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Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

9 yr-old w/ AD/HD, dysgraphia, and reading disability

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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted May 31, 2001 at 1:51:23 AM
Subject: 9 yr-old w/ AD/HD, dysgraphia, and reading disability

I need some ideas. My 9 yr-old son has AD/HD, dysgraphia, and a sever reading disability. In the last six months he has started really acting out, I mean above and beyond the call of duty. I have a 4 yr-old son and 15 yr-old stepson at home also along with myself and their dad.

My 9 yr-old is fighting his siblings and was fighting his classmates before school let out. He absolutely will not do what he is asked or told to do for us or the teacher. He is mean to his little brother, often tripping him and making him fall just to see it happen. When asked why he is doing this, he just says,"I don't know."

When we try to discipline him, he just shrugs it off. Takig privaledges away does no good. I instituted 'homework heaven' a concept where he has to do worksheets as punishment. Time-out is no good. Even spanking doesn't help. I'm at the end of my rope.

He is a good kid at heart, I know this. But the way he is acting is driving me up the wall. Any suggestions?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 01, 2001 12:28:20 PM

It sounds like you've tried a lot of reasonable approaches.

If he's on medication, perhaps the medication needs to be adjusted or changed.

If he is not on medication and is not seeing a psychologist, perhaps his behavior is a cry for help. It sounds like he has a lot of unresolved anger in him. Has anything changed at home or at school in the past 6 months that is upsetting him? You could try taking him to a psychologist to see what the problem is.

Also, with summer break approaching, it will be interesting to see if the behavior problems resolve themselves once the summer begins. A lot of LD have a lot more problems during the school year than during the summer because they experience so much failure and rejection in school.

LJ

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 01, 2001 1:32:13 PM

To me your son sounds very angry and upset. Punishments usually don't work when the real issue is anger. We can't punish anger away. If he keeps coming back at you with more of the same no matter what you do, I'd say he's already in such pain that it can't be made worse.

What's been happening academically in the last 6 months at school? How are his grades? How has his teacher been with him and with his learning issues?
What is his placement in school?

Kids with severe reading issues and dysgraphia and ADHD are dealing with three big challenges. Unless his school is doing something very extraordinary for him, every day at school could be a very hard one for your son.

Good luck.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 01, 2001 9:55:33 PM

That's just it, the teacher was one of the most understanding he has ever had. He is in regular classes with modifications, byt then again so were seven of his classmates and he says they weren't picking on him because of his LDs. His grades were really good, he actually got a 100 in social studies on his report card for the first time.

I just can't get him to talk to me about what the deal is. He won't talk to any of the adults around him and that is really unusual because he will usually tell his godparents everything. My question is what good would a psychologist do? I know it will give him someone to talk to, but what exactly do they do?

Crystal

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 02, 2001 7:17:53 AM

Well, yes, and he's very lucky to have a great teacher but a severe reading disability is a severe reading disability. There's this old saying. If you see an animal with four legs eating grass in a field, it's probably a cow not a zebra.

Your son sounds angry and he has a severe reading disability. Wonderful teaching notwithstanding, my guess is now in the 3rd grade he's beginning to be very in touch with the severity of his disability. And reading is fundamental to school. The best of teachers will not be able to think through or control every instance that assumes he can read something that he probably can't read.

And he's not ready to talk about it unless maybe someone brings it up in just the right way and that's so hard to do. Does anyone else in the family have reading issues? Or had them in the past? Often these things can run in families - it runs in mine - and that person might be able to help your son because they would most understand what it feels like to have a severe reading disability. Ask around. An uncle, an aunt, cousins, his grandparents? How was reading for them when they were a child? Somebody needs to let him know it's ok to be this way - that it's not his fault - and that they're sorry it makes life harder for him right now but it might not always.

A psychologist? You're right. They talk. Sometimes they do a great job. It helps to find your way to the right one and that can be a challenge.

Good luck.

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Posted:Jun 03, 2001 8:35:56 PM

My husband graduated from the same school in our town and cannot read. From what he and his parents have told me through the years, he never could. Also my 15 year old stepson is mentally retarded according to the school system. I do not know the severity yet, but he also has great difficulty reading.

As far as my husband sitting down and talking to my son about his disability, it ain't gonna happen, at least not in the constructive way you mentioned above. He isn't comfortable enough to really talk about his disability with our children.

But you have given me an idea and for that I thank you. My kids' godfather has overcome his inability to read and I am going to approach him about sitting down with my son and having a talk with him. Not a "Hey, what's wrong with you?" but a "You know I had the same problem..." one. I'll let you know how it works.

Thanks again.

Crystal

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 05, 2001 11:00:41 AM

Crystal - a few thoughts for you. I agree with the other post that your son may just be beginning to realize the extent of his disabilities and how they affect him. This can be devestating for kids -- if they can even face it. It takes huge amounts of love, patience, parental savvy and often professional help -- lots of it -- to help our kids with this stuff.

