him when he does. He needs it as positive reinforcement.

    I think a lot more possibilities need to be considered. Which subjects is he failing? I'm betting they're less concrete subjects, ones which you have to understand in a more abstract way.

    Here are some resources:

    "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene, Many people on this site love this book, it really helps get inside the kid's mind and get a handle on WHY they do what they do. Some people here don't like this book, it just doesn't work for them. But I think they are in the minority. So give it a go - get it out of the library if you're not sure about spending money just yet. And he doesn't have to be 'explosive' for the book to help.

    Another suggestion - go to and do their online Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) test. It's not officially diagnostic, it's just something to give you a sense of direction. Whatever the result (even if it is "no Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)") then print the results and take them to the next health professional/expert he sees. I'm betting that just doing the test will give you a few things to think about.

    Good luck, stick around, we can help.