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learntoaccept
learntoaccept asks:
Q:

How can I  help my son who has ADHD and Emotional Disturbance?

I have a child with ADHD and Emotional Disturbances.  Everyone at school bothers him.  He has been struggling since the age of 5.  He is now 12 and is in the seventh grade.  I have tried everything to help him achieve and to get him ahead in life but everything is so hard.  He has an IEP with his current school which allows him to get help and also he is involved in many afterschool
activities.  I'm worried for him since he hasn't found a way to control his behavior and is so unorganized.  He is easily frustrated and at times makes the wrong decisions on situations he is faced with.  He has been on medication from the age of 5.  I have him going to a Therapist and Psychiatrist to help him cope with his ADHD and Stress, but he does not seem to get any better.
He just started the seventh grade and everyday I get either phone calls from school or notes complaining about his behavior and incomplete assigments.  He's a bright kid but his emotions and ADHD are getting the best of him.  From the age of 5 through 7 he was using Ritalin and anti-depressants.  I took him off the Ritalin since he was having trouble breathing and had hallucinations. From the age of 7 to 10, he was on Strattera and Abilify.  He was so upset all the time and almost commited suicide at the age of 10.  He didn't want to belong in this world and was being teased in the bus on his way to school and during school by students.  From the age of 10 until current,I
have him on Vyvanse and Prozac.  He is a straigh A student but needs constant reminders which gets him very frustrated.  He has been in t-ball, cub-scouts, township plays, basketball, boys scouts and loves to play the piano, electric guitar and drums hoping to have his own band someday.  He also sings and writes his own music.  But he just does not seem to feel accepted and everyday he struggles with different attitudes from students, teachers and has lost many friends.  I would like to know what I could do for my son so I won't loose him.  I would do anything to get help for him.  I cannot put him in a private school because they are too costly. I have been saving up for him to hopefully someday go to college and I only need to know if there is some type of school or after school program that helps children that have ADHD and Emotinal Disturbances for my son to attend and for me to have hope that there is help out there.  I am a concerned and dedicated mother who is trying to help her son.
In Topics: ADHD & attention issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Sep 24, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Sounds like this has been a very long road for you and your son. I can tell from your post that you love and adore your son very much. Your love and support is so much more important than any medication or after school activity. I believe that he is probably continuing to succeed academically because of your dedication to him.

As for what is left to do, I believe that you are already doing a great deal, but I wonder if there are some ways that you can further integrate the services and treatment that your son is receiving. That is, does your child's psychiatrist and therapist routinely talk with one another, and with school personnel? Do school personnel communicate with you (other than notes about his bad behavior)? I ask because it is often difficult to integrate treatment for a child who has so many services, and yet, integration is so important. For instance, it would be useful if you and the school had the same sort of behavioral program in place (consistency across home and school). Your son's therapist might have input on this. If you are uncertain about the communication between everyone, it might be worthwhile to request a school meeting and have everyone attend.

Finally, as you may know, if your son is not "making it" in the public school environment, there are instances in which the school will finance your child's education at a special therapeutic school. As you can guess, school personnel are not eager to do this, as it is very expensive, so you may need the support of a parent advocate. But for information on therapeutic schools, take a look at the following article: http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Selecting_Program/

Good luck and keep us posted.

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist
Education.com Reference Team

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Additional Answers (12)

t12hughart
t12hughart writes:
well i think that you should be as good to your child as you can ask him to be honset and get him to tell you what happened at school today and you can fix the problem and get the students to stop making fun of him and get him to go to the guidence concler 1 2 maby 3 times a week and maby that will help i hope it does cause i really hate to see people being made fun of and stuff bc they have special needs and is he in a special issuses class my daughter goes to that kind of a public school although she doesnt have any special issues
> 60 days ago

