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Deb417
10-06-2011, 12:06 AM
OK, help me out with this!

Everything I've ever read suggests that homeschooling is *better* for ADD kids than school, especially if they are being put on medication.

Well today our pediatrician not only prescribed Clonadine for sleep (my DD was taking melatonin for the past year, it stopped working, she is now chronically sleep-deprived from not sleeping for about a month now), he's starting her on Concerta (start tomorrow) and he says she also has (based on his conversations with the psychologist who tested her) ODD, and at this point, she's so accustomed to driving me round the bend, pushing my buttons, etc...that even the Concerta won't help that, and the only solution is to send her to a very structured school where she'll know she's not "in charge" and will have to get used to following rules for adults b/c at this point, it's clear she doesn't think she has to at home.

I'm at a loss. First of all, I don't want to. Second, we can't afford to (our local public school is quite "open" and not that structured at all. We could try lottery for a more "traditional" set up, but it's nearly impossible to get in.

But I don't want to! Is that selfish of me?? I don't even agree! I don't have a good *reason* for not agreeing. Admittedly, I'm just biased against "school." But I don't see how sending her away from us, right at the time she's starting to get treatment, is the right thing to do.

Am I nuts? Is he nuts? Is he right and I'm in denial?

Anyone able to tell me anything about Concerta? Sorry I'm so all over the place on this, I knew this was coming (the firm diagnosis with prescription for meds), but the school bit shocked me. He says he's concerned not just with her changing her behavior, but also with my mental health (admittedly, I'm a bit too-close-for-comfort to a nervous breakdown most days....) and for the health of my other kids who are laboring in the chaos she creates.

But won't the meds help with some of that? Aren't they supposed to? If not, what good are they???

I don't get it. :(

Stella M
10-06-2011, 12:11 AM
It's not selfish. Can you say to him "We'll just make one change at a time. For now, we'll try the meds." and just see how it goes ?

There are other options for dealing with your own, and siblings mental health, than school. School is no miracle and is likely to create a different set of stresses.

I'd find another doctor. What this one is suggesting is a big deal and a second opinion can't hurt.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-06-2011, 12:35 AM
I also think getting another opinion makes sense. And what about a therapist who might actually be able to help you figure out how to work with her at home (and with the stress for all of you)? That might be worth consideration. I mean, even if she went back to school, she isn't going to live there. And maybe you do have a good reason for not agreeing, mother's intuition I think it is called. I didn't even send my dd's psych eval to our pediatrician or talk to him about the school problems or behavior problems. I trust him for all things physical but that is as far as it goes for me. When we had issues I asked him to recommend a psychologist and he did. Anyway, I am sorry it is so difficult for you right now and hope for you that things start getting better soon.

Brittaya
10-06-2011, 02:07 AM
You are her mom. Doctors can give advice and opinions all they want but they don't have to live with the decisions. If she's having trouble at home with people who care about her, how is sending her off to strangers going to help? Most teachers are overworked, underpaid, have too many kids to deal with and don't care that much about the outcome. And like someone else said she's still living with you. I don't think school will fix behavior issues. If you decide to send her it should be because you feel it's the right thing to do (for you/her/the family etc), not because a doctor said to. My two cents anyways.

MarkInMD
10-06-2011, 05:16 AM
You are her mom. Doctors can give advice and opinions all they want but they don't have to live with the decisions. If she's having trouble at home with people who care about her, how is sending her off to strangers going to help? Most teachers are overworked, underpaid, have too many kids to deal with and don't care that much about the outcome. And like someone else said she's still living with you. I don't think school will fix behavior issues. If you decide to send her it should be because you feel it's the right thing to do (for you/her/the family etc), not because a doctor said to. My two cents anyways.

That's pretty much exactly what I would say, so I'll just quote it and say, "Yeah". But I'll add that I think it's probably a fallacy to think that kids with behavior issues will be "fixed" by school, and here's why. You're the one whose buttons she's pushing. How exactly is going to someone else who lays down the law going to make her respect you? You're the one who needs to put in the hard but worthwhile work of building that relationship in that way, and obviously you're willing to do it. So I agree that one step at a time is the approach to take, plus I don't think I'd ever take the step of sending her to school. It's counterintuitive.

JinxieFox
10-06-2011, 05:21 AM
Are you nuts? No. Selfish? No. While I've never had any experience with ADD (or ADHD or anything else out there), from a parenting standpoint I agree with getting a second opinion. Also, as she's only just starting treatment, there should be a "wait and see"/adjustment period, as with *any* change. It seems to me that it's a good idea to see how things go with the new medication, and take it one change at a time.

You know what is right for you and your daughter.

Pefa
10-06-2011, 06:35 AM
wow, that's a lot to lay on you. Can the psychiatrist who evaluated her recommend a pedi for a 2nd opinion? I agree w/OP that making one change at a time makes more sense than everything at once. I don't know where you live or how old your kids are, but there may be resources at your school to help you make things work better at home.

Good luck

Staysee34
10-06-2011, 07:34 AM
It seems you and I are in a very similar situation. My DD9 went to her yearly physical appointment on Tuesday and we started her on Concerta. Other than a 6 month run with antidepressants at the age of 5, she'd never been medicated for any of her issues. Like you, we had exhausted all other options. We kept some and nixed others. She had her first dose yesterday and it helped. I didn't see how it affects her academic life because we are on break this week but I can tell you that she didn't yell at me one time all day. She cleaned her room for the first time in her life without having me breathe down her neck or a full on meltdown. She also went to bed last night without getting up every 15 minutes. Overall, she seemed much calmer and more focused which was my reason for putting her on meds in the first place. We are still using melatonin. For now, it's working although we've gone from 3mg to 6mg. As far as the physician's take on school, I'd say he's biased as well. Our pediatrician learned of our home schooling decision yesterday and asked if I was using a specific program. I told her "Nope, I'm pulling things together on my own to suit how she learns and she's doing wonderfully." End of discussion. I know from experience that you don't need the structure of PS. You can do it from the comfort of home. Basically, she has many learned behaviors that need to be unlearned. It will be a chore to say the least but so worth it in the end. I agree with the others on this. Second opinions and possibly even third opinions can't hurt. We've had our fair share of opinions but eventually wound up with one I could accept and suited my DD's situation.

ETA: I don't believe that sending her to PS is going to resolve the chaos in the home. It's only going to bring a new kind of chaos. There are tons of support groups for parents like us out there. Also, I've done a couple rounds of therapy and even been prescribe Prozac at one point. I got help in the home in the form of a Behavior Specialist. I told her straight up that she wasn't treating Julia but the entire family with a focus on Julia. There's more than one way to skin a cat. PS isn't the solution in my opinion.

Elphie
10-06-2011, 08:29 AM
I agree that you should get a second opinion. If you do not feel comfortable sending her to school then don't. My son was on Concerta for 2 years and it helped him a lot. Maybe it will help your DD with her ODD. See how she does with the Concerta and seek out the help of a psychologist to help you learn how to deal with her behaviors if you need to. My son's psychologist always said that public school was not an ideal place for him to be...she encouraged me to think about homeschooling. Homeschooling him is hard...but it is way easier than dealing with the school about his many issues.

skrink
10-06-2011, 08:35 AM
We have had responses like this over time. Years ago we had doctors tell us there was nothing wrong with EC, that it was our parenting. We have had therapists take us to task for not wanting her in school, because, after all, that's "normal". And shouldn't that brand of normal be everyone's goal for their child? Ack!

You have had one (biased) man's opinion on what's best for your daughter. It has taken us a while, but we have found wonderful AND hs friendly docs and therapists. They do exist! EC's therapist actually has many patients who are being homeschooled and she talks about how great it is that parents can tailor an education to meet the needs of each child. Please don't let this one person's judgement make you question your own. You know your daughter far better than he ever will. It may take some legwork to find professionals who will respect your decisions but it's well worth the effort. Good luck to you.

bcnlvr
10-06-2011, 08:48 AM
I would get a second opinion. Mine told me that ds9 needed meds and to be taken OUT of school, not the other way around. Also, professionals many times use their power as a professional to convey their personal opinions about school, parenting, vaxing, etc. I would shy away from anyone who was black/white in their thinking rather than willing to discuss the different options.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-06-2011, 09:05 AM
Our pediatrician had the same reaction when we started homeschooling and I told her I suspected he may have Asperger's (he was already diagnosed with ADHD). The first thing she said was "Let's figure out how to get him back in school." She didn't say that the last time we saw her, so I think she's resigned to our homeschooling now. If she still feels that strongly about it when I take him in for his next physical, I will consider switching pediatricians.

I think most doctors, like many people, are of the opinion that only "professionals" can successfully handle a child with special needs. I think parents can do better in many ways. We know our child intimately; we can work on behavior modification consistently because our child is with us all day; we can give him one-on-on attention; and most of all we are more invested than anyone else in his success.

My son doesn't have a diagnosis of ODD, but he can be very defiant. It was the worst at the end of kindergarten (at public school), when he would not cooperate with the simplest requests. It took both structure and an abundance of humor, patience, and compassion to improve his behavior. A school may have the structure, but the odds of getting a teacher with enough of the other three are probably slim to none.

Busygoddess
10-06-2011, 09:05 AM
OK, help me out with this!

Everything I've ever read suggests that homeschooling is *better* for ADD kids than school, especially if they are being put on medication.

Well today our pediatrician not only prescribed Clonadine for sleep (my DD was taking melatonin for the past year, it stopped working, she is now chronically sleep-deprived from not sleeping for about a month now), he's starting her on Concerta (start tomorrow) and he says she also has (based on his conversations with the psychologist who tested her) ODD, and at this point, she's so accustomed to driving me round the bend, pushing my buttons, etc...that even the Concerta won't help that, and the only solution is to send her to a very structured school where she'll know she's not "in charge" and will have to get used to following rules for adults b/c at this point, it's clear she doesn't think she has to at home.

I'm at a loss. First of all, I don't want to. Second, we can't afford to (our local public school is quite "open" and not that structured at all. We could try lottery for a more "traditional" set up, but it's nearly impossible to get in.

But I don't want to! Is that selfish of me?? I don't even agree! I don't have a good *reason* for not agreeing. Admittedly, I'm just biased against "school." But I don't see how sending her away from us, right at the time she's starting to get treatment, is the right thing to do.

Am I nuts? Is he nuts? Is he right and I'm in denial?

Anyone able to tell me anything about Concerta? Sorry I'm so all over the place on this, I knew this was coming (the firm diagnosis with prescription for meds), but the school bit shocked me. He says he's concerned not just with her changing her behavior, but also with my mental health (admittedly, I'm a bit too-close-for-comfort to a nervous breakdown most days....) and for the health of my other kids who are laboring in the chaos she creates.

But won't the meds help with some of that? Aren't they supposed to? If not, what good are they???

I don't get it. :(

It sounds like the suggestion of school has more to do with the diagnosis of ODD, which does not get medicated. ODD is treated with behavioral therapy. So, he likely is trying to suggest what he really thinks will be best - a little breathing room for you & the other kids. The Concerta is for her AD/HD, not ODD, and will likely not effect the ODD at all.
Personally, I don't think the issue is so much about getting a second opinion as it is about getting your child to a therapist. Medication should not be the only treatment for AD/HD, since medication will not help the child learn how to focus without medicinal assistance, the organizational skills that are often lacking in people with AD/HD, or how to work with the AD/HD. Since those should be the ultimate goal, medication should never be used alone. Also ODD, as I said, is treated only with therapy, NOT medication. Therefore, your best move at this point is to get her into therapy to help her learn about her ADHD & to work on the behavioral problems from her ODD. The therapist should be able to teach you ways to work with her at home, as well.

Eileen
10-06-2011, 10:24 AM
Here's where I give my usual book recommendation: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Time-Out-Beth-Grosshans-Ph-D/dp/1402777647/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317910924&sr=8-2

My daughter can be very defiant and she is a huge pusher of my buttons. This book has helped me more than I can say. I won't claim that things are perfect now, because I don't have great self-discipline, but they have gotten a lot better.

School is your decision, and doctors are definitely not always right. This is a parenting decision. But I can sort of see why he might say that, since it seems like you and your child are in a toxic pattern right now. I've been there, I know how it is. But school didn't really help, it just got us away from each other for awhile.

Deb417
10-06-2011, 01:43 PM
First of all, thanks to all who responded! I appreciate the time it takes to read through all this and share your views, so thank you!! It's SO helpful and I feel less alone :)

Second, Eileen, it's funny you mentioned that book, I read it and followed it to a T for about 6 mos last year, it worked like a CHARM for my two younger kids (and still does, so I guess I still use it, I just meant I kinda gave up on my eldest with it b/c it just didn't work and seemed to make her fight back even harder), but not the eldest. I also tried 1-2-3 Magic, which is similar but even less talking. That too works beautifully for the younger two so we use them interchangeably, depending on what they are doing--with things that require a little more hands-on approach, I use Beyond Time Out, with things that are simply non-negotiable (like when they whine for a cookie before dinner or something annoying like that, I use 1-2-3 magic, stops it cold.

But DD1 has NO currency. The kid once said "Mama, your rules are just a problem for me to solve."

Combine that attitude (and intellect) with ADD impulsive type and you have a SCARY combo! Today it's sneaking in my room and rifling through my makeup drawer to "paint the cat," tomorrow it's figuring out how to unlock the medicine or liquor cabinet!

So I have to get a grip on this, and I do think we need professional help.

BUT, my Mommy instinct tells me this is not psychologically motivated. I have no reason really for saying that other than to tell you that when I look into the eyes of my child to talk to her about why she does what she does, even why she refuses to do what she refuses to do, she has NO REASON. She says "I don't know." I don't get the sense that it really IS a power struggle with me personally. By the end of the weekend, she pulls the same stuff with her Dad (and at night too). When adults teachers/choir directors, etc... spend enough time with her, eventually they have that instance where she digs in and simply refuses to do what she's asked, and there's no pattern other than "I don't want to right now." It seems so tied to an inability for her to transition from what she's interested in to what you want her to do or what she needs to do, and really doesn't seem to have anything to do with who's asking or what's being asked (except insofar as it wasn't HER idea).

So unless I can find someone who can help us figure out how to TRICK her into thinking it's her idea to fold her laundry or get dressed or make her bed or put on her shoes or get in the car or stay out of Mom and dad's private stuff, I don't see how we're gonna get there. It's like her inhibitions aren't there.

Also, she has terrible time-blindness. I told the ped that and he seemed to brush it off and this bothered me bc my gut tells me this is a HUGE factor. I genuinely believe she has no ability to see into the future in her mind's eye--the immediate future especially. I think she can imagine something like Christmas enough to look forward to it, or her birthday, but tell her if she does x or doesn't do Y and such and such will happen, even if you are crystal clear and look her in the eye while telling her, and she seems not to process b/c when such and such comes to pass, she seems genuinely SHOCKED that it's happening so soon, or sometimes at all. She always says "ALREADY??? You didn't warn me it was so soon!" She can tell time and knows intellectually how long five minutes is, etc...But when it passes, she seems to think a second has gone by and freaks out. Her emotional reaction is as one betrayed, like I "lied" to her or something, and then she digs in. I'd say roughly 80% of our problems tie back to timing and transitions. And I can't shake the feeling it's chemical, that her inability to shut out whatever is occupying her attention means that she can't let in that little bit of data that says "time is ticking by" for other kids.

When I say "hurry" to my other two, they begin to move more quickly, almost automatically, they speed up their body movements, begin to run, they "hustle." My eldest? She moves at the same pace regardless, and the ONLY time she speeds up is when SHE wants something or wants to go somewhere, then she goes into warp speed and everyone else is expected to follow and she freaks out if we don't.

