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Show ALL Forums  > Single Parents  > At my wit's end...      Home login  
Joined: 5/3/2006
Msg: 1
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At my wit's end...Page 2 of 2    (1, 2)
Ok.. this is probably aimed more towards those who have children with ADHD/Asperger's then anyone else, but all are welcome to comment.

I have an 11 yo with a dual diagnosis of ADHS and Asperger's. His father and I separated nearly 4 yrs ago, and divorced last year. The father has been living in another city, so frequent or consistant visitation has been impossible, until recently when he relocated to be here (he got married in December, his new wife lives about 15 min away from me). I'd like to think we have a decent relationship, but he's been less then helpful when it comes to raising both the kids, even before we split.

Recently the 11 yo has developed a real potty mouth, a penchant for sneaking around the house late at night to watch tv or play on the wii, and a bad case of sticky fingers, and has become an habitual liar.

I have taken the controllers for the wii away, which in esssense punishes the younger child as well. I have locked down the tv nearly every night so that he can't watch tv or movies, or play on the wii. Corporal punishment isn't an option with this child for several reasons. I have taken away his birthday party two years running because of poor behavioural choices. He has nearly been kicked out of camp because of his mouthiness and behaviour. This child is freakishly smart (I suspect he's bored in his mainstream class at school). I have essentially taken away every single privildge he has except breathing and nothing I'm doing is having any impact on him whatsoever.

He's not eating properly (carb addict), refusing to eat anything that is remotely better for him then what he does eat. He's medicated, possibly over medicated, but moderately controlled on the meds and doses he's on.

Right now his father is more interested in his new wife and what makes her happy then he is in what his children need... and his help comes several days too late and in a completely old-school, heavy handed way that doesn't work.

What am I missing?? What do I need to do here to get my sweet boy back? Is this an age or an ADHD/Asperger's thing??

Short of stripping everything out of his room except his bed, I don't know how to get him to sleep at night, and stay asleep.
Joined: 9/4/2006
Msg: 2
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At my wit's end...
Posted: 8/3/2008 2:25:18 PM
Do you have any resources that can help you with his food and behavior habits to help you redirect the issues? As for the wii, you're not locking it down on both kids, you should just let them know the hours of use on them, plain and simple. Then take it away during the night. There's tons of learning activities for your son to challenge himself online and in books you can find at the store. here's one:

tell him he can't go on the wii til he does a few pages of work, that way he's keeping his brain busy and in a good way, his reward, the wii. Who knows, he may like it and want to do more on his own. See if you can block shows that cusses too much.

Does your son wake up after he sleeps to do this or he is awake and sneaks to do these things? if you know he's sneaking, then you need to at least stay up a little longer to get him in the act and tell him to go back to bed. Have a bell on the door to waken you if he does this later in the night, then he knows he's caught in the act and can't sneak out.

It's too bad that your ex can't help you with coparenting but you have to do what you're able to do since that's teh only thing you can control. It's his loss for not being more in his kids life. He'll regret it later when his relationship to his kids are distant and they may not want to bond with him later when he wants to play catchup.
Joined: 9/4/2006
Msg: 3
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At my wit's end...
Posted: 8/3/2008 4:38:10 PM
My sister gives her autistic son, Melonin pills, it does calm him down and help him to sleep. You might want to talk to your doctor about it.
Joined: 5/3/2006
Msg: 4
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At my wit's end...
Posted: 8/3/2008 6:29:45 PM
First of all, I'd like to thank you all for the suggestions... I might not answer everyone tonight because I have a lot to respond to, but wanted to answer as much as I could.

Pamperpooch000 -
it was mostly attention seeking, whether the attention was good or bad it didn't matter to him, so long as he got it constantly.

The only thing I find helps is to sit down with him, asking him if he feels I've been neglecting him, and if he says yes, then I try to explain to him why I've been busy and say I'm sorry and I don't mean to neglect him. He didn't always find it easy to open up and tell me what he was feeling but he's got to the stage now where we can discuss just about anything and he seems much more ballanced and happy than I could ever have imagined.

Yes.. he does this too.. attention seeking. As my mother has said, any attention is still attention. Unfortunately he doesn't talk to me about what's going on inside his head. He never has. This makes it really difficult to work through any issues he might have. And of course his eyes glaze over if you talk to him for more then about 2 min.

Passionandsong -
my first question much do you reward him for the good things he does?i noticed you never mentioned this,this is more important than the punishment.

