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#1 of 13 Old 05-04-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay - ds2 (he's six, will be seven in July) has a lot of behavioural issues. We've never managed to find a decent way to address them, or to discipline him. He's been a problem for a long time. DH and I have both yelled at him in the past - quite a lot, at times - out of sheer frustration. We've tried time-ins and time-outs (not punitive, generally - just a "go upstairs and calm down, and let us know when you're ready to behave" kind of thing).

 

I keep feeling as though things are getting better (and they are, in some ways - at least he's not peeing - or pooping - on the carpets every day, anymore), but we still have a lot of issues with him. He handles interpersonal issues with other kids very badly - lots of hitting and throwing things. He does some of the same things at home. He routinely tears apart his older sister's drawings and craft projects. (I know that one is partly anger/frustration because he thinks he "sucks at art"). He throws things and hits people - everyone in the family has been hit by him at one time or another - and breaks things deliberately.

 

This morning, I was upstairs, getting dressed, and a neighbourhood kid came to the door to ask dd1 to play. The rule is that they can't go outside until after I'm downstairs and dressed. So, dd1 was standing on our porch, talking to her friend, and ds2 suddenly unzipped his PJs, and peed on her! He got her pants, our porch and her bike helmet, which was sitting on the porch. He got sent to his room to calm down, and  he apologized to dd1, and the morning got a bit better for a short period time. Then, he took the tv remote (they each like to watch a youtube video every day) and hid it so dd1 couldn't use it. I told him to tell her where it was, or he was going to be banned from youtube. He told her where it was. Then, he, dd1's friend (who had come over, because she's not allowed to play outside in the rain), and dd2 were all dancing to a youtube video. There were no visible issues. They were all having fun. Then, dd1 walked over to me and handed me her glasses - in two pieces. DS2 had suddenly pulled them off her face, and snapped them in half, without any warning at all.

 

It's 10:10 in the morning. We have some kind of variation on this theme every single day. I'm exhausted, frustrated, and just don't seem to be able to come up with effective ways to address his behaviour.

 

(And, yes - I do think he has special needs. I'll probably start work on an evaluation soon. I'm highly doctor-phobic, for a lot of reasons. When I started the evaluation last time, the ped I was referred to basically ignored everything I told her about him, and said "ADD and maybe some mild ODD", then proceeded to give me entirely unnecessary parenting tips, based on what she'd seen in her office. She was correcting me for something that I wasn't even doing, and telling me how I should handle things, without asking how I was handling things. (Basically, ds2 bit me on the stomach, twice, during the appointment - this a week or so before his sixth birthday. Both times, I put him back in his chair - pushed, but didn't shove, if that makes sense, and said something like, "we do not bite - this is inappropriate behaviour - I'll be done soon - settle down, and stay in your seat". The ped said I was "talking too much" and trying to "over-reason" with him, and I should just put him immediately into time-out...not sure how I'd do that in her office, even if I were so inclined.)

 

I actually started crying while typing this, when I looked over to see dd1's glasses. I'm soooo done..


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#2 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 03:59 AM
 
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HUGS mama!! You said the ped wasn't a good fit - could you maybe try getting him into play therapy, and see if you can find someone that you and he can talk to easier? I'm so sorry you're struggling!
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#3 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 06:27 AM
 
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I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. I do think it sounds like there is something going on. Could this be a sensory thing?

 

This is maybe a weird tangent, but he says he sucks at art. Does he? What kind and level of art work does he produce? How is his writing and reading?

 

Would you say "impulse control problems" might sum it up, or are you thinking something else?


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#4 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. I do think it sounds like there is something going on. Could this be a sensory thing?

 

This is maybe a weird tangent, but he says he sucks at art. Does he? What kind and level of art work does he produce? How is his writing and reading?

 

Would you say "impulse control problems" might sum it up, or are you thinking something else?

