View Full Version : Help please. Nothing is working


Exhaustedmom
10-04-16, 07:11 PM
Hello,

I am the mother of a 7th grader who was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety in 6th grade. He's always been disruptive and somewhat defiant, but this completely skyrocketet once puberty hit.

We started with Vyvanse 40mg. At first, it was a dream. Even the most frustrated teachers now told me that he was a completely different child. His grades came up and every one of his teachers noted his progress report with great behavior and his work being flawless.

This worked for maybe 2 months, then the random bad days became the norm again. We increased Vyvanse to 50mg, this made no different at all. It was as if suddenly Vyvanse did nothing at all. His appetite was back to normal too.

So we upped it to 70mg and this made his anxiety much worse, now he was picking his skin horribly and we had to stop. Plus, even the 70mg seemed to just marginally improve his behavior.

Took a break from all ADHD meds but took Zoloft all summer (and still now) to get anxiety under control. Anxiety was much better, but we had nothing for the ADHD. Adzenys was next (this is a brand new drug, supposedly works like Adderall XR). This one didn't work at all. No improved behavior and made him super irritable.

Now we're on Concerta. Thought it was working at first but I guess not. He is constantly in ISS, already had two days of OSS, and was just given 3 days OSS. I don't know how much OSS you can get before you're thrown out of school.

I am frustrated and exhausted. Everything is a battle with him. Nothing works. Being kind and giving immediate rewards doesn't work. Being strict doesn't work. No matter what I try, at school, he's a jerk. Plain and simple.

I just feel like nothing will ever work as far as medication. Nothing is like the Vyvanse was at first. I'm worried that he'll be expelled before we find "the one" and I just have no hope that there even is "the one" for him. I'm starting to wonder if his ADHD isn't as bad as we think and he's just a horrible teenager, and that's all.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with all his teachers, administration, school psychologist, counselor and social services. I don't know if this is to implement an IEP, they didn't see, but I was glad to finally meet them all. If an IEP is requested, honestly I don't even know what to tell them to try because I'm at my wits end myself. How can I tell them to do this or that, when none of that works for me either? The only thing that works for me really is to let him blow up over everything, let him cool off, speak very calmly, and then later once he's cooled off give him his consequence. But they aren't gonna have 30 mins at a time at school to let him cool off, plus it doesn't seem like he's actually learning anything from it. He just does it again later. UGH.

Any advise, suggestions, or just a listening ear from another ADHD parent who's been there would be so therapeutic right now.

Thank you

Tina

sarahsweets
10-05-16, 04:31 AM
Hello,

I am the mother of a 7th grader who was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety in 6th grade. He's always been disruptive and somewhat defiant, but this completely skyrocketet once puberty hit.

We started with Vyvanse 40mg. At first, it was a dream. Even the most frustrated teachers now told me that he was a completely different child. His grades came up and every one of his teachers noted his progress report with great behavior and his work being flawless.

This worked for maybe 2 months, then the random bad days became the norm again. We increased Vyvanse to 50mg, this made no different at all. It was as if suddenly Vyvanse did nothing at all. His appetite was back to normal too.

So we upped it to 70mg and this made his anxiety much worse, now he was picking his skin horribly and we had to stop. Plus, even the 70mg seemed to just marginally improve his behavior.

If vyvanse worked then you have a good idea that amphetamines work for him and its worth looking into. Concerta is methylphenidate and different and might not work for him. There are other amphetamines besides vyvanse.. There is adderall and dexedrine.


I am frustrated and exhausted. Everything is a battle with him. Nothing works. Being kind and giving immediate rewards doesn't work. Being strict doesn't work. No matter what I try, at school, he's a jerk. Plain and simple.
I hear your frustration but you have to avoid blaming his personality for his issues. He may seem like a jerk but he is suffering and needs help. Seeing him as a jerk wont help him to do better.


I just feel like nothing will ever work as far as medication. Nothing is like the Vyvanse was at first. I'm worried that he'll be expelled before we find "the one" and I just have no hope that there even is "the one" for him. I'm starting to wonder if his ADHD isn't as bad as we think and he's just a horrible teenager, and that's all.

Many kids with adhd are blamed for their behavior and people assume they are bad. This is not true. How can you expect certain things from him if he doesnt have the tools?

Tomorrow I have a meeting with all his teachers, administration, school psychologist, counselor and social services. I don't know if this is to implement an IEP, they didn't see, but I was glad to finally meet them all. If an IEP is requested, honestly I don't even know what to tell them to try because I'm at my wits end myself. How can I tell them to do this or that, when none of that works for me either? The only thing that works for me really is to let him blow up over everything, let him cool off, speak very calmly, and then later once he's cooled off give him his consequence. But they aren't gonna have 30 mins at a time at school to let him cool off, plus it doesn't seem like he's actually learning anything from it. He just does it again later. UGH.

If he has had an evaluation then what you want in the IEP wont matter as much as what the school thinks will help. Why hasnt he had an IEP already? It sounds like a special ed environment would help him. There they are used to dealing with issues like his, and can give him motivations and consequences to improve his behavior.