He is well rewarded when he does something well. Problem there is when he is rewarded for doing something good, he turns right around and does something really, really horrible... thus losing out on all the good stuff he's just gained.

That is mommy 2 -
The only thing that belongs in a childs room is a
A DESK to study at

While I appreciate what you are saying, I don't happen to agree with it. Life was no better for us when his room was stripped to the bare necessities.. I even removed his bed frame and had his mattress on the floor.

He does not have tv or gaming systems in his room. He does have a large bookcase, a small bedside table, an alarm clock/radio, clothes are in his closet, and he does have a small number of toys in his room, more to keep his younger sibling out of them. There are pictures on his walls too. The room is painted a dark royal blue to match his space-themed bedding on his bed, beige carpet. There's very little in there.

"Sleep deprivation can cause daytime hyperactivity and decrease in focused attention. This can be mistaken for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or other behavior disorders." - National Institutes of Health

Yes. I am well aware of this fact and it's something his ped and I discuss each time we are there. This child needs 10-12 hrs of sleep. During the school year he is up at 630 am to be out the door by 730 to catch the bus to school, first class is at 8 am. All this means is bedtime is 8 pm. I'm strict on this, and BOTH children are on the same routine. My oldest, on a good day, will fall asleep by 10 if I'm lucky.

Papmperpooch000 -
Bedrooms can be a sanctuary for kids, they need somewhere where they can escape from miserable parents, not just at bed time IMO.

I agree with you 1000% on this. His room is where he goes to get away from his younger sibling. It's where I send him when he's wound up and isn't responding to other things I'm doing to get his attention. It's a place for him to get away from the overwhelming stimuli. Five min and he's normally a much calmer child.

That is mommy 2 -
Most of you with kids diagnosed with ADHD are improperly diagnosed.
Your medicating your kids for having a sleep debt.
Children need more sleep than most get............. hence the behavioural issues.

Again... I am WELL aware of this. I didn't just go with the first diagnosis. He's been evaluated 3 times since he was 4 yo. The behaviours started about the time he was 2.5 yo. His sleep problem has been an on/off thing for the last couple of years. I didn't start medicating him until 18 mo after his diagnosis, about the time he was 6.5 yo. There are many OTHER things that contribute to behavioural problems.. low iron, low protein, lack of sleep, food allergies, allergies in general, etc.

CanadianChic2006 -
Having dealt with a child with ADHD & ODD, bordering on CDD he was medicated... albeit the wrong medication... make sure he's on the right meds.. there are many books out there with food suggestions for kids with ADHD... there are certain food they should/shouldn't have...

And sometimes the side effects of the meds in a pre-teen is that they don't sleep well... talk to the dr about medication that while it isn't a sleeping pill, once they are asleep will help them stay in a deeper level of sleep allowing their bodies what they need to have a productive day...

We have tried every medication on the market... Ritalin, Concerta, Straterra, Dexidrine, Adderall in varying forms.. short acting, long acting and various combinations of medications. Right now he takes 20 mg Dexidrine spansule (long acting) at breakfast, 20 mg at 1 pm, 60 mg Straterra at dinner time, along with a melatonin tablet at bedtime. The ped that follows him for the ADHD/Asperger's is the leading expert in our city for children with ADD/ADHD and LD kids. I trust him and his experience and we do discuss the meds and doses and what else is out there at each visit. My oldest has gained over 10 lbs and over 1" in height in about 6 mo, so we are ok with the combination and dose that he is on... he's moderately controlled (for him) and he's still eating without me having to place an NG tube, which I have threatened to do.

Katysnuts, I hear what you are saying and I think I have addressed the things you mention already.

Just em -
Have you taken him off the meds? Asperger's is not something that responds to medication. Aspererger's is a different wiring of the brain. It seems some doctors think pills cure everything and like to add ADHD, ADD, OR NOS POS to Asperger's and give out medication. Yes, your child is testing you. Yes, your child is bored and at this age doesn't have the maturity to know how to control himself. I really don't believe the medication will assist him.

Yes. He's been off the meds and I've been on the bottle... just kidding. I understand that the two are different and that there is no medication for Asperger's. Our ped has explained to us that with a dual diagnosis like what we have, the medication just helps him to be able to focus better while at school, but any residual behavioural issues are more then likely the Asperger's and we will have to just work on dealing with them.