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kpcschott
kpcschott , Parent writes:
Well, all I can say is you sound like an outstanding parent and I know some of what you feel.  I'm not sure how much help I can offer, but I can add support.  My son is 10 and my daughter is 7 and together they sound like your son.  My daughter has ADHD and is on vyvance.  My son has terrettes, ODD, RAD and gets into the trouble.  He does not deal with his issues like your son with depression, my son gets angry - hurts others and himself.  Like your son he is bright and gets good grades.  He also plays piano and guitar!  He has not managed to write and sing his own music, but I think he will get there and he talk often of a band.  He is so gifted in so many ways.  Like you, my husband and I have tried to include our son in group activities like scouting, choir, football, but he is unable to get along with his peers.   Because of the RAD we have problems with our son stealing and lying (he was adopted at four).  We are currenlty in therapy and finding it helpful.

Like you we considered private school.  We also found the cost a challenge and we were not confident that it was truly the solution.  Unlike a public school that could offer an IEP and "had" to work with us, a private school could ask my son to leave.  We have turned to Charter Schooling.  This may not be an option for you but if it is an option at all, I recommend it.  I can say, however, that it has made a world of difference.  My son did not like the idea at first.  He felt it was another punishment.  I approached it from the other side and focused on only the rewards.  He is experiencing learning and success in school without the hardship of peer issues.  He is getting confidence from these successes.  He still needs to work on peer relationship and he does attend the charter classes on two days of the week.  Like you, I love my son and want the best for him.  Schooling him at home is not easy, but every once of effort, financially, emotionally, and time-wise seems to be paying off.

The other success we have had for our son is individual sports.  He is now in fencing - which is expensive, so perhaps not an option for you.  But the individual achievement is good for his moral.  He does well one on one.  Yet, he can still be a part of a team.  Other sports based on this concept are tennis, swimming, golf.

I would like to help you more, and I think perhaps you might have suggestions for me.  If I'm way off, I won't hear from you, but please feel free to contact me.
> 60 days ago

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KellyT
KellyT writes:
My 15 year old son sounds very similar to your child.  He went down the same road. He finally refused to take his medicine, started failing school, ran away from home, and started breaking into homes. I had him put into a residential treatment facility for a short time in order for me to figure out what to do.  After a long talk with my mother, I decided to allow him to move to a much smaller town and live with her so that he could be monitored 24/7. (I have to work, she is retired). He is still failing in school, but he is staying out of trouble. He has managed to make friends...they are older, since he doesn't seem to be able to make friends with kids his own age. My sister and her husband have been putting him to work clearing land and working heavy construction equipment, which he seems to love. So, things have been going ok...well except for the school thing. I drive up every weekend to see him. Hopefully, I will be able to get him through highschool with at least an occupational diploma.

I wish you luck with your child. Just hang in there!
> 60 days ago

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Cinimongirl
Cinimongirl writes:
I have a son who just turned 14, with Emotional Distubance. He also has gone through a lot of medication until we found the right one. He's on Luvox, it works great..... My son has been bullied since he was in elementary school. No matter how much you complain to the school it dosen't help. I finally had enough so I deceided to look up every law I could find on what kind of services our children should be receiving at no coast to us parents... The school is not quick to inform us Parents the regulations and Laws the protect our children.... I have had to find out the hard way...... My son has been on and off Home/hospital schooling for the last 2 yrs...  He gets really bad anxiety attacks just walking into school. His a very bright kid and his grades are good....... If your son does not have an IEP please get him one. Just last week I found an advocate to help my son and I. She has been a huge help on so many levels..... I don't trust the schools to help, to them its just another student and I am tierd of them making me feel that I have been a "bad" parent, or what my son goes through daily is exsagerated. I also find the school dosen't know or want to know what Emotional Disturbance really is or how it effects our children, they seem to turn a blind eye to all of it. To sum up what I am trying to say is thier are so many other services out their that we don't know about, including Laws. I wish you luck and please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk. I know some times talking to someone that is going through the same situation helps us....We try to stay strong for our children but it gets really hard on us as well......
> 60 days ago

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atweet
atweet writes:
I can certainly relate to what you are going through.. My son just turned 18 and has been going through all of this for years.  We have had so many diagnosis and changing IEP's.  For one thing make sure you have an IEP, an advocate can be from a mental health facility, you can google one or you can find one that is a psychologist that works with schools offline that sees kids on private level also.  Ask the school counsellor if he/she knows of anyone they can recommend if you have a good working relationship.

