Howdy :) I'm Kristin, a single mom of Aryc (8) and Nate (6). Aryc has been diagnosed with PTSD (abuse and neglect from his dad, which is why I'm now a single mom with primary custody 9 months out of the year), RAD, and mild/moderate ADHD, and life-threateningly severe asthma. (In fact, we were just in the ER last night - second time in 2 weeks - because this attack was so bad that he was turning blue!) We just turned new Vanderbilt scales in to his therapist and will hopefully get the results within the next week or two. People with autism experience have also suggested that he may be mildly austic, but that hasn't been tested yet. (I'm working on getting him tested once we find out what the Vanderbilt scales have to say.) It is also entirely possible that all of this is co-morbid with bipolar, as both his dad and I are diagnosed bipolar, and I have been since I was 6. Nate has sensory processing disorder, severe developmental delays, and educational autism. I'm working on getting him to be officially tested/diagnosed ASAP.
Life at our house is...challenging. Aryc really struggles with flips in his behavior and attitude. One minute he's the sweetest, kindest, funniest, most empathetic kid you will ever meet. And then, usually out of seemingly nowhere, his whole body changes -- the look on his face, in his eyes, the way he carries himself -- all changes, like a switch was flipped. He gets hostile, brooding, depressed, lashes out, is destructive. Right after the diagnosis he was put on Geodon to stabilize his moods and calm him down. While he was Geodon (after only 2-3 days) he tried to physically pick up Nate and throw him into oncoming traffic on our busy street, then 10 minutes later, attempted to slit his wrist with a steak knife - while glaring at me. Then 20 minutes later, he was fine, like nothing had happened. Right around that same time, he tried to kill the cat by breaking its neck and back. He's a kleptomaniac and a compulsive liar, with a serious bed-wetting problem. He's disruptive in school -- his teacher most mentioned him throwing his desk to get attention during quiet moments, making noises to distract the class, and overly physical behavior to gain attention, such as leaving the room every 10 minutes (literally) to go the bathroom to play with the water in the sinks, or getting out of line to run around the hallway, etc. He has no IEP (yet!!) and is in a regular classroom with one teacher and about 20 or so other kids. He has a helper/tutor come in for about 45 minutes a day for specialized help with reading and math (both poor subjects), but it's not specifically addressing these issues in conjunction with the studying.
I love him sooo much and I really don't want to seem like I'm complaining about him or making him sound like a monster. He's not!!! But in order to be honest and get the help we all so desperately need, I do need to be honest with where we're at and what we're dealing with on an almost daily basis.
Life is stressful enough as-is right now: I'm recently unemployed and living off our $400 a month in child support, which isn't paying the rent and only barely covering keeping our lights on. Childcare is pretty much non-existant for the types of jobs I'm qualified for (no degree yet...I flunked out last semester because of diversion of attention for the kids' issues), which makes finding a job that much more difficult and stressful. Family feels this is attention-seeking behavior on my part so people will feel sorry for me (that's from his dad) or a lack of discipline on my part (that's my side of the family, which lives close and interacts often...when they have the patience for it). Nate's issues are getting worse and he's starting to regress. And out of necessity, I have taken on my friend's 4 yr old son for good chunks of the day, and he has behavior issues of his own, which exacerbate my kids' issues. /sigh
What I'm working on: education, understanding, and tolerance!!!! There was a link posted giving the basics of some of the lesser acknowledged components of ADHD. WHAT AN EYE OPENER!!!!! I had NO idea that some of the klepto and lying issues, among other things, were part of the ADHD! (They may also be part of the other things he's dealing with, but at least I have a starting point and stop thinking that he's just a "bad kid"!) He's home sick today so I will be using this time to cuddle and spend time with him, and specifically to have short conversations about how his world looks through HIS eyes...something I've never thought to find out before now. I'm really excited to learn about him in this new way! I'm also trying to gently educate my family and his dad. I pray they really take in what I'm sending their way and start using new ways of interacting with Aryc and me. It's sooo hard on Aryc when he's obviously struggling with things, let's just say the noise making, and my dad comes down hard on him for purposely being annoying, and "that's why people don't like you", and yelling at me for "allowing" him to act like that. It's tough on everyone and only makes things worse.
I would love to A) get the official diagnosis so we have a true starting place, B) get good Christian (or really sound secular) parenting resources for children with these special issues, C) get educated about what he's dealing with so I can stop being so angry and bitter, and D) teach (by resources and example) how to better interact, encourage, and deal with their special situations.
Thank you for your patience with my long post. I look forward to looking around and learning more from you amazing women! :)