Carbs will make him more hyper. He is eating a diet of kid speed, carbs turn straight into sugar. You need to try to make a game of eating, find out what all of his likes are and have them as the reward for eating the veggies and proteins. Remember that a fist on the side is an adult size portion of meat. It really isn't tons of meat they need to eat per serving, but they do need protein. Carbs burn faster and he will get hungry faster. There are some great cookbooks out that have food prepared in child friendly ways. Jerry Seinfeld's wife has a great one out now. Things like broccoli are made to be yummy to kids, I think they think they are getting macaroni and cheese. I still go with the avoid anything with red dye and msg's.

I am also well aware of this. I have had him tested metabolically and he's a freakin' mess. Low iron, protein deficient, borderline hypoglycemic with a freakishly fast metabolism. We've done iron supplements to try and help boost his iron levels, and all that ever did was constipate the poor child to the point he might have a bowel movement once every 8-10 days. Imagine what THAT does to a child!! He refuses to eat chicken, turkey, pork... he will eat hamburger (sometimes), fish (sometimes), bacon, chicken nuggets, hot dogs. He is a carb addict and I've had to install a child-proof lock on my one cupboard to keep him from eating a loaf of bread a day. As for veggies and fruits.. not a hope in hell of that happening. Much of it is due to the fact that many Aspie's have a problem with textures... and mine is certainly no exception to that. We have tried the diets.. with no luck. We eliminated all dairy, all wheat, all egg.. the three major culprits. He is already on a diet that is free of most food colorings and preservatives as we know those things to be triggers for him. I encourage him to eat smaller portions more frequently thru the day, trying to get protein into him as much as possible. He is still on whole/full fat milk, the bread and bread products he eats are all whole wheat. Problem is that while he will eat certain things today, tomorrow he won't eat those things. He used to eat bananas as a child, and suddenly at about 3 or 4 he stopped eating them. He's been tested for allergies and has common environmental ones.. dust being the major one, but still not severe enough to warrant medication, thank god 'cause frankly he's on enough now!!

You do need a professional to get help with how to get the upper hand when it comes to controlling his behavior. Professionals are hard to find that are good.

We are lucky in that we are working closely with a local kids agency, and any time I need help I call our counsellor and he comes to help. They've done everything they can do to help us. We are also involved with the local children's hospital with their ADHD clinic and have just been referred to their dual diagnosis clinic, but that might take 6-8 mo to get into.

Asperger's kids do need stimuli that is fast paced such as Wii and tv shows that have constant action. Wii is good for physical exercise, so using that as a punishment isn't something I would do. If you take something from them, they always seem to find something else, like taking switch covers off light switches... yeah, a time out that went wrong in my home. I found chores were like the worst punishments for them. It keeps them active and maybe they do it half way right so you have a little less housework...hey, I said maybe.

Oh yes.. he has chores. Hates doing them... but he has no choice. He hyperfocuses on things like tv, computer, video games... it's hard to get him to get outside to move his body in the fresh air. Add to that a mild case of OCD and fear of bugs and I'd rather eat glass then fight with him. He has a bike that he loves riding. Today I went into the storage area and dug out my roller blades for him to try. Didn't see him for about an hr or more. The wii games they have are more brain building then brain draining, if that makes any sense.

Wanderbaby -
Do you have any resources that can help you with his food and behavior habits to help you redirect the issues? As for the wii, you're not locking it down on both kids, you should just let them know the hours of use on them, plain and simple. Then take it away during the night. There's tons of learning activities for your son to challenge himself online and in books you can find at the store.

Food and behaviour addressed already. I not only take away the controllers, I've had to resort to locking the tv down at night now. See the original post... he wanders the house in the middle of the night to sneak down to watch tv.

The collector 70 -
Aspergers children do not sleep they take "power naps" even when they are infants they never sleep through the night and always require 24/7 attention .

So back to the no sleep thing make sure his doctor knows about the no sleep they lack a natural substance melatonin b/c aspergers and autistic children do not produce that hormone .As for the bedroom find out what he's interested in and build around it .Aspergers children have a variety of interest that change my son is currently into rocks but we have went through stages of different things like snow globes ,nutcrackers and etc ....I currently like the rocks at least they are free LOL .As for stealing it maybe just age but one thing they also do is steal and as much as I watch my son in the store he also takes things and I have to get the manager and just impress upon him that he cannot just take something that isn't his .

