Want to understand why some children are hard to deal with?


different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I am excited to offer my first free report, O.D.D. Not What You Think. I highlight why some children struggle with compliance despite the fact that all children are born wanting to be loved, accepted, and respected.

This report is the beginning my new project, Parenting Challenging Children.  I am putting together a member site with monthly webinars directed at understanding the 6 neurodevelopmental disorders of 1) Intellectual Disorders, 2) Communication Disorders, 3) Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), 5) Learning Disorders, and 6)Motor Disorders. There will also be webinars providing knowledge and strategies for working with mental health problems that up to 20% of children/youth experience. Temperament will be highlighted on its own and in conjunction with the neurodevelopmental and mental health issues of our young.

I am excited to be at a time and place to be able to share this knowledge and strategies that many families, schools, and other organizations/agencies that work with these struggling youth.  I will update you as the different levels of training are available.

 

22 thoughts on “Want to understand why some children are hard to deal with?

  1. I have 12 yr old identical female twins who are diagnosed AD/HD ODD & BI POLAR, since the age of 4. life for them has been a big struggle and there are far too many ignorant people, especially teachers who “claim” to be trained and understanding. NOT!!! No one has patients and the biggest problem i face is constantly trying to inform deaf ears. People see 10 fingers and toes 2 eyes and a nose able to walk and talk perfectly and expect a cookie cutter kid. What a rediculas notion, haven’t we all been taught that we are all individuals shouldn’t that be celebrated. My Girls are judged harshly and punished by everyone in soo many ways except for me, i believe that in time most of the issues will dissipate and work themselves out i CAN say this based on personal experience. i a s a child was far worse than my own kids put together. and in the 80s we didn’t have all these diagnosis. Kids and parents and teachers daycare providers dance instructors and even acting/singing professionals that have had my girls involvement 98% of the people treat my girls as if they are lepers. and 98% of the time it ends sadly for my girls. I even had to threaten the school with a news team called turn to two to finally get my girls an IEP in school (4th grade) after begging for one literally since 1st grade and being dismissed by every attempt to obtain it. my girls did not have a grade higher than a c- and most of their grades were Ds and Fs k-4, the very LAST day of 4th grade i was finally given an IEP mtg. the schools are a huge problem i have had teachers tell me to my face that “the girls problems were not there problem to deal with & they arent paid enough to put up with the crap from my kids. When my girls are treated as outcasts by these people they more or less give it right back to em. “The GOLDEN RULE” if you will.

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    • Oh Jacquie, I am so sorry that you have had such a hard experience. This is why I go around the country speaking to professionals about understanding and learning how to work with children with developmental and behavioral challenges. I hope that I cross the path of those who work with your girls and can bring a higher level of understanding and skill sets to them.

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  2. I hope during all of this you also teach parents about the responsibility of not only informing others about “our” children’s labels/disabilities that we also have to teach our children that society has rules and they need to be followed as well. I only say this because while I was trying to teach my son coping skills for his disorders there were so many parents making excuses for their children’s poor behavior. If my son couldn’t handle a situation due to his anxiety or ADHD I never apologized for it. I instead made it a point to sit near isles or dorrs so that we could either leave early or at least take sensory breaks until he was old enough to learn what his triggers were. It took til he was about 10 but now at almost 14 he is very in tuned with himself. I credit this to being made to learn for himself what he could handle or not and even pushing him at times to step outside of his “box” and trying new things that seemed difficult. So many times I see parents making excuses or demanding that others respect their children’s limits and yet never teaching their children to respect those same limits in others.

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    • I totally agree with you Sue. I do work to teach parents how to understand their child, provide support like you did, and teach strategies to empower them when interacting with others. Of course it is important to make sure that the adults who work with your child understand what the disorder (s) is and how to work with it. Too many times professionals feel that the diagnoses are an excuse when it is an explanation about why the child needs a more individualized approach, not just a negative label (like lazy, stubborn, etc.) So advocacy will also be part of what I teach parents.

      Keep up your good work with your son.

