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Behavior Issues

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  • Behavior Issues

    Hi Everyone!

    I am at a loss here and was wondering if anyone else has dealt with this.

    My son who is 12 with TS Plus is still really struggling this year. He has spent more time out of school this year than in. We also just went through a month of home schooling in October.

    Before he returned to school on November 2nd the school had hired a new aide and had inservice with the TSFC. The new aide is fantastic and has spent a great deal of her own time getting to know my son at home before his return to school and calling me in the evenings to discuss issues that arise.

    He is now out of school again for at least the rest of the week. We have several problems right now.

    The biggest is his OCD is out of control right now. The doctor's, school and I believe this is what is causing the most issues. We are trying to get his OCD meds right and so far that is not happening.

    At school he is angry at the drop of a hat and increasingly aggressive towards his aide who he really likes. He rushes through his school work just so he can have free time to indulge in his obsessions. He constantly talks about inappropriate subjects (his obsessions) and is swearing quite a bit at school. He also has coprolalia and copraxia which they understand and accept but this is different. He is swearing during normal conversation in context. He is also drawing inapproriate pictures and writing down inappropriate things which the school can accept as this is better than discussing it but he then shows everyone what he has done. When it is time to do an oral presentation rather than present what he has written he gets up and does a comedy routine! After he has been raging he says he gets angry because he does not like rules and does not have to follow them and will not follow them.

    At home he is starting to lie and sneak. At this point I can not trust him at all nor do I know when he is telling me the truth.

    Each day we have a discussion about all of this and during those conversations he is mostly calm. This is when I am not sure that I am getting the truth. He agrees completely that his behaviour is unacceptable, readily accepts consequences, and agrees that it will never happen again. He understands that the rules need to be followed and assures us he will follow them. He gives plausible explanations for his behaviour and although I say I understand why he might act that way given his explanations I repeatedly reiterate that he can't act that way regardless of the reasons. We have explained to him that what he is doing at school (pushing his aide and threatening to kill her) is illegal and the school has also told him they have the right to charge him at this point. Yesterday he ran away from school for the first time ever (it was minus 17 and he had no coat on).

    On occasion when we talk he breaks down completely and that is when I think I may be getting the truth. He needs to count letters as he reads and he finally admitted that this is why he does the comedy routines. Before he was saying he wanted to entertain everyone so he could be popular. He still sticks to the popular story about the swearing and innapropriate topics but I do not buy it. We have tried to get him to look at the evidence regarding that which is: no one wants to do group work with you, no one calls you at home and no one asks you to social events outside of school. He continues to do it though. I feel badly that I am pointing this all out to him BUT he needs to get that this behaviour is not helping his socially.

    Yesterday he cried all the way home and said he didn't know why he was raging at school and needed help to stop it. I think this may be the truth.

    The poor kid has had consequences at school and at home nearly every day for weeks now. Nothing is working! I get that the consequences we are giving him are not working but I also know that I can not allow him to lie to us and sneak around without them. We always give natural and/or repairative consequences rather than punitive but he repeatedly does the same things over and over.

    The other side of this is Air Cadets. He is a completely different kid there. His only issues are he needs a little more supervision than other cadets and he is a little more vocal than other cadets. They say it is nothing they can't handle as the structure that he needs is built into their program. He works his tail off at Air Cadets, is never angry, and does exactly what he is supposed to do there with no complaints. He has friends there and has tried out for things and made it! He is going on a survival camp this weekend and is completely happy with anything to do with Cadets. He is continually successful there on all levels.

    His doctor is recommending in-patient treatment that will last 4 - 6 months. The age group is 12-19. I have a difficult time with this for several reasons:

    The age group ( he is only 12 and will be the youngest there). My son is pretty sheltered since he has no friends really and has just begun to make some at Cadets this year. He has not really spent a great deal of time hanging out without parents or supervision. With that age group I am sure some of the older ones will already have experience with drugs, alcohol and sex. This really concerns me.

    Four months is a long time to only be home on weekends at this stage in his development. I am concerned that we will lose the tight bond we share as he changes from a child to a teen without me.

    He has participated in treatment programs before, social skills classes in grade 2 and again just this past summer, four months as an out-patient in grade four and one month last year as an in-patient. The same thing happens every time. While in the programs he is a star. They do not see these issues. I have been told by the staff that he is the best kid there and they feel we as parents are doing things right at home.

    Then when he returns to school we start all over again.

    I just do not get why he is great at Air Cadets and in these programs but elsewhere he just can not make it. I do not understand it and am really starting to get concerned that the law will be brought into this soon and there will be nothing I can do to help him anymore.

    I am at a crossroads here. Do I home school him, put him in the treatment program, or put him back on risperdal which caused him to gain about 40 lbs in a year? At least while on the risperdal he did not rage at school and was able to keep it together more often.

    I don't expect anyone to make that decision for me and we do have an appointment this afternoon with his doctor but any anecdotal experiences you have or thoughts about what I have written would be most welcome.


  • #2
    Re: Behavior Issues


    What you are describing we have lived through and it has taken a long time to find some balance.

