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|Thread : It Can't Be Just ADHD|
|17 Jun 2008 @ 2:39 PM|
Tue 17th Jun 2008
Threads: 2 Posts: 2
It Can't Be Just ADHD
My 10 year old son has been in therapy since age 3. It was obvious to me that he was different from infancy...more sensitive then others, needed almost constant movement, etc. Preschool he had some major problems coping and would end up running out of class, throwing chairs, screaming etc. This continued through Kindergarten and a diagnosis of ADHD followed. While on his meds he continued to have trouble coping with his first elementary school and I ended up pulling him halfway through the year and moving to a better district. To make a long story short I have been told he is severely ADHD with emotional issues. Bi-Polar and Autism have been ruled out. I tried to have him classified as special ed in third grade as his outbursts and lack of coping (happens even on meds but less frequently) was hard on him emotionally and socially. I was told that he did not classify as Special Ed and that he actually tested on the higher spectrum of gifted and that since he was functioning above grade level I could not get him the extra assistance. He was also not emotional impaired enough to be put in that category. So long story short...Bren has been on Concerta and Rispertal for the last two years...he is much improved but still lacks coping skills, is easily frustrated, and often times seems angry or sad. He has phobias....mainly bees and loud noises. He will not go outside if he sees a bee and even though he is a history buff he will not go anywhere they file cannons, guns or even have balloons or fireworks. Thunderstorms and tornado warnings petrify him. He also worries a lot...about hurting loved ones feelings, breaking rules, leaving people by themselves, adulthood, etc. He is already the odd man out because he would rather talk about model trains or WWII then video games and sports.....his emotional sensitivity and fears further distances him from his peers. He has been to many different Psychiatrists and Therapists and tried different doses of the meds but still there are only glimpses of a happy 10 year old. How do I help him?
|17 Jun 2008 @ 2:58 PM Reply # 1|
Tue 3rd Jun 2008
Threads: 7 Posts: 32
re: It can't just be ADHD
Your son sounds alot like a combination of my two boys. My youngest son (8) has ADHD and still has major mood swings. My older son (9) has ADHD and Aperger's which is a form off Autism. They call it a high functioning autism. He gets focused on only a few things and is really smart so he doesn't necassarily qualify for special ed either. I know how frustrated you are because I feel the same way.
|17 Jun 2008 @ 3:04 PM Reply # 2|
Thu 25th Oct 2007
Threads: 18 Posts: 416
Welcome to the ADDitude forums - I hope we can help you brainstorm some ideas for helping your son, who sounds like an incredibly bright and inquisitive boy. As you likely know, children with ADHD often have trouble regulating their emotions, which can manifest itself in anger-control problems (like throwing the chairs you mentioned), panic attacks (the bees!), OCD and depression. From your description, it sounds like your son's anxiety is chronic and pervasive - occurring at home, at school, during the summer, etc. If this is the case, he's likely got a comorbid condition. The good news is that emotion-regulating problems often respond well to SSRIs (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, and Celexa) that can generally be used in conjunction with ADHD meds. You mentioned that your son is on Concerta and Rispertal - I'm not a medication expert, so the next step would probably be to see a child psychiatrist with ADHD expertise. He/she could perform a few additional tests and help you figure our a treatment plan...
In the meantime, this ADDitude article is full of good information about comorbid conditions in children: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/774.html
Another idea: Could your son join a chat group or web community (with your supervision, of course) that's all about WWII or model trains? Sure, he might be chatting with people in their 70s and 80s, but at least a little positive social interaction could build up his self-esteem in the virtual world, which might translate into the real world? Just a thought...
I hope this helps!
