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Hi, I'm Lisa and I don't tend to post over here much, but I do lurk on occasion for tips/ideas.
I have 3 children, Noelle who is 20 months, Stephen who is 10 and Genna who is 14. Stephen was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in pre-kindergarten (so 5-ish) and has been on medication and a 504plan at school ever since. We have adjusted both the medications and dosages over time and are currently on 10 mg Focalin XR and 0.5mg of Tenex - the combo seems to take the edge off but I am sure there will be some adjusting in the future.
Stephen's behavior seems to have increasingly gotten worse in the last year. With often violent (throwing, hitting, kicking, screaming) episodes 5-6 nights out of 7, mainly over bedtime and having to settle down to go to sleep. He does well academically at school, meeting and even exceeding State test standards, but he is struggling something terrible socially and behaviorally there as well. He is prone to outbursts, lacks impulse control and has a tendency to try to hit/kick other students. He is also a major chewer - he is almost constantly chewing on his shirt sleeves of collar. I am pretty sure that there is more to his diagnosis of ADHD that meets the eye, but we have just not gotten the dr. to be able to commit to anything else yet. We have an appointment to meet with a behavioral psychologist next week, someone who specialized in ADHD and related disorders, so I am hoping that will shed some light on what is going on.
The problem that I am currently facing is that his school is just not willing to help more than they already have - a basic 504, with accommodations like "needs a written schedule" and "remind/give warnings before changing activities". While they see a problem with his behavior (he's been suspended now 3 times this school year, twice in school and this last suspension at home) they are just not willing/able to so anything to assist in furthering his social/behavioral education. I was told today that without a "mental or other medial diagnosis that indicated he had a greater condition" there was nothing the school could do. Which to me, momma bear that I am, just doesn't seem right. They are happy to punish him when he does wrong, but are not willing to assist in instructing him in how to act right.
So my question, long winded one that it is, for other moms with ADHD kiddo's in school, what else do I have to do/say to get them to help my child? I am sure a diagnosis of something like ODD or Conduct Disorder would yield greater results, however the pedi isn't willing/able to give that. It's like a catch 22 here. Ugh, any advice?
To the Amazing Kelly: Thank you once again!! Amazing only begins to cover it.
First off I want to say that I am sorry you are having to deal with this. Honestly the schools should be going off the needs of the child and not the diagnosis. UGH it can be so frustrating.
From what you posted and forgive me if I am way off but you might want to look into aspergers syndrome. Aspergers syndrome is a mild form of autism. Here is what I could find on the signs and symptoms: Children with Asperger's syndrome may:
-Not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others' body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking.
-Dislike any changes in routines.
-Appear to lack empathy.
-Be unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech. So your child may not understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally. And his or her speech may be flat and hard to understand because it lacks tone, pitch, and accent.
-Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age. For example, the child may use the word "beckon" instead of "call" or the word "return" instead of "come back."
-Avoid eye contact or stare at others.
-Have unusual facial expressions or postures.
-Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about. Many children with Asperger's syndrome are overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities, such as designing houses, drawing highly detailed scenes, or studying astronomy. They may show an unusual interest in certain topics such as snakes, names of stars, or dinosaurs.
-Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject. One-sided conversations are common. Internal thoughts are often verbalized.
-Have delayed motor development. Your child may be late in learning to use a fork or spoon, ride a bike, or catch a ball. He or she may have an awkward walk. Handwriting is often poor.
-Have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures. For more information about these symptoms, see sensory integration dysfunction.
A child with one or two of these symptoms does not necessarily have Asperger’s syndrome. To be diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a child must have a combination of these symptoms and significant trouble with social situations.
As I said I could be way off, but your son sounds so much like mine. My son is almost 7 and has mild autism and ADHD. Here is a site that describes the differences between ADHD and aspergers if you care to take a look. HERE My son also chews on anything and everything (part of having sensory processing disorder) and craves input (slams his body into the couch, bumps up against things, etc) but once he gets the input he craves (he has a weighted blanket) it helps calm him down.
As for the school, I would wait to see what the behavioral psychologist has to say and go from there. Atleast the appointment is only a week away so you don't have to wait so long, in the mean time start reading all the special education laws in your area and see if you can find an advocate in your area to help you deal with the school (they are a great asset to have at meetings, and sometimes you can find one in your area that does it for free or low cost).
I have often wondered if there were something like Aspergers. He hasn't always chewed on things, before it was a neck twitch, and before that he was a rocker. There are many, many things on that list that are totally DS. He can focus, hyper-focus even, on things that interest him. He can spend hours cleaning his room or organizing his toys. If I need my closet cleaned, he's my go-to guy. He can spend hours on legos or building, and even homework if that interests him. Once he gets focused there is little distracting him. He rarely makes eye contact, he's fairy un-emphathetic. I think he says he understands or cares, but really I don't know that he truly does. But he knows those are the words he should be saying at that time if that makes sense. He's easily overstimulated, we've found video games and tv to be among the worst offenders. Some of his worst tantrums have come over an afternoon of video game playing - something we used to reserve as a privilege but are really now just phasing them out all together.
I put in a request for an evaluation for special education services from the school today. We shall see what becomes of it. In the mean time, I'm just waiting for that appointment next week to see if there is more to come of it. I have aspergers on my list of questions as well as a few other things like sensory processing disorder, ODD and bi-polar. Thanks for the info!!
I'm so glad that you found my suggestion helpful, I know some people hear the word autism and go running in the opposite direction so I usually never come out and say that it is a possibility. But your son sounds so much like mine I figured I would suggest it and see what you thought.
Many children with any form of autism rock, chew and do many other self soothing things because the world around them is distorted due to their sensory perception. My son can spend hours playing with lego's and building the most impressive things, before lego's it was train tracks and he would build some designs with the train tracks that I couldn't do if I tried and he was only 4. He isn't as into organization as your son though, his room could be a complete disaster and it wouldn't phase him at all. And children with aspergers usually have at or above intelligence, its just that they struggle socially and with sensory issues.
Does your son often have to ask you what idioms mean (like its raining cats and dogs, or someone has a chip on their shoulder or my eyes were bigger than my stomach)? My son has to ask me all the time what this or that means because he takes things so literally. Funny story, one day I told him he was driving me up the wall (he was very hyper that day) and he looked at me as serious as could be and said, "but I can't drive."