In short, her agenda is THE agenda in her mind, and I know it sounds like denial, but I honestly don't think it's so much "oppositional" as it is disoriented or self-centered.

About the only thing I think is psychological is her need for control, and I wonder which came first, her inability to accurately predict and plan, or her desire to control her environment. All I know is, watching her fight the Clonidine last night was DISTURBING. She was so ANGRY that she couldn't keep her eyes open. We tried to comfort her that she'd sleep and wake up refreshed, but she was freaking out, like we were killing her, it was so bad I had to walk away. Her eyes wouldn't stay open but she kep flailing around saying "NONONO!!! I will not go to sleep, you can't make me, NOOOOO!!!! NOT NOW!!"

But I will say, she woke up today without argument, after only one try, got dressed, followed directions much more easily and even folded her own laundry as long as I agreed to help by turning things right-side-out. We fed her a huge breakfast anticipating weak midday appetite, and gave her the first Concerta and, I'm sorry to say, it's had no effect that i can see. The Dr. did say he expected she'd need a higher dose.

I asked her how SHE felt and she said she liked it, that she could concentrate better on her work (and she did do pretty well on the work we did this morning) but I'm on here writing to you all b/c she's pretty much abandoned schoolwork now. I'm going to finish here and try to get her to go outside and do a science lab, just to get her fresh air, see if that works, but in general, she's still doing what she wants to do for the most part and easily distracted by her sisters.

I realize this sounds like I want a pill to make her "behave," and that's not the case. If it's therapy she needs, I'm there, I just don't feel like the biggest problem she has is defiance. I feel like it's poor planning, so maybe she needs a different kind of therapy? Or I need to learn how to teach study skills/planning skills? I don't know.

Does this resonate for anyone?

I'm pretty committed to NOT sending her to school though, looked into it a bit more last night and was thoroughly disgusted by the cost of private and by the process for public, plus I remembered why I didn't like our district in the first place, so no matter what, I'm just gonna choose to ignore that "prescription" ;)

I want to get her whatever therapy she needs, I just don't want to waste a bunch of money on talk therapy that is focused on "why" she does stuff b/c I honestly don't think even she knows. I'd much rather find a solutions-oriented behavioral therapist who can teach us strategies and tools for helping her plan and predict better, work more independently and see the world from other people's point of view more often. I honestly have never encountered someone who seems more oblivious to their effect on other people, except insofar as they pick up on the cues so well that say "I'm in charge of the agenda now, this is what I need to do to get it and keep it, so I'm gonna keep doing it."

What motivates her to do that is a mystery though. I just don't think it's emotional, I think it's physical (as a side-note, you have never seen a kid more averse to pain, it took three of us adults to hold her down for her booster shots yesterday, and she only weighs 50 lbs).

coloradoalice
10-06-2011, 02:54 PM
I have no experience but I also agree with the idea of a second opinion.

And I have to laugh at the suggestion that ps has all kinds of crazy structure. It is regimented I guess, in that kids have to listen immediately and follow rules, but it is not consistently structured for the most part. What they have different days changes like art one day, PE the next, music another, all with different teachers who have different rules, and then there's interruptions for school assemblies, program practices, random days off for holidays, teachers inservice, half days etc.... Teachers get sick, teachers have babies and go on leave, students come and go. There is so much random in PS I just think it's funny that it's held up as some example of consistency and structure. It's just not. And if you have a teacher that struggles with class or student control well then it's just a total disaster.

jess
10-06-2011, 03:58 PM
It's not selfish. Can you say to him "We'll just make one change at a time. For now, we'll try the meds." and just see how it goes

I agree with this approach. Maybe school would be helpful. But why jump straight to it instead of first seeing if things get more manageable at home with the medication?

onmom
10-06-2011, 04:31 PM
As a parent of a add child on meds who can act this way, here is what I see happening.
Her ADD means she has not developed a sense of time or cause and effect. Her world seems chaotic and random. People seem to act irrational to her. She can't understand what she did cause what effect. Think Star Treck when Kirk was sped up and the crew not. We (the crew) seem slow to respond to her requests and wants. She has a race car brain but bike brakes.
She does something at her speed and by the time we respond she has moved on to two or three other things already. The stress of not understanding what going on all the time plus feeling stupid that things easy for others don't seem easy for them they get mad. They have a smaller set of copying skills as add interferes in this development.
These kids seem to feel physical things stronger than we do. My daughter often is starting her day with so many little stressors, like seems on socks rubbing or loud noises that she lives close to the edge of frustration. Sometimes it seems she wants the rest of us to feel her chaos so she is not alone. Other times I think it is just she can hold it in any longer. The meds will help the ODD IF it helps her develop a better sense of time and cause and effect. My daughter deals better with her peers now. She still needs direction on how others see her behaviour. She often does not see how she acts or what she said the same way we do.
While school might not be the answer my daughter does do better with a tight schedule that we can be flexible with if she is tolerating it. The schedule allows her to know what is next. She is not afraid and her behaviour is MUCH better. The fear came across as sullen and bulling of those around her.

dragonfly
10-06-2011, 04:38 PM
Our pediatrician had the same reaction when we started homeschooling and I told her I suspected he may have Asperger's (he was already diagnosed with ADHD). The first thing she said was "Let's figure out how to get him back in school." She didn't say that the last time we saw her, so I think she's resigned to our homeschooling now. If she still feels that strongly about it when I take him in for his next physical, I will consider switching pediatricians.

Does she understand that you are homeschooling because you *want* to, and not because you feel you *can't* have him in school? It sounds like she thinks *your* goal is a traditional school. Maybe she needs to be told otherwise? Just a thought, that's how it sounds from the way you wrote this...

Doctors aren't always right. I think that *they* would like us all to believe that we are. I also think that our society tends to put a LOT of trust into the medical profession. We are taught to listen to our doctors, and follow doctors orders. It's very hard to question them, even when we think they are wrong. We have been led to believe that doctors always know best.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of them are great, and do a wonderful job, but they are not omnipotent nor omniscient. They just act like they are, sometimes. :)

I wish I had some specific advice, but I'm not familiar with these kind of behavioral issues. I think that, in a lot of issues involving behavioral problems the parents probably do know better than the doctors a lot of the time. After all, they are only seeing a small fraction of the things the parents see of the child's behavior. It's really important to be an outspoken advocate, and if you think something is wrong, don't let the doctor just brush it aside.

dragonfly
10-06-2011, 05:02 PM
Also, she has terrible time-blindness. I told the ped that and he seemed to brush it off and this bothered me bc my gut tells me this is a HUGE factor. I genuinely believe she has no ability to see into the future in her mind's eye--the immediate future especially. I think she can imagine something like Christmas enough to look forward to it, or her birthday, but tell her if she does x or doesn't do Y and such and such will happen, even if you are crystal clear and look her in the eye while telling her, and she seems not to process b/c when such and such comes to pass, she seems genuinely SHOCKED that it's happening so soon, or sometimes at all. She always says "ALREADY??? You didn't warn me it was so soon!" She can tell time and knows intellectually how long five minutes is, etc...But when it passes, she seems to think a second has gone by and freaks out. Her emotional reaction is as one betrayed, like I "lied" to her or something, and then she digs in. I'd say roughly 80% of our problems tie back to timing and transitions. And I can't shake the feeling it's chemical, that her inability to shut out whatever is occupying her attention means that she can't let in that little bit of data that says "time is ticking by" for other kids.

This is so strange...recently my dh had a rare, atypical allergic reaction to an antiviral he was taking for chickenpox (yes, you can get it twice in your life, and it is worse on an adult). One of the symptoms he had sounds like this, but the complete opposite. He'd ask me to get him something from the closet, and it would take me all of ten seconds, but he'd say next time I needed to be much faster, because that took forever. He'd be in the bedroom, called to me because he needed a drink, and tell me that he'd been yelling for me for 20 minutes, when actually it was only about 30 seconds. Normally, his time sense is good, and now it's back to normal. (Other symptoms included insomnia, hyperactivity, constant talking, euphoria, and eventually, mania. High bp and heart rate, too. And probably a rash, but it was hard to tell with the chickenpox. Yeah, it was scary.)

I don't know if this is applicable to your situation in any way, especially since he's an adult, but the similarity struck me. His problem was obviously chemical, and it cleared up once the drug was out of his system.

I'm not sure that doctors are always looking for all of the possible outside factors that could be affecting behavior. This reaction was so rare, they had to look it up. It could have easily been confused with a mental break of some kind.

And yes, he did call the doctor's office--several times--reporting some of these symptoms early on. Their advice? Keep taking the pills. :punch:

CatInTheSun
10-06-2011, 05:40 PM
"needs to be in a structured school" is code for "I don't think you are competent to help your own child. Step aside and let the "professionals" handle it."

Peds like controlled situations, not trusting parents. Way too many are quick to tell moms to stop breastfeeding (mine did), or CIO, or co-sleeping is bad, or you have to vaccinate at EXACTLY their schedule or your child will perish....THEN I found out most Peds aren't required to take a single developmental psych course in med school. Breeds confidence, doesn't it?

So, chuck the Peds advice and start working with the psychologist/therapist/whatever. Make it clear that you are open to suggestions on how best to homeschool your child, but you plan to homeschool. If they can't deal with that, find another specialist. Find someone who will help you and your child in a homeschool environment, because I have no doubt that ps would be hell on your child. Differences are not tolerated and it eats away at kids to be disciplined all the time. As to your Ped -- this is well outside his expertise, so give it the same weight as the woman behind you in line at the grocery store. Smile, nod, and MOVE ON.

skrink
10-06-2011, 06:25 PM
I was doing some online reading, looking for ideas for my dd's situation, and came across this article: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/879.html. Thought it could be helpful to you.

Elphie
10-06-2011, 07:07 PM
ADHD kids do have a hard time seeing future consequences/rewards or learning from past mistakes. I found this article and thought it explained things well.

http://www.pediatricneurology.com/newpage11.htm

Deb417
10-06-2011, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the articles! Going to read them now....

Guess I better knuckle down and find some other specialists to help us. Thing is, I have to find them in-network or we'll go broke trying to pay for them. :(

farrarwilliams
10-06-2011, 08:01 PM
It sounds like the suggestion of school has more to do with the diagnosis of ODD, which does not get medicated. ODD is treated with behavioral therapy. So, he likely is trying to suggest what he really thinks will be best - a little breathing room for you & the other kids. The Concerta is for her AD/HD, not ODD, and will likely not effect the ODD at all.
Personally, I don't think the issue is so much about getting a second opinion as it is about getting your child to a therapist. Medication should not be the only treatment for AD/HD, since medication will not help the child learn how to focus without medicinal assistance, the organizational skills that are often lacking in people with AD/HD, or how to work with the AD/HD. Since those should be the ultimate goal, medication should never be used alone. Also ODD, as I said, is treated only with therapy, NOT medication. Therefore, your best move at this point is to get her into therapy to help her learn about her ADHD & to work on the behavioral problems from her ODD. The therapist should be able to teach you ways to work with her at home, as well.

I would agree with this. ODD is a serious diagnosis. My experience with ODD kids when I was teaching was pretty extreme. They were difficult kids to reach and deal with - sweet and loving, charismatic, but also manipulative and even sadistic. I don't know if it's the right diagnosis for your dd - it sounds like your ped is just offering an opinion, honestly (and that's all the more reason to take the advice here and seek a second opinion of someone really trained in these issues and possibly find a new doctor too). But even if it's not ODD, studies keep finding over and over and over that the best way to deal with virtually any issue - be it situationally or brain chemically caused - is through a combination approach - not just meds, but therapy too.

I am a die hard homeschool evangelist. Seriously, I make even my homeschool friends cringe sometimes. But I used to work at a small school where I encountered a handful of kids who had been homeschooled because of various issues where it had been a nigh on disaster - for their education, but even more, for the dynamics at home and their relationships with their parents. The kids needed school. They needed to be away from their parents. They needed something different from what the parents were providing. I think homeschooling can be made to work almost every time. I believe it's better almost every time. But in a situation like you're describing, I also wouldn't eliminate the possibility of looking for a school. I certainly wouldn't do it now - Melissa's advice of changing one thing at a time seems spot on. However, I wouldn't shut the door on it entirely. Yes, many so-called experts suggest school because they don't trust parents, which is wrong. But if you decide you can't make it work yourself, then I would say it's one of the most difficult, but also most loving things you can do as a parent to make that decision to send a kid to school when you don't want to.

Deb417
10-06-2011, 08:37 PM
OK, so after reading the two articles (thank you thank you thank you again! So helpful!), I too am skeptical of the ODD "diagnosis."

I mean, Emma is argumentative, to be sure, and she can be defiant if you're trying to take her away from a task she wants to do and transition her to one she does not want to do or is not ready yet to do. TBH, I think she more likely has a touch of OCD that manifests in the following ways:
- inability to stop mid-stream, to set something aside before completing it to her satisfaction, even if that means redoing something over and over again until it's "perfect" or just the way she wants it to be. She throws a massive temper tantrum if she is asked to put a book down mid-chapter, or if she's within 50 pages of the end and has to stop before finishing the book. She has been known to stay up ALL NIGHT LONG to finish a 300 pg. book b/c she can't find a "good place" to stop that won't freak her out.

- no self-awareness: She's a kid who just doesn't process how her behavior affects others, or she doesn't care, or both, because even though she adores her little sisters (they really are all very close), she will make one or the other late for one of their activities, or preschool (my youngest goes to a montessori style preschool three mornings a week--mostly to give me a breather to work more with Emma) or something like that without thinking twice.

- hatred of routine and boredom. Everyone told us in the early going that WE had to be more organized, that we were the ones who had to be almost rigidly consistent. Well! I am very organized, and I stick to a plan that has been the same for at least five years! The tasks we do each morning and evening (the trouble times) are the SAME, every single day. We stick to bedtime like GLUE, we wake up the same time each day, and they're expected to wash up, brush teeth, get dressed, make bed. Each and every one of them (and I've made it easy by setting them up with duvet covers they just have to pull up to the top of the mattress! That's all I ask, make an effort :) Emma always says "OH NO! NOT A-GAIN! Why does it have to be the same every single day???"

- mealtime: "I will NOT eat that! I will not even try it, no way, nuh-uh, can't make me!" And of course "that" is all the healthy stuff, everything that isn't a beige carbohydrate!

But violent? No, not really. Overreactive? YES, definitely. Take away her book and you might as well have cut off her arm, she cries so pitifully. She just goes from sounding like an 8 year-old going on 12 (her vocab is so good, and she's so articulate!) to an 8 year-old going on 5, maybe, if you're lucky, and an immature 5 year-old to boot!.

BTW, anyone with experience with Concerta know if it's supposed to make kids chatty? The ONLY difference I saw with her on the 18 mg dose was that she turned into chatty Kathy. She's always been chattier than the average, she narrates her day and thinks out loud a LOT, but this was insane! I felt like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers, I so badly wanted to say "Zip it.......Zip it good!" at times! It was just yammanayammanayammana, blahblahblah, all day. I'm falling asleep typing this I'm so drained! LOL

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-06-2011, 08:41 PM
Is Concerta a stimulant? Ritalin has that effect on my son. Won't. shut. up. Fortunately, we don't have to use it very much.

Deb417
10-06-2011, 08:50 PM
Yes, Concerta is a stimulant (we're using the generic version of it, methylphenidate. Only took the one pill though, 18 mg. today.

