I started a thread over 3 years ago entitled 'ODD and other behavioural issues' (below). At the time I was at my wits end with the behaviour of my then 9 year old son. I won't go into it as it was detailed in the thread, but I wanted to share with you where we are in the journey with this (insert description) child. Favourite descriptions are obstinate, argumentative, controlling, amazing, gifted, wilful, stubborn, funny.....do you get the gist?!
At the time of the post, he had been out of school for 6 months as he, the school and we were at our wits end on how to educate him. We made the decision to medicate him and he went back to school into year 6 (a 1 year skip) at just 9 years old. For that year he attended school 3 mornings a week.
He gained a place in the gifted stream at his local intermediate and spent 1 1/2 years there before being moved to mainstream due to a major clash with his teacher. Interestingly, the move to mainstream was fantastic. He had a young male teacher who was totally and utterly fair and just. This allowed him to relax and enjoy school, trusting that the teacher would right all injustices! He also enjoyed being 'top' in the class and the removal of all the academic pressure that came from being in the top stream. After 6 months in mainstream he also identified that he liked being with the brighter kids as the mainstream ones didn't get his humour, and was happy to move back into an accelerated class! He also came off the medication in the middle of Year 8.
This year finds him in Year 9, entering College as one of the top 6 students out of around 400 in the intake. (Interestingly, he's only made it up to around 75% attendance at school so far). Imagine what he could achieve if he went full time (tongue firmly in cheek for that comment!).
During the first two of the last 3 years he worked intensively with an amazing counsellor. We had to draw down on our mortgage to pay, but it was money very well spent (and the counsellor discounted hugely). I had to take my hat off and leave my mind wide open when we first met this guy as he has both Aspergers and ADD and his first question was to ask why CAMHS had changed his medication levels during the equinox - a time when nature is in flux, but what a wonderful person to have in my sons life. Over time, he has taught him to understand his emotional intensity and to 'read' his moods. He now knows how to manage himself. He can 'read' his stress and anxiety levels and knows what to do to avoid losing the plot. He is still available to us, and we touch base a couple of times a term.
At the time of writing, it has probably been several months since there has been a meltdown. He and his 16 year old brother now get on really well and can play and wrestle without it getting out of control. He and his father still sometimes clash, but it doesn't go beyond verbal arguments now, and both know when and how to walk away with dignity.
There are often posts on this forum describing situations where families are in distress due to the behaviour of intense children. I want you to know from a family that has been there, done that and felt the despair that there is life after, and these kids with time, maturity and consistent loving parenting can come through to become lovely adolescents.
Now I'm going to go and knock on wood because I've dared to say out loud that life is good now!!!
Hahahaha I was going to say that Murpheys Law might apply here because I found that to often be the case with my youngest (now an adult and still has the occasional "moment") but didnt want to rain on your parade.
Thanks for this Mum of 2, I just found your old post on ODD, and it led me here. Fantastic to hear there is light... my son is 5 and now that he is at school, all the behaviours that were shrugged off, seen as quirky, or persevered with at preschool, are now seen as inappropriate, dangerous, and disruptive (though to be fair he has escalated with the change of setting and routine). We are waiting on an assessment to be arranged through his school to identify the specific triggers or issues for our boy. As his father was ADD and I was a gifted child I am expecting something similar to be the outcome and to be honest, as much as it will be relief to have an explanation, I dread him having to live with a label and other peoples expectations/beliefs that go with it... I recently home-schooled for a week as it was decided that it would be unsafe for him to attend fundamental skills (swimming and sports) with the other children.
May I ask what part of the country you are in? We are in Marlborough and would love any advice or references to helpful people or services, thank-you!
We are in the Bay of Plenty, so unfortunately I can't really give you any regional references for assistance.
One of the best things we did was to have him assessed by an Educational Psychologist who specialises in children who connect to the world differently.
What I would like to recommend is to trust your judgement. The Ministry of Education wanted to send our boy to one of those schools in Auckland for the top 2% of behavioural problem students. I was horrified and declined (although the idea of having a break from him at the time was attractive!), as I always believed that with time and guidance he would 'come right', and telling him he was a problem would make him one.
The assistance we found most helpful was from SupportNet who provided us with funding for respite care via the Ministry of Health. We have used a family friend who will take him at a moments notice. He feels loved, safe and valued with their family and it allowed us all to take a breath every now and again when things got tough.
I am happy to speak to you 'off forum' if you have any specific questions. If you do, post again and link your e-mail to your name and I'll inbox you.