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    • Agreed! May son may be difficult but it is my responsibility to teach him how to handle his reactions to his triggers…It has been very frustrating and difficult (I prefer challenging) but have made a little bit of progress.

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      • Dear Meghan, I am glad you are making progress. These special children of ours require a much higher level of parenting than the typically developing children. And helping him understand why he is being treated different from other kids, why they do things differently (and more positively responded to by adults) and why you work to directly teach him skills is so important. Keep up the good work. Having raised my own three special kids, I can tell you that there are joys to be found as they finally master essential skills.

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  3. I am interested to understand why so many kids have so many ” disorders” and syndromes now then when i was a kid. I know some would say well poeple had them but they just didn’t get properly diagnosed. I am sorry to say I believe it far different in our society in so many ways as to why these things keep coming up. I read recently there is belief that one of the biggest reasons for such and increase in autism is due to immunizations and not really knowing what is chemically in our vaccines. Does your research and knowledge prove this? I believe that all kids are special and that some come to us more special in ways then others. I often wonder about our food, accountability as parents as well as discipline in some instances of behavioral. I am aware though that there is more to most situations then we are willing to know. Just wondering thoughts and possible info you may have that is proven true. I find that as a Mom who does not face my own children dealing with these types of situations, I do have friends and family members who are. I do not like to be in the ignorant of the situation population I like to be informed and understand true research, proven medical diagnosis and real facts.

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    • Thank you for writing Rachel. The talk about vaccines and autism has not been proved with the original study and investigator both being found to be fraudulent. Numerous studies from around the world have looked at the vaccine question and not found any link. In terms of food and other issues, there is ongoing research looking at all of this, but other than a small subset of children in the autism spectrum with a problem with gluten and casein, no other diet problems have been found so far. Researchers around the world are also looking at the link of changes in the chemicals that we are exposed to and the list of problems are having. Family histories, however, do point to members who, if children today, would indeed be labeled with the same disorders that their children or grandchildren, or nieces/nephews are being diagnosed with.

      What is important to be aware of, the study of child development became more frequent and formalized just after WW II. This has led to an awareness of child struggles. In the 1970’s – 80’s, children with severe developmental disabilities were being moved from institutions back into their communities, which made the world aware of the frequency of developmental issues. And the ability to access research and other information exploded with the introduction of Netscape in 1994 and Internet Explorer/Windows 95 in 1995. There are research articles which were being translated for the first time in the 70’s and 80’s into English.

      I hope this is the start of your understanding of the special needs of children.

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  4. I have a 14 year old that I am almost positive has Aspergers. I have tried and tried to get him checked by the autism team and when they finally came a year an a half ago they found no signs of any type of autism (he is now a freshman in high school, it was the end of his 7th grade year when he was finally tested). I can’t look at a single symptom checklist for Aspergers and not think, that IS my son! I think that by the time they finally tested him that he had developed so many coping mechanisms on his own that he was able to mask the characteristics they were looking for. I have a degree in elementary ed and minor in special ed, and it is beyond frustrating seeing how many teachers and administrators will not use all of the techniques and strategies that I learned in school to help children who learn and behave differently. We had it forced down our throats in school how important it is to treat and teach each child as an individual and to adjust our teaching to their specific strengths and weaknesses, with or without a diagnosis of any kind. Yet My son has had to deal with teachers his whole life who constantly tell him and I that if we got a diagnosis or put him on meds they would work harder for him. To me, each child (even ones with the same disorders) have different strengths and weaknesses, and different needs; so WHY does a diagnosis matter for teachers??? They should be able to look at a child as an individual (not a diagnosis) and determine what that particular child needs to succeed. I hope that you are able to reach more educators and help them understand how important it is treat each child as an individual and that they should not assume that just because 2 kids have the same disorder that the same strategies will work for each of them!