 

At various times, I've armchair diagnosed Asperger's, SPD, issues with executive function (yes - impulse control is a big part of whatever is going on). He does have a few ADHDish traits, as well...it may even be part of the puzzle, but it doesn't explain everything.  I've had multiple people think SPD when I've described his behaviour over the years (usually people whose children have SPD). The same thing has happened with the autism spectrum - most people are like the ped, and just go "no way"...but people I know who have children with autism think it sounds quite likely in ds2's case. He's very functioning, if that is what's going on, which is probably part of why so may people don't think it's a possibility. If it is Asperger's, it's "atypical", in that he's highly social - he simply doesn't understand social boundaries and is unable to read social cues (eg. if he's play fighting with someone, he's totally unable to tell when/if the other person gets hurt or isn't having fun, anymore - even if they're crying, screaming, etc.).

 

He does sort of suck at art. But, he thinks it's some kind of "I'm never going to be able to do this" thing, and I don't think it is. His fine motor skills are definitely behind where they "should" be. DH was the same way, apparently - got sent to some kind of group therapy thing where he could practice colouring in the lines and using scissors.  But, dh has excellent fine motor skills now - good manual dexterity, can draw quite well, etc. I think ds2 is actually frustrated by a huge disconnect between his inner artist (he's quite creative) and his outer ability to express himself. He took a multimedia art class with dd1 in the Fall. When they were done each day's projects, or waiting to start the next stage, they were encouraged to do some free drawing. DS2 did one picture that really caught me. It was a boot, with a face on the toe, a bunny tail and...there was something else. I thought it was really creative, and showed a lot of imagination (so did the instructor), but the execution was very basic, even though he'd worked really hard on it. I think the real problem is that both ds1 and dd1 are very talented at art and drawing (ds1 was seriously considering a career in comic book art, and he's easily good enough), which makes ds2's delays in that area jump out a lot, yk? If he didn't have the older siblings, he may not even notice it.

 

The same thing happens in athletics. DS2 takes after me and dh - not super coordinated, a bit slow, and...not sure how to describe this, but it takes him a long time to set things into the "muscle memory". DS1 was on his high school gymnastics team, ended up being the Captain, and took gold for his level one year at the provincial championships, as well as almost always taking gold in almost every event (he's weak on vault) at the regionals. DD1 is in ballet, is a natural dancer, and learns new physical skills (she's taken circus and skating) very easily. DS2...not so much. (For example, they took skating together - dd1 had been on skates, with one of those walker supports at a couple of birthday parties, and ds2 had never skated, so they were starting out pretty evenly match. By the end of the class - 8 sessions, I think - dd1 had mastered every skill on the report card...and ds2 was still using a chair for the whole lesson.)

 

DS2 picked up reading by osmosis, as far as we can tell. He didn't/doesn't seem to ever pay attention to anything anyone is saying about reading, doesn't want to be read to most of the time, and has never expressed curiousity that much (not a lot of "how do you spell x?", or "what does S-T-O-P spell, mama?" as with dd1). But, he's easily reading at a grade two level, and possibly grade three. His understanding of math is equally good, and maybe even better. I can't tell for sure where he's at, because he frequently surprises me by demonstrating understanding of some concept that I didn't even know he was aware of, yk? My suspicion is that he's fairly highly gifted. (DH is. I am. DS1 is. The others haven't been assessed, but I'm sure they are, as well. On a purely academic - math and reading - level, I believe ds2 to be the most gifted person in the family....and I once got 100% on a provincial math final when I was drunk.) But, these aren't big, flashy skills that everyone can see, yk? He thinks he's a big idiot and his siblings are better than he is at everything. This isn't helped by the fact that they're both older than him, and would be further along, developmentally, even if they weren't that gifted at athletics and art, yk?

Sorry for the long ramble, but your questions weren't easily answered! DS2 is a very sweet little guy, when he's not raging about something or smacking himself in the head for being "a big, stupid, idiot". For several months (the Fall and Winter), he had assumed the superhero name of "Toddler Saver" and went out of his way to keep an eye on dd2 and some other very little ones that we know. He's very intelligent. He just has issues...developmental or something...


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#5 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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A book that you might find useful is Dan Siegel's The Whole Brain Child. It talks a lot about self-regulation and ways parents can work with kids.

