Finding *the right* behavioral therapist

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by bluetik, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. bluetik

    bluetik New Member

    How does one go about finding a behavioral therapist with a similar ideology to your own without just trying this one and that one? I feel like we're wasting valuable time. My son's therapist thinks more discipline will do the trick, but that is not his problem. The previous one felt that my son could do no wrong, and the school was all at fault -- also not correct.

    I'm starting to get very frustrated.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just my opinion but...
    If you're having to hunt that hard for a therapist, then maybe a therapist isn't what you need.

    Can you tell us more?
    How old is this child?
    What was he like as a baby and toddler? early school years?
    What kinds of evaluations have already been done, and how long ago?
    What kinds of issues are causing you to search for a therapist?

    The more you can tell us, the more the other parents here can pull from their own experiences.

    Welcome to the board.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Many of us have found that traditional behavioral therapists really do not help much. We attack the issues on multiple fronts. If you can share what kinds of issues and what your ideas are for what works for your child, we might be able to share our experiences that can help.....

    Welcome, and yes, it is frustrating!
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Hi bluetik and welcome. My experience was that the younger my kid, the more likely the therapist/psychiatrist/school felt it was "parenting" issues or family dynamics or blah blah blah. I had 1 therapist cite *my* depression as the cause of difficult child's behaviors - typical chicken or egg question, though by that point I think my usual baseline depression was made a gazillion times worse due to the stress of dealing with- difficult child's behaviors.

    I've only ever found trial and error to be effective. There were some tdocs I dealt with who I was willing to jump through the parenting training hoops for because I got the feeling that they might (sooner rather than later) be able to clue in that there was more going on than me being a crappy parent. Other tdocs, I knew from the start they weren't going to get it. By the time my kid was 8, if someone mentioned a reward chart I was out the door. been there done that *way* too much. When my difficult child was 12, I interviewed a therapist for him since he was going to be coming home from Residential Treatment Center (RTC) #1 - based on the interview, I thought she'd be a good fit. Could not have been more wrong - once she got involved with- difficult child and the family, it became very apparent she was a complete looney tune, really extremely dangerous in my humble opinion. on the other hand, one of the very best was an Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who was part of a very short-lived program in IL that provided intensive in-home services to kids who had been hospitalized - he was 26, single, not a parent, and my initial thought was that there wasn't a chance in Hades he'd have a clue. He actually was tremendously helpful.

    If you haven't had your son evaluated by a psychiatrist/neuropsychologist, that might be the best place to start. If you've got an idea of what you're dealing with then you might be able to get a referral to a therapist who is more tuned in. I have to tell you, when our son was first admitted and evaluated by a psychiatrist, that *completely* changed the game. It was no longer "parenting issues" or "adjustment reaction to family dynamics" - having a psychiatric diagnosis (which changed umpteen times over the years, but still there was always a psychiatric diagnosis) made a huge difference in who we were referred to for counseling and their approaches. Professionals are far more likely to listen to each other about potential issues than they will the parent.

    I feel your frustration - wish I had an easy answer for you. Again, welcome.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion behavioral therapists don't work for our kids...our kids tend to be wired differently so that traditional methods don't do any good. Has she ever had a neuropsychologist evaluation? Until you know why your child behaves like he does, you can't really get proper treatment.
  6. bluetik

    bluetik New Member

    Thanks for your feedback, everyone. Here is some more background:
    My son is 9 years old, gifted intelligence, diagnosis of ADHD - type not specified, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, and sensory processing disorder (SPD).

    I am trying hard to keep him in a public magnet school that he has attended since Kindergarten. He is in 4th grade now, so next year will be his last in this school. There is a new administration in place this year that is less flexible and willing to work with us than what we've had in the past. I've already received a certified letter that his record is being reviewed for revocation of his school choice for next year. The letter requests a meeting with administration and they want me to sign some kind of contract. He's had a total of 4 days suspension so far, but is in the office probably 2X per week due to screaming / crying.

    His issues are extremely loud and disruptive temper tantrums and physical aggression. His main triggers are any type of competition, especially sports, but also academic (most recent episode was triggered in music by failing to advance in "Recorder Karate"; He missed one word on a spelling test recently, and it took him 2.5 hours to calm down). He is under the care of a psychiatrist (as well as the behavioral therapist). He is taking Abilify and Guanfacine. We had quite a bit of success with these when he started taking them at the end of second grade, but now he is regressing to behaviors that he demonstrated prior to starting the medications, including the physical aggression, low frustration threshold, sleep disruption, and motor tics.

    My goal in having him work with a therapist was to try to help him get the tools to be more assertive in social situations, and to better 'manage' his emotions, so that he will be ready for middle school in 18 months. I feel like the root of some of my son's issues is poor self-esteem, and I told the therapist this, but he isn't approaching my son from that direction at all.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Does he have an IEP? sign nothing without due process.....get an advocate to help!

    by the way my experience has been that high functioning kids on the spectrum fall apart between third and fifth grade quite often.
  8. bluetik

    bluetik New Member

    We do have an IEP. The school says his behavior is not a function of his diagnosed disorders -- I disagree. How do I find an advocate? Do I need an attorney? I've signed up with an agency that will provide 3 hours of free time with a 'volunteer parent advocate'. Is this what you're describing? They are supposed to call me early next week.

    THANKS! :)
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That would be a start, at least. One of the members here is a volunteer advocate, and I think she does a pretty good job. There may be other ways to reach an advocate as well (I'm in Canada, and we don't have those... )
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Can his therapist or psychiatrist speak to the relationship between his behaviors and his dxes?
    (ours did)
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    There are different advocates but change of placement is an emergency. Call your state dept of ed and ask for a list of special education advocates. I most recently am using one through the state Disability law center, a division of legal aid. Change of placement threat, multiple suspensions and manifestation determination issues got me in immediately, once past the automatic answering system that is, lol.

    For this, if you can find and afford an educational lawyer go ahead but check to make sure they're legit. Id call the free options first but you don't have much time.....