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    • I totally understand what you are saying. If you can afford to, I would suggest that you see about getting him evaluated at one of the autism centers of excellence funded by the NIH. They are at ACE Research Centers:
      • University of California, Los Angeles
      • University of California, San Diego
      • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • University of Pittsburgh
      • University of Washington
      • Yale University
      The team should have at least been able to let you know why he was struggling, unless it was a school based team, since they go by different criteria for determining eligibility than a medical team who looks for disorders even if they might not qualify for an IEP.

      I also agree that as you were taught, schools should be teaching students with their strengths and struggles taken into account. It doesn’t really require teaching 25-30 different ways at the same time. Special education teachers know that there are multisensory ways of approaching teaching that will help a large number of students and there are now some software programs that can supplement in a more individualized manner the teaching of the student.

      It is my goal to bring a more comprehensive understanding of child development and how it influences academic learning as I speak around the country, and I hope through this blog. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. I have an 11 year old son who is in the sixth grade. He has mild ADHD for which he takes meds. and late last spring his Doctor put him on an anti depressent due to his anxiety, depression and stress he has with school. He is a bright, funny and very cute boy. He has had problems in school since the first grade. He is a June birthday and through much consideration my husband and I decided to start him in school instead of waiting a year. His first grade teacher wanted to hold him back as she felt he would gain some maturity by going through K for another year. I didn’t agree with the reasoning behind his K teacher on holding him back. Through much heated discussion the teacher decided to “let me have my way” The rest of grade school and how well he performed in class depended upon the teacher and how compassionate she was to helping him succeed. For lack of an explanation in any other way, Spencer wants to do, what Spencer wants to do, when Spencer wants to do it and becomes difficult when things don’t go his way. He does not like school work especially homework. He has made good grades until the second semester of 5th grade when they went downhill dramatically. The biggest issue, lack of motivation. Then a lack of concern of consequences. All of his teachers report him as being very quiet, caring and never causing a problem. My husband and I don’t have a good relationship with the grade and middle school. This I believe is not helping us in anyway. This year they put him in a program called Read Right, which you may be well acquainted with. This was the first we were aware that he wasn’t reading well. We have not been concerned about his ability to read what so ever. I understand the concept of the program very well and vehemently disagree he should be in this class. Both his previous school grades and his performance in state testing indicated no problem. They claim he is reading at a second grade level. This is just not the case. His attitude with school currently is that they think he is stupid, why should he try when it does not seem to matter. He has also been seeing a pediatric therapist since the beginning of summer, helping him with his anxiety about school. Spencer has many friends and is very social. He exhibits the lack of concern and cooperation at home also, but in a “not quiet and caring fashion” We are not getting any cooperation from the school or our son.

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    • Kimberly, it sounds like from your description of your son that he is somewhat slow to warm into people, slow to adapt to change and mild in how he expresses his emotions (which is why they are describing him as quiet). Most children with ADHD also have a co-existing (called comorbid) problem in processing and learning, the latter frequently in reading fluency, comprehension, or both. On standardized tests a student may do “okay” because it is of limited size and there are multiple choice answers. In the classroom, however, the student is expected to read much longer passages (pages), and do worksheets that are free recall, fill in the blank, and mini essays. The school needs to show you the testing that they have done that has him at the 2nd grade level. You have a right to request and receive a more comprehensive evaluation through the school looking at vocabulary and language skills that may affect reading, as well as phonologic skills (sound awareness ) that would affect his decoding ability for words that he doesn’t know yet. Alternatively you could find an independent psychologist, or multidisciplinary team (such as through a University medical center) to evaluate him more thoroughly. His behavior currently would suggest to me that he does have some learning and/or cognitive processing issues that are independent but co-existing with his ADHD, leading to his giving up basically. Good luck