Changed meds can work but at the end of the day, kids get angry and this is what you have to watch 24/7 as they can figure out ways of getting acceptance and sometimes they can search out gangs and addictions.

Be and stay hands on, be on top of the IEP system and stand up for accomodations, write each teacher an email to stay on top of their work, and if this doesn't work then write your state's special education head.. Trust me if they are not complying with your IEP there is a bucket load of complaint help centers out there.. They are all mandated federally so you can even go to your local governor for assistance.

My son was on concerta, vyvance, wellbutrin and abilify.. he is off his ADD meds and on alternative meds such as omega 3,6, 9.  I whole heartedly advise you to take your son to a naturopath have his diet analyzed and he can get natural remedies and a new diet.  Follow it and trust me you will see wonders.  My son is less agitated and with my constantly being on top of his last year at school is really helping him.  Sometimes it is just a matter of "you are what you eat" as well..
> 60 days ago

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dag1478
dag1478 writes:
Learntoaccept I do not know how I happen on this web site, But I did and your question was there. I felt I had to tell you I was you. My son has ADHD I found out when he was 5. I am a single parent who has gone through all the things you are going through now. First off I want to tell you my son turned 25 the day I read your question. He is a flight paramedic, got married this year and bought his first house. Oh yea he works 2 jobs and goes to school. Now I do not know where he will be tomorrow but I know he will be able to deal with his life as it comes. He is still taking medication for his ADHD (Strattera) because it makes it easier to control his impulsivities. He was teased, made fun of, very few friends all during school by educators and students and this went on into his college years. I have taken knives from him when he has wanted to hurt himself. I have slepted in front of his bedroom door afraid he would get up in the middle of the night and decide to do something to himself.  I have fought doctor’s educators and myself on what to do to help my son to succeed in the direction he wanted to go.  Here’s what I KNOW:

Private school is not the answer. I had my son in 2; all it did was destroy his self esteem.
Angry management is great.
Medication is only to slow the mind down to where it can reason with the outside stimulus. Not slow the body down. Over medication is so common in ADHD. Educators are very quick to state his medication is not correcting the problem. You will find out a lot of time it is the educator that does not have guidelines or control of their classrooms and they will single him out because of the ADHD.
Some teachers are great with ADHD they see the ability they have to learn and succeed.
Some teachers are just not interested in their students and just want easy out. (Tell them to kiss your royal American cause your son is awesome).Sorry I should not have said that I regress. Medication without family therapy does not make for success.
Counting to 10 works wonders.
Learning trigger signs on losing control.
Relaxation techniques.
Knowing all kids have problems and self doubts.
Knowing you know he will succeed no matter how many times he is put down.
Give yourself and him a break take a day off and just have fun with each other.
Rules are there they are not to be broken.
You will not break. (It least what he is aware of)
He has to be held accountable for his actions.
He must have short term goals and rewards.
He must know when he is successful daily.
Keep looking for the right doctors for him and you.
Family therapy works wonders.
Do not let anyone tell you where he will be 10 years down the road.

Greatest day of my life was when my son called to tell me thank you for always making him believe he could succeed. (When the outside world told him he couldn’t I got more mad than him and told him he could and would) Now if I could just get him to on to medical school.
 I hope and pray you will come to a time in your life you will laugh about all this.
I promise you this I would not change a thing about my son because I know now his ADHD is a very important part of him and has help make him into the man he is.
> 60 days ago

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sallyawad
sallyawad writes:
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> 60 days ago

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icare
icare writes:
I am a teacher and a mom with 2 special needs sons.  I found your question as I was doing research for a new student to my learning support classroom with ADHD and emotional issues.  I strongly encourage you to seek the help of a social service agency.  You should be able to get a list of agencies through your school system, specifically the school psychiatrist.  A social service agency will help you connect with help for your son from medical and psychiatric doctors to wrap around services both in school and at home.  They will provide someone to go with you to IEP and/or 504 Plan meetings.  I have encouraged several of my student's parents to work with the various agencies in our area.  I do not live in a big city...these services are available everywhere.  