Stacy
10-06-2011, 09:27 PM
My 6 yo son had ADHD, and I cannot imagine him being remotely successful in school. But, at home, he is years ahead of where he would be age-wise in school. We are revamping his meds right now, trying to tweak it into being a bit better for him, and he is currently on Concerta, 54 mg plus 5-10 mg tag-on short-acting Ritalin as needed for late afternoon/evening. Everyone metabolizes the drugs differently, and he processes them quickly, and needs a lot to see a good result. But, things WORK with his meds optimized. Without----it is really, really, really hard.

Pretty much all the things you described about your DD also describe my son, and I really don't think he has any ODD, though sometimes he can be very defiant. When I can keep my wits about me, I really do believe that he WOULD NOT act that way without his ADHD, that it is really mostly self-control issues that lead us to our most awful moments.

Have you heard about the 30% Rule about ADHD? I'm sure this varies hugely from person to person, but the idea is that people with ADHD are emotionally and socially about 30% younger than their age peers in development in those areas. I see that exactly with my son. My younger 4-yo son is now passing him up in many ability areas. Keeping that in mind is helpful for me, especially when I am signing him up for classes and groups. For example, he is old enough for Cub Scouts this year, and is interested. But a child who has the behavioral ability of a 4-yo would not be likely to be successful there. So I pass. :) Or I SHOULD pass. We are having some issues in a few activities that I insist on participating in still.

Keep working with the meds, they are a HUGE help to everyone in the family, if the need is there.

Deb417
10-06-2011, 09:58 PM
Thanks for that feedback, very interesting! I hadn't heard about that 30% rule but it makes PERFECT SENSE! I've always said she was "immature" for her age, emotionally that is, and this explains it. She and her 5 year old sister play beautifully together, you don't even get the sense that there's any difference in age between them really until you hear them speak and it's obvious that her vocabulary is YEARS ahead, as is her reading ability, but they role play, do imaginary play, giggle and get silly in the same ways, and overreact to the same things, with the 5 year old exhibiting more empathy and more resilience actually, something I notice increasing by the week it seems.

I did have Emma signed up for Frontier Girls, a type of scouting in our area, but I recently canceled our participation b/c it was obvious she was not relating to same-aged peers appropriately and I realized my plate was full enough. I thought it would be good for her (and her sister) to make some friends, but it ended up being a source of anxiety for all of us.

Do they ever catch up? Will she always have trouble making friends her age? She's on a soccer team with older girls (well, she's the youngest on an under 10 team that starts at 8, she turns 8 in a week) and she likes it, not sure if she's making friends, but she's not unhappy. But she's in choir with her sister, and the choir goes from K-2nd or 3rd i think? She loves it, fits right in.

CatInTheSun
10-06-2011, 10:10 PM
Just wanted to add: I agree with Farrar that you shouldn't completely rule out school as an option. But it is reasonable to expect the "experts" to try to help you help your daughter and be successful in your chosen (homeschool) setting. It bugs me that a Ped that's spent so little time with your daughter, and only in 10min blocks in a stressful environment, after a maybe 5min talk with the psychologist feels confident to tell YOU what is best for YOUR daughter, whom you know better than anyone else on earth. Maybe he was trying to offer you an out, to say it's ok if you decided you didn't want to homeschool your daughter?

In any case, best wishes as you move forward. I hope you can find a great specialist in-network who can really help you make the best world for you and your daughter. But then, even if you did enroll your dc in school, you really would need that same support and therapy to make things work, so might as well do it AND homeschool, right? Anyway, I cannot claim to know what you are dealing with, but know you are NOT being selfish to want to find a way to make homeschooling work, and you are clearly working hard to get your daughter every bit of help and support she needs to flourish. Good job!

Deb417
10-06-2011, 10:29 PM
Just to clarify, it's my daughter. :) I don't have any boys.

Deb417
10-08-2011, 01:57 AM
Interesting you should say this b/c I wasn't sure what to think when the pediatrician took such a hard stance on her behavior and how we should handle it.

For example, we'd been locking her in at night until she would fall asleep, but then we'd unlock it after she was asleep, but every now and then she'd sneak out in the night or before dawn and wake her sisters, lock the cats in her room, etc...So he said leave her locked in ALL NIGHT LONG. This just felt wrong to me, and I said so, and he said it was for her safety b/c some kids leave the house, wander down the street or do other impulsive things, and that there would be no way to predict what she'd do, so this was best for now.

Then he talked to HER in a very harsh tone. She was hiding under the exam table b/c she found out she was due for shots (we were at her well-visit) and she refused to get them. He told her to cut it out, to stop having a temper tantrum, that she was 8 years old and needed to stop giving her parents a hard time. I've spoken to her that way, sure, but I'm her Mom. On the one hand, it felt validating, on the other, I felt like "WhoTF are you to talk to my child that way??" I think his intentions were good and he was calm and not angry in any way, just harsh, or shall I say, "direct" and very firm.

Then he told me that we needed to be more firm, that we were being taken advantage of and that ADD aside, she was responsible for her own choices and needed to face consequences for them, BUT (to be fair he did emphasize this), he wanted us to focus less on that than on praising her when she did things we liked.

He did also stress the need for talk therapy, possibly for both of us, and didn't say meds would be a magic bullet, but I was taken aback by how free he was with advice about how to parent her, educate her and talk to her.

Staysee34
10-08-2011, 09:46 AM
When Julia was younger, we also had to confine her at night. Like you I was uncomfortable with locking her in all night. I found and used these instead. I'm sure you can find them in most department or hardware stores and they work like a charm. http://www.amazon.com/W2-Corporation-Wireless-Security-Sensor/dp/B002ADE114/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1318081451&sr=8-4

CatInTheSun
10-08-2011, 11:08 AM
When Julia was younger, we also had to confine her at night. Like you I was uncomfortable with locking her in all night. I found and used these instead. I'm sure you can find them in most department or hardware stores and they work like a charm. http://www.amazon.com/W2-Corporation-Wireless-Security-Sensor/dp/B002ADE114/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1318081451&sr=8-4

LOVE those alarms! THey work and are CHEAP. Just put them up high enough that dd can't reach. Of course, if you HAVE an alarm system, that would warn you as well -- we have our security system "announce" when any door/window is opened during the day, but in our old house we used those little individual alarms, and it was reassuring with young kids old enough to open a lock but not old enough to be outside by themselves.

As to Peds: sounds like your Dr is basing his opinions on observing your dd's behavior in his office, and his own likely strict parenting (of most likely NON-ADHD kid(s) ). Obviously your Ped is also not a SAH parent, is likely not the primary caregiver, and apparently has no familiarity with homeschooling. So yeah, he probably can walk into his home and "demand" his kids listen. But it's not exactly a pedigree that would motivate me to listen to opinions on parenting, discipline, or homeschooling. :p

BTW, I recommend making yourself familiar with the AAP's "recommendations", you can find them on their site. I like to know what the "party line" is so that I know when my Ped is going rogue. ;) They published a book of "birth to 5 years" but I don't know if they have one for older kids. Was useful when the PEd we saw was saying my stick-thin 7yo whose height-weight %ile was 80 and if it crept up to 85th that would mean she'd be obese and develop heart disease, cancer, etc, etc. Of course that's NOT what the AAP says -- they just say that if a child is over the 85th %ile they recommend further evaluation, such as a skin-fold test, to determine if the child is obese (my dd clearly isn't; she's 99th %ile for height and her weight is 80th, but her height means the chart is comparing her to kids a couple years older -- something a Ped should understand). Fired that Ped. I don't agree with everything AAP says, but won't tolerate a Ped who doesn't even understand what the AAP is saying.

CAmom
10-08-2011, 11:34 AM
On the door alarm subject, most door alarms make a piercing noise that will wake your entire house. As a chronic sleepwalker, my parents took some pretty extreme measures after finding me on the lawn, half dressed in the sprinklers at 3am when I was 7. They installed door harps on the front door and on my bedroom door. Not particularly loud or obnoxious but loud enough to alert them that I was moving around the house. Not so weird that people over visiting would say "Why do you have an alarm on your daughter's door?"

CatInTheSun
10-08-2011, 12:44 PM
On the door alarm subject, most door alarms make a piercing noise that will wake your entire house. As a chronic sleepwalker, my parents took some pretty extreme measures after finding me on the lawn, half dressed in the sprinklers at 3am when I was 7. They installed door harps on the front door and on my bedroom door. Not particularly loud or obnoxious but loud enough to alert them that I was moving around the house. Not so weird that people over visiting would say "Why do you have an alarm on your daughter's door?"

Make sure they are the kind that can be set to "chime" and "alarm". I'd use a chime on her door and an alarm on the front/back doors (and/or windows). Yeah, they definitely get your attention when you open a window without turning them off. LOL

Crabby Lioness
10-08-2011, 02:58 PM
First, I would get as second opinion.

Second, from a scientific standpoint you NEVER EVER make more than one change at a time! And after you make that one change, you take enough time to observe and see if it does any good. ANY experiment that introduces more than one change at a time is fundamentally flawed, and you can't tell which change(s) are helping and which change(s) are hurting.

Deb417
10-08-2011, 09:22 PM
Thanks again everyone!

We have a door alarm that "chimes" and is set to instant alarm at night, so.....During the day, I have a way to know if she goes out, but at night, she'd set off the alarm, so that's not good. This does inspire me to possibly look for other options though, but our worry is that she will wake her sisters too b/c that was her way for the past few months. She'd want company, wake the five and three year-old and we'd be woken up at 3 am to the sounds of screaming kids fighting or playing or doing something destructive or dangerous b/c it was her idea. I kind of get the locking in, it just FEELS weird, yk? They are sleeping though, I'll say that!! LOL

As for this ped, I have to maybe cut him a tiny bit of slack b/c a) She was acting really crazy in his office and b) he DOES have a son with ADHD who's older than my girl, so he's been dealing with it for years. In fact, one reason we went to him was that our therapist suggested him, said he would "get" what it was like better than most who aren't home all day.

But YES, there is a bias against homeschooling that pervades all doctors' office honestly, same as a bias against nursing, AP, co-sleeping, etc....I have learned over the years to keep my mouth shut about all of our practices like that and just let their comments go in one ear and out the other. I think what was so hard about THIS particular one was that I did wonder if he knew something I didn't b/c of his son, and if maybe I was being selfish to keep her home b/c I want to homeschool. You know how it can be, when you're vulnerable? You second-guess your every move? That's how it was, and sort of still is! I want to do what's best for her, and this is all so unfamiliar to me, my "gut" is hard to read--is this real or is this fear or is this about me, etc...

I did have a long talk with a neighbor about the local public school though--her girl is in 2nd grade too and hates it. What she told me steeled my resolve to keep doing this though, and that coupled with all of your comments has really helped. What she told me echoes the whole "illusion of structure" thing, sounds to me like it's actually quite chaotic with all the moving from room to room in neat little lines, into crowded rooms with tables filled with kids, doing work in 1.5 hour increments (NO JOKE, they spent 1.5 hours on MATH!! WTF??? HOW on EARTH could anyone pay attention to one subject that long in the 2nd grade???? How much addition and subtraction with regrouping and time-telling and basic geometry can you DO in a year???? She said her girl is struggling to stay awake and doing poorly in math and she suspects it's b/c she's sick to DEATH of it.

And they don't teach history chronologically like my girls likes, they are all over the map in these year-long "integrated studies" classes where they study ONE THING for the whole year (this year it's "the body"). If it's not covered in there, it's not covered, period. They aren't doing any history or science that doesn't talk about "the body." Um, no thanks. I like unit studies, but not one for a whole year that is that narrowly focused, and I prefer chrono history so the kids have a timeline in their heads, my girl likes that too, to her that is "structure." To me as well. So this sounded just awful for one as distractible and easily bored as she is. Oh, and they don't get to eat until 1:50 pm in 2nd grade, 3rd graders eat at 2. I kid you not. And only "dry" snacks allowed in between.

GAH!

Yeah, no thanks. I remembered very quickly all the many thousands of reasons we decided to homeschool! LOL Whatever it takes, I'm sticking with THAT, I just need to find ways to handle her with my other two without going insane and while helping her at the same time. So I agree with the "do one thing at a time" approach, I just hope that medicating is the right one thing to be doing now. I guess time will tell. Today wasn't half bad, still having those transition issues, will see next week if upping the Concerta helps with that or if it's strictly behavioral that one! :)

coloradoalice
10-08-2011, 09:50 PM
YES! Since when is a doctor any kind of expert in education? That's absurd on the face of it. He has an opinion and he has a captive audience upon whom to foist his opinion. A pediatrician is an expert in treating medical illnesses, not an expert in behavioral disorders, not an expert in discipline, not an expert in breastfeeding, not an expert in infant sleep, and definitely not an expert in education. Any time a doctor starts telling me how I ought to put my baby to sleep, how I ought to discipline my 4-year-old, or where my kid ought to be educated, I tune out. It's none of their business and they don't know any more about those topics than the next butthead with an opinion. lol

I couldn't agree more.

dragonfly
10-08-2011, 10:44 PM
Instead of an alarm at night, what about a baby monitor? Either out of reach or hidden...or possibly an intercom? Either *might* allow you to lock the door if it were necessary (although I agree that that would feel weird to do), and she could still wake you up if she needed something or had an emergency...?

I dunno...just a thought...feel free to disregard. :)

DragonFaerie
10-09-2011, 08:32 PM
I don't know if this is remotely possible in your home but what about changing out her bedroom door for one of those split doors that can be locked on the bottom but stay open on top? Like they have in nurseries and such? Then she could be "locked in" but not be totally isolated if she needed you.

Deb417
10-09-2011, 09:27 PM
Well, anything is possible with the door I guess, but she'd just climb over it, she's very nimble and resourceful ;) If she wanted out badly enough, she'd be OUT. :lol:

The good news is, we're now on night three without the Clonidine, and she's back on just melatonin and is falling asleep! I wonder if those two nights of clonidine to help her fall asleep made the difference and changed her cycle (since she's now had four solid nights of GOOD sound sleep in a row, only two of which were on the drug) or if the daily Concerta is making a difference? I have no idea, all I know is, even with just 18 mg of Concerta and those two nights on clonadine (now off it), she's already MUCH MUCH BETTER!

My *only* concern is that she does get VERY chatty on concerta, about an hour after she takes it. This subsides over the course of the day, but for the first few hours, OMG, it's so tempting to just tune her out. The only thing that stopped her today was reading. She's still reading obsessively when given the chance. This probably sounds so strange to read ("readying obsessively???") but seriously, if the kid gets a book she wants to read in her hands, the rest of the world DISAPPEARS. She is deaf, dumb and blind to everyone else, and you have to physically take it from her to get her attention, and she'll avoid eating, playing, interacting with her sisters, you name it, just to keep doing it. I mean, thank God it's READING, but still......

Accidental Homeschooler
10-09-2011, 10:05 PM
I have no idea, all I know is, even with just 18 mg of Concerta and those two nights on clonadine (now off it), she's already MUCH MUCH BETTER!

Hurray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stacy
10-09-2011, 10:17 PM
:) I'm nodding my head here to all of your posts. I hope things get easier and easier!

Deb417
10-09-2011, 10:39 PM
Oh dear! And lemme guess, if you asked him (for no particularly good reason b/c we parents often ask sort of stupid questions in the heat of the moment) "WHY did you do that??" he would say something along the lines of "I dunno" or "I was hungry and bored."