He also has 3 biggies -- that interfere with each other (i.e. the ADHD impacts other learning).

Consider that in the first few years of school kids learn to read. After this they must read to learn -- their learning grows out of reading. Even with the kindest and best of teachers he has a very hard row to hoe. School is probably totally exhausting for him, every day, and he's letting it show at home.
As my daughter (now finishing 5th) has dealt with some of these issues we have had very difficult behavior at home (never at school, we are very lucky in that regard). I hate meds, but adderall works for the ADD and prozac has helped in the last year for anxiety and depression. An experienced therapist can help you consider what may be the various issues your son may be facing, if any, beyond his current diagnoses.

A girls group therapy with other ADD/ADHD girls has made a big difference this year for my daughter -- not so much in home behavior, but in some self-understanding.

Where a professional will help (and I would highly recommend you find an EXPERIENCED clinical psychologist or psychiatrist) is in 1) helping you and your family understand the underlying brain issues that cause the deficits; 2) understand the emotional and behavioral complexities that result and 3) being able to work with your son and possible your family in a therapeutic relationship to help him come to terms with himself, accept himself, learn to appropriately express his intense feelings etc. , deal with problem behaviors, etc.

Books that have helped/are helping us with some of this (especially the behavior piece): Ross Greene, The Explosive Child; Russell Barkley, Understanding ADHD (newest revised edition); The BiPolar Child (can't remember author, but it's fairly new and very comprehensive -- we aren't dealing with bipolar, but it has a ton of very practical stuff in it about brain and behavior).

Hope that helps. Your son is lucky to have an involved parent. Your consistent support and love will make a huge difference to him.

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Posted:Jun 05, 2001 9:45:58 PM

Dear Crystal and Family

Our family is going through the sam thing. Our son is 10 yr old w/ dyslexia and dysgraphia. He also tests gifted with his IQ. This is an unique situation for our childern.

I will tell you nothing you do not already know and that is this.
IT EFFECTS THE WHOLE FAMILY.

We are going to start ADD testing soon. Some of the other things that we have ruled out are neurolgical problems, central auditory processing difficulties and eye problems. All of these have come back negative to any medical reason for his difficulties.
He frustration level is the hardest thing for him to deal with. We feel that at this age it is hard to understand just exactly the difficulties that are to come. We have dyslexia/dysgraphia and depression all in our family background. This makes it difficult for the whole family to deal with it. We have started professional couseling for the entire family this is a way not to single any one out. He has told us to spend more time talking to our son in the reference of man to man not so much father/son or mother/son to help him open up what he has bottled up inside. I will be asking for a high school mentor for our son. It is a program our National Honor Society runs. A program like this or with your church or other social group might give him a way of opening up.
I too have days where I feel like I am at the end of the rope. I know I have used every technique that I can think of and some days feel like I am back peddeling fast. I have started to make sure that everyday I get 10 min for quiet time to myself. I use mine in prayer for our family. This has helped me.

You have come to the right location for support.
God will make parents like us able to handle what is to come.

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Posted:Jun 05, 2001 10:27:59 PM

Thank you all for your thoughts. We are still not getting any better, but I have found out (through a way you really don't want to know because it is totally gross) that my son's body is not breaking through the coating on the Concerta tabs he is taking. Let's just say that we found a nondisolved pill after it passed. Anyway, I am currently trying to contact his pediatrician about changing meds.

He has started using typing software on my computer to learn to type so he can use his laptop next year. I am still saving to buy it, but I now see a way to get it by next month. He's up to 10 words per minute after just a week. I think its really great that he is taking to it so well.

He misses his math classes at school. Math is his facortie subject and he is really good at it, above level in fact. If any of you know of any sites where I can get worksheets to print, please let me know. I have a worksheet generator program, but after a while it started repeating itself. Oh well, you get what you pay for and it was free.

His behavior is still atrocious. He is still attacking us. Now he stays up all night and I am afraid to leave him up alone, so I stay up all night with him and stay up all day with his little brother. Oh yeah, and I now work twelve hours a day every weekend and follow that up with a second whift on Mondays. This is really starting to take a toll. I'm frazzled. The good news is I have tied a knot in the end of my rope and am hanging on tight.

There literally is no time for me. I don't want to sound greedy, but I really miss that. I hate to admit this, but I haven't even been able to shave my legs in a month. Well, at least it can't get much worse.

The kids are fighting again. Until later, please keep us in your prayers.
Crystal

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Posted:Jun 06, 2001 11:11:24 AM

Crystal,

I would put an emergency call into the pediatrician. The things you are telling us are beyond the usual difficult behavior of kids with his diagnosis. Children don't stay up all night. I worry about you too--noone can function very long with no sleep.

