My 6 year old son may have ODD or..

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    • #81516

      is it simply a sensory processing sensitivity/ ‘disorder’? since I spent a very trying spring break with my son, I have been trying to piece together what is going on here.

      Background: my son was diagnosed with severe ADHD at age 6 this November. He was placed on Vyvanse 10 mg as his school threatened to expel him due to his wandering/fighting behavior if he wasn’t medicated. he has since been upped to 20 mg which has worked wonders for his school performance and to stop his wandering behaviors.

      However, for the last few months I have noticed very concerning behaviors. They include:
      1. disregard for house rules despite reminders and punishments
      2. verbal aggression and self-harming statements when upset ‘I am the worst kid in the world! I’m disgusting!”
      3. acting out in nearly every public place with impossible tantrums
      4. he has recently been asked to leave (with me, of course) from several venues including a wedding and a karate school due to defiant behavior with authority figures and very hyper/impulsive behaviors (climbing on tables, taking items that don’t belong to him and then lying about taking them)
      5. extremely irritable. If someone brushes past him her will yell and scream at that person. Has no ability to understand the difference between accidental and purposeful behaviors.

      There are others but I am too worn out to formulate an exhaustive list. My question for this community is: do I view this from an ODD perspective, or a sensory processing issue? are those even mutually exclusive? I know that he has sensitivities, most specifically to touch and sound, and that has been a constant since infancy. if I focus on moderating the sensory issues and building his internal coping skills for that, will his affect regulation improve? do any of you have experience with neurofeedback or working with an OT on these issues.
      My son is receiving:
      vyvanse 20mg
      once weekly play therapy
      twice weekly OT
      self-contained special ed classroom of 12 children and 3 teachers.

      his strengths are:
      normal intelligence
      very perceptive
      excellent verbal skills
      very sweet and easily loving when having a ‘good day’.

      any advice would be appreciated!

    • #81532
      Penny Williams

      What you describe was my son on Vyvanse and Adderall. There are two types of ADHD stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both. That said, before chasing other reasons for these behaviors, I’d ask his prescribing doctor to try a methylphenidate (of course, I’m not a physician, but that’s what I’d personally do with the knowledge I have on this). My son was angry and aggressive and moody on amphetamines, but doesn’t have those side effects with methylphenidates. He’s also a naturally sweet and kind kid.

      If these behaviors are all related to sensory processing issues (SPD), you would be able to correlate them to sensory stimuli when they happen. Things like disregarding house rules and poor self-esteem are probably not SPD related. Talk to his OT about what could be related to sensory issues — that’s their area of expertise.

      A lot of kids with ADHD, especially the younger ones, tend to say a lot of extreme criticisms of themselves. I think it has a lot to do with poor emotional regulation and not having the skills to handle disappointment and frustration better. That comes with time. My son was the same way, and didn’t show signs of any self-awareness and self-regulation until age 9. At 15, he still says those things on occasion, but pretty rarely now.

      The ADHD Parent’s Soul Shine Kit

      On tantrums, consider that they may actually be meltdowns. They’re two very different things, and should be responded to very differently. A tantrum is within the child’s control and can be stopped instantly if they get their way. A meltdown, however, is not within their control and has to cycle out. I equate a meltdown to their brains being hijacked, or like a record stuck in a scratch.

      Meltdowns Happen: 7 Healthy Ways to Respond

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #81541

      “@elly87 said He was placed on Vyvanse 10 mg as his school threatened to expel him due to his wandering/fighting behavior if he wasn’t medicated.”

      When I read these statements I want to scream. On every forum I’ve read I see many members say, “I’m not a doctor” then give the experience not their medical diagnosis.

      Many schools are way too quick to decide a child has ADD, OCD, ODD or some other problem then “recommend” a particular doctor. They recommend that doctor because they know he/she prescribes meds after only a very few visits.

      For a school administrator to threaten parents with expulsion if they don’t medicate their child is practicing medicine without a license. I think more parents should report such behavior to the proper authorities.

      Having said that, for the school to point out that a child’s behavior could result in expulsion, then, to suggest that the parents find a therapist or doctor to make sure the child isn’t having an issue would be fine. But, to put it as “put him on medicine or we’ll toss him on the street” is seriously one of the reasons many parents don’t trust school administrators.

      My worry when it came to my son was that stimulants in the morning (and perhaps afternoon) combined with benadryl at bedtime seemed to be about the same thing as giving him three shots of espresso before school, two shots of espresso at lunch and a shot of whiskey at bedtime.

      At first, that is exactly what I felt was happening. It took many adjustments of meds to get it right. Changing meds, changing dosages, trying time released versus instant release, moving the benadryl to “as needed” instead of every night, giving him autonomy over weekends (right now he’s on seven days a week – but weekends are his choice). My son is much older and obviously a 6 year old isn’t going to get the same choices.

      But, if he’s worse on meds than off – which is how I interpreted your post, obviously a trip back to the doctor is required.

      It’s so easy to forget something you wanted to ask the doctor. Write your questions down or print them from your computer. I’ve found paper is essential for this to work. Just having them in my phone isn’t as effective. I even use this for my own doctor’s appointments.

      Put the paper on the exam table so the doctor sees it as soon as he/she walks in. I use a lined notebook paper and a sharpie to write my questions or concerns.

      Doctors appreciate it, it makes it quick to get to your core concerns. I try to keep it to my most basic questions and not a question about everything Dr. Google has told me.

      You said you didn’t make a complete list above of his over stimulated behavior. I’d recommend two sheets of paper. On the “main sheet” write that he’s over stimulated. On the other piece write just a few examples.