IOW, instead of the "because I wanted to drive you bat$hit crazy and cause you to question your parenting skills" something that would make you say "OK, not good, but I can work with that" you get something that makes you say "You mean at no time between leaving your room and hiding my phone did it occur to you that this was a BAD idea, that maybe you ought not to be doing this, or that I'd be angry when I found out?"

Which of course nets you a blank stare, a shrug and a simple "Huh?" or "Nope."

Several hunks of hair-on-the-floor later, a guttural cry-of-frustration-followed-by-whimper later (yours, not theirs) you realize there's nothing to do but clean up and hope the rest of the day is an improvement.

And of course, later, when you want to talk to someone about what happened, it dawns on you that unless they have a child inclined to do the same types of things (which you figure they don't or you'd have heard about it by now), or you can convincingly pass off your child as a toddler instead of an elementary age kid, this is going to be an AWK-ward conversation that will either include "helpful" tips like "Have you tried time-out?" or end quickly when the other person realizes they have a lint collection that urgently needs cataloguing.

:)

Elphie
10-10-2011, 09:22 AM
I'm so glad to hear her nights have been easier lately! Sleep deprivation can make the ADHD symptoms much worse. Here's to many more nights of good sleep!

My DS also hyperfocuses on reading...like he's in another world. So that doesn't sound strange to me at all! :)

Stacy
10-10-2011, 01:41 PM
Yes, exactly, Deb. :)

My biggest challenge is really myself. I shouldn't be surprised at the situations I find us in anymore, so why is it still a challenge for me to not get upset??

Deb417
10-11-2011, 11:03 PM
OMG, today was the day to up the dose to 36 mg of Concerta, TOTAL FAIL! It was like the Emma *before* meds was back, only MORE hyper, MORE moody and distractible and MEAN! OH she was so mean and quick to anger! It was AWFUL! Dr. not in today, have a call in about tomorrow, but I'm hoping I can just go back to 1 pill without incident. Today was NOT a good day.

Making matters worse? Found out our insurance DOES cover the therapist we'll need for the talk therapy, but at the same time none of their in-network providers are taking new patients, so there's literally NO ONE in my city who can help us without it breaking the bank.

Like I said, not a good day :(

Accidental Homeschooler
10-11-2011, 11:27 PM
I hope tomorrow is better! Maybe if she is willing to focus on reading so intently you could just do that for a while until you figure out the meds. Does your insurance have any policies allowing you to go outside their network if there is nobody in it who can see you?

Deb417
10-11-2011, 11:34 PM
I think they do, but there's a whole appeal process during which they have to conduct their own search, and according to my reading of their policy, "no one" has to be literal. They reserve the right to decide that you should see a Nurse Practitioner who specializes in ADD kids and meds in lieu of a psychiatrist or psychologist. I think I can get a letter from my ped saying it's his professional opinion that she needs more specialized care, but only if he agrees with me which he may not.

I'm gonna try though, that's for sure.

I may just let her read like you said, that is if going back to only one pill doesn't help. Gosh I hope they call me early and tell me what to do! But I'm gonna try only one tomorrow anyway. Poor baby was a MESS today.

floridamom
10-12-2011, 09:03 AM
My son has raging ADHD, and was on Concerta for quite some time. It worked well for him for several years. It helped with his focus issues, impulse control, and it wore off smoothly. If you aren't against medication, Concerta is a good one for someone new to ADHD meds.

As for school, bah! When ds was diagnosed one of the first things his pediatrician said was that we should put him in school. Why? Because he said it can be difficult to be around someone with ADHD 24/7, and putting him in school would give me a break. I said thanks but no thanks.

ETA: I just read your latest post about Concerta. If you end up trying something other than Concerta, ask the doc about the patch (Daytrana), Strattera, or Vyvanse. If I read correctly, she has ADD and not ADHD? Those meds can help with ADD, but didn't work for ds because of the H (which IMO should be an I, for lack of impulse control).

Deb417
10-12-2011, 10:45 AM
Kathy, what my DD has is terrible impulse control too, I wouldn't call her "hyper" either, though she can "perseverate" which I'm told means keep going once she gets started, like she can't stop (but I think it's part of the same issue, just *looks* "hyper" to the outside world).

I switched back to one pill (18mg) of Concerta today, I see NOTHING. Not even the difference I witnessed day one last week.

Is it possible that the clonidine before bed was helping in spite of the scary emotionality it caused before she fell asleep (oh, and the nightmares it gave her)? *sigh* It was such a tease! Two or three days of almost "normal" kid behavior, and then pretty suddenly nothing, so we upped the dose (per doctor's orders) and then BLAMMO, crazy child, then went back to one and now nothing, I mean NOTHING.

This is frustrating, though I hear it's common to search for the right thing. The creepy part is that her OCDish tendencies are WORSE than last week (if that's even possible). Her inability/refusal to transition is now accompanied by something resembling a panic attack.

floridamom
10-12-2011, 05:05 PM
Yes, hyper is a misnomer. So is the "can't focus" belief. They can focus, rather hyperfocus on some things. They just have trouble choosing what's important to focus on, and staying focused on the not-very-exciting-but-necessary. It's frustrating, not only for us as parents, but for our kids too.

I don't know anything about drug interactions. Ds was always only on something for his ADHD. At his request, we stopped all meds at the beginning of the summer (he's been on them since he was 5, and is now 14). So far, he's doing okay. He has to work harder at some things, but as long as he's willing, I'm okay with it.

dbmamaz
10-12-2011, 06:41 PM
Careful - adhd meds can increase odd esp if there is some undx'd bipolar in the mix

Deb417
10-15-2011, 06:24 PM
Cara, funny you should say that, we were at the peds again yesterday and he took her OFF Concerta b/c of this (potential for undx'd bipolar). He's not sure about it, too little info to tell, but she did seem a bit "manic" on the full 36 mg dose and he said that was just not right.

He's trying her on intuniv for two weeks to see what that does, esp. b/c the Clonidine worked SO well (albeit she fought the sleep-induction properties SO HARD, scared us a bit) in terms of her moods and cooperation the days after she took it, and when we stopped it she went back to being more OCD/ODD ish.

I kept asking him about OCD and he said that her fixation on doing things is strictly limited to thinks *she wants to do,* whereas kids with OCD tend to repeat behaviors obsessively that aren't necessarily "enjoyable" for them. He thinks she is seeking to control us and is succeeding at manipulating us into thinking its unintentional b/c she has a smile on her face or because she knows how to act like she "can't help it." And b/c we want to see the best in her.

He wants us seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist asap too.

dbmamaz
10-15-2011, 07:15 PM
Do find a good phd psychologist who works with kids . . .I rarely trust anyone who says kids are exhibiting maladaptive behaviors to manipulate adults. Most kids want to please, and if they don't, SOMETHING is wrong. I forget, have you tried feingold diet yet? No artificial anything is a good start . . . Gluten and dairy and soy can all have big behavioral impacts

dbmamaz
10-15-2011, 07:32 PM
Went back and read the whole thread. I honestly think you need to approach this with the belief that she really does NOT have the ability to control her behavior. This is not typical ADHD at all. Definitely look at locking her in her room as a safety measure. Definitely find a more experienced doctor. I would STRONGLY recommend doing a diet intervention trial. Just the dyes and preservatives made a big difference in my youngests behavior, and dairy and gluten and eggs helped as well.

Deb417
10-15-2011, 08:25 PM
I'll have to look up Feingold diet I guess. Though I think she'd starve before she'd do without products that contain gluten :(. We already avoid artificial dyes, and she doesn't like most dairy as-is, BUT she eats an awful lot of bread products. About two years ago we went gluten-free for her when someone said it might help her with her sleep issues, tried it for a few months, it was torture. In addition to being more expensive, it made no difference except insofar as she seemed to rebel MORE b/c she wanted the foods she couldn't have. I felt like I was in a war-zone for those three months, so we quit it. I asked the ped about diet (sugar in particular since she eats so many carbs, though they are mostly whole-grain) and he said there was little scientific evidence to support the argument that sugar makes kids misbehave. He's insisting based on observing us together over the years that she has our number (mine and my husband's) and is extremely bright, so for whatever reason (and he says this will be for the psychologist to help us figure out), she's using her talents to "control" her environment and gain power in it. He says the reason we don't necessarily see it that way is that she is basically a sweet kid. She's non-violent, has a happy affect most of the time and is charming/engaging, but that she's in a pattern--which we helped create--where she thinks she's boss, and until we intervene to stop that, it's going to get worse. Add in what he does believe is a physiological impulse-control issue, what we were seeing as ADD, but what is really an attention disREGULATION issue that manifests as intense focus on her wants and interests, and lack of focus on everything else. He told us to imagine a much younger child developmentally--one who has temper tantrums b/c they want what they want--and give that child the intellectual ability to address this without the tantrums all the time, but rather with arguing, passive-aggression, etc...He admitted it's just a theory b/c he's starting to wonder if *clinically* all he can do for us is help with the impulse-control issue with meds, and he's emphasizing that she needs counseling to help her make better choices and to get to a better diagnosis/see if there really are bipolar issues underlying, or if she just "does manic" as one of her ways of getting us to dance to her drum.

I didn't get the feeling he was telling us our kid is sitting there "plotting" in fact he said that really isn't the case 90% of the time. He said she's formed habits based on a dynamic that has been created by the *interaction* between all of us, and that my DH and I--well-intentioned though we have been--have inadvertently fed the negative aspects of this dynamic by "engaging" with her in arguments/battles rather than just setting limits and sticking to them.

CatInTheSun
10-15-2011, 08:52 PM
I'll side with your Ped on this one -- we ALL try to exert some control over our environment and to generally get our way. :D Empathy comes late to the developing mind. My personal theory on why middle school kids can be so cruel is that they have the awareness of their own power over others (young kids lack this awareness) but lack the developed empathy and ability to predict the consequences of their actions. As adults we tend to apply value judgements on this: terms like manipulative, controlling, etc are emotionally loaded, but the kids aren't viewing it that way.

Put another way: my kids want their way (Wii, attention, candy) and dh and I want our way (good behavior/attitude, peaceful, our kids to grow in certain ways). We all are using the tools we have to bring about what we want, and at times it is an arms race (learning new tactics when the old ones aren't so effective). :) Kids have the trouble that sometimes what they want and what they need are opposites.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-15-2011, 08:55 PM
Ok, but remember schizophrenia was once believed by doctors to be caused by a specific kind of mothering. In their great wisdom they never considered the possibility that having a schizophrenic child elicits a specific type of mothering. I believe autism was origionally blamed on parenting also. Maybe the question is, "Why would a child feel such an extreme need to have that kind of absolute control of her environment?" It may be that your family is in a negative cycle where you are responding to her and she is responding to you...but that does not mean you caused anything. It sounds to me like your doctor doesn't have the answer and at least now he is trying to direct you someone who might be more helpful. Can he help you with your insurance company?

dbmamaz
10-15-2011, 09:48 PM
Yeah, I'm w accidental.

but I'll also share (again lol) my experience w my boys.

My older boy is bipolar, mildly autistic, and has tourettes. At school, they tried all sorts of behavior charts and checklists, stickers and rewards, and NOTHING helped at all. Also, he also showed remorse after his bad behavoir, and in fact was really down on himself. He truly could not control his behavoir.

My younger boy - well, before the diet interventions, he would try to bite me when I tried to pull him off of hitting his big brother - but if you tried diet and it didtn work, i believe you. But for him, there had to be concrete short-term consequences. Putting him in time outs (and i would stand in front of him and MAKE him stand in the corner for time outs) was effective - as in, hit your brother, you go in time out. Hit him again, you go right back in. As he got slightly older, removing priveledge of computer/tv was affective. And soon, just the threat of a consequence would bring him in line. But i had to follow through w the consequence, holding him down while he screamed and flailed, SEVERAL TIME before he believed I really meant it.

now, my daughter had that thing where I would threaten a punishment if she did something again - she would go ahead and do the punishment immediatly - turn off the tv, go to her room, whatever. She would NOT be controlled. But luckily, she was fairly well behaved. She really wanted to please and had fairly good control of herself.

i do think the pediatricain is over his head, tho. W my middle child, we went through several evaluations and struggled to find anyone who could really help us. in the end I think i had to learn to walk the middle line with him. He's also on 2 atypical antipsychotics and 1 ssri. I finally turned to meds when, at age 9, he would do things like walk up to me with tears in his eyes and say "if it wasnt for you, i would want to die." He talked about wanting to die or not deserving to live all the time, and had crying spells. Several different people were throwing up red flags about his depression and anxiety - and life was pretty good (aside from school).

Deb417
10-15-2011, 09:59 PM
Well he recommended a psychiatrist who IS in network and told us he's good enough that it's worth waiting until January for the intake (we're also on the cancelation list for earlier), and he recommended a PHD Post-Doc who specializes in working with kids like mine, in a practice that specializes in and takes pride in not treating people forever, IOW, they work hard to help families develop strategies and plans so they don't have to come to therapy for years on end, they take a very practical approach apparently. He spoke very highly of this woman and said one nice thing is that b/c she's a post-doc, her rates are lower and she might also work with us on a sliding scale. She's not in network, but if we like her, it might be worth it at least for a few sessions. I want to meet her at the very least. I am also still working on browsing a new list of in-network psychologists I got from the insurance company. Apparently I was looking on the wrong web site the first time and only got a small list. And the doctor said if we do end up needing to go in-network b/c of financial constraints, and we can't find someone who'll take her, he'll write whatever letter he has to to the insurance company telling them she needs this type of care. I really did feel like he cared a lot--he met with us for over an HOUR on a Friday afternoon, that impressed me a lot. He also pointed out some things about my other two girls (who were with us as well) that were so spot-on! He identified that my middle child is the peacemaker, trying always to resolve conflict, but that all the attention and focus on Emma is not good for her either. And Catie, our youngest who is 3 started sassing me in the office, being pretty bossy and demanding--refusing to pick up a huge messy pile of books she'd made on the floor when I told her to, and he took her and put her in time-out. I was taken aback at first that he would discipline my child, but he wasn't "mean" he was just much firmer than I was being. She cried for a long time, but when she stopped and came out she picked up the books without being asked and then came to sit quietly in my lap. I was ASTOUNDED. I was sort of "arguing" with her when i asked her to pick up the books, telling her why she had to pick them up, blah blah, and he said if I tell her to do something and she doesn't do it, no explaining, no discussion, she can get a warning, but after that, time-out. He said she may be picking up Emma's behaviors b/c she sees them as so dominant in her environment, and since she's at an age where she's flexing her independence anyway, may think this is "normal" behavior.

Moreover, he showed me that my default response to my kids is to "discuss" rather than discipline. I tell them "do x" or "don't do y" but when they refuse, I start discussing it with them, giving them reasons why they should or setting down lines that I then immediately let them cross. I did it right there in the office, TWICE! First Emma interrupted us when we were talking, not even five minutes in, to say "I have a headache, I didn't sleep last night" when I knew she had slept, but rather than just say "Don't interrupt when adults are having a conversation," I engaged and said "What do you mean you didn't sleep? How long were you awake, how bad does your head hurt?" etc....The doctor immediately told her to wait outside at the desk with one of the nurses and talked to me about it. He said she was trying to get attention, that she didn't like that a few minutes had gone by without anyone paying attention to her, without being in control of things, so she interrupted with something she knew would get my attention: a comment about not sleeping. He pointed out that by engaging her that way, she was under the impression that we were co-equals. He was very clear about the fact that this didn't mean it was my "fault" or my mothering that MADE her this way, just that she wasn't going to get any better with our dynamic being this way. He said some kids can be reasoned with, some can have discussions and then be told "enough, now you need to do what I say," and they do, but a kid like Emma? Give her an inch, she thinks she's a ruler, and if it's not a conscious thought, then it's a combination of her impulse control issues, intense intelligence and temperament which is clearly alpha/type A.

