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School issues and medication

Discussion in 'Parenting & Autism Discussions' started by LTOH, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    Background: I apologize if this is long.

    My 10yo son was diagnosed ADHD and then high functioning ASD between the ages of 6 and 7. He was raised at home by my mother while my husband and I worked. He was slow to walk and potty train but everyone said boys are slower than girls. He had a few speech issues but all kids do when first learning.

    It wasn’t until preschool when the problems became bigger and other people became involved that we really noticed. He had major separation anxiety and struggled with socializing. Again we just assumed it was because he was an only child and never had the experiences before. By kindergarten though his teacher and the school were concerned which made us take a step back and we decided to have him evaluated.

    His pediatrician diagnosed him ADHD right away and wanted to start him on meds. I was hesitant. My brother had been diagnosed ADD in the 90’s and took Ritalin for years. He hated the way it made him feel but he couldn’t sit still without it. My husband and I decided to try and see what happened.

    Over the span of a year we tried 3 different stimulant meds and one non and had awful side effects and zero positives. By the time we decided to stop he was so depressed and cried constantly. I felt like the worst parent. We changed doctors. The new doc suggested having him evaluated for autism.

    Unfortunately where we live there isn’t anywhere close by that does that so we had to drive quite a ways to have that done. We got the diagnosis but no one gave us a manual or told us what to do next. I spent a lot of time researching on my own and came up with nutrition and diet. We took him off of gluten. He’d suffered from upper respiratory issues for years. We thought it was allergies and had him tested. They said he was allergic to dust and ragweed but suddenly no gluten and all of that went away. Which was nice but it didn’t help behaviorally.

    Finally I found Neural Balance. One of those nutrition supplement powders you mix in their drink. He took that every day for 3 years and magically he was calmer. He felt better. He was less irritable. He cried less. And then...he started the 4th grade.

    IDK what happened this year. We discovered he has severe anxiety associated with math. Now that things are starting to get a little harder he just shuts down and refuses to do any work. He’s been suspended twice. Once for threatening to stab an aid with his pencil (to his defense, she got in his space and erased his paper without asking first).

    Obviously though making threats isn’t allowed. The second time he yelled at his teacher and told her he hated her in front of the whole class. I get it. You have to “set an example”. But the reason he was upset in first place was avoidable.

    Recently he pushed his teacher into the classroom lockers/cubbies. (Again to his defense, she took his book bag from him because he hadn’t put his things away). I got a phone call for that one and they didn’t remove him because he flat out told them being suspended didn’t help. I mean I get it. I’m not an educator. But I get where they’re coming from.

    We’ve gone back and forth all year. We had a second IEP meeting that didn’t change or fix anything. We’ve worked with the county parent advocate. We’ve sent him to therapy and tried anxiety medication which made him gain 10 pounds and didn’t help. We tried methylphenidate again. He was tired and cranky and had nightmares and wouldn’t eat. No positives. So we stopped.

    I’m lost. I feel like we’ve tried everything. His school thinks he’s too smart to be placed in their special classes. There is a local school called the Center for autism and dyslexia. We’ve heard a lot of bad things and very little good about. The parent advocate recommends home schooling because he reminds her of her son and that’s what she did but I don’t think I have the patience or the knowledge.

    Is there something I’m missing? Another medication? Does he belong in public school? Does anyone else have a similar story?
     
  2. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    First, stop trying to cure the problem with substances, whether prescription meds or nutritional products. You can't cure autism. It's a difference, not a disease.

    By now, your son has quite a base of experience of trauma associated with school. That's unfortunate, but wishing won't make it go away. He can scarcely escalate much further without really getting expelled or starting to self-harm.

    I think you need to look for a special school or else do the home schooling. Or see if the public school can set him up with a full-time aide. You say he's smart, so maybe some curriculum tailored to his interest level would make a difference.

    Home schooling today is not what it used to be. There are whole curriculums that are based online. Your son is old enough to do a lot by computer, so that the only thing that might be demanded of the parent is structure and enrichment.

    I'm sure others here will have additional ideas. Good luck with your son.
     
  3. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    No. I think it is very overblown. It's a Flu, not the Black Death. But I expect to be annoyed when I go to the store if I get it and all the medicines are out because of idiots stockpiling.
     
  4. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    First thank you for your response. I get that autism is not an illness. I’m pretty sure I fall on the spectrum myself. It’s a genetic disorder caused by missing or mutated genes. Many people ND and NT suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Also many ND people have co-morbidities including allergies, food intolerance, inflammatory diseases as well as executive functioning disorders, SPD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, depression, anxiety etc.

    Pressure from the school to conform his behavior to their rules has caused us to try just about everything which includes medication and therapy. I never expect him to fit into society’s NT mold but aggressive behavior will be frowned upon in or out of school.

    I do agree with you that he’s associating school now with this traumatic experience and we are looking for alternatives. It’s hard where we live because not much is offered. There is one special school specifically for autism and dyslexia. It’s a private school we cannot afford and will require applying for a scholarship through the state. No one I know recommends that school. They say it’s poorly run and a lot of kids who go there end up right back in public school.
    They tried the aid. She’s the one he threatened with a pencil and the reason why he was suspended the first time.

    As far as home schooling is concerned, it’s really not a possibility. I’ve taken time off of work because we received so many calls from the school and I had to leave so frequently that I would have lost my job if I hadn’t chosen to leave on my own.

    I’m trying my best as a parent and advocate to give him every possibility to embrace his differences and still succeed. Just wondering if I was missing anything that had worked for someone else and as someone new to these forums I suppose I expected to be treated with kindness.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  5. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    I am truly sorry if you feel I've been unkind. That was not my intention.
     
