Is this on purpose? or PDD-NOS related?

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Registered: 02-24-2001
Is this on purpose? or PDD-NOS related?
6
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 1:05pm

I know all PDD-NOS is very different. My son has a high IQ, but very low processing scores. When he takes tests, he generally scores very well. His overall ITBS tests have run at 94th percentile for the last few years, since he started taking it.

Problem is, if I ask my son to do something he does not feel like doing, he does not do it. This morning, I asked him to put the baby in the high chair and feed him his breakfast. I kept repeating it and then got angry so DS15 yrs old put the baby in the high chair, but then turned back to watch Simpsons. SO, I had the TV turned off so he could turn and feed the baby. I went back to what I was doing (cleaning) but when I came back, DS was off goofing off and DD14 was feeding the baby.

The reason why it is so important to figure out whether it is on purpose or not is this. He wants his drivers license as soon as he turns 16. He actually turns 16 on a Saturday so he will have to wait until Monday. He has already finished drivers ed. I cannot help but feel if he cannot handle a simple chore or do a simple thing he was asked or carry through on things, that he should not be driving.

But there is more. He wants to go to a particular private school this fall. He got in. Like I said, his test scores are high. But, I am afraid he will get there and then just not follow directions. The whole baby feeding thing is just one example of many. None of his IEP accomodations will apply to the school because of the way they are set up. He had no modifications on his IEP. He just had being allowed to type papers, allowed to turn papers in early, and the teacher had to help him break down big projects in to steps with due dates ahead of time so they would be done in time. The private school uses an interactive computer system where he will be typing all day long anyway. Plus, he did not have computer access when he took the entrance exam and the school says his handwriting was fine and his paper was fine. They told me their system actually puts due dates and breaks down projects for him so he will know what to do. Oh, one more thing, he had preferential seating in every class.

The public school is not an option. And suing is not going to solve anything as other parents of children with disabilities who have sued have been locked up in years long battles and are still working their way through the court systems. Texas does not have speedy courts.

Back to the cleaning I was doing when DS15 was supposed to be feeding the baby. I asked him several times to please clean up a particular mess. He never did it. He kept walking away and not doing it. So that is what I was doing at the time. I did at the end asked him if he would rather feed the baby while I cleaned up or clean up the mess while I feed the baby. He said he would rather feed the baby.

Oh, and there is more. DS15 wants to be a lifeguard next summer. Based on what I see of the other lifeguards around here, he can't be any worse. But the point is, he has not made the commitment or hard work I have asked of him to become a lifeguard. I told him it would be best if he made it to the pool most days and practiced his treading and lap swimming and the other skills he was told he would need to pass the lifeguard test. The pool is close to the house and I purchased him a membership. He just never gets around to it. He often is too busy playing video games (or emailing with a particular 15 yr old girl).

If DS15 stays home, he will be doing a distance learning program. I have thoroughly researched it and I think it is an excellent program and he will have success. We have done home study before through a local private school and it really allowed me enough access and control over what he was doing that I could make sure it got done. My hope would be that by the time he graduates in 3 years, that his study habits and organization will be much better, that he will learn to handle that better over the next few years.

What do you think? Do you think he doesn't carry through with things on purpose? Do you think he just needs more training and help? Which school would be best? And the drivers license? Dread!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-02-2009
Mon, 07-12-2010 - 5:33pm

ribrit, I feel like I can relate somewhat to your situation--our son (age 9, dx at age 7) has ASD, ADHD, ODD, and some OCD tendencies. I feel like it is a fine line, I am always wondering how much slack to cut him due to difficulties because I don't want to be too tough. But if I let anything go, he manipulates and pushes it as much as he can to his benefit. It's a hard call.

Several months ago, I finally concluded that instead of "picking my battles" I needed to muster the determination and grit to fight all the battles because he is such a black and white thinker, if I let anything slide at all, he wants to battle on everything. He is too darn smart! I had been giving him breaks on timeout, reducing it to compensate for the issues he deals with. I stopped that, and instituted a zero tolerance policy for complying with my requests. Then a beautiful new baby came into our lives through adoption (we'd been waiting for a number of years with no timeline) and I knew I had to get things under control and stick with it. We got a puppy before the baby, so things were crazy!

