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Children - Special Needs Community
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Avatar universal

He's only 5 yrs old! Advice Please!

Hi,

I have a 5 year old son in a special education kindergarden class.  He has been seen by a neurologist, psychiatrist and developmental therapist and they came together and diagnosed him with over 10 different criteria meeting ADHD, Opositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety, Language Disorder, Aspergers, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Seperation Disorder, Mood Disorder, Borderline Disorder, Multiple Complex Disorder and Psycosis.  

To give you a brief summary of his childhood, he has been in and out of 3 different preschools because of his behavior and lack of social skills.  His father chose the path not to be in his life (we'll leave it as that), he is in a loving home being raised by myself and his grandparents.  He is highly intelligent, but has severe difficulties in his school environment.  He is unable to sit, focus, listen and follow orders, usually following his own agenda.  He is frequently bored in his classroom and searches for other ways to cure his boredom resulting in destructive behavior to himself and his peers.  He will run in and out of the class, crawl or climb on furniture and has been suspended in the past.  He has been given a 1:1 paraprofessional but that doesn't help in any way.  He is currently waiting to tranfer to yet another school which is much smaller in class size.  I am a firm believer in not administering drugs to children but I am seriously considering it.  I just got back the Autism / Psychiatric testing yesterday and they listed all the disorders mentioned above with a high recommendation in psychosis.  Since my son son has a very vivid imagination and he is in constant playing mode no matter what setting he is in, he talks to his toys and sometimes has conversations with them as well.  He has gone around telling everyone that there are monsters and aliens in his house and now all the doctors and therapists think he delusional.  I really need some feedback on what I should do, I am seeking a second opinion because I don't feel like he should be given anti-psychotic medication at the age of 5.  I really believe that he is just being a kid with an imagination that is just non-stop.  I'm also considering that I could be in denial but I would like to give him the treatment he needs without harming him in the long run.

Respectfully,
A very confused mother
3 Responses
Avatar universal
You are absolutely right to get a second opinion. I have never, ever heard of any dr. diagnosing all of those disorders to anybody, let alone a 5 year old boy.

Please try to not start him on any psychotropic medications. These types of medications have NEVER been formally tested on children. The long term side effects of such meds can be devestating.

Also, I do not think he is psychotic. Seriously, this is absurd. Next, these docs are going to classify all girls who play house and talk with their dolls as psychotic too.

I would start with a second opinion and go from there. I can only imagine how frustrated you are with this. But, stay strong, you will find an answer to this madness soon. And, I can assure you that your son does NOT have all of those disorders listed above. I've never even heard of Borderline disorder.