    I've had to keep my son home during these adjustment periods as his reaction and tolerance level can be unbalanced during this process or he can have a bad reaction that the school would not be able to manage.

    If you have someone working close to you on his medication changes and understands what you are experiencing they can be included on a meeting within the school staff including the board.

    They can better explain what you are going through and what the triggers are in your particular situation. They can also offer some approaches to try short term and long. Also they can provide what is really important to tackle or address now.

    Suspension does not work, nor is it a cure for TS+. Some schools take the zero tolerance approach and in our case that just does not work. When you express how he can lash out to someone he likes, that we also know. The stresses, sensations, reactions are fly off the handle at times and it comes with the package for some kids like mine.

    Finding balance helps and knowing what programs work and what programs your child is just not ready for. In our case we have a long road ahead of us, yet we can see some fantastic improvements.
    Going to school for short periods of time can help not to overload. Social skills take time and most children are just socially immature compared to the other students. The isolation they can experience by just playing video games or watching TV instead of playing ball with others or skate boarding adds to the lack of understanding and tolerance to others in small or large groups.
    All this will pass in time with some gentle guidance and positive reinforcement for efforts put forth to succeed and understand.

    We are very fortunate to have such a great network at school giving my son safe places to come and people he can reach out too when he needs help or just can't take it anymore. It has to be a team effort and building social skills can take precedence over academics when they lay the foundation for being able to excel later in life.

    I guess it is how you look at it...

    The air cadets we can relate too with my eldest boy. He does not have TS but has always had a ADHD, ODD personality. We had problems with him is school too but he respected his cadet leader and enjoyed being the "best" in dress, activities and pushed to be a leader. We never had temper problems with him there and he even was given responsibility over others to build his self esteem and curb his immaturity concerns.
    If the child can handle crowds unlike my youngest it is a great tool to find balance and teach those skills necessary to function in groups and public. It takes time though for them to clue in that these tools relate to life outside of Cadets. This is part of the immaturity you have to deal with.

    You can speak to the commanding officer but when we had the kids in cadets they segregated the age groups for the same reasons you have concerns. Although they all meet at the same time and are even in the same room they do not blend the ages. Most younger groups were 12 - 13 with a fourteen year old or sixteen year old in charge. You may also want to speak to them about the classes and programs they offer during the year. Some classes are required to advance including first aid and drug abuse related classes.

    Those that discuss topics as mentioned don't usually last very long as it is against the rules of proper behavior and there is so much community service there is no time to get into trouble. I was also pleased with the responses when our girls attended the semi formal during the holiday and for once everyone was not in their dress blues and combat boots. Heads turned and the boys were shy and taken back. This made our eldest boy very concerned as he has always been protective of the girls. His rank came in handy that evening and made the girls mad at big brother.

    We always grab the moment we can "spell out" a current experience to relate too so my son sees the connection. Both have had to take personal responsibility for actions in public and with family but be provided a safe zone were nothing they do matters for a time period to release the build up.

    We've been given some solid guidance by our specialist which battles to confront and how to do it. I did not realize it in our own case but my reactions or the way I approached it sometimes under minded the progress we were making, maybe out of pure frustration since the experiences could be extreme.

    We've been told this can be expected in our case at times and have learned how to work around it so they don't happen by removing underlining triggers. Self esteem is up and his natural people pleasing personality is trying to find the balance he needs to function. Although he can react sporadicly compared to others he now can catch himself' realize his response was not acceptable and apologize.

    What you are expressing about residential programs and model behavior I can partially relate too. In our case the separation creates more rage. You and your specialist have to understand what can work and what will not work for your individual situation.

    At this point in our case it does not matter if my son can attend 45 minutes of school a day or six hours, they want him to just come. Being at home seems to deteriorate his sleep patterns, activity level and lower he tolerance to life outside of home. It is like he just gets stale and won't grow or take some chances in life, so we push him out the door gently.

    He has shown great improvements and his social skills are improving and most importantly his reasoning ability to cope with situations. Real friendships are beginning to develop and this is a good sign.

    Medications have been adjusted and the right "cocktail" or balance has been found for now.

    I hope your appointment goes well for you both and you keep us informed of your progress and plan of action. Discussing this kind of topic is very helpful to others and it is good to know we are not alone in our struggles.

    I am certain you are doing a great job and it is good others around you realize this. If your situation is mirrored as closely as mine then you can relate to a statement our specialist said today in a joint meeting with the school staff, board & professionals"

    "It is obvious that * could not have a better mother in this situation and we all take our hat off to her for all her efforts, but in cases like these it would not matter if * had Mother Theresa as his mother he would still respond the same way" "It is to be expected and simply approached differently then working with a child with only one disorder."

    Take care


    • #3
      Re: Behavior Issues

      Thanks PJK for your story. Your situation does sound a lot like ours.

      Our appointment went well and we have been given a new option to consider. In our city (Edmonton) their are two children's mental health classrooms that are run by Capital Health.

      These classes are within a "regular" school. There are no more than 10 in each class which has a special needs teacher and teaching assistant in each. There is also a psych nurse and child develpment worker on the the team to support both classes.