The first timeouts took over 2 hours to get 9 minutes of quiet time (found a place he can bang walls in the hall and not ruin metal doors, close one door to reduce irritation from screaming) but he has made progress. It got worse, now is getting better. Much less arguing, more compliance, and when he does have to go to timeout he will go without me dragging him (if I have to put baby down to get him there it is double). I know--you're dealing with a teen, but you have other consequences available other than time out, such as loss of screen time (computer/TV/video games) or as another poster suggested, earning that time. It takes a lot of energy, but it has been worth it laying down the law and letting him know there are firm limits that are not open for debate, and giving consistent consequences. We try to take time as a family, with a family game or movie night, and eat meals together, say a prayer together each night at bedtime after stories (he still loves stories and we hit the library regularly) after which we all say something we are thankful for. I try to find something positive he has done to be thankful for, so I am giving positive reinforcement and not just criticizing.

Things are better in some regards, but still quite challenging. I feel that implementing some chores for him that he's required to do without getting paid (sort his laundry, put away clean clothes, empty dishwasher) have helped. I think he has a better understanding that we all contribute and help do things as a family. If he doesn't do what he is asked, he either loses screen time, loses the toy/object he is distracted with and won't put down, or if I have to do what I asked him to do, I charge him 25-50 cents for it. The warning on that is enough to get him going.

I dealt with some extended family issues too but fortunately it wasn't direct criticism of me in front of my son--my in-laws lived with us for a couple years time when son was younger to help with our business during a medical emergency and recovery. M-I-L would tell our son "no" 9 times, then give in on the 10th. It just fueled his argumentative nature. At the time he was not diagnosed but we could see it was making things worse with behavior. But we needed the help, and knew if we said anything the help would end.
We waited until we didn't absolutely need the help, then addressed it through a very tactful letter. M-I-L overreacted and was really sensitive, they immediately quit coming and she would not even talk on the phone to us. It took a few years for things to fully blow over, but it did. In the meantime, having that element of pacifying his every whim out of the picture made things easier with our son. She did get much better, and so did he, fortunately for us all. Thankfully my hubby was with me and what was best for our son.

I agree with other posters (sorry, I didn't note names...) it has to be parents' final decisions, whether regarding schooling, finances, or whatever. Relatives may mean well or think they have the best interests of your child at heart, but your children are your children and you have to be the one to decide. Maybe you would find it easier to write a letter like I do--I find in a sensitive or difficult situation, I don't always think of everything I want to say. If I can give it thought, I write and re-read, make sure I don't say something I will regret, and strike the right tone of the message I want to get across, I feel better about it and that it will be more effective. I would encourage you to address that issue, because your relatives are undermining your credibility and your decisions with your son.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 11:37pm

<<>>

I have a question: If you weren't sure whether you were going to get paid or not, would you still show up for work? I don't think that most would (not that job anyway). We live in a rewards-based society. You go to work, you get paid. It's reality, and I see nothing wrong with engineering our home dynamic to reflect that reality. Do a chore, and get a reward (a reward that's meaningful for him).

My reward is a feeling of pride, but then it's MY house. He lives there, but I don't think that he'll feel any pride of ownership (if you will) until he's an adult living in his own place. So telling him that he'll feel a sense of pride for having a clean home won't cut it in the rewards department. I have to make it something he'll really enjoy...like screen time.

<<>>

Or it can teach him how to live with failure. To show him that even his best efforts won't get him anywhere (and I speak from personal experience...not all kids rise to the challenge, I sure didn't). That's why a blanket recommendation either for or against private school is not really a good idea. Neither one of us knows whether this boy can succeed in this new school. That's a judgment call for his mother to make.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-30-2010
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 10:00pm
He will need to learn to deal with institutions and not rely on you for his motivation. I think private school is necessary choice. If he fails that is an important learning step for him. It would be better to fail at 16 then at 25 or 30. And most likely he will rise to the challenge.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 3:42pm

<<>>

One thing that I'm trying (out of the thousands of methods that have gone before, LOL. And it's early days so I can't tout it one way or another) with my DS is to make his screen time dependent on doing stuff. So, he starts off the day with no screen time privileges, and must earn blocks of time by doing chores (so, put your laundry away and get 30 minutes...and after 30 minutes, mom pulls the plug). Like I said, it's early days so I'll have to get back to you on how it works, LOL.

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OMG! My family would get one warning, and one warning only. Cease and desist, or get cut out of our lives (even if doing so required a restraining order).