Been talking to my DH and he says according to his mother, he was the SAME WAY--she used to say he could "talk Christ off the cross" b/c he argued EVERY point and was so intense and strong-willed, she "washed her hands" of him when he was the SAME AGE as Emma and his Dad took over with a "You'll sit at this table until you do your homework" approach, every night, and some nights he'd be there for HOURS. He said after weeks of that (you read right, WEEKS) he finally caved and did his work. He's still stubborn as hell, and very intense, definitely hyperfocuses on work. But the ped said that I am so different from them--more driven by guilt b/c my mother LEFT us when I was 8, and I had to be little mother to my sister, and caretaker for my Dad, so I became a people-pleaser to a large extent and strong personalities like Emma's have an easier time taking advantage of me.

I want to be clear, he said she DOES have impulse control problems, that he has no doubt are chemically-based, but he thinks the behavioral offshoots have more to do with the dynamics.

Deb417
10-15-2011, 10:16 PM
I forgot to add, the one thing that did come up again was homeschooling. I was very clear with the ped that we were doing it b/c we *want* to, and he said that was fine and he really wants people to get whatever they need to educate their kids whatever way they want, homeschooling included, he just wanted us to consider the possibility that even one year of school could help Emma, and me, break the cycle, end the dynamic. I remain unconvinced, however, but I will be talking to the psychologist about it.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-15-2011, 10:27 PM
Well, you are there and are the best judge of the feedback you are getting. It sounds like you are finding your doctor helpful as far as giving you some insight about your parenting of your dd. And sorry, but the story about your husband made me laugh. Did his mother ever wish a child just like him on him?

The referral we got from our pediatrician was great so I am hoping the same goes for you. And if you are in a negative kind of cycle with your dd and that is the reason for a lot of her behavior, well that is something you can control/change. So it would not exactly be a bad thing if that is part of the explanation. Take care!

dbmamaz
10-15-2011, 10:38 PM
Ok, i agree, your ped sounds awesome! And i kinda had that issue - like i wanted the kids to AGREE to do what I wanted, I wanted them to admit they deserved punishment, etc . . . i hated having to make them mad and say 'too bad, this is what it is. You did X so now Y happens". But it did work better in the end. Because it gets so personal, like, why did you do that? you upset me! or i'm dissapointed in your, or you shoudl know better . .. they can translate that in to negative self talk. But you do it or you get a time out . . . thats more black and white. And i mean, of course, if she trips and hits her head on the chair while going to pick up the blocks, she gets a repreive to deal w that first . . . its not unreasonable discipline. But like a stable structure. yeah. i think i'm babbling lol

Deb417
10-15-2011, 10:38 PM
Thanks! And believe me, I'm not taking his word for all of this! I'm just taking it all in and trying to *hear* it and not brush it off b/c it's hard to hear. I don't think he has all the answers and from the sounds of it, he doesn't either. I have hope though that the intuniv will help her with impulse control, but he said it would be at least a week to two weeks before we'd see anything much if it were working. And we're working on our parenting skills too, it's such a learning curve!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
10-16-2011, 03:36 PM
First off, the very first thing that jumps out to me is that you do not want to. I must say that you do what is right for your family. PERIOD. If you are not comfortable with this do not do it.

Some Dr's really do not understand HS. They think you are trying to shelter your child. And they are so much into the socialization aspect that school can give your child that they really do not even consider the damage that those same kids will do to your child. Personally I do not think that it weighs out even enough for the risk. And frankly what can another 7 year old teach my 7 year old? In the real world we are not separated according to age. But that is just my opinion.

What could you possibly be in denial for? He is an idiot and needs to educate himself on the benefits of HS.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000606/
Please always read as much as you can about any drug before giving it to your children. Just because a Dr prescribes it does not mean it is right for your child. Always read up first. If you feel that it is right for your child than give it to them. However you have a right to go back and tell the Dr that you do not agree with this med. or you do not feel it is the right med for your child.

Just to be clean another name for this drug is Methylphenidate.

CatInTheSun
10-16-2011, 05:06 PM
Sounds like you are approaching this with a good attitude. Listen to your Ped with an open mind, accept what rings true or is helpful, and ignore the rest. It's easy to pick apart "bad" parenting habits from the outside, a lot harder to do when you've been learning to parent from inside the crucible. I was lucky to be able to "learn to parent" with my easiest (eldest) child or I would have been at wits end with my (less easy) 2nd! :)

Deb417
10-16-2011, 08:53 PM
Today was day 2 on Intuniv (continuing the 1/2 clonidine at night too). Can't tell if there's a difference other than the fact that she IS going to bed sooooo easily now, falling asleep and staying asleep all night too, waking up reasonably chipper. Did notice she was a bit more down today though. What I mean is, her affect was less cheerful. Now I'm not sure what this was, if it was the affect of the medication (after all, it's time-released, we gave it for the first time the day before and supposedly it takes up to a week to build up) or other factors (fatigue, etc...). She slept well though, and we were in the mountains doing her favorite thing--hiking in nature, GORGEOUS weather, etc...And yet she was still uncharacteristically "meh" all day. She perked up a bit in the evening when we went out to celebrate her 8th birthday (which is tomorrow, but since we're out of town, we had the dinner out/cake presents thing tonight), and was a PLEASURE to be around. Sweet, helpful, smiling and happy but not overboard (as she can be sometimes). She seemed very grown-up actually, acting more her "age" if that makes sense.

I'm probably analyzing EVERY DAMN THING at this point, but I'm so watchful for side-effects (did notice she was more thirsty than usual, they did say that was a side-effect) and for EFFECT period b/c last thing I want to do is have the kid on a medication that either doesn't work or turns her into someone who isn't my kid if you know what I mean. I will say this though, looking back over the day? She did not do one single thing I would characterize as "impulsive" all day long. NOT ONE. If anything, she held back a bit. Oh sure, she didn't listen to every direction I gave her the first time, but she sure did the second, and that's more like an "average" kid, ykwim? I'm so used to a kid who NEVER listens the first FIVE times and you have to go GET HER by the arm sometimes and articulate the directions in her face while she makes eye-contact before she'll do what you ask or say. Today, I only had to tell her a second time to come down from a rock she had climbed that I thought was a bit too high for safety, and she did it, no argument. If this is the medication, it's a lifesaver. If it's coincidence, I hope I'll figure it out soon so I don't unnecessarily drug the kid ;)

Been reading up on bipolar symptoms, and sadly, she has quite a few that I can think of off the top of my head:
--tends to be overly enthusiastic or silly about things when she's happy
--mood swings, unpredictable and extreme (hers are mostly between uber-excited or enthusiastic and frustrated/angry, rarely see her "sad" or "depressed" per se)
--carb-craving
--ability to do without sleep (she only seems to want/need about 6 hours a night which is really bizarre for a kid her age--on clonidine, she sleeps a solid 12 hours and is like a different kid the next day b/c of it, actually gets out of bed without me having to put dynamite in her jammies or pour ice-water over her head!)
--obsessive tendencies (we've talked about the reading/drawing thing)
--gravitation towards morbid subjects (not sure if this is accurate, I mean, if it's "morbid" per se, but she does really enjoy those Warriors books and also the Sisters Grimm and there's a lot of killing/dying and such in those, and it doesn't bother her in the slightest).

But thing is, most of these "symptoms" could describe a kid without bipolar disorder depending upon the day too, well, except for the mood swings and the sleep thing, but those two things could be ADD TOO! It's so hard! I hope the psychiatrist will be able to tell.

Anyway thanks again for al the feedback and for following this. It's helped so much to feel less alone in all this :)

dbmamaz
10-16-2011, 08:58 PM
Well, I'm glad you guys had one good day, at least! Getting meds right is such a process. I remember once when we were struggling with it, Orion saying "I dont want to be a guinea pig!" I'd keep track of what you observe, but just give it some time before you make a decision (you know, as long as she doesnt get obviously worse)

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
10-16-2011, 09:40 PM
http://bipolar.about.com/cs/kids_diag/a/red_flags4.htm

Bipolar in adults is different than in children and the signs and treatment are different

Deb417
10-16-2011, 10:42 PM
OK no, reading that list, I can only find a few that sound like my daughter honestly.

Stacy
10-16-2011, 10:56 PM
You are doing a great job! I know this is so hard! Hang in there! We spent three awful months this summer trying to find a long-release stimulant that would work for my son, and ended back up on short-acting Ritalin (which works well for him) anyway. But we are doing a low dose of tenex (short-acting version of intuniv), and a small dose of Strattera. I think the Stratterra looks promising, and we may be able to back his ritalin down a bit (he is on a high dose). It can take time to find the right thing. Keep working at it if medication is one of the directions you are going.

Ana
10-17-2011, 05:39 AM
OK, help me out with this!

Everything I've ever read suggests that homeschooling is *better* for ADD kids than school, especially if they are being put on medication.

Well today our pediatrician not only prescribed Clonadine for sleep (my DD was taking melatonin for the past year, it stopped working, she is now chronically sleep-deprived from not sleeping for about a month now), he's starting her on Concerta (start tomorrow) and he says she also has (based on his conversations with the psychologist who tested her) ODD, and at this point, she's so accustomed to driving me round the bend, pushing my buttons, etc...that even the Concerta won't help that, and the only solution is to send her to a very structured school where she'll know she's not "in charge" and will have to get used to following rules for adults b/c at this point, it's clear she doesn't think she has to at home.

I'm at a loss. First of all, I don't want to. Second, we can't afford to (our local public school is quite "open" and not that structured at all. We could try lottery for a more "traditional" set up, but it's nearly impossible to get in.

But I don't want to! Is that selfish of me?? I don't even agree! I don't have a good *reason* for not agreeing. Admittedly, I'm just biased against "school." But I don't see how sending her away from us, right at the time she's starting to get treatment, is the right thing to do.

Am I nuts? Is he nuts? Is he right and I'm in denial?

Anyone able to tell me anything about Concerta? Sorry I'm so all over the place on this, I knew this was coming (the firm diagnosis with prescription for meds), but the school bit shocked me. He says he's concerned not just with her changing her behavior, but also with my mental health (admittedly, I'm a bit too-close-for-comfort to a nervous breakdown most days....) and for the health of my other kids who are laboring in the chaos she creates.

But won't the meds help with some of that? Aren't they supposed to? If not, what good are they???

I don't get it. :(

my son is 17 now. I pulled him off Concerta after being on it 2 years. That was when he was 12. He now has an enlarged heart and other issues with his heart. It can all be contributed to the medication. I know this for two reasons 1) I had his heart checked before we started the concerta and 2) I can not get into here. Once he was given the clonadine, I knew we had a serious problem. Clonadine is used to lower blood pressure. Concerta causes high blood pressure. You just have to weigh your pros and cons. My son was a very accomplished Irish step dancer and took martial arts. He had to quit both. I had to work with him much harder, and nearly lost my mind, but he has done well. I weighed my options going in, and before I took him off. It does NOT have this effect on all children, but I highly recommend an EKG every year whilst on the medication. I rather have used Ritalin for our situation though.

as for the school issue I can not tell you. I was very structured with my son and his work and learning and that helped. I am not so much with my daughter, because she does not need it. If anyone ever gave me the advice you were given I would just thank them for their advice and do what I must for the benefit of my child even if the medical professional did not like it. I can tell you that mommyhood trumps medical professionals from both a mommy standpoint and a medical professional standpoint.

Cole'sMom
10-17-2011, 05:58 PM
My son is on Concerta and it really helps with focus and getting tasks DONE! Maybe your daughter's impulsivity (or inclination for defiance) will improve as she will be able to respond instead of just react. That's been my experience. After my son was taking it for seven years (and taking melatonin to help get him to sleep) the doctor asked if we were giving him melatonin around dinnertime. Uh, no, just before bed! He says it takes several hours for the drowsy feeling to take effect. The melatonin is MUCH more effective this way. It's the first time he's gone to bed on his own before 10pm (he's 14 now.) Just thought I'd mention it because nobody thought to ever mention it to us before!!!

Lisa Kent
10-18-2011, 12:22 AM
I pulled my child out of public school to homeschool simply because the meds were being pushed like street drugs by the teachers and doctors. I suggest you watch the documentary Generation RX. You should also look into the Hunter vs Farmer theory

My loving sweet child took concerta and turned into an aggressive nightmare. He was put on adderrall and continually begged me not to make him take the drug. I did because everyone (teachers) was making me feel guilty for not giving it to him. This past summer I took it 2 days in a row just to see why he complained so much it is a horrid drug I can not even believe that they prescribe this to children. I never gave it to him again. It has the same effect on the body as cocaine and has the same chemical makeup as meth WTH are they thinking???

Staysee34
10-18-2011, 08:54 AM
My son is on Concerta and it really helps with focus and getting tasks DONE! Maybe your daughter's impulsivity (or inclination for defiance) will improve as she will be able to respond instead of just react. That's been my experience. After my son was taking it for seven years (and taking melatonin to help get him to sleep) the doctor asked if we were giving him melatonin around dinnertime. Uh, no, just before bed! He says it takes several hours for the drowsy feeling to take effect. The melatonin is MUCH more effective this way. It's the first time he's gone to bed on his own before 10pm (he's 14 now.) Just thought I'd mention it because nobody thought to ever mention it to us before!!!


Holy Cow!! I didn't know that either. My DD9 started Concerta 2 weeks ago and it's been great for slowing down the impulsive reactions she gets to every small request. She doesn't have nearly the amount of " frustration responses" she was having as her focus to tasks has greatly improved. Both of my daughters take melatonin and I asked their doctor how much I could safely give them. The current dose wasn't cutting it. She never mentioned that timing is everything. They were taking 3mg before bed and I bumped them to 6mg. Now, I'm thinking I may go back to 3mg and give it to them right after dinner. Thanks for the insight!

Deb417
10-18-2011, 10:40 AM
I picked up a book yesterday called Transforming the Difficult Child, anyone here ever read it? So far it's REALLY resonating with me and I'm wondering if I've been wrong all this time and my DD really IS Oppositional and if I kinda accidentally encouraged her to be that way just by parenting her as if she's an "average" energy child like my other two. The book says that doing so with high-energy/intense kids can lead to oppositional behavior b/c they pursue energy, they seek it out as reinforcement even if it's negative and since our negative reax are so much more INTENSE than our positive ones (in our culture), they push buttons to get that, then end up feeling like failures, get frustrated and angry and keep the cycle going, pushing farther and farther. The author then says it's all about craving STRUCTURE, really firm structure.

He also says that meds ought to be a LAST resort and I'm starting to wonder if we're there yet yk?

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-18-2011, 11:30 AM
I read that book, too. I don't agree that all misbehavior is about getting the negative reaction. My son, for example, is just very impulsive sometimes and just doesn't stop and think when he's frustrated or just overstimulated.

I did take away the tips of responding unemotionally, using time outs instead of taking things away (or other punishments), and acknowledging correct behavior as frequently as possible. We tried the chart, but I honestly couldn't find enough "privileges" for him to buy with the points (he spends most of his free time playing with his sister, and I can't very well limit that!). It really helped us the summer after kindergarten when my son wouldn't comply with any directions. Now when he doesn't comply with the first request I say, "You have thirty seconds to put these books away or I'll give you a time out." He knows I mean it and I'll keep repeating the time out until he does it.