Its tempting to hope that the school will fix all of this, but whats important is to realize that whatever they decide to do, you have to follow up with it at home. Its good that you have a calm way of dealing with him. ADHD kids do best with rewards and motivation not consequences. When you say you give him consequences, what do you mean? Are they immediate? What things do you do to encourage positive behavior?
There is a thread in children's about my son and our story, it may help you to read or maybe it wont but it explains my journey. He is 20 now and a spectacular kid.

Caco3girl
10-05-16, 08:51 AM
I understand...where is the line of what is ADHD and what is typical teenager? Personally, I haven't found the line yet. I take each situation as it comes. Getting the ADHD formally recognized by the school will open up doors. In Georgia Co-taught classes are a godsend! Smaller classes, 2 teachers, slower pace....it works out much better for ALL involved. I don't want my son to get a free pass through school but I would like the school better adapted to who he is as a person, and maybe he needs the second teacher to take him out to the hall for a cool down period...in co-taught classes that's possible.

Fight for an IEP now, demand a psych eval to see where his week school areas are, they have to give you that for free. In GA it's within 60 days of the request....he's not in a good place mentally because something isn't working for him. Might want to talk to the doctor about ceasing the medicine and figuring out what his baseline truly is.

Exhaustedmom
10-05-16, 03:14 PM
Thank you both for responding!

I wrote out of frustration yesterday and didn't mean to call him a jerk. I know he is not a jerk but he does act like one at school many times. I know he is very much struggling and he does try to please. I am just so lost though as to how to help him.

I had my meeting with the school today and the good thing is that they are very supportive, much unlike his last school which really just hated him, and they want to help him. They had very good things to say about him and somehow he is a very good student for one of his teachers, so that teacher told the rest of the group how he handles my son.

He wasn't on an IEP yet because he was just diagnosed a few months ago. Before then we thought we were just dealing with disruptive behavior. He saw a counselor and she only saw anxiety at that point (but that was many years ago). Then they thought he was gifted. He was tested, but he was 111, not gifted. Only once his grades started plummeting did he see a psychiatrist who immediately said it's ADHD. Later he added severe anxiety.

As for what I do to reinforce positive behavior. This will sound bad but I really don't have a "this is what happens when you do this" kind of solid reaction. I take it as it comes. He is very difficult to be around because he is so very sensitive and gets angry over the smallest things. I know what I DON'T do, or at least try very hard not to do, and that is to yell at him or getting into yelling matches. When he gets upset, I talk very calmly, try to hear his side, try to cheer him up, lighten the mood, but if it's really bad, I just stop talking to him until he's done raging. Once he's done he is always apologetic and feels truly sorry. At that point I struggle, do I just leave it at that, or do I give him a consequence? Usually I just let him ride it out and then talk to him about how he could handle the situation next time.

Punishing him, or taking away anything, this never works. The only privilige he cares about is his ipod. I can only take it from him for a few hours, make him do something unpleasant like clean, to earn it back. I can never take it for the rest of the day, or he'll just go to bed or be horrible for the rest of the day. The key is definitely to let him earn something. Positivity is everything. But that's not always that simple. It's just a very fine line between letting him "earn it" versus "taking it away", meaning he knows that taking it away and letting him earn it back is really no different than a punishment because I just took it. Hourly limits don't work either. I tried telling him that he has to have a good day at school and be reasonably nice at home for him to get his ipod for a couple hours a day. So like if he has a bad day at school, he gets it only for an hour. Well to him that's like nothing so he doesn't even care to try. For a while, i focused on school only and told him if he can be good there, then no matter what, after homework he can have his ipod until he goes to bed. Well then he started slacking with the homework, or he was a total pest to his siblings if they entered his room. I just feel like I am constantly changing it around but nothing really works? I know it's not his fault (well, some is, not all) but I just don't know how to help him.

I am actually not against special ed. Whatever gets him the help he needs. I just don't want his perceived stigma of special ed to make him feel even worse about himself. The school counselor saw some major self esteem issues from everything the teachers said and thinks he might be clinically depressed. I can't wait to start therapy with him on Monday.

Should I request an IEP even though the school is very supportive and is trying to help him?

Caco3girl
10-06-16, 09:10 AM
School admin changes, teachers change every year. The support you find this year may not be there next year. An IEP is a federal document that MUST be followed. An IEP will open a lot of doors, for example, rather than being sent to the office for getting up out of his chair the IEP forces the teacher to redirect him to sit down...multiple times WITHOUT being sent to the office.

I have a meeting today to get my 9th grade son one and to be blunt had this happened years ago there would have been far less issues. Last year he spent 15 days in ISS for doing ADHD things that an IEP would have excused him from. That was 15 days of missed class time, and he was banned from the field trip because he was a problem child.

Ask the school about what accommodations he can get, and what special ed options are open to him. Also, your expectation of him behaving ALL day in school is not realistic in my opinion. He can't control other people's actions, therefore he can't know how his day will go and it's too much added stress to expect him to conform. He can control turning in all of HIS homework, he can't control how other people will affect him that day.