      I’m not a doctor, but if his behavior is worse now than before, something is seriously wrong. Either he didn’t have ADD, ODD or anything wrong and the school has pressured you into putting him on needless meds or he’s on the wrong meds.

      One last thing. In my experience, second opinion doctor’s are fearless. When they know their just providing a 2nd opinion they really open up. I’ve also had the same doctors do a 180 degree turn when I come back and want them to act on what they told me the first time. These were my doctor’s not my son’s.

      I’d wish you luck – but you don’t need luck, you just need a parents desire to do what’s best for their child.

    • #81542

      What is O.D.D

    • #81696

      It’s goid to hear the news were useful to calm his behaviour at school, regardless of what the school thinks, that’s one less stress for him to deal with. The other symptoms actually sound to me like the symptoms of depression. It expresses differently in kids. If that’s what it is, it could be a side effect of his current meds or it could be a separate thing due to the stress of constantly being in trouble at school and struggling with stuff in general. It can be especially hard for kids who are bright and perceptive but have behavioural issues because they know the problem is coming from them but they don’t know how to change it. I highly recommend going back to the doctor and talking it through. It’s great that he’s in play therapy, and just keep up the positive reinforcement at home. Also if he has sensory issues, is he a fussy eater? And does he get enough sun? Low iron, low b vitamins and low vitamin d can all cause depression/anxiety. I have to periodically to give our little girl iron and b vitamin supplements when her mood goes downhill, and she comes right. She doesn’t eat meat meat though. Always talk to doctor as too much iron is harmful too. The other persons post suggesting writing things down is key. Write your questions separately from what you’ve observed in him. Good luck! You are doing great in a very tricky circumstance and he’s lucky to have you on his side.

    • #82573

      My son is ADHD/ODD, diagnosed at age 9. Defiance can come from ODD or due to meds, so it’s difficult without knowing more background to say. I will say when my son was 6 we also thought he was SPD because he would chew on his shirt, pick at his skin, he liked things loud. Hindsight 20/20 I think he did these things because he was also anxious about not being able to sit still, and he did not want to get in trouble in class. He is currently on a non-stimulant medication, because our Pediatrician was concerned a stimulant may cause more aggression than we already experienced (have you discussed this possibility with our Ped?). The medication helps, but it doesn’t fix everything. A lot of his aggression has dissipated, but we have our moments. But, to really know for sure what your son is dealing with you should seek a counselor.

    • #82756

      Please do not rule out that your child may be suffering from the Methyl-B Gene Mutation (MTHFR). Some of the symptoms you noted mirror what I had on bad days (and I’m an adult!). A simple blood or saliva (DNA) test will determine if your son has the gene mutation. Most important — it is treatable, and usually without drugs!
      I’m not a doctor, and I’m not selling anything. In layman’s terms, those of us with a MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into a usable form. This in turn can reduce serotonin and dopamine levels, which can cause depression. (We have to be careful with B Vitamins.) ALSO…Several symptoms resulting from the mutation mirror other medical and mental issues such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, autism, etc. It can lay dormant and trauma, diet or stress can bring it on. I started doing as much research as I could online. A great resource I found online is Dr. Ben Lynch who states: “…I believe the MTHFR gene mutation is a highly significant public health problem that is completely ignored. Yet, millions are suffering from pulmonary embolisms, addictions, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, schizophrenia, severe depression, cancer and autism to name a few…:
      A contributing factor is that nearly all food we eat is pre-packaged ‘enriched’, meaning all the original vitamins and minerals have been stripped in the processing. The food industry enriches the food, usually with synthetic substitutes because they are cheaper (there is usually folic acid in every pre-packaged food item). Our bodies are not programmed to metabolize or digest these ‘synthetic’ ingredients well and we are starting to see more and more people develop this mutation. This mutation, gone unchecked, which can cause rages and depression in young children as well as adults, needs to be addressed. Society has accepted as “the norm” to not question physicians who immediately want to prescribe addictive drugs to children based on a few symptoms, rather than looking at the whole body and how genetics, diet and stress can be the culprit.
      We did not have the issue with so many children being diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, ODD, (insert the DD). Current affairs are adding additional stresses we didn’t have. Additionally, more studies are showing the connection with depression and too much social media and online gaming our kids are involved with. Our kids are being bombarded with daily stressors and their diets are full of chemicals and additives. This is changing their/our genetics, and we need to become more pro-active with our children’s health. If I get just 20% or more synthetic folic acid in a serving, I can experience rage and depression for days afterward. Did you know there is 50% folic acid just one serving of Cheerios?! Some “healthy” cereals have 100% folic acid! Imagine if your child has this mutation. No wonder they are raging. Look at the ingredients of nearly every pre-packaged food. If there is a list of vitamins and minerals, particularly folic acid, you are being served mainly synthetics, because it is cheaper. (Convenience is putting us in “dis ease”.)
      I work with a local naturopathic doctor to manage my MTHFR without drugs. However, Doctor Ben Lynch (who also has the MTHFR) was my go to resource ( when I first started researching this issue, and I have personally chosen to be an advocate for him to get the word out to as many individuals as I can about the MTHFR Mutation. Another great resource:
      You owe it to your child to not just accept the norm of being diagnosed with some sort of “DD” and prescribed (addictive) prescription drugs. Trust me, your child is begging for a better answer. And if it’s not the MTHFR, then at least you know it for a fact, and you also know that you are doing EVERYTHING you can to help your child.
      I provide this for information purposes only – my PSA! Best to you and your son. (Pl let me know you received this. You don’t have to comment. Thank you.)

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