Saturday, February 8, 2014


We have been struggling with Anthony.  He has been struggling with completing any work.  If any work is involved he checks out.  He has all types of delaying tactics and can do so for hours.  His teachers and I met and discussed Anthony at length. Questions from his teachers were is it an anxiety issue.  My question is does he really have ADHD and are the delaying tactics because of a learning difficulty or something else.  I question the ADHD because I believe that the problem with completing his work does not come from ADD but from his own purposeful actions. 

Anthony was taken off of all ADHD medications before the Christmas break.  He had developed an eye twitch.  He was off of the medication at the time of the meeting and wasn't having any acting out behavior problems.  His problems with completing the work existed both before and after he was off of ADHD medication.  This made me question if he is in fact ADHD.  It is not unusual for children with bipolar to be first diagnosed with ADHD and after years of struggling to get it under control realize that ADHD is not the problem.  Often children have both as well.

I went to the psychiatrist.  He wanted to wean him off the mood disorder medication and put him on anxiety medication.  I was against this.  I know how much his behavior has improved once he was put on the medication.  However, I agreed to do it.  I think that so many people find it hard to believe that children have bipolar.

Anxiety medication did nothing.  Not a thing. 

ADHD medications were reintroduced.  Both of his teachers can't tell me if it makes a difference or not.  It was a hard time, we had snow days and a lot of days out of school.  Still, you would think that there would be a definite difference on the medication.  Both teachers couldn't tell the difference.

Off of mood disorder medication, oh my!  Both teachers say that he is more animated which they like.  However, it is inappropriate.  He got a write up from the principal which he hasn't had since going on the mood disorder medication. (He had numerous prior to the medication.)  At home it has been terrible.  So much anger, slamming doors, inappropriate behaviors. We went back to the doctor and he was put back on a mood disorder medication and taken off the anxiety medication..

We were trying to hold off on adding the mood disorder medication back until we had a better idea of whether the ADHD medication made a difference.  However, his behavior at home was deteriorating so quickly.  One day he threw a pencil at my moms assistant because he couldn't find lead for it.  The next day I put him back on his medication.

We have learned some things.  Anthony does not have anxiety that needs to be medicated.  Anthony does have a mood disorder (and we are praying that his medication kicks in soon!).  Anthony may or may not have ADHD.  Anthony has a great ability to distract himself when he does not like a task.  When he does like the task he is able to concentrate on it and do it within an appropriate amount of time. This goes all across the board, not just school; he spends hours doing a single load of dishes.

What I need answers for: does he have ADHD and does he have more of a learning disability than we currently know about, he gets help with math.  To help me answer those question I have asked his doctor for a referral to the neurobehaviorist who has evaluated him over the years.  His school says that he is up for evaluation for his IEP so they will be evaluating him as well.  However, we always like to get our own evaluation done.

I will give an example of  our his avoidance struggle...

Anthony has always struggled with math and receives services for this.  His reading is on grade level but it is reading comprehension is where he is avoiding.  I don't know if it is too hard for him or he just isn't wiling to try because he has to work at it at a normal level.  One homework assignment that he has weekly is where he had to read an article and answer the questions to a crossword puzzle.  The answers are all within the article.  The other day he came to me to ask me for an answer to one of the crossword puzzle questions.  I asked him if he had read the article.  He said no.  Very calmly I told him to go and read the article first.  This caused him to storm upstairs and slam a lot of doors.  It made him so angry that I would tell him to read the article.  Every week we go through this.  He does not want to read the article, he wants to scan it for the question and try to pick out the answer.  He spends hours scanning for the words to the question and then doesn't want to read what comes before it to get the answer.

He does everything to avoid reading the article.  He wants a trick to get the answer without having to read it.  There was a time when he would find ways to get answers from everyone in the house.  Sarah would help him with one.  I would help him with one, John would help him with one, my moms aid would help him with one....not realizing that he was going to everyone to get one problem answered.  When I realized what he was doing I told everyone that they weren't allowed to give him any answers.  You could imagine the anger from him once that was stopped.

