Anyone had luck with a psychologist/therpist?

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2002
Anyone had luck with a psychologist/therpist?
Mon, 04-25-2011 - 12:56pm

I am at the end of my rope. My 8yo DS has PDD-NOS and lately he has been so hostile and defiant and mouthy. It's impossible to reason with him or calm him down once he gets going and the smallest things set him off. One minute he's as sweet as can be and the next he's screaming, throwing things, calling me names, etc. And he does whenever and whereever the mood hits him - at home, at a crowded grocery store, the park, the doctor's office, etc. I spent about an hour yesterday sitting on my SIL's porch swing in 40-degree weather with no coat crying because I just hit my limit with him after he blew up because we told him he couldn't have dessert since he didn't touch his dinner. DH lost it and was yelling at him and telling everybody DS needs a good butt whooping. I know he was embarrassed that his child was yelling at him and calling him names in front of everyone but his reaction was not much better. I just can't do it anymore. We've tried timeouts, sending him to his room, taking away toys and priviledges, rewarding good behavior - nothing works. I realize that all of this comes with his disorder and what works with typical kids may not work with him. DH doesn't buy into any of that and thinks he's just spoiled and needs harder discipline.

I've visited with his dev. ped. and he's maxed out on his Strattera (can't do stimulants) and Celexa. We tried Tenex and it made him wet the bed. The fact that he behaves well at school (sometimes is ornery but never hostile or tempermental), suggests to the dev. ped. that it's all a "parenting issue" - I read that as him suggesting I'm just not handing things correctly. We took him to a behavioral psych. years ago when he was first diagnosed and it was worthless - she gave us all the tips you'd give for typically developing kids and none of them worked.

My question for all of you is, have any of you found a psychologist/therapist/shrink or something similar for behavioral issues that was actually useful? DH is putting his foot down on even looking into it because of our previous experience but I'm desperate. I can't take much more of this. We don't go out in public and now I'm getting reluctant to even take him to family events because he just ruins it for everybody. And if he's this bad now, what will happen when those teen hormones kick in? I don't want to see him end up in legal trouble.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!




iVillage Member
Registered: 07-10-2007
Tue, 05-24-2011 - 11:19pm
My DD is only 3 but we took her to a psych before anything else thinking she "just" had OCD. The reason I am writing this is just to empathize with you about these shrinks ridiculous thinking that our ASD kids can handle the same disciplinary approaches as "regular" kids! How do they get these degrees without learning this stuff?! Delaney spent an entire HALF a session throwing a fit which turned into beign about her eyes needing wiped and her nose being blown (and she was ONLY 2 for pete's sake!!!). So glad I paid for that, thanks.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 05-17-2011 - 8:25pm

Definitely call the elementary school your son will attend and ask for a referral to a psychologist. Your son absolutely needs to be tested. Please tell your DH that medication, when necessary, does not turn people into robots. I took Ritalin for years as a child and teen (I was actually in the trials for it in the early 70s), then took Xanax as an adult. Both of my children are on psych meds. None of us have ever been "controlled" by meds.

A person who receives chemotherapy for cancer is not controlled by meds. Nor is your husband when he takes Advil or whatever for a headache. Neurological and psychiatric disorders are physical disorders every bit as much as cancer. Just because we don't fully understand them and don't know why the meds work doesn't mean they're not real.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Tue, 05-17-2011 - 5:31pm

I feel for you! I have a 14 yo on the Asperger's spectrum (his doctor calls it "a sprinkling of Asperger's) and the teen years have been, well, tough, because the defiance and total shutdowns happen at school, too. I have had to pick him up so many times at school this year I am ready to scream. But it is getting better, finally, and he won't have to be at this miserable school next year.

We do have a therapist who is very good with gifted, non-typical kids. We also have a psychiatrist who does some counseling, but mostly monitors his medication. You may have to search for a while to find someone your son will trust. Ours got thru to him because he was willing to sit in total silence when my son had his hood pulled up over his head and his fingers stuffed in his ears, instead of grilling him. Lots of therapists (and teachers!) do not get this. He also has a very calm atmosphere and doesn't have a particular regard for "normal." In short, he really loves non-typical kids and has told my son he thinks highly of him. This is really huge, because most of DS's teachers don't get him or like him.

DH and I meet with the therapist, too. He has taught me to just ignore our son and go about my business and allow him to self-calm. I am not to ask him what's wrong, how he feels or why he is upset. It practically kills me, but I just walk away very quietly.

I love the idea of karate. My son thrived the 5 years he took karate because the rules were very clear and the instructor took the quiet meditation part very seriously. He would kick kids out of class regularly for not following the rules and for not being disciplined during the meditation. There were two other kids on the autism spectrum in there, and they both did well, too.