 

Honestly, it does sound like your son has issues with self regulation - whether it's due to ADHD, SPD, Asperger's or something else only someone who's really trained can tell. (And a lot of these conditions run together, so it might well be more than one.) Regular peds often don't have enough knowledge to diagnose this sort of thing. They can spot the really obvious cases, but when it's more subtle, they can't. So, I'd go back to your ped and say "I've noticed issues in self-regulation in many contexts, and I'd like a referral to a developmental behavioral psychologist." Then, before you take your son in, call and interview them. I know it's harder in the Canadian system, but you might try and see if you can get more than one name. Maybe ask in FYT?

 

But trust your mother's gut on this: Something's up and you'll all be a lot better able to cope if you can get a handle on what it is.


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#6 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A book that you might find useful is Dan Siegel's The Whole Brain Child. It talks a lot about self-regulation and ways parents can work with kids.

 

Honestly, it does sound like your son has issues with self regulation - whether it's due to ADHD, SPD, Asperger's or something else only someone who's really trained can tell. (And a lot of these conditions run together, so it might well be more than one.) Regular peds often don't have enough knowledge to diagnose this sort of thing. They can spot the really obvious cases, but when it's more subtle, they can't. So, I'd go back to your ped and say "I've noticed issues in self-regulation in many contexts, and I'd like a referral to a developmental behavioral psychologist." Then, before you take your son in, call and interview them. I know it's harder in the Canadian system, but you might try and see if you can get more than one name. Maybe ask in FYT?

 

But trust your mother's gut on this: Something's up and you'll all be a lot better able to cope if you can get a handle on what it is.

 

Thanks. I know I need to get back on it. I let my lack of self-confidence talk me out of my gut feeling for several years (the first time I looked at ds2 and thought, "spectrum?" was when he was about 2.5). I don't need to let my medical phobias talk me out of it again. And, you really nailed it. I think if I really knew what was going on with him, I'd have a better idea how to deal with him. He really doesn't seem to put cause and effect together very well, which makes discipline, gentle or otherwise, kind of...impossible. What good are logical - or even natural! - consequences to someone who can't seem to connect them with their cause?


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#7 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 01:07 PM
 
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Have you tried making a really big deal out of the things your son is good at like reading and math? What if you put him in a class doing something that his siblings have never done before? Maybe even something not involving motor skills but space camp or something similar. Setting him up to do something where he can't compare himself to his siblings might do wonders for his self esteem.

 

Are you very consistent with your discipline? Have you tried designating a specific "time out chair" that is downstairs in the middle of all the action? As far as calming down anger, being sent up to his room might work very well but if you're using it as a consequence then it might not be clicking. Does he enjoy spending time playing in his room? Maybe if he were put in the time out chair for several minutes as a consequence he would be able to see that he is missing out on fun by not having good listening skills. Just some suggestions! namaste.gif

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#8 of 13 Old 05-05-2012, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you tried making a really big deal out of the things your son is good at like reading and math? What if you put him in a class doing something that his siblings have never done before? Maybe even something not involving motor skills but space camp or something similar. Setting him up to do something where he can't compare himself to his siblings might do wonders for his self esteem.

 

The only classes I've found that would really be great for him have an age limit, and he's not old enough yet. I'm really looking forward to that, because he really does shine at math and reading (although he's not interested in reading *sigh*). The classes he's been in have all been his choice - we're not pushing him into all these things. He's really into learning them, but gets really discouraged when he runs into problems. I'm really proud of his enthusiasm, to be honest. I was a lot like him, and I avoided physical classes with everything I had.

 

Are you very consistent with your discipline? Have you tried designating a specific "time out chair" that is downstairs in the middle of all the action? As far as calming down anger, being sent up to his room might work very well but if you're using it as a consequence then it might not be clicking. Does he enjoy spending time playing in his room? Maybe if he were put in the time out chair for several minutes as a consequence he would be able to see that he is missing out on fun by not having good listening skills. Just some suggestions! namaste.gif


We try to be consistent, but I'm sure we're not always successful. My energy level has been really low for a few years now, and he has a younger sister who takes a fair bit of time and energy, as well. (She's almost three.) I have tried a time out chair, but it hasn't worked very well. Usually, the only way to keep him in it is to physically hold him there, which isn't the way I want to handle it, and also causes his meltdowns to escalate. He doesn't like being sent to his room, though. He'd rather sit on the stairs. That doesn't work, either, because he starts gradually edging his way back into the thick of things.

