I have been procrastinating the last few days as things have been very busy. I also have been trying to find a way to write this post as it is a sensitive type in nature.
Owyn is our six year old and he has a tentative diagnosis of ADHD and ODD. I say tentative because it has been dealt with by his primary care physician until I can get him to our community mental health programs psychiatrist. Either way I believe this to be correct if not there could be more to it. ADHD is really common however ODD is not. There is very little information about it and certainly not how to manage a child with this disorder or the combination of the two.
ADHD is described as the child can’t sit still for long periods, has trouble with focusing on any one thing, talks excessively, etc. He’s always been a very active child and I thought it was normal and he would grow out of it but when he started school the teachers were having issues with his behavior in the classroom he was throwing things at students, being very loud, had a very difficult time following directions. I remember him getting suspended off the bus at least five times that year for not sitting down, yelling and overall bad behavior. We discussed this with his doctor and decided that it was best we start trying medications (which I was not really fond of at the time). It took a few tries, calmchild, Strattera, Methylphenadate, and now Vyvanse. Of course all being done over the last year slowly working our way through them until something worked, unfortunately once Vyvanse stops working the only place left to go is to a stimulant. Anyway, with that said his school days started to improve but we were noticing increasingly alarming behaviors such as him being extremely irritable, even violent at times, slamming doors, blatantly ignoring direct instructions (time for bed, please eat your dinner, please don’t do that, etc… ) yelling at us, blaming us for his actions, and a few others. That’s when the doctor started to mention things about ODD, he said that most children who have ADHD also have some other behavioral disorder as well. The only thing he was missing from the qualifying symptoms was being six. (1)ODD is a persistent behavioral pattern of angry or irritable mood; argumentative, defiant behavior towards authority figures; and vindictiveness. In some children with ODD, these behaviors are only in evidence in one setting— usually at home. In more severe cases they occur in multiple settings. There’s more to it but that’s the basics. (p.s. all cites will be at the bottom with other resources)
When the behaviors continued and got worse he was stealing food and hiding the wrappers, dumping ketchup and mustard on his floor, nail polish too, we put him on Prozac to try and stop the outbursts. I believe this is not working anymore as he has started to steal from stores, steal money out of my wallet, playing with fire, playing with knifes, not sleeping, and more.
We spent New Years Eve in the ER talking to a social worker and trying to get him evaluated and possibly admitted to a program where he would be constantly monitored and they would be able to use therapy and other techniques along with adjusting his meds properly to get his very dangerous behaviors to stop. I am currently awaiting a call from CMH (community mental health) to continue this process. I assure you that this is our last resort I wish it would not come to this but I don’t know how else to keep not only him but all of us safe. He is endangering everyone in the house with some of the things he is doing. Talking to him is not working we see that he understands but it seems that he quite literally cannot control his impulses. We have tried everything from talking, reward systems, spanking, time outs, and everything else in between but nothing seems to be working. I am trying to get an in- home parent educator so that we could possibly come up with better ideas to keep him safe but it’s a waiting game for pretty much every program we want to try and use to get help. We are still trying everything we can and we refuse to give up, and even though some days it’s really hard to cope we still love him immensely.
Aside from all of the issues we are having with him he is a great kid. He has a fantastic sense of humor, a wonderfully active imagination, and is extremely intelligent. He is a high average in most of his standardized test subjects. He is above grade level in most every subject. His favorite classes are reading, art, and of course gym. He reads books all the time and he likes to take them anywhere we will let him. The first thing he says when he gets off the bus is “I had a great day at school mom!”. Hopefully soon we will be seeing more of the good behaviors than the bad.
There is much more to this story than I feel comfortable putting out in the world at this moment, however when I do I will share it. I plan to do more posts on his disorders including what else we find out, what works for him and what doesn’t, discipline ideas, along with anything that can help. I’m doing this for not only us but for those who are also enduring this very hard road. If you want to read more on these disorders I’m putting some links below.
See ya later!
Extra reading for the curious minds