|17 Jun 2008 @ 4:56 PM Reply # 3|
Tue 17th Jun 2008
Threads: 2 Posts: 2
More on Bren
My son finds all sorts of people to talk with (he is very outgoing) but like you said they are all older! He is called a "walking history book" by his teachers :) He loves to learn but his emotional issues get in the way and he ends up hating school because other kids can be so cruel. He was on kiddie Prozac for a while but it made him very angry...(I have a history of responding adversly to meds as well) so his doctor is apprehensive about changing his meds. He mentioned a medication called Vyvance that we may want to try but I have heard kids can go through withdrawal when they come off it. Both his therapist and Dr are supposed to be experts in ADHD but he seems to be to much for the therapist....But Bren loves her and fights about switching. I am afraid he will not open up to someone new if I force the issue. PS - LOVE your articles and have so many of them helpful. My son is going one of the summer camps mentioned next week - Eton Academy
|5 Aug 2008 @ 4:31 AM Reply # 4|
Tue 5th Aug 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 3
Your son sounds a lot like my 7 year old! As a baby he had severe colic (or so they called it.) He was easily startled by loud noises or people in his face (trying to be friendly, but too close or too excited) . . . he would go nuts when he got startled, and he couldn't seem to calm himself down. It was a nightmare! He is still very sensitive emotionally. He has fears of things like bees, and being alone in a room (we still have to take him to the bathroom, because he is afraid of being alone in there.) He takes Concerta everyday. Before the Concerta (and at lower doses), he had severe separation anxiety. He could walk to the bus stop (across the street) and get on the school bus, but if we had to drop him off at school, we would have to get out of the car and literally drag him (crying and begging) into the building. Then the principal would come out and restrain him while we left. He says he just gets anxious when we leave him, and he cannot control it. A few days ago a couple of boys in his "math group" apparently told him to "just write down the answer!" I don't know if he took it the wrong way or if they were being mean to him . . . wish I could have been a fly on the wall . .. but he got so upset that he cried as he told the teacher that they were being mean to him and "yelling' at him. The teacher (according to my 7 year old) told him that he would just have to work alone. Next it was time for reading groups. (same groups of kids). My son told her that he didn't want to work with those boys who had hurt his feelings. She agreed to let him work alone. Apparently, he was still reeling from the upset (he can't seem to bring himself out of the emotional upset once it starts), and when he complained about one of the problems being too hard, and the teacher told him that he had to do it anyway, he had a meltdown. He packed up his backpack and told her he was going home . . . he cried and hid under his desk and wouldn't come out. He yelled at her to "leave him alone" and "let go of him". She called the principal who sent the school social worker to "fetch" him. He was able to calm down in her office and did all of his homework on his own while she was on the phone with his Dad.
A week ago, he had to get a filling in a tooth, so he was late for school. His Dad dropped him off, and he had another "attack". The principal had to physically restrain him while his dad left. I was told later that she had restrained him for nearly 30 minutes! I felt sick. I didn't hear this from her or his teacher, either, which was very upsetting. My son is very eager to please the adults in his life. He is kind and sensitive toward other children. He expects the same from them, and he seems to become deeply hurt when he doesn't get that in return. How much is the emotional sensitivity related to the ADHD? The teacher and principal act like he needs to be properly disciplined. It is obvious that they are neither experienced nor well read on ADHD. The school social worker understands it thoroughly, but they really will not listen to her. They tell her that she "rewarded" him for his bad behavior (tantrum under the desk) by giving him a sticker for finishing his homework.
The worst part is that I recently got a master's degree in special education, so I am even more critical than most, and I notice every little thing that they do to him. I am seriously considering homeschooling my son until he is better able to manage his emotions. They seem to believe that punishment and reward systems will resolve all issues with all children, but they don't take into account the ADHD, and how it may be much more difficult for my son to control his broad range of emotions (or that he may even feel a broader range of emotions) than a non-adhd child. I feel so sad for him.
Sorry to ramble on and on! I don't often get to speak to people who understand.
Regarding services for your son . . . first, I would recommend that you look at wrightslaw.com It is an incredible resource for special education law and your rights. There are several disabilities listed under IDEA, and the one that ADHD MAY fall under is "other health impairment". The only way that he could be entitled to special education services would be if his ADHD had a negative impact on his learning. If his ADHD is the cause of his emotional issues, would you say that the emotional issues affect his ability to learn? Is he being pulled from class a lot and missing a lot when he is not there?
If he doesn' t qualify for special ed services under IDEA, then your next step would be to request that he assessed for a 504. The 504 plan is for children who have disabilities (classified under the Americans with Disabilities Act - ADHD counts!) who do not qualify for IDEA services. He should absolutely qualify for a 504 plan. A 504 guarantees him some interventions at school. The only difference is that the 504 will be looked at every year and can be revoked if it is determined that he no longer needs it.
If he can get special ed under IDEA, it can never be taken away from him. That is the difference! You can google ADHD Classroom interventions and find a wealth of resources on things that help at school.
