Reply To: Frustrated, sad, depressed

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Allison Russo

This reply was originally posted by user Pump2Duncan in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

I completely understand!! It becomes increasingly frustrating when we try literally EVERYTHING and nothing seems to work. Your son has a terrific advocate in you and you’re doing a great job!

Have you talked to the school about an IEP or a 504? My son was on an IEP for many years and a Behavior Intervention Plan. The IEP really gave my son some nontraditional accommodations that helped a lot. A lot of his outbursts were due to feeling overwhelmed or “stupid” – so an accommodation was that he could go to the Resource Room (special ed room) whenever he felt that way. He normally would ask the Special Ed teacher to tell him the directions again (and again and again). He spent a couple hours each day in the Resource Room to give him a change in scenery, which also seemed to help. The Special Ed teacher always seemed to have a better grasp on how to handle my son than the General Education teacher.

The Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) laid out actions and consequences and rewards. My son was a vital part of its development. He got to pick his rewards. And every person at the school who interacted with my son had to follow the BIP, which provided structure. Teacher A’s expectations were the same as Teacher B’s, and so on.

He also went to weekly therapy sessions to help with social interactions. This helped some, he learned how to emphasize a lot with others but still has major issues making friends. He’s still that kid that no one shows up to his birthday party.

In the beginning, the structure, IEP and BIP were INTENSE and strictly followed. In the beginning there were biweekly tweaks to the plans. And there were a lot of good days and bad days. Over time (a few school years), we were able to bring down a lot of it. The actual IEP and BIP are gone, but the intense structure is still there. There is no deviations in his consequences, rewards or schedule.

My son has figured out that he needs visual reminders of his behavior. His school works on a demerit system. 4 demerits in a day and he gets detention. He asked if he could keep a post it on his desk to mark when he got a demerit. He says this acts like a reminder of the consequence to him.

I know you probably heard it before, but hang in there.