Update on SO's son - ADHD or Asperger's?

veejay39February 26, 2009

hi there!

i posted a few months ago under a different name but now have a new user name (was horrified to google my email addy and see the whole previous thread about my son's problems there for the whole web, including the BM, to see! *gulp*).

so SO's son, 8, has been seeing a counselor since troubles at school before the holiday break. i have known for a long time even before that, there was something seriously wrong but no one in the family seemed willing to see, much less admit, it.

after tons of research, trying to talk to my SO, listening to parents with ADHD kids and other challenges.....finally, finally a diagnosis of sorts - "early onset bi-polar disorder"!! good grief, was everyone so shocked. i however, was only surprised it took this long and have a strange mix of reactions to this:

1. relief that it's not me just being mean, seeing things, being too hard on him, out of practice with young kids, etc., etc., etc.; and

2. sadness at the long, uphill battle this boy has ahead of him with a very troubled BM (whom i have long believed to be undianosed/untreated bipolar) and my SO who has been in major denial.

interestingly, my SO is now willing to admit that his son has "issues" but has only made one call to the therapist, which has gone unreturned and he has not tried again. is he afraid of what she will say? he has expressed more patience with him than i have ever seen. perhaps a professional diagnosis has finally made an impression? anyone else have this experience? or had a child with this disorder that may have some suggestions??

thanks in advance!

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veejay, DH's grandson, 8, has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder in the absence of anything else. He has a lot of problems, hard to handle, kicked out of schools etc.

For a long time, his parents, grandmother and other family memebers thought he was "gifted" and his superior intellect and maturity were the problems. Instead of looking at his troubled nature, they talked about how smart he was. However, when he was near 7 his parents were so frustrated with him they were looking for other family members to take him off of their hands! Tried to get SD35 to have him live with her and she looked closely at it.

So finally, a therapist names his problem, they finally wake up, a little. Yes, I've had the experience. They won't see until they are ready, meaning fed up.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 10:04PM
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People can be quite shell shocked by this and perhaps a little in denial, if there is any 'upside' to this, it's that most people accept it's a real, definable illness although it's often mis/undiagnosed. Otherwise be prepared for a lot of homespun advice about how all he needs is a haircut and a good stint in the army.

My daughter is bipolar. I knew she was several years before I knew officially, because I saw the signs. She was being treated for depression, but other things were going on. This was all coming to a head whilst her mother and I were divorcing etc, I do believe emotional circumstances/changes etc can bring about the onset.

The biggest challenge is getting an older (teen/adult) sufferer to continue to take their meds. There are side-effects and other downsides to them, and when it's all working normally, they don't feel the need to take them. When they are manic, they feel great and bulletproof and don't feel like they need them.

Knowing what the issue is, can be helpful to you because it should help you be a little more patient, as you know then it's not personal, the nasty thing said/done is not really how they feel etc. It's still hard but it can help you to keep the bad stuff at arms length.

The best thing you can do for SO and family, especially those not coping, is to get whatever books and literature you can, and attend a support group. That might help things along.

My own daughter at the moment is off her meds, I am overseas so can't really 'supervise' if that's the word, directly, I lie awake a lot worrying about her. At the moment she's fine although she's complaining about some vision problems....but can get very depressed when things go bad, sees bad or persecution where there's none there, and becomes very irritable and defensive. It's hard to get them back onto the meds in this situation, but she was so much better on them.

She's a musician, and like so many creative bipolar types (and there are a lot) I think she believes or fears the mood stabiliser affects her creativity.

I had not heard of early onset bipolar, you have my best wishes. Arm yourself with as much knowledge and support, including counselling for yourself, that you can get.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 1:38PM
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I'm glad things are coming together for you!!

It's good that your SO is starting to see the light. I recall how resistant he was to the idea that his son might have a behavioral or mood disorder. I also recall that BM was very resistant - how is she accepting this diagnosis?

Would SO be offended if you said "Hunny, I see how much you've changed your parenting strategy since your son's diagnosis, and I'm so impressed and proud of you! But neither of us have any experience dealing with bipolar disorder - especially in a child - and I really think you should push for a therapist appointment. I think it would help both you and SS very much. Let's get on the phone tomorrow and see if we can find a good therapist in our area. I'll help you."

