What I Want People To Know About Alia

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My daughter was planned for and desired.  She was our first baby. Paul and I were in love with her before she even arrived!  However, as she got older things started to show there was something going on that created difficulties with our precious girl.

At age 2 she was a biter. By age 5, she was upset about not having any friends.  No little girls at church wanted to play with her. By age 6, I started to realize that it was Alia's propensity to be too physical (lots of hugs and trying to pick kids up) that was probably turning kids off to her.  By age 7, she was starting to be too physical with her brothers and seemed a bit "too wild" at times.  All these we most wrote off to other things:  too much sugar, not enough sleep, over excited, just being a kid, "some kids are like that", etc.  But as Alia continued to grow up  her symptoms worsened and we knew there was more going on.

Alia recently turned 10.  We keep her separated from Josiah as much as possible because she bullies him.  His bad behavior in direct response to feeling "under attack" from Alia day in and day out.  We are doing everything we can to curtail her behavior but it is a moment to moment thing.  She is hyperemotional and has anxiety.  These create an environment where she can't function if she is called out for "being/doing wrong" or if she is required to do something she doesn't want to do.   I'm talking complete meltdown.  Being the eldest, despite our rules and trying to train the boys, her behavior has translated over the the boys using physical violence back to Alia when she attacks.  They have been growing up watching how she does things and are following in her path.  It is so difficult to teach them that they are held to a higher standard because they HAVE the capacity to use self control.  To give Alia love and grace but NOT to behave as she does.  Nothing seems fair to them.

To make matters worse, Alia KNOWS she behaves this way, but is powerless to stop it.  She has stopped being remorseful about harming her brothers because it happens so often that feeling badly about it seems pointless.  She mourns that her brothers don't want to play with her.  She has bouts of depression where she verbalizes that she feels like a terrible girl and that God doesn't love her because he won't make this go away.  I feel terrible for my sweet little girl that just wants to be normal and have friends and play and be happy but her mind and body don't obey those desires.

Most people including family and friends see Alia as a happy, high energy, little girl.  Some might see a few symptoms and then assume that her parents just aren't disciplining her enough.  But no one we know has admitted to seeing and believing she has any special needs--and that has been very isolating.  Paul and I have been very frustrated at the amount of silent judgement that has come our way from people we know and from strangers.  Yes, Alia CAN function quite normally and somehow that makes everyone think that her behavior is a fault of the lack of training from her parents.

We had an appointment with a second psychologist (first one spent 1 hr with her and gave her one test and then diagnosed ADHD-um, no) who did a 3 hour evaluation alone with Alia.  We were hopeful.  We had confidence that this doctor will see what we see and will be able to come alongside us to make Alia's life and ours better. That didn't pan out either. No one seems to be able to cut through the challenges she faces.

Homeschooling Alia is becoming more and more difficult.  She is a grade behind in reading and math.  She has so much trouble focusing.  She does her schoolwork in a nearly constant state of " I don't want to" and " I hate this".  I stay as cheerful as possible but firm in that she must complete what (Paul and I have agreed) is reasonable for her to complete each day.  It just takes so much mental and physical energy.

Think about another 10 year old you know.   Can they retrieve a Q-tip from the bathroom without leaving others all over the counter/sink for you to find later?  When clearing the table, do they take their dirty plate and cup to the bathroom counter instead of the kitchen?  When they are excited about an unexpected trip to the library do they injure two other siblings in their display of happiness?  If the sibling next to them is making a funny noise with their mouth while coloring, do they jab them in the eye with a finger to get them to be quiet? A 10 year old?  If someone else chose the board game playing piece that the ten year old wanted do they reach out and pinch the other person's hand just to express how angry they are?  These are snapshots of our life with Alia.  We have to always be prepared with constant redirections, constant vigilance to protect her siblings, and we need to be constantly 2 thoughts ahead of her to fend off thoughts/behaviors.  Exhausting.

When she does something wrong she then lies, tries to split hairs, for example "I didn't hurt him" "yes I pushed him" "It was his fault he fell into the wall" -- This is real logic that comes from her and after a 15 minute discussion which is actually a calm (on our end) and an emotional (on her end) experience she finally sees the situation like we do and apologizes for it. Five to ten minutes later she'll do something else mean to a brother and we're back into the 15 minute discussion.