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  6. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    What you have described, I also went through as a child. There is no cure, no manual, nothing... We just need love and sometimes extra support and eventually we will hopefully become somewhat self-reliant and feel a purpose in this world.

    I also think there are a lot of problems with the educational system, and they definitely are not geared for someone who is on the spectrum and high functioning.
     
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  7. Anonymous

    Anonymous Equestrian Aspie

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    I was expelled from 5th grade from similar circumstances. If they don't understand how their policy is affecting his behavior it's only going to get worse. You mention stimulants for the add/adhd. non stimulants can be used for the same thing. I am only transitioning to stimulants now as they were too much for me in elementary through middle school when we were figuring out my meds. I would suggest looking into the school they mentioned. Depending on how much worse he gets they may send him there anyway, as even if they expel him they are still required to provide him with education. When I was expelled i only spent a year and a half to get myself together and was back in regular school by middle school. if your local school is a bad place to go back to, they can help you find public schools that would be a better fit as well. My parents and i cried and resisted the expelling, but after so long, we realize it may have been more helpful to send me there sooner. In the end, it only matters how willing the administration and schools are willing to work to understand and help your child.
     
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  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Equestrian Aspie

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    Also, a strong response to a single year usually is because of the teachers actions or attitude. I didn't have a single problem In third grade because the teacher worked hard to understand me and treated me with respect, despite my previous years getting suspended about once a month. Which picked up again in the next year, and escalated during the Fifth. I even had to be transfered to another class in high school because of the teachers attitude.
     
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  9. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    Thank you for responding. Your experience is very helpful. I wondered if this would be a possibility. We are still trying to set up a meeting with the center for autism school and wondered about this because my son is very attached to the school he attends.

    So far they’ve done a pretty good job of explaining to the NT kids and he has quite a few friends. I hate to take him away from that knowing he doesn’t handle change well but it’s starting to become apparent that some of them are bothered by his outbursts and I’m basically just waiting for him to be bullied and picked on.

    He’s bright and outgoing and I know once that happens he’s going to disappear inside.

    I think if he has a few years to mature and catch up to the NTs he would be ok to go back.
     
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  10. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    This is also something I wondered. I hate blaming educators because I know they work hard for very little pay/appreciation but it seemed to me like his teacher this year was kind of set in her ways and not very forgiving.

    They threaten him constantly that they’re calling his parents (escalating his negativity and anger) and we’ve told them not to do this but they say they need suggestions. We give suggestions and his teacher will try it once or twice and when it doesn’t work she just gives up.

    For example, math is a HUGE issue for him and he needs one on one. They gave him an aid. It was the first time she worked with him and she told him his answer was wrong and grabbed his eraser and erased his answer which set him off because he thought he was right and she was getting in his space touching his stuff.

    I get why he then proceeded to act like he was going to stab her with the pencil. He didn’t. But he was suspended for it and then they just took the aid away and never tried again. Now they’re clueless as to how to get him to complete any math work.

    There is zero tolerance and zero patience. I figure they’ve just written him off and given up.
     
  11. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Have you considered a halfway solution, where he remains in mainstream education, but also gets help at a private tutoring place on his harder subjects, like math? So, he'd be excused from all in-school math and work with the tutoring place on achievement in that area? You'd employ the tutor yourself, not the school district, which could give you more say in how they interact.
     
  12. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    Essentially that’s what’s happening now. On days he refuses to do the work in class she sends his book home and I’m teaching him at home. We do the class work and then the homework plus the rest of his homework and it takes until dinner and sometimes later to finish because he puts up such a fight against the math.

    I almost don’t want to ask anyone else to get involved because it really brings the worst out of him. It started with math becoming more difficult this year. That was bad enough. Then they doubled up lessons because they said there was too much to squeeze into the year. So they have math twice a day. Morning and afternoon. So the majority of his day is fighting.

    It’s so bad that it’s almost like he’s regressed. Even the things I know that he understands and knows how to do he fights.

    It’s just excuse after excuse. It’s boring. I can’t focus. I don’t want to. I don’t understand it. Then it turns into I’m stupid, I hate this, I hate myself why am I so stupid.

    It’s not just math though. He can’t sit still. He’s loud. He’s a vocal/verbal stimmer. So he talks to himself or hums or sings and repeats sounds. The math thing this year was the icing on the cake for the school I guess because it’s made him mean and aggressive.
     
  13. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    He kind of lives in his own little imaginary world where he makes up the games and he’s in charge so his social skills on the playground have caused some issues too. I also got a call from the principal in the beginning of the year because he was talking about “parrots having sex with humans”?!?! was what they told me.

    Birds are one of his things. He wants a parrot so he’d been reading about them and something about how if you only get one parrot instead of two that it will view you as it’s partner. So he was talking about how the parrot would consider the human their mate.

    It really just seems like they don’t listen to him and that’s super frustrating.
     
  14. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Are you the best person to do math with him? Possibly a trained tutor can take a different approach and make math interesting and fun.

    To make this work, though, you'd have to get the school to stop giving him lessons and homework in math lockstep with the rest of the class. You'd also have to know the theory of the tutor's approach so you know that eventually, he would catch up (at least partially).

    Since math seems to be the sticking point, see if he can get assessed for dyscalculia.

    I just would hope you could arrange to detach "math" from "emotional distress." As things are now, it seems that is just getting reinforced.

    Merely a suggestion. Hope this helps.
     
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  15. LTOH

    LTOH New Member

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    Ya I’m definitely not the best person to be helping him. That’s another reason why I don’t think homeschooling is a good idea. You know how kids are. Mom’s a sucker and they know exactly which buttons to push to get away with everything.

    I also believe it’s Dyscalculia and we plan on evaluating for that.

    Thank you. I appreciate all of your insights.
     
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