    Bookmark   March 2, 2009 at 6:09PM
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I would be skeptical of that diagnosis. Who made the diagnosis? I say that because my son has been labelled many different things by many different people. School people liked to throw bipolar around and they accused him of being psychotic....only he's not. He does have high functioning autism. I homeschool him now.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 5:04PM
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Whilst laypeople like myself may 'bandy about' the term bipolar (although I did correctly diagnose my daughter years before it was official, and believe me, it's official) correct diagnosis of it is done by a psychiatrist who has done a lot of training over and above a medical degree.

There is an exhaustive checklist that's employed to prove the diagnosis - I've seen similar ones, they're quite elaborate.

That being said, it's possible to misdiagnose, it's true, however, quite often the treatment for bipolar works for these other disorders so it's not even always apparent it's a misdiagnosis. Just as treatments originally developed for epilepsy work for bipolar patients.

It's just as easy for you to be glib and say you are sceptical of the diagnosis, as the diagnosis itself. For people at the end of their rope, knowing what it is can be almost as good as a cure.

Don't get me wrong, but my wife, who's a teacher has known quite a few parents who have chosen to homeschool - in some cases it's been a good thing, in other cases, they've elected to do so because they didn't like what they were hearing from the teacher or the school. In some of those cases, the parent might have been right - in other cases, the parent just didn't like what they were hearing. In some of those cases because of the different environment, the same issues might not be cropping up the same - it's not to say they're not still there though.

Like I said, I'm not saying any of this applies to you. I'm just playing devil's advocate to show how easy it is to emerge in an online forum and postulate a completely different theory or diagnosis, with no hard evidence to go by.

I think it's probably fair to assume that people have done their due diligence, and the diagnosis was correct, especially if the course of treatment adopted seems to be working.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 12:29PM
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he was diagnosed by a counselor he has been seeing since last fall, when he was suspended for singing a song at school about killing his classmates. (being only a mile from Columbine High School, that type of behavior is obviously NOT toleerated.) he has had quite a history of behavior including but not limited to and in no particular order:

- repetitive phrases (think dustin hoffman in 'rain main')
- clicking, beeping, humming constantly
- inability to stand or sit still at ALL (every photo of him has blurred hands from being in perpetual motion, always ask him if he needs to go to the bathroom, he dances around so much!)
- severe mood swings
- easily frustrated, gives up and cries at the drop of a hat
- argumentative and combative (especially with BM, whom we believe to be untreated bipolar. they frequently call my SO and both will be crying and yelling at each other)
- inability to focus and follow more than one instruction at a time, both home and school
- very loud speaking voice
- easily stimulated, will literally run around in circles when around more than 1 other person or in a new environment

that's just a sample of life with J!

at this point, SO is still blaming all issues on the BM and the "way she is raising him", refusing to see a biological or chemical reason for the behavior and that it is treated with anything other than being "tough" with him (which only makes the boy cry of course). *sigh*

so my solution is to encourage him to talk to the counselor to get her opinion, diagnosis and treatment options, which he doesn't want to do, preferring to leave the issue to the BM and her husband to deal with. my response to his complaining is now: "if you chose not to go for custody, you cannot armchair quaterback his mom's parenting and piss and moan about it. either do something about it or accept that this is how it is and keep quiet!"


    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 2:46PM
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Wow. Of course you are right, it's not very helpful to criticise the other parent from a distance, without stepping up and doing something about it. Of course people could have said that about me, I thought at times my ex's behaviour/demeanour around the kids was very harmful and one of the reasons I DID stick around for so long was to be a moderating influence. Going for custody in my case would have not worked, since the kids were pretty much against me so it would have been very disruptive.

In the end, the eldest figured out what was going on. I try to be neutral about BM when she's venting but she figured out what's what.

My big point here, in regards to your theory BM is untreated bipolar - I know someone exactly like that, the daughter exhibited mania (hundreds of text messages sent in an hour, middle of the night) - risk taking behaviour - sex with strange men in hotel rooms- underage, mind you - for things like cellphones and even money! - and the mother exhibited similar odd behaviour but was never treated- ruthless psychotic- type behaviour etc....

It's interesting once there's an actual diagnosis of someone, how things fall into place - a kid is diagnosed with chronic depression, bipolar or whatever, then looking at the family history - the morose uncle, the aunt who ran off to join the circus - whatever- suddenly in that perspective it all makes sense.

Good luck on your journey. Sounds like getting Dad to talk to the counsellor would be a good first step.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 3:43PM
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