Take it one day at a time. Keep us updated on his progress.
Best wishes,

Stephanie
Avatar universal
Are you sure your son was diagnosed with the above disorders or were those the possibilities that were considered?  For example, Borderline Personality Disorder is not diagnosed until the teenage years; in other words, it sounds as if they could not come up with a diagnosis so they listed some of the "possibilities" - many which are not diagnosed until years later.  Having some "traits" or "criteria" does not mean a person has that disorder.  Our nephew has many of the "traits or criteria" of Asperger's, but not quite enough of the behaviours to formally diagnosis him with that disorder so he is listed "on the autistic spectrum" without an actual diagnosis.  It does sound as if "psychosis" is a very possibility - and from that starting place a proper diagnosis might be made when your son is older.  Whatever the diagnosis, the issue will be to treat your son's behaviours.  I agree that you need a second opinion but whatever the "diagnosis", it is the behaviours that must be addressed.  As for medication - I believe when all other options have been exhausted, then you use the "last resort".  Meds for our child was a blessing.
470168 tn?1237474845
I would agree on a second or even third opinion.  As you say, your child is only 5 with alot of developing infront of him.  My son has a diagnosis of ASD with echolalia.  He also uses his own speech, but he can spend hours a day receiting diaglogues he has heard or seen on TV, and will giggle to himself and re-enact certain movements.  Not so long ago this would have been diagnosed as childhood schizophrenia.  
I agree that your child may get one diagnosis with certain traits of other diagnosis, or he may not meet the criteria for any of them, but have aspects of some or all of them.
So, the best course of action is to watch the behaviours and see what is most dominant, what is a priority etc.  I made a list of what were my sons difficulties in order of priority to him (not school!) and then I made a list of therapies/interventions to try based on which were less invasive, safe etc and then just started working my way through them.  
I would have thought psychosis would be hard to diagnose at his age??  Afterall many children make up imaginary friends/stories etc.  My son can also find it difficult to understand what is real and what isn't (especially if he has seen something on TV).  My son is also terrified of the dark and is convinced there are monsters in our house.
It sounds like ADD/ADHD is at the forefront with all the distractability and impulsiveness that comes with that.  School and professionals should be looking at strategies to help with that.  For examples lots of breaks.  Teaching things in short slots eg. 5/10 mins then moving onto something else as his attention cannot remain on one subject for any length of time.  
If you have a family history of allergies/ezcema/asthma/food intolerances etc it might be worth considering a gluten free/casein free diet for a time to see if that helps at all.  But don't try to do everything at once.  You need to keep yourself healthy and you need to have some quality time as a family (and not be rushing from one therapy to another).
As he likes to play have you considered using Play Therapy?  I found it very helpful for my son.  But you need to find a PT who has experience of working with children with a diagnosis of ADHD/ODD etc.  It helped my son to experience play with someone other than himself.  He gained confidence.  He learnt how to take turns and to allow someone else to add to the play instead of always wanting it in his way and on his terms.  
I personally think that sometimes ODD is simply a child who is struggling to get any kind of positive outcomes out of interaction and so they try to keep complete control themselves.  I know there is more to it than that, but I found PT had alot to offer.  
An Occupational Therapist should be able to consider all the traits and work on managing anxiety in school/home by him having a much more predictable routine etc and should be able to give advice to teaching staff/yourself about strategies to use, especially if anxiety is leading to bad behaviour/avoidance behaviour.
If he has any interests/obsessions you can really work with them and use them as aids to learning.  Sometimes attention/focus is very different for children diagnosed with ASD/ADHD because they cannot pay attention to what we want them to.  They only have attention/focus for what they are interested in.  Therefore there is no point trying to move their attention, it doesn't work.  Use their interests instead and use something like PT to help them learn that 'paying attention' to others (as in play) can be interesting and beneficial to them.
If he has alot of energy you could invest in a trampoline for him to work out on (and save your furniture!).  I have got a small exercise trampette in the house and my son uses it all the time.
Join a support group so that you can meet other families in a similar situation.  You also get lots of advice from other families who have been there before.
I have only just (after 2 years) found a brilliant support group (meets once a fortnight) where all the children meet up in the gym of a local college.  They put out a trampoline, bouncy castle, gym equipment etc for the children to play on.  There are 3/4 adults there to keep an eye on them.  The parents meet in another room and have coffee/tea/biscuits etc and have a good chin wag about whatever is going on.  All the kids love it. And it is for children with ASD/ADHD and their friends and siblings to go along to.  So, if you don't find a group that suits you, keep searching.
Don't feel pressured by professionals to agree to anything and don't feel guilty about your sons behaviour.  You don't have a magic wand to wave and it is not your fault.  I know it is very hard to wait, but sometimes time is needed to make things clearer.
Avoid medication if you can.  But I also know a mother and son (both recently diagnosed with ADHD) and she says she cannot function properly without ritalin and neither can her son.  But at such a young age it would actually be helpful to see his behaviour as that will be an indication of where his difficulties are.  If he is medicated it may mask symptoms, and then how will professionals know what support strategies to put into place?  But at the end of the day you have got to do what works for your son and you.  And any decision you make is not written in stone, you can always change your mind.
Wishing you all the best on your journey.
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