      These two people work closely with the children's doctors and carefully follow medication changes and are able to document the changes they see in the kids more effectively than an aide in an inclusive setting would be able to as they are specifically trained in these disorders.

      In order to quality for the program the kids must be diagnosed with a psychiatric illness and have previously been in tertiary care settings. They also can not have issues with violence towards others. They must also have average intelligence and be able to benefit from "regular schooling".

      They follow the regular school curriculum with math, science, LA, music, gym, french and social. There are weekly 45 minute social skill groups and they also work on social skills daily during recess and lunch periods "in the moment".

      I spoke to the pych nurse yesterday for quite some time over the phone and she sounds terrific. They require a lot of parental involvement and will send the children home if they are having a "bad" day. Rather than let them spiral down they would prefer they take a break and start fresh the next day.

      When I told her I was a stay at home mom and involved with the TSFC she was "over the moon" and already has plans on the two of us doing in-service presentations together! I feel like she already has me working for her and my son hasn't even been accepted yet!

      I have a meeting with her on Monday afternoon and will be bringing my son's school reports with me for her to look over. His doctor also needs to fill out his forms that will detail his past treatment programs and medications tried. It can take up tp 30 days for them to make a decision.

      For now my son's doctor has said to keep him home again until we can get a concrete treatment plan in place as things are only deteriorating at school and he doesn't see the point in putting my son or the school through that.

      I can also relate to your last statement about being a good mother. I received this comment by email from an OT that has worked with and knows my son well. He also provided children and youth workshops for us at the Edmonton conference this past September.

      "The only people who truly make a great impact are those who adopt. I worked at * Group Homes for years and have seen such horrifying situations that children have come from and I came to believe that the only way to improve their lives would be to immerse myself in them, you are doing that. You are a real life angel that has saved a boy from hell. I know they are strong words but I have seen the children that didn't have your support and they never leave my mind. You have also been spoken about quite highly. Dr.*and *. have both asked about you and we all concluded that you likely needed a break after all was said and done."

      I think all of us TS parents deserve that comment. On some level I know I am a good mother but when you continually here from the school and other parents how horrible you and your son are you can sometimes doubt yourself and it is nice to hear form someone (anyone) that you are doing a good job.



      • #4
        Re: Behavior Issues

        At least you get aides for the class rooms, I have been trying for years to get TA's for my kids. But anyways, My oldest is almost 13, and he started to loose it around Feb '06, he was having these majior melt downs, had to call the ambulence, he has issues with lying and sneaking around as well it is very frusterating. He can't take responsibility for any of his actions. He comes home "Sick" from school quite often, all though this year has been pretty good so far. He has selective ODD, only at home. Everywhere else he is great, I'm not quite sure what that is called but I'm sure there is a name for it. Not that this really helps you I guess, I hope things get better for you.
        My son is going to stay in Children's Hospital after Christmas for a month and we are hoping to have more answers after that.


        • #5
          Re: Behavior Issues

          Getting the assistance you need in a regular school setting can be impossible in some areas with budget restraints and less staffing. Some areas share these services.

          This year an EA is not available nor the OT my son really needs. Hopefully next year they will be available to give him a better start before High School.


          I hope with your son going to the Children's Hospital you can get the assistance and programs you really need for him and mostly some answers.
          The "squeaky wheel" always gets the attention needed. I'm not a very quiet wheel...


          • #6
            Re: Behavior Issues

            I am not very quiet either. My middle son has jst been to have OT assesment done at the specialist hospital, then he will have pyisical therapy testing after christmas. He is 11 and I have been asking for this for a couple of yrs. So I doe know how to squeek with the best of them ;D ;) Sometimes it is just hard to get anyone to listen.


            • #7
              Re: Behavior Issues

              That's when I get louder...pesting phone calls help, repeated appointments with school staff and having a great specialist support my son helps too.

              We have a staff member that takes care of special needs, usually learning disabilities in our school. She attended the last meeting with the school super, principal and others with our specialist. When she was asked if the school had an OT, she shrugged and said no and it will be not likely if they ever would as she has asked before. My son's specialist said to order one to be in place and then looked at the super of the school system.

              It is frustrating but wonderful to have some caring people rallying for my son and taking some of the stress off.



              • #8
                Re: Behavior Issues

                part of the problem is that we don't have a psyc. right now. only a pediatrition monitering there growth blah blah blah. I am hoping that by my 11yr.old (middle son) being assesed at the "Special" hospital that they will be able to make some good recomendations to the scool so that he can get the support he needs. Because I can assure you that is they make recomendations like an OT in school, or a TA (teacher assistant) in class and the school doesn't make it happen I will be going to the scooll board and raising a big fuss like they have never seen. They have meetings that are open to the public & I can assure you I will be there untill ALL recomendations for my kids are filled, including whatever comes of my 12yr.old being in Children's Hospital.


                • #9
                  Re: Behavior Issues

                  That's a good & positive attitude to have. You can do it!

                  As a mom we just have too.

                  Take care.