Exhausting.

Right now, there are moments in our days when it is very hard to not be completely frustrated with Alia but we love her so dearly and just want our family to be a peace with one another.  We need to be supported on this difficult road.  We were hoping that getting an appropriate diagnosis (we don't care about the label) would mean we will have a direction to go to get the support we need and the help Alia needs to lead a more controlled and happier life.

I want the sweet girl that I know is inside to show on the outside more often.  I want to spend more time enjoying Alia than I do protecting others from her. I want Alia to like herself and to feel confident and happy. To be able to play and enjoy other kids company and for other kids to see the fun Alia that is in there.

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Update:  

The 3 hour meeting with the psychologist rendered a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder with learning disabilities. Again, as Alia's parents, Paul and I do not see these as the root causes of her behavior.  So we decided to come up with solutions for our own difficulties and not rely on a diagnosis to help us gain insight.

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Over the course of the past year that we have traveled in Gracie, Alia has had periods of 3-4 months with very low symptomology.  Then suddenly the negative behavior would spike again for 1-2 months.  We have really stopped counting and are just living day to day.  If we had lots of money I would have her see a Naturopath to see if it was some kind of issue internally like a food allergy, digestive problem, gland malfunction but that just isn't in the cards right now.

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So, we just keep on loving our Alia no matter what she throws our way knowing that these difficulties make us stronger and help us to rely on God more.

I am aware that so many have problems worse than this to deal with every day but this is our family's story.  I felt it would be good for me to write both so others know the struggle we have but also so Alia can be better understood and accepted.  So that neither she as a child nor Paul and I as parents are looked down upon for our child's behavior...yes, we have had nasty looks and negative comments.  Thanks for "listening" and trying to understand the challenges that Alia has and that our family wrestles with daily.

Do you or your kids struggle with a illness/issue that is undiagnosed and troublesome?  How do you cope?  I would love to hear about how some of you are dealing with a similar situation.

Becky Kortman

I'm a homeschooling, world traveling, Jesus follower who is a wife and mom of 4 kids, In all my travels, I am looking for places that fit with my soul and feel as much like 'home' as they can this side of heaven.

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45 Comments

  1. Danyelle

    I could have thought for sure you were describing my Ondrea. Who also just turned 10 in May. It’s exhausting. Often lonely. We had our girls sharing rooms and I finally had to find the space for her to have her own room. It just wasn’t healthy or safe for her to share with her younger sisters. I’m right there with you. Praying for strength because that’s all I can do.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Have you had any other diagnoses or mis-diagnoses?

      Reply
  2. Jess Secord

    Hmm. Interesting. Sounds very oddly similar to one of our kiddos also. Would love to hear what else you find out as you wrestle with how best to serve your daughter.

    Reply
  3. Kelly Vogel

    Well Paul and Becky, you have just described our life to a tee. Exhausting is an understatement, right? Our Hunter is almost 13. He seems to act very similar to your Alia. It is beyond frustrating to deal with this every moment of every day. To have people judge you, thinking you’re a bad parent. I even had a psychiatrist, after 5 minutes of talking to Hunter, tell me I just needed to punish the other kids fairly and he would act better. I almost laughed and walked out the door. I don’t know how you manage to homeschool and travel in small quarters. There’s no way we’d survive without sending him off during the day and letting him have his own room. This kid needs space and we need breaks from him!
    Your definition of of better behavior for a bit and then bad again also sounds the same. I’m inclined to believe that Hunter will be diagnosed with Bipolar one day. The only diagnosis we’ve gotten is ADHD, anxiety, dyslexia and depression. I’m not sure any of that is right.
    All you can do is keep trying. You are her best advocate. Her best protector and her source of health and well being. You just do everything you can to keep her and your other kids safe and well. Make some time for yourself too!

    Reply
    • Becky Kortman

      Thanks for the encouragement Kelly! I really appreciate your words!