 

Oh, well - we shall persist. When I think back to a few years ago, when he'd go use the bathroom, tell me he didn't need to go, then walk out and pee (or ocassionally poop!) all over the carpet, not five feet from the bathroom door....this is a cakewalk.


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#9 of 13 Old 05-06-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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Have you been asking him why he is doing these things when you have both had a chance to calm down after each incident?  If not I highly recommend doing so.  I get a lot of really good information from my dd when I ask her why she did something.  If she really doesn't know why it is usually because she is feeling a lot of frustration and has acted out as a way to express that. 

 

Even though the doctor didn't approach the conversation correctly she may be right about you using too much language when you correct him if he has a c condition that affects his attention or processing.  Too many words can be very overwhelming for a child of any age, especially when they are very out of control, for a child who has a hard time processing or focusing it can be even more frustrating.

 

Parenting classes might be something to consider also, especially if you feel like you need more tools to help you stop the yelling cycle you described.  My dd isn't anywhere near how you describe and I am looking for parenting classes to help me learn new tools for the frustrations that come with an older child so I don't mean that to be insulting, it just seems like something you might want to consider if you feel like the outside face-to-face help is something that would be useful to you.

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#10 of 13 Old 05-06-2012, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you been asking him why he is doing these things when you have both had a chance to calm down after each incident?  If not I highly recommend doing so.  I get a lot of really good information from my dd when I ask her why she did something.  If she really doesn't know why it is usually because she is feeling a lot of frustration and has acted out as a way to express that. 

 

Yes - we've always asked him. His answer is usually either "I don't know", or a variant of "I'm an idiot/jerk/worthless".  mecry.gif

 

Even though the doctor didn't approach the conversation correctly she may be right about you using too much language when you correct him if he has a c condition that affects his attention or processing.  Too many words can be very overwhelming for a child of any age, especially when they are very out of control, for a child who has a hard time processing or focusing it can be even more frustrating.

 

I very rarely use that much language when correcting him. But, if I skinny it all the way down, as she suggested (eg. "simply put him in time out"), then he melts down even more. He's very conscious of fairness, but doesn't put two and two together about why he gets consequences/in trouble and some other kid - like his sister - doesn't. He can get into a fight with someone at the playground, have to come inside, and then have a massive meltdown about why his sister - who wasn't involved, even peripherally, and frequently wasn't even present - is allowed to stay outside.

 

Parenting classes might be something to consider also, especially if you feel like you need more tools to help you stop the yelling cycle you described.  My dd isn't anywhere near how you describe and I am looking for parenting classes to help me learn new tools for the frustrations that come with an older child so I don't mean that to be insulting, it just seems like something you might want to consider if you feel like the outside face-to-face help is something that would be useful to you.


There isn't really a yelling cycle. About 99% of the yelling was in the past, when his behaviour was really over the top, and I was pregnant, post-op, grieving (stillborn son), etc. I'm sure it left a mark on him, but it's not a current issue.

 

And, then, after all this - we had a nearly perfect day with him yesterday and today (until just before bedtime, and even that wasn't really bad). He helped with prep for his sister's party, did chores/errands promptly when asked, didn't meltdown about anything - just two lovely, lovely days with him. I just don't get the way his brain works.


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#11 of 13 Old 07-07-2012, 10:14 AM
 
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I know this is a month old, but I just saw it and really wanted to encourage you to contact someone who specializes in autism. This in particular stands out

 

Quote:
 If it is Asperger's, it's "atypical", in that he's highly social - he simply doesn't understand social boundaries and is unable to read social cues (eg. if he's play fighting with someone, he's totally unable to tell when/if the other person gets hurt or isn't having fun, anymore - even if they're crying, screaming, etc.).