The author is very anti meds. We found that we can avoid meds at home because I know how to handle him using the time outs and I can (usually) keep him calm. Outside activities are a different story because it is hard to implement the same discipline system in a group setting. The teacher does not have time to give my son repeated time outs when he gets all wound up. We decided to use a low dose of stimulant medication so that he could continue participating in activities that he was having a difficult time with, like karate.

I can't remember if I said this earlier in the thread, but forming good habits and routines has really helped. I pick one thing, like brushing teeth right after breakfast or taking their dishes out to the kitchen after each meal and enforce it every day for a few weeks. There is less likely to be resistance if the habit to do those things is ingrained. We also found that having a written schedule each day for school work was helpful.

Staysee34
10-18-2011, 01:51 PM
LOL, your comment about using unemotional responses got me thinking. Do you know what my favorite line is? It's "Take as much time as you need". It is the end all to every discipline out there. My daughter absolutely despises hearing those words come from my mouth, especially when she's looking for a fight. She wants to throw a fit, well then fine, throw one, but throw it in your room and "take as much time as you need". My daughter is frustrated and yelling because she can't find the right puzzle piece. " I'll be willing to help you find it as soon as you stop yelling and ask nicely. Take as much time as you need." It applies to everything and works every time because she knows that I am refusing to engage (butt heads is what I call it). I use many, many blanket (unemotional) statements. But "take as much time as you need" is my favorite.

I second the visual schedule on the wall and forming good habits. It took 6 weeks but now, the kids make their beds, get dressed, have breakfast, and brush their teeth without me saying a word. Next is cleaning up after themselves. It's slow going. They are kids after all but we'll get there.

Deb417
10-18-2011, 02:27 PM
*sigh*

OK, first of all, I LOVE the "take as much time as you need" thing! I'm SO going to try that!!

Second: I've been using something called "Accountable Kids" for over a year. It's a visual schedule that includes incentives like "tickets" and "bonus bucks" and "best behavior" cards. Each of my three kids has to earn tickets in order to do any of the fun things they want to do (play computer games, do art projects/play with play-dough, watch a movie--they don't watch "tv" per se), but they keep forgetting to turn their cards and don't seem to be motivated by a visual schedule at all. I try to hold them to these specific "chores" every single day, but for Emma in particular, it's still like pulling teeth to get her to do them.

BTW, I want to quit intuniv for real now. I hate it. She's turned into a lethargic zombie who said today "I hate reading." She might as well have said "I hate cake." This is not my child, the bodysnatchers have taken her. I'll find another way, but I *want* my intense, enthusiastic reader back! This creature sitting before me may not be "impulsive," but she's a LUMP.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-18-2011, 02:51 PM
*sigh*

OK, first of all, I LOVE the "take as much time as you need" thing! I'm SO going to try that!!

Second: I've been using something called "Accountable Kids" for over a year. It's a visual schedule that includes incentives like "tickets" and "bonus bucks" and "best behavior" cards. Each of my three kids has to earn tickets in order to do any of the fun things they want to do (play computer games, do art projects/play with play-dough, watch a movie--they don't watch "tv" per se), but they keep forgetting to turn their cards and don't seem to be motivated by a visual schedule at all. I try to hold them to these specific "chores" every single day, but for Emma in particular, it's still like pulling teeth to get her to do them.

BTW, I want to quit intuniv for real now. I hate it. She's turned into a lethargic zombie who said today "I hate reading." She might as well have said "I hate cake." This is not my child, the bodysnatchers have taken her. I'll find another way, but I *want* my intense, enthusiastic reader back! This creature sitting before me may not be "impulsive," but she's a LUMP.

I have never had much success with charts/points/rewards. Neither of my kids have ever been much motivated by them. When my younger dd was having behavior problems in ps that was their only tool. I knew it was not going to change anything for her. I think it helps with some kids but not all of them and not mine.

Staysee34
10-18-2011, 03:52 PM
Yeah, incentive plans are not very effective here either. We've tried several over the years and they either involved too much tracking or the kids lost interest. What I did find that works is very similar to another thread where the OP uses puzzle pieces. Although, we do it backwards and we use beans. Each day my kids start out with 30 pinto beans. There goal is to keep as many as they can. It also doubles as a math task as each morning we count them by 2, 3, 5, 10 or see how many groups we can divide them into etc. If they do something to lose a bean or two, they have to physically hand them to me. At the end of the day, any that are left get thrown into a well decorated bean can. When it's full, they earn a huge reward (it's a big coffee can and little beans). The current prize is a day at Splash Lagoon. Hopefully, they'll fill it before winter is over!

skrink
10-18-2011, 05:14 PM
Incentive plans have never worked here, for sure. All they do is rev up the tantrum machine when she doesn't get the reward, which she generally doesn't because at some point she's decided "this is dumb" and "I don't want that anyway". Until it's totally out of reach, that is. Aack.

The unemotional responses bring us mixed results. Often she gets enraged - "why are you just sitting there SO CALM!!!!" - and ramps up and up and up in the attempt to get a more satisfying reaction. However, when I DO blow (which happens, though not often) it's like gasoline on a fire, so I guess I just need to stick with the lesser evil. I will have to try "take as much time as you need". :) Should be interesting.

Deb417, I'm sorry to hear that the Intuniv isn't giving you good results. Have you been in touch with the dr? Maybe a change in dosage?

Staysee34
10-18-2011, 06:01 PM
Ok, I'm going to take a different approach that I don't believe has been mentioned yet. Is there any possibility that your Emma has a sensory problem? The reason I ask is because you mentioned how many people it took to hold her down for a booster shot (hypersensitive to pain??) and how she is hyperfocused with reading (using it to calm herself??). It seems to me that she may have some sensory issues going on there.

I never considered this as a diagnosis for Julia until a year ago when an evaluation was offered. I figured it couldn't hurt. I was amazed at what they found. She has trouble crossing her midline, very poor upper core strength, fine motor skill issues, and vestibular/proprioceptive dysfunction. Apparently, my child couldn't get dizzy. Hence, why she could never make it to the bathroom when she was sick to her stomach. She didn't feel nauseated until the very last second and then it's too late. Julia is currently receiving Occupational Therapy twice a week and I've learned a great deal that I never knew. Today, when I went to pick her up from OT, her therapist handed me a photocopy from a book on feeding the sensory diet at home. We've been discussing it for weeks. As I was reading the information, I couldn't help but think of Emma. It's something to consider seeing as how the whole "med thing" isn't going so well.

ETA: Julia gets dizzy now! Is it sad that I'm excited over this fact? Oh yeah, her handwriting has gotten much better too. I can actually read it now.

Deb417
10-19-2011, 02:35 PM
Funny you should mention sensory issues. When she was 4 and we couldn't figure her out (she was SO clutzy and getting her dressed was an exercise in masochism, she had so many preferences, and then there was the hypersensitivity to pain, itchy stuff, etc....). The OT we took her too said she did in fact have issues (can't remember them offhand, would have to check the report) and we went to them until our insurance stopped covering and until they started sounding a little quackish. They said they thought ADD was operating as well, gave her chewing gum without my permission and started combining her therapy with another child's even though we were paying (now out of pocket) for private sessions.

Her motor coordination has improved since then dramatically, but the hypersensitivity to pain is extreme, and she hates it when her food touches, but is very touchy-feely herself, OMG, drives me BATTY!! She sucks her fingers, touches everything in sight, pulls every loose thread she sees (even on other people's clothing) and when she sits by me or stands by me has to be constantly touching me, I hate to say it, it's seriously annoying. She can't keep hands off those cats too! OMG worst decision I ever made was to allow the girls to get two kittens this summer. They are the sweetest softest cats ever, but Emma can't stop chasing them and holding them, one time she held on so tight the poor cat couldn't get away and peed all over her and the couch.

She is the slooooooooowest eater on planet earth, which people tell me is great, except they don't have to eat with her. It's nauseating. The finger-licking, the picking cookies apart to take the chips OUT of them, eating with her hands even if she has a fork at times, chewing really slowly but loudly. I swear sometimes I want ear plugs and a mask so I don't have to assault MY senses while eating!

So yeah, I have no doubt she has some issues there, just not sure how much of it plays into her behavior. Perhaps the therapist can help us?

Staysee34
10-19-2011, 03:54 PM
If I had one suggestion to you, it would be to seek out a new OT evaluation and therapist. They have invaluable information and it really does help. It was suggested when Julia was in 1st grade (PS) that she have OT to help with her handwriting. The nearest facility was 35 minutes from our home and it was the dead of winter in Northwest PA. She didn't qualify through the school district and so I put it off. Now, a little over 2 years later and I'm kicking myself in the ass for not having driven over the river and through the woods to get her butt in OT. It has made an incredible difference in her behavior across the board. Talk therapy is (IMO and experience) not all that useful for younger children. Julia has been in talk therapy off and on (mostly on) since the age of 5. How in the world is she supposed to talk about something she can't define? To help her with that, I sent her to a Summer Treatment Program that taught her about ADD. Useless, she hated it. She did well in the program but all it really did was give her an excuse to behave worse.

I can completely understand your frustration. I'm sure there are many others here who understand just as well, if not better. I sure hope things get better for you soon. If you would like some suggestions for at home "heavy work" I can give you an OT approved list of things that work. Be hugs to you and your family!

dbmamaz
10-19-2011, 03:54 PM
I've seen some great descriptions about what its like to have sensory issues but cant remember where. Tho the first therapist who dx'd us with that suggested a book . . . the out of sync child. It was really good at helping me see it. The thing is, it feels almost painful to them, and CAN really impact behavoir. I mean, if every time you moved, it HURT where your clothes touched you, cant you see that making it hard for you to cope with life? If touching you helps her feel better when she's feeling bad, its going to be hard for her to control it. But really i think the thing you mentioned about not treating her like you treat other kids - i had no idea what normal kids were like or what normal parenting was like, so i just followed my childrens leads and had no idea how unusual what I was doing WAS. You cant just punish them for a behavoir and reward them for better behavoir and have them learn to change. its not under their control, you have to have all the control - over yourself and the environment. or at least thats how i dealt me my kids, keeping their world safe until they matured well enough to cope with more.

Staysee34
10-19-2011, 03:59 PM
Great suggestion Cara! The Out Of Sync Child is an amazing resource. I've read it twice.

Deb417
10-19-2011, 04:06 PM
Thanks! Off to research my insurance options for OT, we have a new policy since then!

skrink
10-19-2011, 04:07 PM
There's also The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, which we used a LOT when EC was younger.

I have had my issues with OT, too. It's sooo $$, and for us, out of network. Even then our insurance co. stopped all payments after a certain no. of visits and it just became prohibitive. I did come to find out that she spent a great deal of time in the "quiet room", which was basically their time out area, and not interacting with anyone. And I paid good money for that?? I've seen positive changes with my dd over the years in regards to her sensory issues, and frankly, I think it was mostly a process of her maturing and adjusting and not anything big accomplished at OT. The activities we found in the book were helpful and I think would have been enough on their own.

Deb417
10-19-2011, 08:53 PM
I actually have both books. We bought them way back when, I think I put them down when I found that they didn't ring true to our experience as much as I'd expected. I'll take another look, maybe I overlooked something or just wasn't ready to see it?

So far, the books that have resonated the MOST as far as sounding like my kid are Turning Chaos into Calm (I could have written the first chapter) and Transforming the Difficult Child. Reading those books I almost got whiplash nodding my head so much. But again, haven't checked out the other books in a while. I will now. :)

Deb417
10-20-2011, 10:30 PM
Saw the psychologist today for intake appt./interview, just me alone, Emma goes next week. I loved this woman and the whole approach of their office! Very problem-solving oriented, not into "talk therapy" per se, more diagnostic approach coupled with teaching parents and kids strategies for dealing with whatever issues or combos of issues are in play. I just felt a real "click" and hope Emma likes her too. She's weighing all possibilities and even had me fill out the parent reporting form for aspergers! She said some of the things I described sounded vaguely aspy, more than bi-polar actually--especially Emma's attachment to routine and stubbornness around transitions. But I did the inventory and I think the only areas that resonated were in the cognitive section, the rest not so much. I mean, the kid not only perceives sarcasm, she's the grand master of its use ;)

Anyway, high hopes here! Appt. is next week, and the therapist said her aim is to help us do whatever we need to do to educate her how WE WANT TO! Love her!

Staysee34
10-21-2011, 06:55 AM
That's terrific Deb!! Sounds like this psychologist is exactly what you need to help you get to the bottom of things. As far as Aspergers goes, it was never a diagnosis I believed Julia would have as a label(I'm not fond of the word " label"). But then I found a psychologist whose soul purpose was the child's quality of life and he added Asperger characteristics to her diagnosis. After he explained it to me, all the stuff I've been wondering about for years finally made perfect sense. I hope Emma's appointment goes just as well as yours and you get the answers you need.

Deb417
10-21-2011, 09:47 PM
Had to take her off the Intuniv today. The weepiness got out of hand and she wasn't waking up well from sleeping, her affect was getting more drowsy and detached. It just didn't work well for us. She's on nothing now but back on Clonidine b/c she stopped sleeping again (or rather started waking up a few hours after going to sleep). I'm starting to wonder if the poor thing has a sleep issue and maybe that feeds her behavior problems (as opposed to her behavior problems preventing her from sleeping)? Who knows. Don't get to see anyone until Thursday, and then the ped. a week from Monday, so until then, we're back on our own.

Not sure if I posted it here, but one thing I'm going to do is change-up the homeschooling schedule such that each of my girls gets two days of my undivided attention, and two of "unschooling," and then Fridays are "free" in the sense that we do errands, maybe a field trip or park day (there's a regular park day I found for HSers that meets each Friday). The girls helped design this idea and both seem to love it. Fingers crossed it gives them each what they need, and me as well ;)

I observed all of my kids with other kids their age today for the first time in a long while. FASCINATING. Emma plays "near" other kids mostly as opposed to "with" them, and when she decides to play "with" them it's in the role of "leader" (e.g., "OK guys let's build a fortress with the sand, everyone grab a bucket and let's go!") only the other kids don't necessarily "follow" her lead. But rather than get upset, she just goes on about her business as if they are following and doesn't seem to notice, or at least doesn't seem to care much, and oddly, eventually someone does decide to follow her and she's only too happy to have them play "with" her then. But if no one joins, she just keeps on keeping on, in her own private Idaho.The later in the day it got, the more upbeat she got (must've been the medication coming out of her system since she last took it yesterday afternoon), when we first got to the park at 2:30, she stuck to the climbing wall (she LOVES climbing walls btw, scampers right up them which is odd b/c she's not all that coordinated at most sports). She didn't approach anyone or introduce herself to anyone (as my middle child tends to do), but she wasn't unfriendly or closed off, she just likes to do what she likes to do and appears utterly content to to it. People being near her didn't phase her one iota though.

Meanwhile, my middle child tried to play with some other kids who showed up, but when one of them (a boy about 9) started torturing Daddy Longlegs, she FREAKED OUT! She started literally screaming at him to stop saying "That's a LIVING THING that never harmed anyone! HOW CAN YOU DO THAT? STOP!" She was LIVID! Started crying hysterically and came running to me begging me to stop him. Of course he mocked the living daylights out of her which made her cry even harder, and I wasn't sure what to do! I admit it, i've been paying so much attention to Emma I didn't even realize Lily has issues of her OWN. The kid is SOOOOO sensitive and compassionate, she's easily wounded :( A bit later, a girl of about 8 told a little boy with Downs to start chasing her (not sure why, her mother tells me she has ADD and "doesn't have a compassionate bone in her body," an odd thing to say about one's own child, but OK), and Lily came running over angry/sad, crying, she was a mess, saying they were "mean." One of the kids said she was threatening to "punch" them, so I asked her if she could please try to express herself with words and tell the kids how she was feeling, and she said "hurtful (she meant "hurt" I think), sad, scared (and then she burst into tears and said), I just want to be treated with RESPECT!"

