View Full Version : Need help/encouragement/direction for parenting 4 kids with variety of special needs

08-03-16, 09:11 PM

I am not sure if this forum is the right fit, but I figure if it is not, I will get some direction of where to go.

My wife and I are the adoptive parents of four children, all diagnosed with ADHD. All share some characteristics, and then they have individual issues.

Quick breakdown:

#1 (Male, 17) prenatal alcohol exposure, removed at 6 weeks for neglect and borderline failure to thrive, early developmental delays, impulse control issues, slow working memory, has always had an IEP. Not hyperactive but difficulty dealing with multi-step procedures. Has overcome many of his difficulties and is generally doing well.

#2 (Female, 16) birth sister of #1, prenatal alcohol exposure, removed at birth, no early developmental delays, no early behavioral issues but has been a worrier from early on, no IEP early on because just over cognitive threshold on tests. But when anxiety and slow working memory began to affect academics, and IEP was put in place. Used to be the "easy" one, under the radar. No more--will come back to that.

#3 (Male, 12) entirely different birth family, removed at 6 weeks for severe neglect, mother was into all kinds of drugs so no idea what he was exposed to prenatally. Significant sensory issues upon arrival into family--withdrawn, taut, no smile, no eye contact. Has made huge strides through early intervention, lots of love, etc. Is a sensory seeker and is truly ADHD all the way (textbook case). Wears his heart on his sleeve, short fuse.

#4 (Female, 12) entirely different birth family. Has Down Syndrome. High functioning with no physical issues other than some speech disfluency. Significant cognitive delays (is entering 6th grade but is working at 2nd grade level). Hard worker with impulse control issues and ADD symptoms. Sweet but strongwilled.

Those are our kids in a nutshell. We foster parented the first three until we could adopt them; #4 is our only private adoption. It has always been a handful and we've always been busy with therapies, IEPs, child psychiatrist med appointments, etc, but we've managed. It feels, however, as if in the last year the wheels have fallen off, mainly with child #2. She's an introvert who keeps all of her anxiety bottled up when in public or at school, but at home she can erupt into rages at a moment's notice. Child #3 knows all her buttons and pushes them daily. We frequently are trying to address a situation with another child but cannot because of her refusal to back out. (Other children sometime do this as well, but not to the same degree).

Because of her age and size, I feel as if our options are more limited, and so far our attempts to address some of the behavioral issues with meds has proven unsuccessful. She has not been diagnosed with ODD, but when I look at the DSM profile, she meets a lot of the criteria.

Just writing this has helped, and I know there are not any magical solutions, but my wife and I are exhausted and discouraged. Any ideas or suggestions for resources would be appreciated. We have a really good child psychiatrist and GP, so I feel supported as far as professionals go, but they're not living in our house everyday.

Little Missy
08-03-16, 09:23 PM
Hang on! There are some really great people that'll answer you pretty quick. :)

08-04-16, 06:00 AM
It sounds like you are providing child #2 with all of the therapies and interventions that she needs-but she still needs something more right? What does her treatment team say? (dr, psyche, school, therapist, etc?)
Has anyone official given you anything to go on? Has she been evaluated for autism? I am just throwing stuff out there. I have experiences with children's rages but never with an older teenage so Im really trying to think of some tips....
Is she a danger to herself when these meltdowns happen? Or is it something that really only she experiences?

08-04-16, 09:34 PM
She is not intentionally violent, but she gets so out of control that she is not aware of her surroundings, so she has gotten some minor bumps. We don't want anything serious to happen.

Her official diagnosis is ADD/ADHD. Of the various types, she has the kind that frequently doesn't look like ADD. No hyperactivity, but she is easily distracted, and she also obsesses over things, so she can hear the first part of a lesson in a class, get caught on something and miss the rest of the lesson.

She has a really hard time letting go of something. At earlier years, this manifested itself mainly in asking about something 100 times. It's really just been in the last year that her frustration has moved beyond anxiety to outbursts.

She is on Vyvanse, Luvox, and Rexulti right now, and from what I've read, I think she and the others will all benefit from a behavior chart with a clothespin, so she can see how she's doing and if she is moving toward an appropriate reward. I have to let go of the comparison of how I was able to delay gratification at 16. She's her own person and is wired differently. I think part of the unofficial FAE diagnosis is that her prefrontal cortex just doesn't work as well as it might at her age. Some of the things we thought she'd grow out of by now are still very much present.