      Reply
  4. Amber

    This is exactly Jordan. She was diagnosed with ADHD combined. She’s also now seeing a therapist for her outburst and over emotional/aggressive behavior. She’s a bright child (tested at least a year ahead in everything except reading. Where she’s a year behind). I tried diet, I tried different parenting styles. I understand a lot of what you’re going through. It’s definitely difficult, especially when it’s an every day thing, with no break. For both parents and the child who is dealing with this. Maybe when you come back :) :) we can talk about it :) my kids still talk about you guys and Megan is counting down the years ?? until she is able to see Alia again

    Reply
    • Becky Kortman

      My kids still talk about your kids too! you are definitely on the list of “go back and see” people! I would love to “share notes” and encourage each other along this path!

      Reply
  5. Joy

    ADHD, anxiety, ODD, OCD, tourettes, depression and sensory integration are all words thrown at us. We are doing a social work/social grou, counseling and martial arts to ‘cope’. :)

    Reply
    • Becky Kortman

      Thanks, Joy! I am glad to hear some of these other diagnosis’ for future reference. Thanks for sharing and being real!

      Reply
  6. Jen

    Parasites, Lyme and or airway issues. This is what we are going through right now with our son and have been going through since his birth. We are seeing a biological doctor, naturopath, homeopath and getting lots of bodywork. Psychological diagnosis’ are very subjective…. No one knows your child better than you. And you know as a parent YES something is not “right”. If they are acting this way they are truly calling out for help with chemical imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, structural/physical misalignments and many “thoughtless” habits they will have to break. It is a difficult and exhausting road but all worth it. Our son is still working through it, it has been a LONG road, but he has improved in leaps and bounds which has been priceless! If you have any additional questions please let me know. Sending love and prayers from someone who truly knows <3

    Reply
  7. Jenn

    Vaccine injury is another…

    Reply
    • Becky Kortman

      Thanks Jenn for your ideas and sharing part of your story. I am curious about chemical imbalances and nutritional deficiencies or allergies. We didn’t vaccinate so that isn’t an issue but there are so many other possibilities!

      Reply
      • madamX

        If you didn’t vaccinate, it could still be mercury exposure from mercury amalgams and/or lead poisoning. My issues are significantly different from your daughter’s, but hers are over-represented in the mercury poisoned communities which I belong to online. I’m uncertain if she has amalgams or you had them when you were pregnant; if so, a heavy toxic burden was transferred to her. Dr. Vimy at the University of Calgary put radioactive tracers on amalgam fillings that he placed in pregnant sheep, and then x-rayed them as the pregnancy progressed. The fetuses captured most of the mercury. If not, mercury and lead are ubiquitous in our environment these days, and there are still so many other toxins out there, and probably the most insidious way that they do damage is the biome (primarily of the gut). I’d be curious to know if your daughter had gut issues, because it seems like so many of the kids who are affected by the incredibly poor choices the human race has made thus far (poisoning our planet, harming our children) – those with autism, allergies, asthma, ADD, etc. – have gut issues. I’d recommend checking out Andy Cutler’s frequent dose chelation protocol (there is a Facebook group and a Yahoo group), Specific Carbohydrate Diet (or GAPS diet), helminthic therapy, and fecal microbiota transplant. Just a couple of thoughts…there are just so many children out there that are damaged.

        Reply
        • Paul Kortman

          She hasn’t had any fillings and very little dental work. However yes it’s possible that the mercury/lead leaked from Becky into Alia in utero.

          Alia hasn’t had any gut issues, plus we consume a lot of yogurt and few sugars (until recently) and very few preservatives for the first 8 years of her life.

          Thanks for the heads up! Fortunately we were educated about most gut issues before she was born so we’re pretty sure it’s not the stuff you’ve mentioned. She’s been raised fairly naturally and her brothers the same way.

          Reply
  8. Cal Peters

    http://www1.cbn.com/video/SUMC44_GordonCrozier_040716/healing-one-cell-at-a-time

    I highly recommend you get the genetic testing done. It’s $200; you spit in a tube and send it in. Then you get a phone consult w/ Dr. Crozier after you get the results/report. That, and a treatment plan is $300. He spent the better part of an hour on the phone with me, and I’m healthy!! I just wanted to do it for the knowledge and to see if I had any genetic disease tendencies.

    He has a book; you’re welcome to borrow my copy…I think you’ll find it interesting and uplifting. You can also go to http://www.godsimprint.com and get more info. At minimum, I’d give his office a call. Feel free to call or email me as well!! I’m in Grandville. 616.304.7062
    Blessings…..