Um. WOW. The kid is FIVE. Now it was a bit hypersensitive, but she wasn't "wrong" from the standpoint that they were chasing and kinda taunting her, the older girl more than the little Downs boy who had no idea what he was doing or what was going wrong, he kept saying "I just want to play with her I just want to play!" But the older girl kept telling him "Chase her chase her faster!!! Catch her!" And it was freaking Lily out (she hates being chased).

Meanwhile my youngest? Hail-fellow-well-met all the way. The only thing upsetting to her were the spiders, but once she got past that, she was playing with everyone, running around, laughing, giggling, no problem until one little boy about 4 started teasing her and calling her "ugly." Another little girl who was there told me "Your little daughter just got threatened," and I checked in with her and she said--pouty face on--"He said I was ugly." And I told her that was ridiculous and that wasn't very nice, and she turned to him and said "You stop that, I'm gonna spank your BUTT!" And stuck her tongue out at him with a raspberry for good measure. Then she got up and began chasing him and, naturally, he ran away as fast as he could. I couldn't help but laugh, she was so tough! LOL

Lily eventually made friends with two little "brown-skinned girls" she met (her terminology) who were public schoolers there after school. They fell in with each other instantly and were inseparable for the next hour, playing, talking, collecting acorns, it was adorable. When we left, Lily said "Those girls go to school, but they said they sometimes get 'days off' OH NO, I didn't get their phone number!" I obviously need to step in more (SEE, I suck at this whole thing, teaching social skills, I guess I lack them myself!) to help her formalize these relationships.

Is it odd that I've noticed Lily tends to *gravitate* towards minority children? She was the same in preschool, same at church....Consistently, her best pals, the ones she seeks out and refers to as her "best friends" are minority. I only call it out b/c it's so consistent (even the dolls she chooses are consistently black, no joke, the baby doll, Barbie AND ragdoll SHE CHOSE were "brown-skinned," and she has said on numerous occasions "They're prettier").

Anyway, these are just some observations. I was searching Emma's behavior for anti-social actions or social awkwardness, and all I could really see was that she tries to lead and not really that effectively. IOW, she doesn't seem to read (or care about) the interests of others all that much. Wonder if that's why the psychologist wondered about aspy (based on my description, she hasn't met her yet).

Well, we'll see. Thanks all for reading/listening/sharing. It's been so helpful to have this thread to come to to work through my thoughts and observations. This is dominating my life in a way right now, and I feel like I need to work through it. So thanks :)

dbmamaz
10-21-2011, 10:06 PM
Thats funny, my kids often ended up freinds w darker kids at school - honestly, there arent many in our grade school, so they were mostly indian. but i still thought it was funny. I wonder if maybe its just because we dont fit the mold around here well and they dont either.

i always find trying to help my kids get along w other kids to be very stressful. I feel like i'm finally getting better at it, but my daughter totally lit in to me the other day about not having done a better job at teaching her socail skills. finally she accepted that i taught her the socail skills which were useful on the commune we used to live with, but i'm not so great at getting along here, either. (well, she didnt find that second part to be a reasonable excuse)

Deb417
10-21-2011, 10:24 PM
Yeah, truth-be-told, I was a weird kid, and am probably still not the "average" adult socially ;) I tend to walk into large gatherings of people I don't know and seek out one person (or allow myself to be sought out by one) and end up trying to talk with that person the whole time I'm wherever I am. I don't "mingle" well, in fact, I hate it. I was never a "girl's girl" with a gaggle of girlfriends. Tried to fake it once in my 20s, ended up with a few "problem-child" friends who would do stupid things like get drunk, give their handbag or keys to some guy in a bar as a ruse to have to call him (after getting his number of course), then lose their bag or keys entirely b/c the guy took off with them or left them sitting somewhere. Or they'd sleep with some random guy and wake up the next day in his apt. alone, hungover and have no idea where they were or what the guy's name was, and somehow *I* was the lucky recipient of the "I have no keys, no money, no clue, can you come get me?" call.

That got old REALLY fast, and I ended up back to my old ways of having one or two close friends who were a lot like me--eccentric/iconoclastic loner-types who were basically pretty content to be that way until "society" told us otherwise ;)

I suppose that could be hereditary too, my Dad is the same way (though I swear he's got some major Aspy traits that I just do not have--I think I'm more like my middle child, the big caretake who has always been the designated peacekeeper, I was just never as good as she is at fighting it or expressing my frustration with the role, then again, my home was totally dysfunctional and I had no safe person to TELL!). I guess there are lots of ways to grow up socially outside the so-called "norm."

Is it wrong that I kinda want it to be easier for my kids? I don't want them to be "popular" per se, just want them to be able to establish healthy relationships with peers on their terms, without undue stress or frustration. I feel ill-equipped ;) Maybe the psychologist can teach me how to do this?

dbmamaz
10-21-2011, 11:00 PM
You know, aspie traits look VERY different in girls . . . but you should definitely bring it up w the psychologist, hopefully she'll have some helpful ideas

Ana
10-24-2011, 03:57 AM
Have you tried Total Transformation (http://www.thetotaltransformation.com/default.aspx)? We use that with all our kids, but found it worked very well with our son. I always recommend it to others when asked about meds.

Deb417
10-26-2011, 10:47 PM
I really need to stop reading ADHD books. I just read two of them that question the diagnosis and are totally anti-medication, and *they* make sense to me too! UGH! Maybe it's b/c we've now tried meds, and they didn't change her *misbehavior* except insofar as they zonked her out too much for her to push our buttons too much. And we though it was sleep, but now she's been getting good sleep for a month (with just a couple of days of not sleeping when we stopped clonidine and I think a lot of that was her willfully staying awake.

And today--first day in a month totally drug-free, and she was right back where she was--her old insane willful, button-pushing self. Doing exactly what she wanted when she wanted, testing, controlling, driving me bat-$-it crazy! But call me crazy, I think it's just her having FUN misbehaving, and me being in a well-entrenched pattern of not knowing how to handle it, and getting pushed over the edge. Here was my day:
7:00 am, I woke up, woke the girls, told them to do their usual morning routine (get dressed, make bed, brush teeth, comb hair). Usually the younger two do all of the above without prodding. Emma usually needs a reminder or two, but if I get myself ready and do it after I'm done, things typically go better--not "well" but better.
7:30 I checked on her, she had distracted the other two off-task by creating this elaborate "fort" in her room with her bed covers and pillows. She KNEW it was wrong b/c as soon as she heard my door open she said "C'mon guys, HIDE! We're gonna get in trouble!" A feeling of dread crept over me....I found my two youngest in varying degrees of undress, and my eldest still in her jammies, with a HUGE grin on her face, no shame, no acknowledgment whatsoever. She was downright GIDDY when I appeared in the doorway. Oh, and their rooms were torn apart too, stuffed animals everywhere.
7:45 I tell the younger two to get dressed NOW--they run off to get dressed, but my littlest fights me hard. She had to get to preschool, so this was a problem. She was all revved up. The middle got dressed right away once she was away from her sister (the two younger ones share a room, Emma has her own room with nothing in it but a bed and bed covers).
8:00 I'm STILL struggling to get the baby dressed. She is kicking and screaming. She finally lets me dress her and I tell them both to go downstairs to set the table for breakfast and I turn again to Emma, who is STILL in her jammies, this time just lying under her bed doing nothing, zoning out. She barely acknowledges me. I tell her she's going to miss breakfast, she acts like she's hopping to it. So I head downstairs to get breakfast going and make the lunch. While I'm doing that, the little ones run back upstairs behind my back. I call them but they don't come. I run upstairs and Catie is now naked (kid you not, NAKED), Lily has pulled toys out of the closet again, and Emma is STILL not dressed. I mean NO PROGRESS.
It's now 8:25.
I struggle to get Catie back in her clothes and she kicks and screams. I warn her she will miss school (which she loves), she's incoherent, just fighting, laughing, giggling, saying she wants to play with Emma, blah blah. I finally wrangle her into her clothes and Lily picks up the toys and we head back down.
It's now 8:35. We have to leave in ten minutes to get there on time. No one has eaten breakfast. Inexplicably, Lily disappears upstairs AGAIN. I tell her to get back down, she ignores me. Emma is still up there, Lily says she's going to get her. I tell her NO, stay here, she ignores me. I follow her AGAIN, bring her back down and sit her in time-out.
It's now 8:40, there is no time for breakfast at this point, we have to leave in FIVE MINUTES. I conclude we'll be late, even without breakfast. I tell Emma to get in the car in her jammies. She yells "Noooooo! I want to get dressed!! I'm getting dressed right now!" About 60 seconds later, she comes down "dressed" but hair all over the place, teeth not brushed, etc... I don't care at this point, I just want to leave. I make Catie some instant breakfast in a sippy and toast, hand it to her wrapped in a napkin and we head to the car.
We are 15 minutes late for school.
When we got home, I had the girls go upstairs ONE AT A TIME to finish their chores (make beds, pick up rooms, brush teeth, etc...). I gave them each 10 minutes max to do it or face losing HALLOWEEN. I told them those were the stakes for the day now, no trick-or-treating, period, if they didn't get their act together. AND, I didn't give them breakfast. They asked why? I said because their choices made them miss it, period. They'd eat at lunch. They whined and cried, blah blah, I stuck to my guns AND I made them sit on either side of me at the kitchen table to do school work all morning. Their assignments were all in their work boxes, it was Lily's day for my undivided attention and Emma had a list. I sat there working with Lily and every time Emma started doodling or playing with the cat, I reminded her about halloween and she got back on task. Some things she did really well, paying full attention, taking great care with the work. Others, she flat refused to do (Math). I told her to do it, she said she'd do it later. I told her she had a limit on how long she could work on it b/c of choir practice later, she still put it off. OK, fine, her choice. Let her fail right?
At lunch She tried the same BS of getting Lily all riled up and running around, ignoring me, etc...I kept my cool, tried to direct them back to eating and then schoolwork again. I told them if they finished by 2, they could do whatever they wanted until choir practice.

Predictably, Emma persisted in her refusal to do her math work, and I was caught not knowing whether to stick to my guns and hold her to it (it was very basic addition y'all! The only difference was the addition of decimal points and dollar signs! She even said it was "too easy") or let her off the hook. In view of the way she'd behaved all day, I decided to hold her to it. After all, if she ever did go to school, she'd have to do the homework right? I know one of the benefits of HSing is the ability to be flexible with stuff like this, but again, I didn't think it was "too easy," she had made mistakes, and I felt like giving in at that point would validate how she'd behaved all day. UGH, this is so hard!

By the end of the day I was wiped OUT. Well, she took full advantage, refused to get in the tub, went running around naked like a maniac, inciting her sisters too. I went to feed the dog and came back to CHAOS. Can I not leave the ROOM? I'm all alone here! My husband had to work late, didn't get home until 8. I was struggling at this point on the brink. Finally lost my cool. Not so much yelling and talking very harshly. Lily cried, Emma laughed some more, kept blaming everything under the sun OTHER than her own choices.

She's never nasty in all this, seems to ENJOY the chaos, the control. I have a hard time--a REALLY hard time--not thinking it's intentional. Am I crazy?? Part of me wants it to be a "disorder" treatable with meds, but part of me just thinks she's playing us big time.

Thoughts?

dbmamaz
10-26-2011, 11:49 PM
Ok, there's no easy answer. I think yes, somewhat, she's playing. But she's playing a power game and so are you. And she's also playing games becuase she's a kid and wants to play with her sisters. I mean, honestly, it sounded like fun to me too . . . i'm always thrilled when my kids play together! i mean, some days, I probably would have just let them play and thrown them in the car in their jammies, except for the one who had to go to school. Because I dont like to fight. Of course, i also dont have 3 that close together, and sure we've all lost it on really chaotic days and sometimes it feels like there must have been something in the water. I mean, being a parent is tough and kids dont always do what you tell them to.

You are definitely seeing this as a battle where you have to win and she has to lose, and sometimes thats not the most contstructive approach. I forget, have you read all those 'spirited child' type books? and really, if you KNOW the work is probably too easy, why does she have to do work thats too easy? If its too easy, sometimes they WILL get it wrong on purpose, because thats more fun that doing boring work correctly.

Yes, some people see it as a disorder. And certainly my first one has had plenty of dx's w disorders, but in the end, none of that helped me deal with him. I had to find my own way to make it work for us. I had to learn what he really needed, not to sit still and do what he's told perfectly, but to be happy, to learn what he was ready to learn next, and to work together. In the end, at least for me, there was no real help and no real road map, there was a lot of trial and error and trusting myself and learning to trust my kid, and making sure he learned to trust me too.

Deb417
10-27-2011, 12:13 AM
YOu know, all day I kept asking myself "Is this really worth it? Why not let them just BE?" But when I've done that, they just go CRAZY, especially on days when things are already a bit nuts to start with. Sometimes I feel like I have to win because things will spiral and go from disorganized to ugly (with kids fighting and crying and stuff like that, Emma has a tendency to go too far, to get wound up and hard to UN-wind). Other times I feel like I need to win because if I don't, she'll just keep pushing limits on into her teens and do really dangerously impulsive things, ignoring my rules in the process.

I try to have rules that make sense, that are not arbitrary, so I did question the math, but here's the thing. It wasn't "hard" work, but it wasn't "easy" either. She thinks if she grasps a concept enough to do it ONCE correctly, she knows it and doesn't need to review, but that's just not true. I let her get away with that last year, and at the end of the year she'd forgotten everything. With math, you have to do review and practice, especially when learning computation. Sure, she gets the concept of regrouping, but can she apply it every time? No, she can't. As her teacher I can tell you that with a certainty. She makes mistakes and has no idea why they are mistakes. So I decided that yes, she had to do the assignment because it wasn't even review! It was the intro. to adding money. How can I let her just "skip" that b/c she thinks she knows how to add? It's not "hard" per se, but it takes some practice and attention, and I can't just let her skip it like I did last year. It was an interesting experiment, but it failed. I allow her a LOT of leeway with her other work, let her choose the order in which she does things, let her negotiate to alter assignments within reason, but some things are non-negotiable.

*sigh* I know I have work to do, I just feel so damn alone all the time. I feel guilty complaining about that b/c I'm not a single parent, but sometimes it feels like I might as well be, my DH is around so seldom. And when he is, he's so much more lax than I am, I feel almost undone by it. He goes from really hard on her to totally soft, depending on his own emotional needs and convenience, it's infuriating.

Anyway, thanks for listening. I just feel like I'm constantly doing the wrong thing, and I'm sure she knows it (that I feel this way), which only makes it harder.

dbmamaz
10-27-2011, 12:40 AM
I was coming back to point out that, of course, my son IS on meds . . . Just not ADHD meds. He's on much heavier stuff. And I understand the husband not helping so much. I mean, mine works and even does dishes and feeds pets. But he won't discuss child rearing, the most he will do for school is approve or disapprove, I'm in charge of everything other than money and dishes for the five of us . . .exhausting! When my husband (who is only father to my youngest) and I were having serious marital problems 6 years ago, I said something about the kids making it harder, and he actually said "it wouldn't be so hard if they were NORMAL kids!". Of course he hasn't said anything like that since we got back together over 5 hrs ago, but you can't unsay it . . . I totally get e lonely thing.

