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Old 05-02-13, 01:45 PM
I Love Him I Love Him is offline
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I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

My son, about to turn six, was recently diagnosed AD/HD.

I'm not sure I have any faith in the psychologist. He has contradicted himself on at least one occasion (saying medication isn't recommended before age 7, then insisting that I get him a script posthaste).

I really don't see my son as a problem. I do understand that he can be annoying, but as I understand it, the only people who see him as a problem are my very unpleasant in-laws (one suffering from stroke-induced dementia, the other suffering from a lifetime with him) and his brand-new, first-permanent-sub-assignment kindergarten teacher.

More seasoned teachers have had no complaints beyond saying that he is "chatty" and telling my husband (allegedly) that he's fine, just "a little boy with a big heart."

Kindergarten teacher says he talks out of turn (it is my understanding that she expects this never to happen), cries (again, a five-year-old is supposed to consistently verbalize his emotions instead), occasionally runs in the classroom or hallway, and "shows excessive enthusiasm for class activities."

Hubby says the psychologist is, of course, going to diagnose him with something-- that's what they are paid to do (this was an agency that specializes in placing classroom aides with children). He considers me a fool for having had him evaluated, and also for having sent him to kindergarten this year instead of giving him another year to mature.

The teacher considers it a parenting problem, not a behavioral disorder. She says his problem is entirely due to not having attended preschool and living in an unstructured environment. I do permit some unstructured play, as well as allowing running and rough play outdoors-- but we get up and go to bed at the same time, eat meals around the same time, keep the same rules (at least until lately-- now there is one set of rules for DS that are very strict, very authoritarian, very rigid, and in my opinion very punitive and another set of rules for the girls).

His other teachers, according to my husband (they do not communicate with me; DH gets upset because I do not whitewash or "put DS's best foot forward" when I talk to them, so I've stopped), don't see any problem that time to grow won't fix.

Meanwhile the stress is tearing our family apart. He brings home a behavior chart listing positive and negative behaviors each day; the praise is always skimpy and the criticism rather more lavish. So I sit him down, talk to him about his behavior, discuss why it's a problem (usually it's speaking out of turn, crying, or running, sometimes more serious stuff like failing to obey a direct instruction, getting out of his seat, climbing on the outside of playground equipment). We agree on an appropriate punishment (usually a choice between loss of all electronics privileges for the evening, or loss of electronics until after dinner with extra homework before dinner).

Well, around dinner time, DH comes home and reads his chart for the day. Now it's Daddy's turn to chew him out. Then Daddy feels ashamed, disappointed, and angry with him. He is criticized for any misstep during dinner-- dropping food, spilling a drink, interrupting (when adults are allowed to interrupt; also I understand that it's hard not to interrupt me as I often take long pauses when telling a story or expressing a complex thought).

He usually ends up being ordered to his room before the meal is over. Now it's bedtime, he's sad and angry, I'm stressed-out and sad, DH is angry. He gets a cursory kiss, a bedtime story that is more of a test of behavior, and then off to sleep. Wash rinse repeat.

The psychologist recommends medication, outside behavioral therapy, and a classroom support aide for 1.5 hours per week.

The school does not agree; they either think that no remediation is necessary or that, as I said, I am the cause of the problem.

Hubby, at first, wanted to do medication only (he seemed to like it when the psychologist said, basically, "You can give him a pill in the morning and no one has to know anything"); after I educated him about side effects, he insists there's nothing wrong that better parenting won't cure.

I'm not a fan of medication, having been not really helped by antidepressants and nearly killed by a combination of risperidone and bad advice. It seems to me that stomach problems, a worsening of his already significant anxiety, and growth issues are a lot to risk for talking out of turn and running in the hall.

I'm also not a believer that 5-going-on-six year old boys should be expected to be quiet and compliant at all times.

On the other hand, I can't continue to live like this. I'm not sleeping, having panic attacks, finding myself blaming my parenting and becoming very authoritarian and punitive with the younger girls as well. I feel obligated to be critical and rejecting of my son-- and I can't bear to see him live like this.

I know what it's like to live with the demand that you be something you are not, do not know how to be, or simply cannot achieve.

I can't change the world. All I can do is change the child.

So do I medicate, find an outside therapist, demand that the school meet me halfway by approving the classroom aide, and insist that he become a quiet and compliant child like his older sister??

Or do I do something else???
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Old 05-02-13, 02:49 PM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

Welcome to the forum

Medication can help, but not alone. Ideally he'd have someone working with him to help him learn.
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Old 05-02-13, 03:11 PM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

Your psychologist cant prescribe medication you should consider a second opinion from a psychiatrist. Everything else aside, when you are a witness to the, verbal abuse and bullying of a five year old child with a neurological disorder its as if you approve of that treatment. Its almost as bad as doing the abusing yourself.
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Old 05-02-13, 03:12 PM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

Welcome to the forums!!