It is totally untrue that people with aspergers are antisocial. Nearly every boy I know with aspergers does exactly what your son does. My two boys on the spectrum, will talk to anyone about anything, but if you notice, they prefer to talk about their things, to the exclusion of the input of others. They can't read social clues, so don't know when people are bored of listening to them, or when they're upset. It takes a lot of work, but they are both getting better. It's very intensive, and if you are tired it might be good to find a play therapist who can talk with them. My oldest got suicidal. It was exactly that whole, "I'm a jerk, I can't do anything right,I don't know WHERE it went wrong". It really needs to be handled. Which part of the country are you in? Perhaps we can find a GOOD psychologist who can help you. We went through three people, before we found our regular one. It's exhausting at first, but once things start going right, it really feels good and lifts you up. You just have to power through that sucky part.


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#12 of 13 Old 07-10-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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It is totally untrue that people with aspergers are antisocial. Nearly every boy I know with aspergers does exactly what your son does. My two boys on the spectrum, will talk to anyone about anything, but if you notice, they prefer to talk about their things, to the exclusion of the input of others. They can't read social clues, so don't know when people are bored of listening to them, or when they're upset.

I don't know if I'm relieved or upset to read this!  With my 6-year-old DS I had always ruled out aspergers because he's such a social kid ... until reading this!  I call him the "town greeter" because he talks to everyone at stores, in restaurants, and everywhere else, but it's always a subject that's out of context if you haven't spent the day with him.  After reading this, I've looked up other signs of aspergers and he seems to fit.  One other thing that seems odd, if DS has aspergers, is his constant need to cuddle.  I thought people with aspergers were touch-averse.  He has always been a cuddler, to the extent that he didn't even nap on his own until after he was 18 months old.  He would wake up if I put him down, so he slept on my lap, in a carrier, or next to me.  Even then he would only nap by himself for 15-30 minutes at a time.  I vividly remember the first time he took a nap by himself that lasted longer than an hour.  I remember thinking, "so this is how moms get anything done."  However, he's funny about the kind of touch he likes.  He hates being massaged, or caressed, or having his hair played with ... he says it hurts.  Would this fit in with the odd sensory issues associated with aspergers?  If so, I think I have found the reason I'm so exhausted by his constant need for me all. day. long.  If not, then I'm more confused than ever.  Thanks for any response you can provide.


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#13 of 13 Old 07-10-2012, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is a month old, but I just saw it and really wanted to encourage you to contact someone who specializes in autism. This in particular stands out

 

It is totally untrue that people with aspergers are antisocial. Nearly every boy I know with aspergers does exactly what your son does. My two boys on the spectrum, will talk to anyone about anything, but if you notice, they prefer to talk about their things, to the exclusion of the input of others. They can't read social clues, so don't know when people are bored of listening to them, or when they're upset. It takes a lot of work, but they are both getting better. It's very intensive, and if you are tired it might be good to find a play therapist who can talk with them. My oldest got suicidal. It was exactly that whole, "I'm a jerk, I can't do anything right,I don't know WHERE it went wrong". It really needs to be handled. Which part of the country are you in? Perhaps we can find a GOOD psychologist who can help you. We went through three people, before we found our regular one. It's exhausting at first, but once things start going right, it really feels good and lifts you up. You just have to power through that sucky part.



I'd missed this post before, but this is totally ds2. He'll randomly try to start chatting with anybody, blurts out comments when it's not appropriate (interrupting people while they're talking, loudly commenting on things during orientation in classes, etc.), can't tell at all when people aren't interested in what he's saying, gets annoyed (anywhere from mildly annoyed to a near-meltdown, and no way to know what's coming) if he gets interrupted. He's just oblivious to social cues. I'm going to stay really focused when I see my GP this week. It's defnitely not an absolute certainty that ds2 has Aspergers - and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up with a handful of different diagnoses (it seems to happen a lot in these cases....overlapping SPD, ADHD, ASD, giftedness, etc. etc.) - but the blanket "this is not autism - he makes eye contact" thing I got the first time around was...just maddeningly unhelpful (to quote ds1, quoting Jack Sparrow, I believe).


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