Where to go for help???

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by aiju, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. aiju

    aiju New Member

    I can't believe I have finally found a place where someone might understand what our family is going through. Our daughter is almost 4 and has been different from day one. She screamed so hard and long in the hospital after she was born that the nurses didn't know what to do. She screamed (supposedly "colic") for pretty much her whole first year. It was miserable. She has always been aggressive and mean to other kids. My brother does not speak to me anymore because she hit his daughter over the head with a toy and taunted her verbally at the ripe old age of just turning two. We recently visited my husbands family, and his sister's family left early because their daughter was scared of ours by the end of the weekend. She is about to get kicked out of preschool for being aggressive to other kids. She'll hit or scratch often just out of the blue or because she just decides she doesn't like a certain child. She'll often just walk up to random people in public and hit them. (which has almost gotten my us in big trouble)

    I hate to say it, but around the house she is just a jerk. She goes out of her way to do things that are the opposite of what she is supposed to do. Anything you ask of her, she will automatically say "no, I will never do (whatever it is)." If she asks for something and I even say that we'll do it in a few minutes she'll call me a "dummyhead", or tell me she is going to hit or scratch me (and often does), or just freak out. Back when she napped, she'd wake up from her naps and scream for literally hours for no apparent reason. When we first started doing time outs with her, she'd rage for 1-2 hours, pee on her bed, yell, scream, throw things, etc. (We resorted to time outs for when she lashed out physically at one of us). We also have a daughter who is 1, who lives her life with the background of her sister yelling and screaming and whining. We walk on eggshells not knowing what will set her off.

    The other day I got so frustrated over her freaking out that we all had to share the remainder of the milk that tears started rolling down my face, wondering why we can't ever just be happy and have fun, why it has to be so hard. Then later in the day she started following me around the house saying "Mommy, cry for real". When I asked her why, she said "because I *love* it!". A few months ago when she was sick she said to me "Why am I usually mean to mommy but I am being nice today". What's up with that?!? She is an extremely verbal and intelligent kid, but has never been very affectionate.

    So, my main question is where do we go for help? We went to a psychologist, who suggested ODD or Asberger's, but was really not very helpful. Most people just blame us for being bad parents, but they have no idea how hard and exhausting it is, and nothing ever really works, anyway.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer!!
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. A few questions, but first off: You are NOT a bad parent. You are just seeing the wrong types of professionals who aren't testing her to see why she is like she is. It is NOT your fault--she is in some way wired differently.
    1/Do you live in the US?
    2/Has she ever been evaluated? Had an MDE? Seen a neuropsychologist? Seen anyone? Had any services? in my opinion, a four year old can't be "a jerk." There is something wrong with her though. Warning: ODD rarely if ever stands alone. Aspergers sounds possible.

    3/Any mood disorders/ psychiatric problems or substance abuse on either side of her family tree? Was her development in any way atypical besides the screaming? Would she look you in the eye, cuddle? Did she speak on time and well? Any motor skills delays? Does she play appropriately with toys? Does she have a good imagination?

    Could be a lot of things, but the first thing I'd do is have her completely evaluated and if she were my kid I'd want to take her to a neuropsychologist. They are very intensive in their testing. If she has Aspergers (and I don't know if she does or not) it is very hard to find somebody who will or can or knows how to look for it and find it at such a young age, which is why I suggested a neuropsychologist. They are about as good diagnosticians as you can get in my opinion. I had no luck with any other type, including regular psychologists and psychiatrists.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    If she's almost 4 I'd really like to see you have a more thorough evaluation done on her. The more accurate info you can gather now, the more able you will be to help her.

    Parents here usually report better results for the younger ones with a developmental pediatrician or a pediatric neuropsychologist, or an Autism Clinic if there's one in your region. I'd also suggest audiology, speech/language, and occuptational therapy to check motor skills and sensory integration. Make and appointment with your pediatrician--they often suggest a first appointment with someone to help with behavior and most parents need more than what a therapist can offer at this stage.

    My second suggestion is to call your local public school district to request an evaluation to see if she qualifies for early intervention preschool. Even very bright children can find good help in the struggle areas through this route. Evaluations and preschool are free. Follow up the phone call with a certified letter because it's the written request that sets legal timelines into motion.

    Please pick up a copy of The Explosive Child (see link at the right) and check out our thread at the top of this board.
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Welcome! Gotta agree with what you've been told.

    Most of all, be good to yourself, and know that each and every one of us has gone through similar situations.

    Write often, even if it's just to say Hi! It makes you feel a whole lot better!

  5. aiju

    aiju New Member

    Yes, but near only a smallish city.

    I agree, she isn't a "jerk", it just feels that way to me sometimes! We went to a couple of family therapists, but have not found them to be particularly helpful. They did / do (we are still seeing one of them) give me pretty strange looks sometimes when I describe her behavior.