My son's problems at school are only his emotions - he is soooo sensitive!!! He was afraid to go to the bathroom by himself all last year, and would wait by the door to see if anyone would come and go in. If no one went in, he'd go back to his classroom and try to "hold it". He didn't want his teacher to know he was afraid. . . . people act like we should just "let him piss himself!" as if his problems are a result of our coddling him or spoiling him. If they only knew the extent of the remedies that we have "tried". It is so frustrating sometimes to hear people (I know they have the best intentions) giving constant parenting advice as if we weren't bright enough to figure out the most simple solutions (like we don't have mothers who bombard us with streams of common sense parenting advice just like the rest of the world! LOL!!!) We know, we know! We have tried, we swear! We have done all the things - really, we have!! It isn't that simple. . . no we are not overreacting. . . we aren't being manipulated by our child . . . we aren't blind - I swear! This problem is real!!
Does anyone else ever feel this way?
|14 Jul 2009 @ 5:23 PM Reply # 5|
Tue 14th Jul 2009
It can't be just ADHD
I'm a mother of a twelve year old boy who is ADHD/DYSLEXIA. My son has been struggling since kindergarten. Nevertheless, my son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in the first grade. My son is currently on concerta. I understand the way you feel because I have a son who is extremely sensitive and very compassion towards adults. Just because you have a master's degree in special education that doesnot qualify you to dedicate the special needs of your child. You know your child better than any one does and don't allow anyone to tell you any differently. As a parent, we want what is best for our child and in the process we allow our emotions get in the way. I've learned that sometimes we have to draw a picture of our child and explain in detail our child's strengths and weakness and their daily challenges for anyone to understand. They actually have to feel it and visualize in order for anyone to understand. I have several meetings with the school and I was able to otained accomodations for my son and helped them write an IEP for my son that will follow him through middle school. My son is also afraid of being by himself , sleeping by himself and petrified of Thunder and lightening. I took my son to an occupational therapist that will help him with his gross motor skills, fine motor skills and sensory intergration. Don't give up if we don't fight for our children with disability needs who will. I had to stop taking him to the occupational therapist because my son is currently seeing a therapist for his dyslexia and has a private tutor for reading and math. He also enjoyed going to the occupational therapist. As parents we have to explain to them as the educators that they are they cannot focus only on the negativity of the child and let them know how much it effects your child. It's so easy to be judgmental and to ridicule someone else's when it's not your own.
Take care, Fabulous
|21 Sep 2009 @ 4:20 PM Reply # 6|
Wed 13th May 2009
Threads: 0 Posts: 13
Special Education & Gifted Kids
I applaud you for being such a great advocate for your son!
Although a fair number of people with ADHD have learning disorders, just as many are gifted. I know many gifted children are very sensitive to light, sound, touch, etc. and often have difficulty with emotional and social skills. Of course, not every gifted kid with these issues has ADHD and not every sensitive kid with ADHD is gifted...but the overlap seems more than coincidental to me.
Getting help for your son shouldn't require you to put him in a special class, but it will probably require some extra effort by you and the school. We were lucky to find administrators and a child psychiatrist who understand that a gifted child who does well in school can have ADHD.
From what I understand (totally not an expert), the section 504 and IEP are meant to help a child succeed in school. They can be applied whenever there's a diagnosis that interferes with the child's ability to succeed - ADHD, autism, a physical disability, depression, bipolar, etc. The key is making sure you balance accomodations with challenges - you want to make sure your child succeeds, but you also want them to learn and benefit from the experience.
I firmly believe that there's more to school than test scores and book learning. Kids' ability to deal with social situations and their emotional maturity are challenged daily at school. We need to give them the tools to succeed in those areas too. Your son may need to be taught social and emotional skills that other kids pick up on without help...many kids with ADHD need that. Often, the school is ill-equipped for that kind of education and you need to go to a therapist for assistance.
Either way...let us know how your son's doing now...I'm curious how the past year has been for him.
|24 Oct 2009 @ 4:34 PM Reply # 7|
Tue 18th Nov 2008
Threads: 1 Posts: 8
READ THIS BOOK:
Everyone who has a child who struggles in school should read Dr. Ross Greene's "Lost At School - Why Our Kids with Behavioral Challenges Are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them". It is wonderful and ought to be required reading in every school district. His premise is that children do well when they CAN. The outbursts and difficulties that happen are an indicator of lagging skills, which teachers and schools should learn to recognize and seek to help the child learn. He very pointedly states that it can be a long, hard road for some students, but the journey needs to be addressed by educators with empathy, not ultimatums.
I went to a recent parent/teacher meeting at my 4th grader's school, armed with my Ross Greene book. I was blown away when they told me they had just had a training on his methods!! They have been great and understanding this year of my quirky kid's issues.
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