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problem with peers;

February 2 2008 at 1:50 PM
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ilmkisa  (no login)

My son was suspended from school for three days this week due to a ‘violent incident’ report filed on his record (and reported to the Police).
The key staff at the school called us in to discuss his behaviour with respect to the following on-going issues they encounter with him;
• January – slapped another boy in the face
• November – called a little girl a very inappropriate name
• Most recent incident – stabbed another boy with a mechanical pencil (not the pencil end) because the boy said his work was the messiest he’d ever seen
On-going issues;
• Disruptive in the class (outright as well as subtle/sneaky)
• Easy to anger
• lack of regard for other people’s feelings
• Denies he did anything wrong
• Downplays the extent of his wrong-doing
• Manipulative – getting other kids to do something that is wrong
• Emotionally shuts down when he gets in trouble
• Blames others for his actions
• Very smart but not excelling in school
• School work is messy and mostly incomplete
The school is recommending counselling to get to the bottom of his anger and lack of control.
He seems to think he can do and say anything he wants whenever he wants, which can be hurtful to people. He will do his school-work if he's feels like it and he CAN be very helpful and cooperative... again, if he wants to be. Apparently he's just not the same person that he is when he's with me. I’m not sure if he has ADD/ADHD – I took him to the paediatrician; and the Dr. spoke with my son on his own and then told me he didn’t believe there was cause for a confirmed diagnosis of the disorder. I also met with the school (principal/teacher/and Special Ed teacher) who suggested he may have “Oppositional Defiant Disorder” (Conduct disorder).

I also read the following on the internet:
The essential feature of this disorder is a pattern of persistently negativistic, hostile, defiant, provocative, and disruptive behaviour, which is clearly outside the normal range of behaviour for a child of the same age in the same sociocultural context, and which does not include the more serious violations of the rights of others as reflected in the aggressive and dissocial behaviour specified for categories F91.0 and F91.2. Children with this disorder tend frequently and actively to defy adult requests or rules and deliberately to annoy other people. Usually they tend to be angry, resentful, and easily annoyed by other people whom they blame for their own mistakes or difficulties. They generally have a low frustration tolerance and readily lose their temper. Typically, their defiance has a provocative quality, so that they initiate confrontations and generally exhibit excessive levels of rudeness, uncooperativeness, and resistance to authority.
Frequently, this behaviour is most evident in interactions with adults or peers whom the child knows well, and signs of the disorder may not be evident during a clinical interview.

I don’t really know what is going on with him... because I also read this on the internet:
Many gifted and talented children are often misdiagnosed by psychologists and other health professionals as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Disorder (OD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or another of the mood disorders. The misdiagnosis can stem from mistaken assumptions being made about the social and emotional characteristics of gifted children. Gifted children are at psychological risk due to other internal characteristics and situational factors. These factors can lead to interpersonal and psychological difficulty that turn into a misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. The most universal internal factor is the intense nature of most gifted children. This intensity can generate anxiety and depression, and create challenges for those who care for them. Situational problems that gifted children find themselves in at school can lead to boredom, especially where there is a lack of appropriate differentiated education. It is essential for professionals to gain an understanding of gifted, talented children so that they no longer conclude that certain inherent characteristics of giftedness represent pathology.

Of course, most parents would prefer to believe their child is gifted – and I do think my son is extremely smart, helpful, loving, and a hard worker. But if things aren’t going his way he’s miserable... that could be typical...
What do you think??

I find this all very upsetting and am willing to try anything to help my son!!!

a loving Mom...

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Jerry Wilde
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Re: problem with peers;

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February 11 2008, 10:21 PM 

As I was reading the first part of your description of your son my thoughts were, "This young man has a lot of the common symptoms associated with oppositional defiant disorder." Your first few descriptors were the common features of ODD.

Disorders like ODD and ADHD are a challenge to diagnose because there isn't a simple test to give and then you know with 100% accuracy what it is. Your description doesn't sound like ADHD to me other than the very sloppy work which is often associated with ADHD. If he truly has ADHD, you would have seen signs of it when we was much younger. Kids don't wake up one morning when they are 13 and "get" ADHD. The signs and symptoms are present much younger than that.

There always seems to be a desire to find a diagnosis and I've never been one of those people. So if we called this "ODD" or "ADHD" or "Intermitten Explosive Disorder," what would that change? Probably nothing. I always try to focus on the behavior. What is he doing that you want to see less of and/or what isn't he doing you want to see more of???

I think counseling is a wise decision for both you and your son. It will allow you to get help and support in learning how to handle your son. The counseling will be for your son and the adults he's living with. I'd highly recommend contacting someone who has expertise in working with disruptive youth. You will be able to find plenty of counselors who will be good at talking with your son and trying to figure out why he's anger and acting out. That usually doesn't solve much of anything. Ask around and find the professional who has experience (and success) with disruptive youth. You might start by asking the professional at the school who they might recommend.

These are not easy problems that will go away in a day or a week or even a month. You'll have to be determined and patient because this will take a lot of time and energy on your part. Good luck and let us know how your son is doing.

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