My son was born at 42 wks 2 days gestation, via c-section following an induction. He was 9 lbs 2 oz, 22" at birth. Slept from 11 pm until 5 am.. from birth. He was breastfed and would nurse every 3 hrs like clockwork at the beginning, feeding for 40 min and sleeping until the next feeding time. He slept fine until he was around 4 or 5 when I had to stop him from napping because he was up until 11 pm. Currently he goes to bed at 8 pm, most night's he's asleep by 10. Problem is he either doesn't fall asleep at all, and I check on him before I got to sleep anywhere from 10 pm to 1 am, or he sets an alarm (either his clock or watch or one of his games has an alarm built into it), or he wakes up on his own. Last night it was after midnight that I went to check on him (had left my bedroom door wide open until I went to bed!!) and he wasn't in his room. He was down in the basement watching tv.. claimed he was looking for food (funny you can't do that in the basement with the tv on!!)... he opened his bedroom door, walked down the hall towards my room, down two flights of stairs without making a sound.

Spoke with the ped in June about his lack of sleep and was told to give him Benedryl or Gravol to help him sleep. His room is set up the way he wants it. We moved into this house almost 3 yrs ago and he's had the same bedding set since he was 3 yrs old... it's space themed.. dark blue background, yellow stars with larger yellow stars appliqued on his duvet cover. I've offered to change it, but he refuses to allow that. It's not an immature/childish room.. meaning it's suitably age appropriate. He also collects anything that isn't nailed down... rocks, coins, garbage... I clean thru his stuff every so often otherwise I'm overrun with stuff!!! And I consider us to be really lucky that he's never taken anything from a store. He does take things from me, my parents, his brother, and other people (like classmates, and other kids at camp). Funny thing is dad is a cop (military police)... he's been lectured about steeling and the consequences for years. He knows the rules, knows them better then anyone else, will be the first to tell you what they are.. but they don't apply to him. Fairly typical of kids like him apparently. I try not to make allowances or excuses for him because of his diagnosis, I don't let him get away with thinking that he can cop out based on his diagnosis. I make sure he knows he's responsible for his actions.. ALL of them.

I think that the rest of the posters points have been addressed already... so I won't bother replying point by point to them.

Part of the recent problems I think stems from the fact that I have been on medical leave from work since mid June, and infact have been having some physical problems since mid May and haven't been able to be as physically available with them as I probably should be. I have also had them on my own for the last 4 yrs (the ex has had them on average about 20 days a year, while I've had them the rest of the time)... I'm exhausted from having to deal with it all on my own, something that started long before the marriage ended I might add. The ex was not what you would call helpful as a parent, so it was all up to me from the time the first was born. While I know that repetition is key, I'm tired of repeating myself.

Oh.. might also add that the last visit he had with dad, dad did nothing but harp on him about things, and now with an impending 2 wks visit (yay for me!!) the oldest is not wanting to go and be with dad at all. We have discussed that and I've reassured him that daddy knows that yelling at him constantly is not acceptable and if things are really horrible, he can always call me and he can come home. I'm trying to encourage him to spend the time with his dad, I know he'll have fun, but I also can understand his not wanting to be in such a negative environment. I feel like I'm forcing him to go..

Sorry for writing a novel...
At my wit's end...
Posted: 8/3/2008 8:52:48 PM
OP, I feel your frustration because I am right there with son is 10 with an Aspie diagnosis along with ADHD, PTSD, and a small slew of other initials that I would rather not type out here... We go through many of the same things and it is so frustrating. My son's father, too, is no help in the matter with intermittant visitations and refusal to realize his son's diagnosis.
I think some really good suggestions were given here (at least as good as they can get since every Aspie child is so different).
-I know we swear by the Feingold Diet and have for years.
-I am also becoming a fast fan of melatonin as it helps my son fall asleep, but not always stay asleep- hey, it is a start and far more natural than other options.
-My son's room is also his sanctuary, both away from his younger siblings and the "extra stuff" that gets in the way of him thinking clearly at times (over-stimulation). I too send him there to gather himself at normally doesn't take long because he WANTS to do better with his behaviors, but it is a long process for him to learn how.
...I could go on for a while here, but I don't want to bore you. I do want to recommend one thing that has not been mentioned before here. I know someone mentioned therapy in some manner (It is late and my memory seems to be failing tonight), but more than seeing a psychiatrist for his meds and things, what has been helping my son greatly recently (in smally baby steps of course) is his mobile therapist. I would recommend asking his psychiatrist is this would be a possibility for your son as well. A Provider 50 program would be ideal as they cater specifically to Aspie kids, but openings for these programs are few and far between these days it seems (there is just not enough funding anywhere) so just a mobile therapist could be a great start. He or she could be with your son in the real situations that he is dealing with on a daily/weekly basis to deal with real solutions instead of just talking about them as they do in more tradtional office settings.
Alright, I am rambling so I hope this made sense tonight. Good luck to you, and remember that we are here of course for nothing more than a sounding board if you need it, or more!
Joined: 9/4/2006
Msg: 6
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At my wit's end...
Posted: 8/3/2008 9:10:00 PM
If your son has regularly watched tv late at night or play videos then that's something that will be hard to break, it can be done but subtley thru time. Once he gets use to it, he'll be use to the pattern.