    What's an MDE? How do I go about getting her evaluated? Would I just call someone at the county school that she would attend, or is there some particular person I'd want to find to talk to. Are there any "magic words" I need to use to get them to help?

    Oh boy, I was adopted as an infant, but I do know my birth parents. Mom has substance abuse issues (on methadone for prior heroin addiction, alcoholic), dad definitely has psychiatric issues - my mom said he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but I suspect it is something more like Aspergers as he is extremely bright but quite odd and not quite socially with it. Both have ADHD, as does my half brother.

    As for daughter, she is extremely bright. She spoke extremely early - complete sentences well before she was 2, and even now she speaks more like an adult than a kid her age. She actually seems to prefer adult company to most other kids. It is hard though, because we have become so isolated. Other parents don't really want to have their kids around her, so we never get invited to playdates anymore. Its really a drag because that means I don't have any mom friends either. Things will start off well when we meet people, but they inevitably go downhill until we stop getting called anymore, and people eventually become "too busy" to do things with us.

    Motor skills developed pretty much normally, but we noticed very early on that she wasn't like other kids. She would be strangely aggressive to other kids by the time she was 2, or maybe a bit before that - pretty much when we started taking her to activities once the "colic" started to wear off.

    She has never been particularly cuddly. She's more likely to jump on your head to try to "play". She can and does make eye contact, but it does seem to make her uncomfortable at times. She is also not very good at dealing with positive feedback. Sometimes she gets mad and will tell you to "stop saying that" when you are pointing out something helpful that she did. She has never been good at playing by herself, although that is slowly starting to get better at it, meaning that she may play for 10 minutes on her own on occasion. [/quote]

    Thanks for the advice. Is there such a thing as a pediatric neuropsychologist? I did a web search and found a neuropsychologist practice in our town, but they don't say anything about kids.

    I'm feeling a bit bummed out tonight. I had a meeting with her preschool teacher and the president of the board of the preschool. Basically she is on a 30 day probation period, unless something serious happens before the 30 days is up. She starts back next week, and I am really stressed about it. I got questions like "so, are you consistent with her discipline?" and a comment that "when she doesn't want to go to the 'safe place' after an incident, what am I supposed to do because I am not willing to be assaulted. I have seen her beat up on you".

    Heck, don't they think it has dawned on us to be consistent with her discipline for heaven's sake? My husband and I both have advanced degrees and are pretty intelligent people. Nobody understands how thouroughly exhausting it is to have a kid like this. Yeah, sometimes I'm not consistent because I just cant take it anymore and have to just walk away. But I know we work at it harder than the vast majority of parents out there. Oh boy, sorry for the rant, and thanks for listening!! I know there must be some reason that this challenging little person has come into our lives, so I also try to learn as much from her as I can.

    Oh, and thanks for the reference to the Explosive Child. I have read it and am working my way through the "Treating Explosive Kids" book.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I doubt teachers or regular talk therapists can do much other than to make you feel guilty because THEY don't get it.
    My son saw a neuropsychologist. I live in a small town near a small city too, but we traveled to get there (fun, fun). We had to go five times for two hours appointments. It was WELL worth it as he got the correct diagnosis and lots of help and is doing GREAT. They are very intensive in their testing. The school district helped us, but was horrible at diagnosing--frankly, it is in their best interests $$$ to say "um, ADHD" so all they need to do it give minimal help.
    With the problems on your family tree, I do suggest getting some evaluation now as a "working diagnosis" so you can get her help. The diagnosis, whatever it is, is likely to change with time. This sounds way beyond ADHD to me. Could be many things...or something just beginning that hasn't come out yet. Bottom line: the earlier you start evaluating and treating these types of kids, the better their prognosis. And talk therapy is obviously not going to help you or her. I'd find the nearest neuropsychologist, even if it means traveling. I was able to make an appointment. Some insurances insist you go through the pediatrician and then you have to persuade them that you need to go, don't back down!!! Don't listen to "She's just difficult and will outgrow it..." blah, blah, blah. Heard it all before myself. You are your child's best advocate.
    NeuroPsychs are mostly found in Univerisity and/or children'Tourette's Syndrome hospitals and there is often a long waiting list because they ARE good. The wait is worth it. While you are waiting buy "The Explosive Child" by Ross Green. The book is NOT diagnostic nor is it a solution--but it will help while you wait for the evaluation and supports. Good luck.
  7. AmyW

    AmyW O.D.D Mom

    Hey aiju! I just wanted to say that I know how you feel. My 4 year old son does many of the same things that your daughter does. He'll do everything in his power to purposely annoy me and my mother in law (she lives with us), scream and whine for absolutely no good reason, tear up the house, refuse to do anything he's asked/told...it's a nightmare.

    You've been given great advice by the other posters. Just wanted to say you're not alone and I wish you luck!