There's a ton of helpful information at this link http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60130.

Hope you find some things that will prove helpful! Best of luck to you.
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Old 05-02-13, 04:40 PM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

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Originally Posted by I Love Him View Post

Meanwhile the stress is tearing our family apart. He brings home a behavior chart listing positive and negative behaviors each day; the praise is always skimpy and the criticism rather more lavish. So I sit him down, talk to him about his behavior, discuss why it's a problem (usually it's speaking out of turn, crying, or running, sometimes more serious stuff like failing to obey a direct instruction, getting out of his seat, climbing on the outside of playground equipment). We agree on an appropriate punishment (usually a choice between loss of all electronics privileges for the evening, or loss of electronics until after dinner with extra homework before dinner).

Well, around dinner time, DH comes home and reads his chart for the day. Now it's Daddy's turn to chew him out. Then Daddy feels ashamed, disappointed, and angry with him. He is criticized for any misstep during dinner-- dropping food, spilling a drink, interrupting (when adults are allowed to interrupt; also I understand that it's hard not to interrupt me as I often take long pauses when telling a story or expressing a complex thought).

He usually ends up being ordered to his room before the meal is over. Now it's bedtime, he's sad and angry, I'm stressed-out and sad, DH is angry. He gets a cursory kiss, a bedtime story that is more of a test of behavior, and then off to sleep. Wash rinse repeat.

Yes, clearly that is not the right way to treat him. Going about it this way runs the risk of inflicting severe psychological damage. I hope you can convince your DH of that before permanent harm is done.
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Old 05-02-13, 06:04 PM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

Please let your husband know that being overly harsh towards him will not fix anything. In fact it will probably make things worse (self-esteem issues which can lead to depression and other problems later on). As a now adult who had ADHD growing up (I never had the hyperactivity problem but I did have a lot of attention issues which affected school immensely) it would not have mattered how much I was scolded, I could not, and still to this day can not control it on my own. That being said I can't tell you how to parent your child, what I can tell you is what I would do if my child ended up with the same disorder I have. I would wait on medication and see if he does grow out of it. If it continues or starts to become worse I would consider medication. I had a friend who had severe ADHD when I was a kid, much worse than mine has ever been, who got on meds when he was around 10 years old and he was like a different person! He went from being this extremely hyperactive kid who no one, not even other kids wanted to be around, to being calm seemingly overnight. The medications really helped him a lot so I think if it came to that point, if I were the parent I would consider medication.
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Old 05-02-13, 06:53 PM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

The doctor likely said "generally not recommended before 7", but there are
certainly times when meds are not only helpful but needed before that age.
I'm not sure your son needs to have a trial of meds since he's not showing
too many impulsive and dangerous symptoms.

But it wouldn't hurt to ask the school for a 504 Plan so the teacher could
help your son instead expecting things that he just can't do. And it might
not hurt to just try a couple of weeks of meds - it's not like you have to
keep giving them forever once you start. You can stop at any time. They
are some of the safest meds available, well tested over many years.

I'd like to blindfold your husband and then ask him to read a book, and
then punish him for not being able to do it. That's the same thing he's
doing to your son, he's punishing him for things that he can't do yet, or
just can't do "well enough."

ADHD is a developmental delay - the link AdamH posted will take you to
some information on The 30% Rule. Kids with ADHD are at least 30%
behind their peers in some areas of development. They aren't being slow
or difficult on purpose.
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Old 05-03-13, 01:45 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

I don´t know if your son has adhd, you may be correct in that expectations are too high at the moment and he may "grow" out of it, but in the meantime I think that how he is being treated and punished is harmful to him.

If a child has adhd they cannot control talking out of turn in class, getting up from their seat, disobeying instructions etc so punishment does no good at all and only serves to damage a child´s self esteem. He wants to behave and do better, he doesn´t want to get into trouble and displease his teachers and father but he cannot control his behaviour and repeatedly does the same things. This cycle of trying hard, failing and punishment is very harmful.

If he doesn´t have adhd, I still feel the punishment and treatment (different from the girls) is too severe. All children need love, praise and reward and not punishments.