<<>>

I'm thinking that it really shouldn't matter. That it could be school friends who are feeding these thoughts and attitudes, even if family weren't. My position would simply be "too bad, these are the rules, and those are the consequences for not adhering to them". It's really all you can do, as far as I know.

You can maybe try explaining to him that in the real world he might find himself working at a job where he doesn't understand the "whys" of the rules, doesn't like the rules, and has had previous workplaces where these rules didn't exist, but he still has to suck it up and follow them.

<<>>

My mother would be given a very clear warning that she's about to be issued a one-way ticket out of my life. Or, at least, a ticket to a very peripheral area of my life (like phone calls on her birthday and Mother's Day), and no access to the kids.

If you ask 50 parents about who pays for college, you might get 50 different opinions (mine is the polar opposite of your mother's, fwiw), but the only one that counts is yours and your husbands.

BTW, I hear you about the meds. My DS was on one that worked great, except for the almost total loss of appetite. So now he's on one that is much less effective (though better for appetite), and we're white-knuckling it, all the while trying to not pull too much of our hair out, LOL.

Avatar for ribrit
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Registered: 02-24-2001
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 2:34pm

No refund on tuition. I told him he needed to show me he can and will follow directions if he wants to go there. But, he often overrules things he gets told.

Before he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, when he was 5 yrs old, he was dx'd with ADHD and ODD. He was not typical for ODD. He was not bad mouthing us or anything. He just never was complaint. Even in the psych's office, he would not get off the back of the furniture and kept trying to rip down the blinds. I took him there thinking adhd, but the psych told us he has never had a child with adhd only who did all what he saw my son do in his office. He said he thinks ODD also. He prescribed a medication for it and things were heavenly for the next couple years. Then the medication made him so sick that he almost died so we have been warey of medications ever since. We tried a couple others. Focalin made him mean. Adderall left him not eating and losing weight. He is not a mean or argumentative boy. He is just quite apathetic toward things that do not directly and immediately benefit him. And, when you ask him to do things, he will just not do them.

His consequences are usually in the range of no driving (he has a permit and likes to practice) and no Tv or computer.

Here is one other thing. I have family who live nearby. If they ever find out my son is so much as grounded from his computer for 1 day for lying, they flip out and will openly say, in front of him, that we are cruel and tell him he should not be punished. I have informed him many times over that he is stil under 18 and therefore, under my control. He seems to get that. Even more, I have asked him if he really thinks that the day he turns 18 that he will be able to just move in with them and get them to pay all his bills and cater to his every whim like they claim I should. He realizes not. Yesterday, he wanted to eat out at a particular place. I told him call Grandpa. He did and Grandpa did not want to. SO, if Grandpa won't take him there, even when DS is paying, what is the likelihood that DS will get much of anything he wants when he is 18 out of them? DS15 really seems to get that. But sometimes, I wonder if he gets in to his head that they are at least right, that I overreact and he should never be punished.

Oh, and get this, my daughter wants to attend the state science academy. It has costs. When my mother found out, she asked how much it costs (almost $9,000 a year). Then she got upset and informed me, in front of my son, that I need to match that money and simply give it to my son. Since the academy goes two years, I am just supposed to give DS15 $18,000 to spend as he pleases. My mother over the top favors my son and is completely unreasonable about it.

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Registered: 03-09-2009
Sun, 06-27-2010 - 1:39pm

One thing that jumped out at me was that I didn't see mention of consequences for not complying with your requests. How does he react when there is a consequence (and, of course, a consequence he'll likely care about...for my DS it's the loss of screen-time, or not getting a ride to the Y Friday nights) attached to non-compliance? I can ask my DS to do chores or just help out until I'm blue in the face, but if there is no consequence for just ignoring me, it don't get done.

It's kind of a parallel on life, and not uncommon. If one can slack off at work and still get paid, then it's pretty tempting to just slack off, kwim. As soon as there are unpleasant consequences (firing, loss of hours, or pay deductions), people generally work harder.

About the driver's license, I might be in the minority, but I'm not a big fan of teens, any teens, driving. I'm the parent who makes the kid wait until adulthood, but then pays for lessons and fees.

The school issue, I'm not sure about. I guess that's a judgment call on your part. I don't know how much he relied on the assistance from his previous school, or just how unmotivated he is with take-home work. And can you get the tuition fee back if it doesn't work out?