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mental illness dx
Old 03-05-2020, 10:51 AM
 
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A question:

Do psychaiatrists/psychologists usually diagnose 13-14 year old kids with specific disorders? I thought somewhere I read that a child had to be closer to adult hood to get a Dx.

This past week, a student "suddenly" acquired delusions, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, autism and schizophrenia all in one fell swoop.

I'm not judging. Not complaining. Kid has been in district for YEARS with no word and no problems at all until this school year. All of a sudden, we have a mountain of paperwork saying he has all of these problems.

I know you can't give specific info without more specifics from me, but does this sort of thing happen a lot? And, what's appropriate for the kid in class? No one seems to know what to do except send him to the academic counselor if he's "having a bad day."

Thoughts or help? I'll take whatever you've got.

Thanks!


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Hopefully...
Old 03-05-2020, 11:07 AM
 
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Your school's counselor, social worker, or psychologist should be getting permission from the parents of this child to contact the doctor and get the written report. That would make this more believable and give your school direction on what to do and when to do it.

I would also think about the parents. This may be the way the parents have chosen to explain the change in the child. I have heard of parents who go shopping for doctors to get a diagnosis that fits the behavior so the weight of responsibility does not belong to the parent or the child. Things are then blamed on the child's illnesses.

Does this family have any family history of the six illnesses you listed in the second paragraph of your post? I would want to know about that too.
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:21 AM
 
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I know that two other siblings have one of the Dxs I listed.

The thing is, other than spacing out and not doing work, the kid isn't a behavior problem in class.

When I asked if we had documentation about what the drs said would be appropriate, I wasn't told of any in-depth doctor's report, so maybe someone is working on getting it to us. However, given some of the shenanigans that go on around here, that may not be the case at all.

The thing that bothered me the most was the total lack of how to deal with the kid if he *does* have some sort of breakdown in class. Telling me to send him to an untrained academic counselor who has no training in mental health seems pretty irresponsible to me...

Thanks for your input, Connie!
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Diagnosis doesn't equal behavior
Old 03-05-2020, 11:31 AM
 
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Just because he doesn't manifest behaviors at school does not mean he doesn't have an illness.
Adolescents can be diagnosed with specific disorders, though it's not that common.
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:36 AM
 
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I call bs on two of those due to age.


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Old 03-05-2020, 11:45 AM
 
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Seems like anxiety and adhd could be pretty easily diagnosed, but bipolar and schizophrenia diagnosis takes time to watch patterns. I thought schizophrenia didn't occur in children. I had a student with presumed bipolar (parents didn't take him to the doctor but symptoms were pretty clear to school psych/social worker/me), but I hear it's rare in kids. Does he only have symptoms at home or do you see symptoms at school, too?
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only "symptoms" I'm seeing
Old 03-05-2020, 12:08 PM
 
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are being very unfocused and not doing any work. That could also just be "being an 8th grader."

I'm not saying he's not ill. I'm wondering what to do with him and what to look for -- signs that I need to reach out for help, etc. -- when he's in my classroom.

Thanks again for the input. I'm wary to look online since things can be so differently manifested between different people.
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Old 03-05-2020, 01:23 PM
 
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In my experience, schizophrenia and bipolar are usually diagnosed a little later.

Iíve never heard of one specific individual having each diagnosis named above.

Your child could very well have anxiety, although it doesnít seem like he is showing signs of it.

He could be ADD by what you have described, but you havenít mentioned if he exhibits the other symptoms of it.

Autism is something you and his teachers most likely would have detected now just by his behavior, interactions with other students(or lack therof), speech pattern, responses, etc.

I would ask for more information. That is something that you should have since you work with him each day.
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Diagnoses can be late.
Old 03-05-2020, 04:43 PM
 
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My son is autistic, and wasn't dx until he was 12. And that's only because he has a mood disorder (bi-polar, actually).