If you have no faith in your current doc, then get another one but meanwhile try and educate yourself and your husband about ADHD and child development. This negative treatment of him needs to stop.
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Old 05-03-13, 04:36 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

I have a son who has also been recently diagnosed with ADD but not the HD side of it. To me it was a relief as we have had very similar problems throughout his schooling from playschool at 2-5 and onwards and it is only really now that he is receiving the support and help that he should have done years ago and this only down to my insistence with the school. Just like you he was labelled as a bit of a problem child, doing silly things and was always sent home with reward charts etc, all of which we tried to do at home but nothing really worked particularly well. My husband and I have decided cateogorically not to go down the route of medication purely because he does not have the HD side and we feel that with the right support system around him he will be able to cope at school and home although like you my husband was rather more reluctant to acknowledge that there was a problem with our son. I think that it has a lot to do with going with your heart and gut feeling. If you feel that medication will work for your son and are happy with dealing with any side effects I think you should go with what is in your heart, afterall all you are trying to do like me is to do the very best for your son. Keep fighting for your son and dismiss those negative teachers/family members - I have had to do this for years. Concentrate on your son and what is best for him and try not to let other peoples opinions get in the way. I wish you the very best of luck and I completely understand what you are going through. Take care
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Old 05-03-13, 04:43 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

I'm not a parent, so this is probably worthless, but at five he isn't even baked yet. I wouldn't be so quick to medicate or even diagnose him. What I would be doing is telling your hubby not to yell at a kid for simply being himself, unless he WANTS him to develop self-loathing. If he does have ADHD, or another problem, it would be much more useful to provide positive reinforcement and a lot of support - because if he does have these problems he's finding it harder to cope with things. This isn't his fault. Its like yelling or punishing a kid for having dyslexia or short-sightedness.
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Old 05-03-13, 06:40 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

Wonderful. I had a great reply all typed up, with multiquotes and everything. Then I hit the wrong key and deleted the whole darn thing. Now it's 6:20 and I don't have time to start over before I have to get the kids up for school.

The short version:

1) I think the medication recommendation may be generic. I have a hard time seeing how it could be anything but generic when it is based on a single assessment in which he spent 60 minutes with me and 20 minutes with my son.

I'm reluctant to see a psychiatrist unless we decide firmly that we're going to commit to the medication maze. My (near-fatal) experience has been that psychiatrists always medicate because that is what psychiatrists do.

There is a lot of uncertainty about doing that right now. So the psychiatrist is going to have to wait.

2) I'm equally uncertain about getting a 504/IEP. If done properly, I think it could be beneficial. However, I don't want to walk into an IEP meeting until I can say very clearly and specifically what we want out of it. I also do not want to walk into an IEP meeting without an independent advocate on our side.

I've been an observer in one such meeting; also one of my friends is a special needs aide. I really do believe that the schools have good intentions; I also really do believe that what they're doing with those good intentions is mostly resurfacing the road to Hell.

As I understand an IEP meeting, it goes like this: The school rounds up a bunch of experts to push for what is best for the school-- ie medication, strict compliance requirements, et cetera. The parent rounds up a bunch of experts to push for whatever they believe to be in the child's best interests-- ie accomodations. The two sides duke it out until everyone is exhausted, time runs out, or an acceptable compromise is reached, whatever comes first.

If I walk into an IEP meeting right now, the school is going to walk all over us. I'm going to splutter a few attempts at advocating for my son, DH (who will be unhappy about missing work to attend at my insistence) is going to shush me and say a few things about his fears in flowery-polite politician language, they are going to pay a little patronizing lip service to seeing my point of view, and then we are going to agree to comply with whatever they want and do our best to tell ourselves it is right.

I am going to attend Special-Needs Parent Night on the 22nd of this month. I am going to demand that I attend without children in tow. I am going to learn everything I can while I'm there.

3) I am very well-versed in the 30% rule, though it's nice to get a confirm that it applies to ADHD as well as to ASD. I am also painfully well-versed in bullying, depression, anxiety, damage to self-esteem, and et cetera.

And that is a VERY lengthy discussion that will have to wait for another day.
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Old 05-03-13, 06:41 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

I've tried to reply twice, only to accidentally delete the post as I go to submit. Now it's going to have to wait.
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Old 05-03-13, 07:45 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

Quote:
Originally Posted by claregriffin72 View Post
I have a son who has also been recently diagnosed with ADD but not the HD side of it. To me it was a relief as we have had very similar problems throughout his schooling from playschool at 2-5 and onwards and it is only really now that he is receiving the support and help that he should have done years ago and this only down to my insistence with the school.

Just like you he was labelled as a bit of a problem child, doing silly things and was always sent home with reward charts etc, all of which we tried to do at home but nothing really worked particularly well.

My husband and I have decided cateogorically not to go down the route of medication purely because he does not have the HD side and we feel that with the right support system around him he will be able to cope at school and home although like you my husband was rather more reluctant to acknowledge that there was a problem with our son.

I think that it has a lot to do with going with your heart and gut feeling. If you feel that medication will work for your son and are happy with dealing with any side effects I think you should go with what is in your heart, afterall all you are trying to do like me is to do the very best for your son.