You do

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-25-2007
Sun, 05-15-2011 - 10:41am

It really depends on what kind of therapy is provided. We spent 5 years with a therapist who supposedly was experienced with ASD and I can say without the slightest hesitation that it was a complete and utter waste of time and money. Oh yes, my son loved her and looked forward to her sessions. What kid doesn't like pillow fights and games of chess? The bottom line is she did not modify one single behavior or improve any skills that he was lacking. When I asked her to work on specific things that he was having trouble with she would pout and ignore me. I finally came to realize that he was improving more by the stuff my late husband I did than anything this high priced therpist did. Many families find that traditional talk therapy is not beneficial for our kiddos. Another bit of advice I have is if they ask the parents to leave the room consider that a red flag. I found out later she spent most of her sessions with my son texting and playing with her Blackberry.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2003
Sun, 05-15-2011 - 8:01am

hi & welcome to the board, I would call the school district or the county & try and find out how to refer someone to Early Intervention in your area.

Let them do the testing & he may qualify for some services now that will help with the transition into school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-29-2004
Sat, 05-14-2011 - 5:34pm

I can't bellieve I found someone who is going through what I am going through. My 4 yr old son has never been diagnosed with anything. His dr just says he's a typical boy but from what I just read as your post, I wonder. What you say you go through is what we go through daily. For instance today, this is the play by play: Woke up, 2 hrs later got mad and screamed and cried for an hour because we took his pjs off and wanted to put cothes on him. He threw toys at his door and stomped on the floor. It is now 6 hours later and he is still telling me he hates the gray shirt he is wearing. He screams and clenches his teeth when we try to brush his teeth (will not do it on his own). He refuses to feed himself and if he does try to feed himself and the food falls off the fork, he will throw the fork, food and all across the room. He will not drink from a cup like kids his age should be able to. He will not drink anything cold. He will let his juice sit until its warm or i have to microwave it before he will drink anything. He was a very good baby and he was late walking but early talking. He speaks very plain and seems smart. He just can't control his anger and is angry 85% of the day. Rarely is he not mad or throwing something or hitting the side of his head. Now he has started pulling his hair. My husband tells me not to take him for testing becuse drs just want your money and will just put him on a bunch of drugs that will numb him into a robot. He doesn't like other kids. When we go to the park and a kid comes up to him to play, he will just scream and run away. Not scared but mad. He will start school in 2012 and I fear that he will get expelled the first few days. Also I wonder what he will be like

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Wed, 05-11-2011 - 5:43pm

Yes, we have. We had a series of sessions with a child psychologist who specialised in ASD. We'd had previous sessions with therapists who gave us all the NT 'tricks' that didn't work on ASD kids and were useless. Worse than useless, actually, because they made me feel like a complete failure. (mind you they were very useful on my NT kids). But the specialist was a complete god-send and I credit her with the fact that our whole life is much calmer and happier, we understand Euan and how to support him better, and we have a tremendously useful set of supports at school. We worked on behaviour and eating issues primarily, but other things came into it.

Euan *hated* it. He used to cry before and afterwards and beg not to go. But because she knew ASD she really understood the triggers and issues. She made us break down how to teach Euan how to identify, and respond appropriately to, his emotions. She helped me understand how to head off problems and how to help Euan. She sat with us in IEP meetings and really made the school sit up and take notice. At one point (when Euan was sent home from an outward bound course despite me telling them repeatedly that he wouldn't be able to cope, and hey, he hit someone and couldn't cope) she literally stopped me from falling apart completely.

She discharged us and I still miss her. But it really is worth finding a therapist who specialises in ASD to work with your DS, with you, and with your DH on this stuff. It is waaaaaaaaaaay too hard to do it on your own.


mum to Euan (12, Aspergers Syndrome) Rohan (8, NT) and Maeve (5, NT)

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-14-2011
Fri, 04-29-2011 - 4:49pm
My daughter sees a therapist once a week. she loves him! she knows allll her therapy days and wakes up excited for them. ours is verrry into oils and natrual things. im lucky i found him it took a few different ones to get to him though. lol
Avatar for skystrider
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-1999
Fri, 04-29-2011 - 9:42am

My DS is the same way about doing great while he's at school, and then melting down at home.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-04-2003
Mon, 04-25-2011 - 3:42pm
My DS (AS, ADHD, anxiety) has been seeing a therapist for 2 years now. She is a HUGE help, for all of us. She always has recommended reading for me, and really connects with DS. And I can tell when it's been too long between appointments as he gets very high strung.