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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 395
Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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My daughter is having extreme highs and lows, she is 12. She

Customer Question

My daughter is having extreme highs and lows, she is 12. She has severe anger issues and cannot control her temper. She has been diagnosed with ADD AND ANXIETY, PLUS OCD. My husband and I think she has oppositional defiency disorder. We have tried meds for ADD , and they made her worse. She doesn't have many friends at school, and I don't know what to do. We are on our third psychologist/pschyiatrist. We try having more structure at home and take things away when appropriate. I am very worried about her going into sixth grades, as she makes d's . She has an IEP but i am thinking about an alternative kind of school.Any thoughts?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thanks for asking JA. Can you tell when did your daughter's symptoms started?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

She had some ocd behaviors as early as 3-did not have alot of social interaction with other kids either. Very immature in kindergarten compared to other kids, not defiant yet. Became angry and defiant in first grade, poor grades diagnoses of add and anxiety.

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 4 years ago.
Hello there, it looks like the school psychiatrist needs to give your daughter a good evaluation. All those different diagnosis make me think that they really do not know what her diagnosis is and they do not know how to treat that. Can you let me know what triggers and her anxiety? OCD is also based on anxiety so the best thing you can do is to teach her how to self regulate her anxiety. One method I use for anxious teens is called heart Math. When she realises she is getting anxious she should take a deep breath through her heart and visualize someone of something she loves such as a pet. She should keep breathing and continue to fill her heart with the love she has for her pet, sister, brother. If she continues to breath deeply she will lower her anxiety and feel better. After that have her see the problem that causes anxiety from the wize heart and ask her if she has a new perspective. Also behavioral rewards for being able to self regulate such as praise or more time to play. The therapist who sees her at school has to work with her to help her self regulate and reduce anxiety. Many others methods of self regulation. Some children find music or dancing calming others taking a walk, a long bath. I would also encourage you to call an EAP and ask about the services the school can be providing for her so she can benefit from her education. Do some research about the Alternative schools in your area some are better than others. I would suggest a special day class in a regular school because she can mainstream later. Small classes help reduce anxiety and help her learn. Making friends will help her so encourage any friendships she may develop. Also give her positive feedback for the things that she does well no matter how small they are, so you can help her build self-esteem. Encourage her expressing her feelings and needs by using "I" statements. For instance instead of her having a melt down she can say "when you do_____I think__________ and that makes me feel______. What I need from you is_____. Individual and family therapy is also needed to help everybody cope. Most of all take care of yourself because having a child with special needs can be really draining and bring you anxiety. If you have any questions please let me know.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

THank you-I really like how you broke down these simple ideas-and I can actually use them-alot of the people in our area our only concerned with her grades as our school system is a 4 star school-which makes me very angry as I am concerned about her self-esteem. We have been to the school social worker, pediatrician and our third psychologist. She definitely has a combination of things, but my husband and I truly think it is mostly anxiety related. Her grades are not good, and we have done tutoring, which does not help her self-esteem either. I have an appointment with the middle school counselor next week and the special ed teacher, as she will be entering sixth grade in the fall. Is there anything I can ask them, specifically, because on the phone they were very short with me about all the changes and cutbacks for special ed. My husband is very helpful, but we are going in circles and are drained.

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 4 years ago.

I am glad to hear that you are a good advocate for your daughter. Grades do not mean much to me also. Many unhappy people get good grades. If the school worries about your daughter's grades, you should explain to her that she is very smart but some people who are smart like her and me ( I will disclose having a learning disability) sometimes we learn in a different way. So much stigma is placed on people with learning disabilities that they are often blaimed for learning in a different way. Teachers often say " She is lazy, She does not want to learn". Those statements really stress the child and the parents. I used to tell my children that as long as they try thier best I did not care about what grade they got. Yes the cutbacks on Special ED are terrible, also the cutbacks on state funding for teachers. I think your daughter is lucky because you love her and understand her. To my experience kids that are loved do so much better.

I would go in person and interview several schools,about their programs. If they are short with you that is not a good sign. What do her current school doing to prepare her for 6 grade? Our schools take the students to the new school to me the new teacher. I would ask other parents from your daughter's class where will their kids will go? Maybe you can start a parents group for support and information. I find that my client's parents know alot about the system. Trust your own intuition, keep asking the different schools about special education classes and how they teach children with special needs. I can imagen how drained you are from trying so hard but I want to say you are great because most parents do not do their reseach. Your daughter feels safe and supported. She will do well. I can tell.

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 4 years ago.

Hello please rate my service when you are happy about the answers recieved. I try to provide you with great service. Thanks so much.


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