Staysee34
10-27-2011, 08:19 AM
I have a quick question for you. Where are you in all this? Mom's have lots of roles but aside from all of them, we are still a person. When I was reading your last post, I kept coming back to the time you wake up. You wake up at the same time as your children. There's nothing wrong with that but I can't help wondering where you squeeze in some time just for you.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
10-27-2011, 08:44 AM
I hear you. My son gets himself totally wound up and drags his sister into his Vortex of Chaos. I have to separate them and focus on my son first. I literally have to stand over him and say "do [step 1 of whatever he's supposed to do] by the time I count to five or you get a time out. I threatened about Halloween yesterday, but I stopped myself because I knew I was doing it because I was frustrated. That's one thing I learned from "Transforming the Difficult Child" is not to let my emotions take over and threaten punishments that are hurtful like that.

Can you focus on getting Emma ready first and then get her occupied with something while you work on the younger two? I think she's totally playing with you and enjoying getting your reaction. She'll stop doing it if she starts getting a reaction that she doesn't like (we use a time out on the steps and the rule is that I restart the clock if he talks or gets up).

I can't let anything go with my kid. He'll totally consider it a victory and will start refusing to do that thing at all. Even if he does a token amount--one page of math, one sentence of writing, clean up one area of his room--it's better than letting him off the hook altogether.

It is exhausting when you have to supervise everything. I don't have little ones to watch--my daughter is (thank GAWD!) pretty cooperative and can work independently when asked--so you certainly have a harder job than I do. You definitely need to get back in the driver's seat. It sounds like Emma is not just happily doing her own thing, she's actively disrupting the order of the household, messing up the routines of her sisters, and enjoying making you frazzled.

I think the techniques in "Transforming the Difficult Child" could really help your situation.

Deb417
10-27-2011, 09:27 AM
Thanks. I'm going to look into it. Is it expensive? They never tell you pricing up front :(

As for "me" time, ugh, I take it here and there, like now, when they're all doing something (reading/playing) I get online for a few minutes, or at night, after they go to sleep, I'm apt to stay up too late sewing or something. It's bad. It makes it harder to get up early. My dream is to magically change into a morning person, wake before dawn, have three hours to myself then start the day. But alas, my whole life, I've been a night owl :(

Staysee34
10-27-2011, 10:00 AM
I hear you. My son gets himself totally wound up and drags his sister into his Vortex of Chaos. I have to separate them and focus on my son first. I literally have to stand over him and say "do [step 1 of whatever he's supposed to do] by the time I count to five or you get a time out. I threatened about Halloween yesterday, but I stopped myself because I knew I was doing it because I was frustrated. That's one thing I learned from "Transforming the Difficult Child" is not to let my emotions take over and threaten punishments that are hurtful like that.

Can you focus on getting Emma ready first and then get her occupied with something while you work on the younger two? I think she's totally playing with you and enjoying getting your reaction. She'll stop doing it if she starts getting a reaction that she doesn't like (we use a time out on the steps and the rule is that I restart the clock if he talks or gets up).

I can't let anything go with my kid. He'll totally consider it a victory and will start refusing to do that thing at all. Even if he does a token amount--one page of math, one sentence of writing, clean up one area of his room--it's better than letting him off the hook altogether.

It is exhausting when you have to supervise everything. I don't have little ones to watch--my daughter is (thank GAWD!) pretty cooperative and can work independently when asked--so you certainly have a harder job than I do. You definitely need to get back in the driver's seat. It sounds like Emma is not just happily doing her own thing, she's actively disrupting the order of the household, messing up the routines of her sisters, and enjoying making you frazzled.

I think the techniques in "Transforming the Difficult Child" could really help your situation.

Yes! Exactly what she said.

skrink
10-27-2011, 10:15 AM
I literally have to stand over him and say "do [step 1 of whatever he's supposed to do] by the time I count to five or you get a time out. I threatened about Halloween yesterday, but I stopped myself because I knew I was doing it because I was frustrated. That's one thing I learned from "Transforming the Difficult Child" is not to let my emotions take over and threaten punishments that are hurtful like that.

This was us yesterday. EC had a *massive* meltdown at her therapist's office, spitting, kicking, screaming, the works. She calmed down in time to get to the car and get on the road, but as soon as we hit traffic she was off and running again. I lost it and threatened Halloween, too. We were in heavy traffic, stuck on an overpass with road construction going on, it was starting to rain, and she was screaming her head off. I calmly told her to stop, but she knew we weren't in a position to pull over so she kept going. I was out of ideas so I threatened Halloween (and her DS). And she stopped. It's not my proudest moment, for sure, but I didn't know what else to do at the time. Apparently I need to get my hands on a copy of that book.



I have a quick question for you. Where are you in all this? Mom's have lots of roles but aside from all of them, we are still a person.

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. It feels like my whole life is defined by my daughter and her needs and what will set her off. I used to be an interesting person (at least, I think I was!) but OMG. There's nothing left at the end of the day.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-27-2011, 10:57 AM
I am thinking that chaos and craziness are Emma's equalibrium, her normal. So you asking her to change is no different in terms of magnitude than her asking you to abandon all efforts and accept her way of being, which of course you cannot do. Any effort you make to change the equalibrium of your current relationship is going to cause her to ratchet up to get things back to her "normal". She is not going to accept that change could be better she is going to fight for her way so I can't imagine how taking her head on will work. I wonder if a more stratregic, sneaky/manipulative, approach might not be better with a child so focused on power and control. I am also wondering how much of her normal is about getting her way as far as just doing what she wants to do and how much of it is about keeping you sort of emotionally off-balance.

Deb417
10-27-2011, 03:59 PM
Oh you said Transforming the Difficult Child, not Total Transformation. I get the two confused! I have the book TtDC, not familiar with TT.

Deb417
10-28-2011, 11:45 PM
I am thinking that chaos and craziness are Emma's equalibrium, her normal. So you asking her to change is no different in terms of magnitude than her asking you to abandon all efforts and accept her way of being, which of course you cannot do. Any effort you make to change the equalibrium of your current relationship is going to cause her to ratchet up to get things back to her "normal". She is not going to accept that change could be better she is going to fight for her way so I can't imagine how taking her head on will work. I wonder if a more stratregic, sneaky/manipulative, approach might not be better with a child so focused on power and control. I am also wondering how much of her normal is about getting her way as far as just doing what she wants to do and how much of it is about keeping you sort of emotionally off-balance.
I wonder some of the same things myself honestly...I so wish I could unschool her, but TBH, I have NO IDEA how to do it constructively. What I mean is, truth-be-told, I'm a bit of a spaz myself. If I don't create a structure for our days, *I* will descend into chaos. I go in spurts--throwing myself into activity, being very responsible, taking care of everything really well, then collapsing in a heap and being a slob, leaving laundry unfolded, etc...Unless I have a schedule, things would be a little nuts. Lately I've taken to wondering if I have ADD as well (my DH thinks he has it too--probably common for parents to start dissecting their own temperaments right?). I tend to hyperfocus on stuff that interests me, and blow off stuff that doesn't. It's just that all my life I thought that was normal and it never seemed to cripple me, yk?

So is there a way to let her be HER (cuz I'd love to keep her OFF meds like she is now, except for finding a way to help her sleep--the clonidine doesn't even work anymore :( ), and let my other girls (who are much more academically "typical") be themselves and still be sure I'm getting done what I need to get done to not fall too far behind where they should be for grade-level?

onmom
10-29-2011, 10:11 AM
My daughter and son have Tourettes, OCD, ADD and anxiety. Their behaviour is very similar. Both my kids have sleep issues. My son will wake up every 2 hours. My daughter cannot fall asleep easily or wake up after.
They both have sensory issues and trouble reading others social cues. They can be very asp like.
They have physical and verbal tics. Many of their tics would not seem to be tics. They can be random appearing sounds or clicking of tongue. Physical tics also can be hard to notice sometimes. It can be simply stretching a muscle or breathing funny. They can be very complex ritual like things as well. My daughter has had one that made her stop every three steps to bend over and pull up her socks. Another had her flapping her arms, running around and screaming. My son has a urge to throw things that is a tic or OCD compulsion. He also has a maniacal laugh tic that can drive you nuts. My daughter takes Abilify for the violent urges and tics. She had been on Risperadone for years but gained weight.

dbmamaz
10-29-2011, 10:44 AM
On mom, my son has tic too, and it took us a while to really see them. He's also on risperdone and abilify, but both, as reducing the risperdone had awful side effects. The weight gain is a real issue. Its kinda sa, he's been on them since he was 9, and recently I realized he doesn't remember not being overweight. They do blood tests every yar, tho, and he seems to be healthy.

Accidental Homeschooler
10-29-2011, 12:08 PM
I wonder some of the same things myself honestly...I so wish I could unschool her, but TBH, I have NO IDEA how to do it constructively. What I mean is, truth-be-told, I'm a bit of a spaz myself. If I don't create a structure for our days, *I* will descend into chaos. I go in spurts--throwing myself into activity, being very responsible, taking care of everything really well, then collapsing in a heap and being a slob, leaving laundry unfolded, etc...Unless I have a schedule, things would be a little nuts. Lately I've taken to wondering if I have ADD as well (my DH thinks he has it too--probably common for parents to start dissecting their own temperaments right?). I tend to hyperfocus on stuff that interests me, and blow off stuff that doesn't. It's just that all my life I thought that was normal and it never seemed to cripple me, yk?
So is there a way to let her be HER (cuz I'd love to keep her OFF meds like she is now, except for finding a way to help her sleep--the clonidine doesn't even work anymore :( ), and let my other girls (who are much more academically "typical") be themselves and still be sure I'm getting done what I need to get done to not fall too far behind where they should be for grade-level?

I think routines are important also. The thing I was thinking was looking at your structure/routines and changing them to reduce your dd's opportunities to start the chaos. Instead of taking her on head to head so frequently, being more strategic. Like with the morning routine you described, what if you got your younger two up and dressed and to the breakfast table and then got Emma up? Or get her up with enough time to get in the car and get your youngest to preschool and then she has breakfast when you get home while you get your middle dd set up with what she is going to do. I don't know that this would be the right change, just an example of how you could look at your routines and change, not eliminate, them. If you have fewer battles you might have more energy, physical and emotional to effectively handle the ones that are unavoidable. Or if bedtime is a problem, let Emma know that YOU have decided that she is old enough to have a later bedtime than her little sisters and put them to bed first. If Emma knows that she will lose her later bedtime if she wakes up her sisters she might feel that it is worth it.

Deb417
11-10-2011, 11:48 PM
Ok get ready for this ladies! New psychologist says its not ADD *OR* ODD!! She tests borderline for ADD but performs very well, like crazy well on the uber-boring test they use to really determine if attention is an issue. It's not. Also, now that she's spent time with Emma, she sees no ODD at all, just immensely strong-will, SO the working theory is that we have just screwed up (no one used those words! Don't worry) with our discipline of a strong-willed kid!

I start some kind of parenting training thing on Monday that literally uses role modeling with my kid to teach me better ways of disciplining without power struggle.

I am thrilled! No more meds!

But school is still on the table per DH, SO, here's where I need help: curriculum. I need to make learning fun and relevant. The younger ones could benefit too. DH thinks the dynamic is too toxic. I desperately want to save our school, but I want them to be happy and engaged too. Thoughts?

dbmamaz
11-11-2011, 08:04 AM
Ugh, not sure I want to reread all 12 pages. You might want to start a new thread giving a more concise description of ages and interests and what has and hasn't worked?

Deb417
11-11-2011, 08:50 AM
Fair enough! Just wanted to keep the same people in the loop, but I hear ya! ;)

Staysee34
11-11-2011, 08:51 AM
Although I followed this thread very closely, I agree with Cara. I would start a new thread expressing the interests, strengths, and weaknesses of each child. Glad to see there is some possible light at the end of the tunnel for you and your family.

Yarngoddess
11-18-2011, 03:35 AM
So, having read all of this I thought I'd add this to the OP. Have you considered "Calm Child" (http://www.amazon.com/Planetary-Herbals-Calm-Child-tablets/dp/B00028PAKA/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_3) it's an herbal pill or liquid you give to your DD 2 or 3 times a day. Your kids sound like mine, and this medication is like our miracle pill, because they suddenly become sweet kids that can rationalize. I hope you would consider something like this before you start public school, though maybe that is the right decision for this child in your family. Not that I agree, but I"m not there- ya know? Rescue Remedy (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dhpc&field-keywords=Rescue+Remedy&x=0&y=0#/ref=sr_pg_1?rh=n%3A3760901%2Ck%3ARescue+Remedy&keywords=Rescue+Remedy&ie=UTF8&qid=1321605253) also helps for those "crisis" moments- either for you or her or both! Hang in there mama, it seems like you are doing all you can and more. I hope you find a solution that works well for your entire family.

Deb417
11-18-2011, 07:12 AM
Thanks. I'll try anything at this point. Saw the Psychiatrist for bathe first time Wednesday and he took in all the other data and met her and didn't even hesitate to say its ADHD for sure. He said the reason meds had failed was that the ped. was too aggressive in the dose. He put her back on Concerta and said to do 2 weeks at 18mg then if necessary, ramp to 27, but not more based on her weight/height/age.

I feel like I'm on the roller coaster from hell :( Things are less combative now that I'm trying more positive discipline, but truth be told, we're still not getting much done. I even modified my curriculum to cut out nearly half of what I was doing, she's still all over the place. He said that's because she *does* have a strong willed personality TOO, but the two can coexist, which only makes it harder. He didn't say "yes, put her in school," but he did say it wasn't a crazy idea that she might benefit from external rewards/pressure. He did say she was very novelty-driven though, and it might work for a while, then stop when the novelty wears off if she doesn't find other reasons to WANT to thrive there (peers, like the teacher, interesting work...).

He also said her strong will could help OR hurt in school because either she'll latch onto a motivation to drive herself and take off like a rocket OR she'll rebel with equal force, no way to predict.

Great. So now what???

Public school wise we toured a magnet the other day that we loved, I mean really loved in spite of it being school and public ;) but our odds of getting in are slim in the third grade. Basically we have to hope someone moves or switches schools in that grade, and that few others want the spot. We'll toss our names in, see what happens, but if not we'll probably be home. I'm starting to wonder if school would be best for ME. I'm a stress mess!

Just yesterday she did the strangest thing...She was doing copy work, which she usually loves, and burst into tears. I'd been working with her on holding her pencil correctly for weeks, it was affecting her handwriting that she jutted her thumb way out. She finally mastered the pincer grasp and it was automatic, and voila, great manuscript handwriting. Well, instead of being happy when I praised her work, she started to cry and said "I can't do it the old way! I can't remember how!!! I don't want my writing to be this good!" Abd she went on to try mightily to put her fingers back the old way. When that failed, she just purposely messed up her writing by letting her wrist go limp.

WTF??? I tried gently talking to her, asking her to trust that no one--least of all I--was going to suddenly expect great paragraphs of prose from her, and asking her why she was upset in case that wasn't it, and she just dissolved. Couldn't explain it. My husband--from whom we suspect she inherited her strong will at least, if not also the ADHD, says he understands, she was just in a mood. He gets this way, hates change, ultra moody, loves rigid consistency. He seems to "get" her where I fail because I embrace change and am fairly even tempered. That's why he's pushing school, especially the one we saw which is traditional, very structured, but from what we could tell, also good at differentiation where kids need it. A friend's son goes there, has ADHD and is doing very well, getting loads of help. I just wonder because I'm losing it! I just wonder if WE are a mismatch :(