I also agree with all the encouragement to seek therapy along with the medications.  Kids with ADHD do have it tough in school.  I am constantly fighting for my kids with ADHD and Emotional disabilities in the lunch room and at recess.  I have finally convinced my principal and the other teachers that these kids have a huge target on their backs.  Kids love to tease them to see their reaction.  Then when the blow up comes it's the special kid that gets in trouble and not the brats who pushed them into it.  

I also agree that there are a lot of teachers that would rather not be bothered.  Both regular ed and special ed, but not all of us.  My children go to school in the same district I teach in and I have become known to all the middle and high school teachers as a witch.  But I just stand up for my boys and make sure their teachers do their jobs.  The ones that do, still like me.  :)

I truly understand the place you are in right now.  But take heart, things will get better.  Look into a case manager from social services and get hooked into all the services that are available to you.  

Good luck and God Bless
> 60 days ago

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Attribeautyventage
Attribeauty... writes:
Wow, I really enjoyed reading your post but most importantly we both have children with mental illnesses. First and foremost I think that you are doing an acceptional job for your son....It's really hard and I know it hurts to hear him say he doesn't wants to be here no more! But know this for sure, its not him he wants to get rid of it's the mental illness that he wants to get rid of and doesn't want residing in him anymore. The trick of trades for me was helping my daughter understand her disorder and what can make her cope better. Most children just see their parents medicating them but is it explained in detail why their taking this medication, and what's it to channel in order for them to, not only cope but to help them focus in the classroom setting to complete task. We have to include them in their treatment plans and allow them to speak on what can help them better at home and in school. Their not just patients but also have the solutions to some of their problems. I've learned as a parent I needed to listen more to my child instead what others thought was best. They have a voice and sometimes we need to listen....Then you have to have tough love with your child too! We can not allow them to use their disability as an excuse to act out nor hurt themselves or others. We as parents must know the difference between acting out and really having a bad episode of discomfort due to their disability. Parents there must be consequences instead of blame when our children act out. It's important to know the differnce between horse playing around and normal child behavior, and I can promise you it's mostly horse play and normal child behavior. When our children are given task or an assignment that's challenging or calls for comprehension, our children panic and shutdown because they don't understand the material but take note if its something their good at like sports its achieveable. So I would say find out what's happening right before your son shuts down, and and see what's he's afraid of because I've learned that most of these episodes come from being afraid of being wrong, failure and acceptance. Now on the friend issue at school, not being popular "per se" our children are going to go through as we did I know I wasn't popular. So a few suggestions that may help:

- Token economy program you can use at home "give and take" if he
  does good in school give hims an allowance, mored than waht you would normally give.  The tricky part with is even if he does act up still give it to him but lecture him first on taking responsiblity for his self control... I know but as parent we're not going to win every battle with our kids.

- If he has an IEP make the school own up to his IEP its the law the school is just responsible for his success a much as you are. Get him a dedicated Aide, if its not in his IEP already demand one its the law to help him with his studies in class. If he doesn't have to struggle why make him struggle. When he acts out in school ask that he see's the social worker, behavior tech, counselor when he gets upset to get him back to on task instead of calling you everyday when their supposed to be equipped to handled behavior situation. Warning if he's not hurting him self or others no one should be restraining him under no circumstances...And he shouldn't be getting into too many altications if he has a dedicated aide, if he is get him another dedicated aide that equip to coach your son. These are your rights and its the law!

- On the subject of popularity we have to think like them, ask him what are they teasing him about. His clothes, shoes, haircut, whatever it may be "parent to a parent" suck it up and make his journey as easy as possible and take him shopping to empower him and make him feel good about his image. If money is tight "layaway" it until its off. I'm dead serious we have children with disorders and sometimes giveing in doesn't only show them we love them and got their backs but this is another form of helping them cope....