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      • Hi Michelle, since I wrote above on Oct. 1 much has come to light. For lack of where to go next I made my son an appointment with a practice that works with children experiencing problems. I had a small book of doctor forms to fill out before our first appt. As I went through the hundreds of questions on the forms, it was quietly filling my mind that “there is nothing wrong with my child.” By the time I had finished I had an epiphany that “there is nothing wrong with my child!” The teachers and school wanted badly for something to be wrong. The first visit with the therapist lifted such a weight off my shoulders. ADD was all that was driving my child’s lack of motivation. And to put the school district in a nutshell they don’t want or have time to deal with him, they have standardized testing driving them to focus on a level of performance from the students to achieve the scores they are looking for. They keep gifted level students working at a lower level then their performance to counterbalance the children like my son whose attention they can’t keep or other students with learning differences that drive their scores down. After a much debated hour and one half conversation with the principal, I was finally able to convince her why my son shouldn’t be at the reading level that had him at. It was very discouraging to see that many of my points had not been considered regarding this program. He was pulled out of the read-right program and place in a math lab for the rest of the semester. His grades still aren’t the greatest. I now look on a daily basis what assignments he is missing and or why he may have scored low on a paper or quiz and email the teacher. After some trial and error (lack of response or respect,”) I started to cc the principal on my emails and becoming assertive when dealing with staff. He is now feeling very confident, no more statements of “I am stupid” from him. He is walking with a little swagger and knows he is smart and capable. The teachers are still not making much effort to keep him on track when he is in class. But I now know what I am dealing with.

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    • OMG! Kimberly! You just described MY son !! WOW! I’m so glad I read your post. I can’t wait to see what is forthcoming with this page and these posts. Looking forward to the insight we may gain.

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  6. Great concept. Can’t wait to see more. I have TWO children that could benefit so I’m all ears (and eyes). I will be sharing.

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  7. My frustrations have been similar to all I just read. My 12 year old has special needs. His diagnosis have included pervasive developmental disorder, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, sensory disorder, then autism spectrum, hypotonia and hyper extensibility and sleep apnea.
    I have worked so hard to get on the same team with school administrators and teachers. Even with an IEP (since starting school at 5) I have had difficulty getting teachers to understand him. He will NOT fit into your mold. He is an individual. I had enough last year, when I discovered the bullying was starting with the teacher. She believed that bullying my child would motivate him to try harder. We left the public school system after I did not get results. He started middle school this year at a private Christian school designed for children with learning challenges. He is doing very well. We have been able to reduce his counseling sessions to once a month. He fits in! He is making all A’s! He’s happy! I am grateful we found the school but part of me wishes we could have found a way to make the public school system work. Educating and following up with teachers is key. It’s great that they are learning skills but I don’t see much application of those skills.
    Looking forward to reading more on this topic.

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    • Oh Cheri,

      I am so sorry that your child had to experience such backward logic. There are still too many people out there that think that embarrassment will make a person “decide” to not do what others don’t like. With our children, however, they are not making choices to have things the way they are. They desperately want to understand and be successful at the skills that their peers do so effortlessly.

      You should be extremely proud of yourself for being an advocate for your child. Finding an environment that loves, accepts, and respects your child for who he is is awesome. Keep up the great work.

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  8. Kimberly, I am so glad that you had someone besides the school look at your son. And it is awesome how you increased your advocacy based on the feedback you received from the therapist. As I speak around the country, I see many examples of children being misunderstood, leading to negative interactions with adults, and in the case of your son, the eventual declaration of “I am stupid”. As parents we are the primary voices for our children. And as a professional who works with children experiencing developmental and behavioral challenges, I try to be the voice of the children, explaining the hows and whys of their behaviors. The outcome is increased awareness of how complicated it is to master everything in life and that we need to be asking how to further help children, not punish and blame them for where they are struggling. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in discipline but discipline is the teaching of skills so successfully that a child is able to function successfully without the parent. Until that point they need the parent to review situations, discuss options chosen and options that may have been chosen, with the expected outcome of each. I told my children I disciplined them with respect since I did those steps and then said that my response (A or B) would be based on the option they chose. After awhile they wished I wouldn’t respect them so much 😉

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    • I understand your need. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder. That means that the child is born with problems with processing information in order to plan and put into place actions. There are problems in the creation of enough of certain neurotransmitters (chemicals) to allow full and extended communication through the entire thinking, planning, and put into action process. You can learn more about ADHD by going to the http://www.chadd.org.

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