Beth

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Hello Crystal-

I am praying day and night for all kiddos in this situation as well as all their parents.
I am going to echo what Beth said eailier. PLEASE CALL THE PEDITRICIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IF HE IS NOT IN MAYBE HE HAS A PARTNER THAT CAN ASSIST YOU.

I'll give you my experience in a nut shell. About 1mo ago my son called me at work and said that baseball practice was cancelled and that he was going to stay a home for the time until I got home (1.5hrs) I said NO and that he needed to go to the afterschool latchkey program until I got there. He immediately loss control. I spoke the word NO several times. He of course did not like this decision of mine and hung up the phone. Several mins. later he called again yelling the situation at me again and my answer was still NO and go to latchkey. He then told me that he would kill himself by taking a knife and putting it through his head. I told him that it would not kill him. He responded by saying that he would cut this throat with the knife. I knew that would harm him. I was 20 min away. I immediately called his therapist and medical physician. I was told by both to get him to the nearest mental facility. Our local hospital does have a coping center in it but I quickly found out that they DO NOT take kids under 15. I would need to drive him approx 1 hr and go through the ER to get him help. This is what I did. He must know the we as parents mean business and will not hesitate when it come to their well being. This was not the first time he has told us that he wished he was dead but it was the first time he described how he would do it.
Talking to him after things calmed down he told us that he was doing it and other things for attention. He has a younger brother (4yr) and he sees him getting all the attention.(this is his mental picture) Age 10 is the start of the bridge into boyhood from baby. This bridge is going to be a great struggle for him because he still wants the attention. He was basically an only child for the first 6 yrs of his life. It is like two first born sons. And of course the youngest want to be just like his big brother. We are still in couseling and will be for a while because he is still not through it. School is out only 3days and a weekend and he is bored. This word bored concerns me. He starts doing things that get him into trouble and can be harmful to himself. I too feel that at the age of 10 he should be ready for more responsibility and freedom according to parent rules. This is what we are dealing with this summer.

Tell your son that I am proud of him and the work he is doing on his laptop. It will be a saving tool.

If you would consider him talking back and fourth with our son about the ups and downs of their learning difficulties we are open to the idea.

Come and join the parent chat on monday nights. You may find someone that is physically located near you and give you hands on support. http://www.resourceroom.net/index.asp 9:00 est

Feel free to e-mail me anytime day or night.

KMM

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Anonymous
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Crystal:

Just thought of something else. LDOnlie now has Ask Dr. Silver. Maybe he could help you too.

Plus I was scanning some of the other topics and found out about another www site that might help.

www.childanxiety.net
www.social-aniety.org

Lots of Prayers,

KMM

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Anonymous
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Posted:Jun 06, 2001 7:41:30 PM

Crystal,
His behavior problems could be becoming more severe due to the fact that school is getting more difficult for him. If you could find a way to increase his reading skills over the summer, maybe his behavior won't be as big a problem next year.
I know this can be hard to due since you have the others in the house, but if you can find a time when it is just you and your 9 year old son everyday for an hour or so to work on reading skills in a way that is fun for him it could help.
There are low level/high interest reading materials such as Superstars (a magazine with articles written on a lower reading level, but about people your son might be interested in, like Mark McGuire, Michael Jordan, etc...)These articles all have comprehension activities as well as other reading activities to go along with them. It is something you could do together. Maybe if his interest is sparked he will enjoy reading more, and be more willing to work on it. Also, the time you dedicate to only him may help him connect with you and also see that he still has a place with you even though it's a full house. This could help cut down on some of the resentment toward his little brother.
Always encourage him. He may be trying to hurt his little brother b/c he feels like he isn't smart, so he wants to make someone else look bad too.
For more reading ideas, check out www.educationworld.com. It's a great website for activities in all subject areas with lots of wonderful tools as well as other resources. Also, see what you can find out on the Herman Reading Program. I used it when I was student teaching. It's a phonics program geared especially toward students with learning disabilities. If you can't find out anything on it, call Winder Barrow Middle School in Winder, GA and ask one of the special ed. teachers there. That is where I student taught. The teacher's name was Christy Overstreet, but she has since moved to the elementary school. I am sure someone there can give you some information though. I hope some of this was helpful, or at least encouraging.
kellie

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Anonymous
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www.funbrain.com is a good site for math.

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Posted:Jun 06, 2001 11:20:40 PM

My parents took my 9 year old today and the 15 year old watched the 4 year old, so I actually got about 4 hours sleep today. I feel recharged to some extent. And I will be going to bed shortly because my parents are keeping my 9 year old all night so I can get some deep sleep and not have to keep one eye open.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I have another friend who read the original post and emailed me and we talk back and forth every day so far and that is helping a lot. It helps to finally have someone who undrestands like you guys do.