Is there a local support group for you to join with parents who have aspie kids? maybe by joining you can swap babysitting time so that you can get a breather once in awhile.
Joined: 5/3/2006
Msg: 7
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At my wit's end...
Posted: 8/4/2008 1:34:45 PM
Just Em - we've done specially compounded (as in just for his needs) protein shakes and vitamins, along with rx iron supplements and carnetine (sp???). Did that for about 18 mo prior to breaking down and putting him on meds. At some point you just rebel and say ENOUGH! At one point when he was about 5 I counted the number of things he was taking in a day... came out to be about 19 pills, 2 shakes, etc... I've done the diet (altho will do a little more research into the one mentioned), homeopathic, naturopathic, chiropractic, metabolic, and finally conventional Western medications. A number of years ago I put a stop to all the testing and drs and therapies and what not because my then 8 yo child was sobbing to me about there being something horribly wrong with him. He was seriously scared that he was dying because of the number of medical appointments he was being dragged to. At that point I severely restricted those appointments.

He's got his IEP, but is mainstreamed. I think they do things different here then in the US.

Lookin4possibilities - he doesn't see a psychiatrist for his meds. The ped that follows him sees him ONLY for the ADHD/Asperger's issues, altho the Asperger's is a bit outside his specialty. If I need a referral to therapies I see our family dr as he's far more open to it then the ped is.

Wanderbaby - tv and games stop at 7-730 pm, bed time is 8 pm. The only way he plays or watches late at night is if he sneaks down. There is no tv or gaming in his room at all, and has never had it.

Janni and Pamperpooch - I too worry about him going into middle and high school. He will be grade 6 this year, the highest grade in his school. Next year I'm hoping he will just transition into a school that will take him from 7 thru 12. I'll know that as soon as school starts as I will be speaking with the school principal as soon as I can about it. Dating sucks for ME, and it scares me what he will face when he's old enough.

Thank you one and all for all the time and effort to respond to this. Lots of information to digest and take in.

As for this post -

Piano4te -
Judging from the actual LENGTH of one of the rebuttal posts from the OP, complete with quotes and responses to all the opinions given.....and considering the actual AMOUNT OF TIME THAT IT TOOK to put it all would appear that the child has been correctly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder after all.........

Now......pull the plug out of the damn computer.....get out of here....and go give the kid the attention he deserves. It's pretty damn obvious that the child is ACTING out from not only having a father who is not around.....but a mother who spends more time on the computer discussing his OVER MEDICATION, yet refusal to go actually be the CURE instead of the SYMPTOM............


Instead of SIMULATING RIDING A BIKE on a damn bout getting him ON a bike?? Anything that can be done on the SIMULATOR is what he SHOULD be doing in REAL LIFE........

*Not sure why I feel the need to respond to this.*

My child was in bed at the time I responded in great length to all those that had taken the time to reply to my post. I had already spent the whole day with him doing some pretty cool things together. You don't know me, so who are you to judge me by saying I'm refusing to be involved in his life? He doesn't simulate riding a bike, he's got a real one that he does ride. Along with my roller blades that he was out on both yesterday and first thing this morning. Right now, I'm physically limited in what I can do with him because of a torn disc in my back, so finding things that we can do together currently is a bit of a challenge. What he plays on the wii, he's not of legal age to do in real life.. lots of driving type games, so unless you are advocating me allowing my 11 yo to go out and drive, then... shhh. As I already explained, there are more brain building type games then other ones, and his time is limited on any of the systems.

Yes, I already am fully aware of my limitations and what I need to be doing with him.. but thank you for your *insightful* reply.
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