- Form you an allegiance mom and get the school on board with you, get your child and attorney and advocate, get a dedicated aide, make sure that the special education coordinator at the school is on board, special education principle is on board, and by all means mom if someone is constantly picking, hitting, teasing, your child complain, file police reports if assualts on your child take place, pop up at the school once or twice a month to let them know you are watching them and they better do right by your child. Trust me mom I know my daughters school don't rather they want to love or hate me, and that's just it when it comes to your child let them know it is a love and hate relationship....

- Last but not least mom; please do not let them take your childs independence away from him meaning taking away his voice. These school staff have a habbit of belittling our children because their not adults. Oh no! don't let them do that to him, they're to busy most of the time trying to cover their ass and thinking of ways to make yoyr child look like a liar even in your face. Teach him to speak up for his self in the face of a liar and know your childe when he is lying and ensure consequences for him...And if it happens at school tell them to give him conquences at school and stop calling you everytime he act up, and talk to him when he gets home...Mom again form an alligeance and go to work and don't care about what no one thinks, their on the road to recovery and if they aint helping tell them to get the hell out your way....

Mom to Moms....
Mrs. Brown
> 60 days ago

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Cordelia90
Cordelia90 writes:
Make sure the Med. is not to strong. Have him to write in a Journal what is oing on in his life and how he feels. play Music to calm him down. have you ever heard of balancing in brain. The Dr. told me that the Med help my Son to Focus not for behavior. Sounds like something going on emotionly. i hope this little information helps.
> 60 days ago

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Mrsk!
Mrsk! writes:
The age your son is at, is the beginning of a very difficult age for him to deal with his ADHD symptoms plus normal teenage hormones. My son who is now 16, found life extremely difficult, this made our life a living hell at times. School and home life were tough!  He was unable to get a diagnosis until he was 16 due to an extremely long waiting list (3 yrs) to be assessed. He was finally diagnosed at 16 and decided himself to take medication. Life at school was hard for him. He goes to a local grammar school and is very intelligent. However he is lazy when it comes to putting in effort, homework and has no organization skills. Extremely good at Maths and Science, can read a book in a day, but when it comes to putting pen to paper...it's painful! He begged me to let him change schools and often school refused! Trying to pick a 15 year old up and get him into school was near impossible, but locking every computer away in the garage normally worked. It sounds harsh, but I new my son had AdHD, i was prepared to put up with his foul mouth, impulsive aggressive behavior, but the one thing I would not give up on was his education. I stood firm....I read everything there was to read about ADHD. The things I learned along the way....

He mirrored the behavior he received with jelly's on the top, so if I shouted he shouted louder with foul language!

He did not choose to behave the way he did. He had no thought process - impulsivity! Try to understand this...it helps!

Make the teachers understand too....

He responds to positive behavior

It was really hard for him too

Pick your arguments, school was important to me, did I care if he left his dirty pant on the floor so much?

Plenty of sport!

Prepare them for referees though:/

Help them to organize - they need it

Finds change difficult

Really struggles with injustice!!! Massive problem for him!!!

Lots and lots of love  - sometimes they feel that no-one likes them

It's adhd that's the problem not your child

My son has now passed his GCSE' and is now in 6th form sitting his A Levels, it does getter better, just hang in there.

My son is the wonderful, loyal loving boy who I always new he would be.....ADHD has made my son the person he is, and tbh I think some of his best attributes are also down to ADHD.

He is a quick thinking, bright little spark, who still avoids all the things that are difficult for him - but since the hormones have calmed down he is happy :) and so am I. It brings a tear to my eye knowing other parents will go threw the difficult times I have had, but reading about the lady who's son is 25 yrs old and just brought his new house, is like music to my ears! Big up the children that struggle and succeed!!
> 60 days ago

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Justanotheremogirl
Justanother... writes:
Fish oil. It helps with ADHD. ALOT! Or try the Daytona patch. It also helps quite abit.
> 60 days ago

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