ADD is also a tough one, because if it's impulse control issues it may not manifest as what we think off - attention problems and such.

If he doesn't have any issues in your class, then I really don't see where there's an issue. Someone can have many mental illnesses and still function well, even children.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:58 PM
 
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My daughter has been racking up the Dx's since age 6. She has several now that are either neurological, neuro-behavioral, or psychological.

IT is completely possible for a child to "suddenly" acquire schizophrenia. Juvenile onset has been on the rise for the last 10 years or so. Classic presentation used to pop up near the end of puberty/early adulthood but it can appear at any time.

Same for bi-polar-though I will admit that they didnt used to diagnose it in children much but now that they do I feel like its becoming more and more common. Several folks in the field insist that a lot of the ADHD Dx's out there are actually juvenile onset bi-polar with rapid cycling.

Also, its not that uncommon to get several Dx's in "one fell swoop". Sometimes the parent dont take their child in until things become unmanageable or possibly dangerous, then the Dr. realizes that this is more than one thing going on here. Several Dx's tend to run together as well and if you have 1 mental illness or neurological disorder you are more likely to get/have another one as well.

Its also possible that the child has been well medicated for years now so the family kept some of the Dx's under wraps but now that the meds arent working so well anymore/needs a med change they need to put there cards on the table and get all the support that they can. I have heard of families of students with high functioning autism holding back the Dx from the school because they worried about their child being labeled or put in a self contained class that had more severely effected kids in it-so it does happen.

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And, what's appropriate for the kid in class? No one seems to know what to do except send him to the academic counselor if he's "having a bad day."
I really dont want to sound condescending but...whatever the child needs is whats appropriate. My daughter has had fluctuating services over the years depending on where she is at (several of her conditions have waxing and waning phases, and puberty created it own challenge in getting her meds right). Sometimes in middle school she had a social skills, organization, and self regulation class as her elective (taught by the school counselor and sped teacher), in elementary she had social skills and pragmatic language with the counselor and speech therapist, sometimes she had the ability to see the counselor as needed whenever during the day, for a while we had to have a modified school day because the whole day was too much for her so when she reached the "I'm done" point she would get her work and go home. Sometimes she had to be excused from classes early so she could sit in the office during passing periods because the hallways were too overwhelming, She has always had "break cards" where she can give a teacher a break card and use it to walk up to the office, have a snack, get some water and then walk back to class, she often had extensions on projects, tests and assignments because if she was "super off", there was no way she could anything done. We also had a BIP's and endless accommodation the classroom (like needing to sit in the back of the room because sitting in the front made her feel like people were watching her and she would get horrible anxiety, needing to have the door open to the classroom open she she didnt feel trapped, ect)

We also have safety plans and so should any school that has a student with behaviors/symptoms that could cause a safety concern and specifically spell out the what the next "level of care" is should the student need more psychiatric help, and what behaviors would trigger the need to take things to the next level of care-i.e. when police would be called, when student would be sent to psych emergency via ambulance ect, where in the chain of parents are notified.

There is nothing inappropriate if its what the student needs, but there is a level of need that is inappropriate for the general education classroom and not able to be accommodated. If that is what you asking well...that would depend on what symptoms/behaviors the student has.

My kid goes to a special therapy enhanced school now because we did in fact reach the point that the general environment couldn't reasonably accommodate her needs. That option should be reserved but kept open for when its needed.

Quote:
being very unfocused and not doing any work.
Well, thats easy then-this could be because of the medicine he is on-several medications that are taken for bi-polar and schizophrenia can have a side effect know as "cognitive dulling". They make it hard to think and concentrate and learn...thats tough at school. Often you can help by providing check lists of items due on the students desk, verbal or nonverbal redirection-writing directions and prompts down for the student and cuing him to use them, word banks and graphic organizers (if he gets lost in the middle of writing or cant remember the right words).



Last edited by Kinderkr4zy; 03-05-2020 at 09:22 PM..
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