I have had him read me the article.  He is able to read it.  That is not a problem.  I don't understand it.  He will literally spend hours trying to get around doing work that he appears to have the ability to do.

On Thursday I told him that he couldn't go to dance unless his homework was finished.  When it was time to go to dance he was heading for the door when I told him that he couldn't go because his work wasn't done.  He didn't believe that I would stick with it.  I dropped the girls off at dance and came home.  I told him that if he finished his homework then he would have time to make it to hip hop.  Amazingly he finished his spelling contract and made it to hip hop.  He NEVER finishes his spelling contract.  He will work on it until bedtime and then go to school where he misses recess, every week.

It is not just homework, he doesn't finish work in class. He doesn't finish tests.

At home he takes hours to do a chore.  It can take him days to clean his room even when it has been broken down for him.  If he doesn't want to do a task he avoids it at all costs.  It is this avoiding that makes his teachers think it is ADHD.  However, he does this even on ADHD medication so I don't think so.

Is this an ODD thing?  A passive aggressive thing? I don't know because the only person he is hurting is himself.  I have learned how to make it his problem, not mine.  My husband used to get so mad when he would do dishes for hours.  I finally got him to just accept and simply say that he is missing out on play time. Anthony misses out on a lot of things because of his delaying tactics.  He misses trips to Sonic and other places.  He misses out on A LOT of play time.  I don't know if he thinks that I will break down and tell him to forget it.  I guess I do when it is bedtime, I send him to bed.  But this morning he got to wake up to breakfast and his unfinished dishes.  He just spent 3 hours doing one load of dishes this morning. 

Anyone have a kid with his level of delaying tactics? 

Next...... Larissa update


  1. As a teacher and a parent, I'm guessing there are several pieces to this puzzle.
    He can read the article aloud, but you haven't determined if he understands what he's reading. Can he summarize or paraphrase? Is he able to find the main idea, supporting details, etc?

    The delaying stuff with chores just sounds like avoidance and opposition.

    But I'm not sure if these two things are linked!

    1. Oh, he does have his avoidance down! From what I can see he does comprehend what he is reading, he just doesn't want to read. On those rare occasions when he does read the article, he is able to answer the questions. Seems like it would encourage him to do it again but it doesn't. But, I want a better understanding of where he is cognitively which is why I am getting him tested. He didn't have a reading comprehension issue last year so is not receiving any services in that area. Maybe it has gotten a lot harder for him.

      Funny, I just got a letter in the mail telling me that to qualify for the gifted program you have to meet the requirements in 2 out of 3 areas. He has met the requirements one area so they want to test for the other two. It didn't tell me what the three areas are and what area he qualified for but I find that interesting. He is gifted in art.

    2. Maybe he is very selective in his interests... Would he like to read high-interest things?

      Around fourth grade, the purpose of reading shifts from learning-to-read, to reading-to-learn. You're smart to get him tested. He'll continue to fall behind, if there is an undx'ed problem.

      It would be cool if he were able to get in the gifted program and have access to those opportunities!

  2. That would drive me nuts. Kate spent one whole day avoiding copying a final draft of a paper. That one day made me crazy.

    1. It is why I would never consider homeschooling him! He won't work for me or the teacher.

  3. Is the process of answering the questions what is giving him the trouble? Read article. Find question on crossword. Read question. Find the squares on the crossword puzzle, count the spaces. Look back at article. What was the question again? What happens if the article is read to him and a question is then asked verbally? Too much shuffling of papers is too distracting for kids with adhd. The same can be said for any homework that involves paperwork. Questions asked on one page and answers needing to be written on another.

    1. I have been doing a lot of thinking about this question. On the surface it is actually his unwilliness to actually read the article. Impossible to answer the questions if you haven't even read the article. My question comes down to why is he not willing to read the article. Is it a defiance issue or a learning disability issue. That is why I am taking him for testing, reading comprehension has not been an issue up to this year but maybe it is now. I'd hate to label it a defiance issue and find out it is a LD issue.