My 9 year old had a lot of trouble dealing with the birth of his little brother. Especially since the baby has a lot of medical problems that take a lot of time. But I have always made special time for him too. The real trouble didn't start until we got my stepkids, his half-siblings. My stepson is still here, but their sister went to live with her birthmom in Louisiana. I had to go back to work, but I only stayed off to take care of the baby, and everyone knew when I got him back on his feet I would go back to work. Anyway, I now only work weekends and Monday nights, the least work time for the most pay. Maybe that will help.

I called athe pediatrician's office today and had to leave a message, so I said that his meds are not working and that he has started attacking with weapons. They got back to me really quickly and the earliest appointment they have is next Wednesday. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again,

Crystal

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Anonymous
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Crystal-

God works wonders. Give your parents a great BIG hug from me for helping you out. I have had you on my mine since I first read your post.

Another thought I was having is that you need to try to journal as much as possible about what is going on and what seem to be the triggers as far as you can tell. This will help in couseling or if you find find and older adult to do some mentoring. (is your church a possibility)

What are some of your sons interest? You have to strart allowing him some self exploration. Maybe do a scavenger hunt of his favorite things. The other night I challenged my son to see how many time he could run around the house in 3 minutes. He loves competition and it also burned off some energy. I am still working on ways that the 2 siblings can work together.

I'll keep praying.

KMM

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He is into basketball and plays in a youth league each year. This year his team took their age bracket going undefeated, so he had a really good time. He still shoots with his older brother in the yard.

He has expressed and interest in drawing, so we are trying to let him explore that more thoroughly. And he has gotten started with little wooden models that take no glue to put together. Basically anything that he seems interested in we try to let him do until he tires of it or gives up.

That's part of why I can't figure out what is up with him. If we didn't let him do anything at all, I could see it. But that's not the way it is at all. I have even started teaching him to cook because he wants to learn. He has yet to make it to getting a meal completely cooked, but I just step in and finish it up by myself without a fuss. I figure he'll figure out that things don't cook themselvesin time.

I slept a whole eight straight last night and I feel great. And he seems to have really enjoyed himself yesterday and last night. I had a mandatory meeting at work today and had to take the kids with me and he sat still and quiet the whole time. I'm really proud of him and I made a point of telling him so. And he now has an idea of why I am so tired when I get home because he heard a little bit of what I have to do at work (I'm a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home). I think it will actually help in the long run.

Thanks for your prayers and support.

Crystal

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Anonymous
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Hi
You may want to take a look at Ross Green's Book , The Explosive Child,

I know it is another book and reading but may offer some insight into how to think /be aware, and steps to take regarding your son's 'needs , since he does have a combination of areas of disabilities that can be contributing/ to and compounding the situation for him.. He will need help to learn how to cope , manage anger, impulses,,stress reduction,,etc..

Also , i am visiting away from home and do not have website with me , but look at ADDPlus may be found www.ADDPlus.org,,,, The site has a great deal of info on anger management,,, social , feeling needs of children with ADD and disabilities,, i will try to send correct address and info when i return home

JJ

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Posted:Jun 20, 2001 7:28:25 PM

We took my son back to the pediatrician and discussed what was going on with him. Doc took him off Concerta (it was passing through undigested) and put him on Adderall 10 mg twice a day and Clonidine 0.1 mg at bedtime. The change is unbelievable. He is sleeping at night and is not having outbursts anywhere near as severe as before. We may average three mild outbursts a day now. And he is not attacking any of us now.

We also got a referral to the Behavioral Clinic at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. Starting next month he will see a psychiatrist and psychologist monthly and they will be in charge of his meds. They are going to start with a psych eval to find out where my son is at. They said that part of this is probably hereditary because there is a history of mental illness in my family for sure. They also said part of it has been learned and part of it is just inability to express anger.

In short (although it may be too late to say that now) I sought help for depression and started Zoloft which is working for me and have started getting him the help he needs so life is ok for now. Thanks for the support through this.

Crystal

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Posted:Jun 21, 2001 12:01:30 PM

Sounds like you have everything under control. Do you know that for many people there is a link between depression and sleep deprivation? Anyway, I am sure staying up with your son didn't help.

Beth

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Anonymous
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Chrystal,
I'm sorry I have no great advice for you, but I do have math sites. My dyslexic 8 yr old also loves math. I hope you can copy these and paste them. Her goes.

For worksheets:
http://www.aplusmath.com
http://www.expage.com/worksheets - dozens of sites

If he likes mazes:
http://www.flint.umich.edu/Departments/ITS/crac/maze.form.html

For games try:
http://www.brainteasers.net (particularly car jam.)
http://www.popcap.com (especially the pirates and the mummy)

general math stuff: (aplusmath is also good)
http://www.coolmath4kids.com

I hope these help. Jenny

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