Keep fighting for your son and dismiss those negative teachers/family members - I have had to do this for years. Concentrate on your son and what is best for him and try not to let other peoples opinions get in the way. I wish you the very best of luck and I completely understand what you are going through. Take care
It is certainly your choice whether or not to medicate your ADHD-PI son,
but I would point out that impulsivity and hyperactivity are not the only
reasons that treatment can be helpful.

Untreated ADHD-PI can affect academic performance, leading to dropping
out of school, also to poor self-image, problems with relationships and with
job performance, mood disorders, and substance abuse to "self-medicate."
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Old 05-03-13, 09:01 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

I'm thinking the advice to medicate is generic advice. I think this because it is based on ONE consultation, in which he spent 20 minutes with my son and an hour talking to me.

I really appreciate him taking that much time, but-- no matter how forthright anyone has been with information, that's not enough time to know anything much beyond generics.

It's identical to the line therapists give me when I ask for help learning coping skills for severe social anxiety, general anxiety, and depression. "We have a lot of studies that show you get better results with medication and therapy. Let me refer you..."

I am hesitant to step on the medicine wheel without trying some other things first. Yes, THEORETICALLY, you can just choose to step back off again. In fact, choosing to step back off usually involves a hunt for a new pediatrician who is willing to help you wean the child off the medication rather than prescribing medication for side effects of medication. Then you need a new therapist who will start fresh rather than stonewalling you because you chose to take your child off medication.

He is already a fairly anxious child and prone to nightmares and night waking; I know anxiety is a common side effect of stimulant meds. He is already not the world's best eater. He already has heart disease on both sides of the family. He is already small for his age (though we have a lot of short relatives, so that's probably genetic).

Dealing with stimulants making the anxiety worse is going to involve 1) non-stimulant meds, which are not as time-tested, 2) antidepressants, or 3) sedatives. I have read it is not uncommon to treat med-resultant anxiety with atypical antipsychotics, typically risperidone.

I might be projecting, but that WILL. NOT. HAPPEN. TO. MY. SON. I took risperidone for ten months. It did not help my anxiety. It did not help anything. What it did was reduce the appearance of my symptoms from the outside, because I sat on the couch nodding in and out of consciousness, slowly losing the ability to verbalize any thought more complex than, "I would prefer white milk today."

I understand that it is a wonderdrug for some people. Good for some people. I will not have my child on a medication with that list of side effects, that basically amounts to chemical restraint, simply as a consequence of being annoying. It's no better than emotional abuse-- in my opinion, it is emotional abuse. It is saying, without words, "This drug will destroy your personhood. But take it, because you suck so much that that's a worthwhile price to pay."
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Old 05-03-13, 09:22 AM
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Re: I Love Him, But I Can't Do This

I'm sure an IEP/504 meeting is going to have to happen. I'm trying to get ready for it and hoping I have the summer, because I am not getting anywhere.

I know, I think, about how this works. IEP meeting in a nut shell-- You and your support people sit down with the school and their support people. You attempt to advocate for your child, the school attempts to advocate for their standard program and what is going to be easiest for the school. The discussion continues until you arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, run out of time, or realize that you are not going to be able to agree and walk away.

IEP meeting specific to us, right now. I walk in there with my husband, this psychologist, and whatever advocate my therapist helps us find. The psychologist knows SOP, not my kid. No help there. I make a few attempts to explain what I think and what I hope for-- to advocate for my kid. My husband, and anxious over having to leave work early, shushes me, because he feels we are on trial, does not want to waste a second of any professional's valuable time, is embarrassed by what I might say, and feels he can say it better. My husband then says some diplomatic stuff that basically boils down to expressing his willingness to support his son and his fear of stigma. The school pays some reassuring lip service to how they never stigmatize any child (snort). We agree to whatever plan they propose and leave, probably without any concrete idea of how we are supposed to enforce this at home.

Please don't hate on him for that. It's not a good way to behave-- but it's a way of behaving that happens commonly. Usually you see it in uneducated parents who shamed and totally powerless, not well-educated professionals who understand that neurological differences happen and are secure in their intelligence and standing (he's a mech. engineer).

Well-- both of us are first-in-family to go to college. His dad is a class-A bully and his mom is an appeaser. He's doing the best he knows with the tools he has. His best sucks-- but don't hate on him. Tell me how to get him to take a more productive approach instead.

I want better. I want to go into that meeting having spoken, at some length, with an advocate I'm comfortable with. I want to go into that meeting with what I want to say on notecards, and in the proper technical language. I want to go into that meeting already knowing what the school wants, and what parts of it we will and will not accept. Most of all, I want to go into that meeting with enough confidence in what I want for my son, what I want to say, and how I want to say it that I will not allow myself to be bullied, patronized, pressured, aggravated, irritated, intimidated, or otherwise silenced. I want to go in there with reasonable requests and the balls to stand my ground.
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