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Cal! — we’re working with an ND who does a similar test, so we’re waiting for the results currently. Thanks!

      Reply
  9. Terese LaPree

    I research information all the time. As I have several invisible illnesses myself. Being a huge believer in finding a root cause to fix the problem instead of throwing Rx at symptoms to treat them. One thing that is always coming up is the ALCAT test. it is something you can order yourself. a blood test that tests for food sensitivities. Allergies are one thing, but food sensitivities can cause many problems all over the body.
    The labels that are put on kids especially can hurt, be wrong, and cause problems. If you have insurance, it does help you to treat symptoms.
    I did find a neat web site that sounds promising. Holistic, and has a couple of ideas you can do at home to test for certain things. I am including the url . check it out and see if it is something interesting.
    Keeping your family in my prayers.
    http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/drug-free-treatment-of-attention-deficit-disorder-add/

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Terese,

      Thanks for the link. We had different ideas of the symptoms of ADD/ADHD. We’re digging into this but the causes are very very very unlikely, because of how we raised our kids (esp Alia) for the first 8 years of having kids… we have no added ADD back to the list of possibilities. Crazy.

      Reply
  10. Joel DeVries

    Alia sounds similar to my 6 year old son Cameron who is a “Rebel”. I strongly recommend a book called “Here’s How to Reach Me” by Judith Pauley, Dianne Bradley, and Joseph Pauley. You can pick up a used copy on Amazon for $10 or so. I recommend starting with chapter 1 to get an overview, chapter 6 to learn about the “Rebel” personality type, and chapter 9 to learn how to invite a Rebel out of distress and prevent them from being distressed in the first place. This book is pure gold.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Joel! We’ll look it up for sure!

      Reply
  11. Kate aka AdventureMumma

    We had a biter Becky, a boy that couldn’t keep his hands to himself as a youngster, didn’t understand other kids personal space and was easily over stimulated, hated loud noises and was easily set off and had minimal self control with others when they annoyed him (& can still be like this at times). At 8yo the guidance officer decided that i should seriously consider drugs as nothing had really worked (we had undertaken all the ‘parenting’ courses they had thrown at us & tried all types of diet. Finally it clicked (for me) and i realised what i was dealing with – all the pieces in the puzzles connected and a paediatrician confirmed it – i bought my son a book to read & even he confirmed it – “All cats have Aspergers” – its now diagnosed as the Autism Spectrum here in Oz & my son is very high functioning – in other words his speech was (& is) very progressive (he talked like a mini-professor when all other toddlers were still trying to get words out like cat & hat) & he really loves being held and cuddled (& still wants to be held securely/squeezed at times) – so he pretty much went under the radar until it became really obvious that he wasn’t really socialising well amongst his own age group – & yet if you put him amongst younger children and adults, he excels with his communication skills. It may not be the same diagnosis as your daughter BUT once we finally got him ‘labelled’ the school treated him & us differently (and we finally made some progress with the teachers & other students), he got some training programs on how to deal better ‘socially’ with his age group AND he also got a better understanding about his own ‘quirky’ behaviours. I love him because his perspective is not like all the other kids in his age group. Its often the challenging ones amongst us that make the biggest impact later on……embrace your daughter and her differences and let her find where her true skills lie – because once she finds these she will be able to focus on her strengths and it may help her self-esteem & decrease her anxiety (if she is on the Autism Spectrum like my son you’ll find she can become extremely focused, easily cut out all distractions and become quite obsessive over the things she really likes and enjoys). good luck & I hope you find some answers on your journey.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      We keep going back and forth on the spectrum, but everything we see says she is indeed not on the spectrum. We appreciate those who are and have a few friends who are and friends who have kids on the spectrum but I really don’t think Alia is blessed to be on the Spectrum.

      With your son not showing the typical signs of being on the spectrum (touch sensitivities and speech/vocab challenges) how did you finally get the diagnosis?

      Reply
  12. Angela (Hibma) Hernandez

    Thank you for your honesty in telling about your daughter whom you love dearly enough to ask for help. As I read her story she reminded me a lot of a student I had a couple of years ago. He was eventually diagnosed with a conduct disorder. It can be a very frustrating condition to live with for you, the child, and the whole family. My prayers for you as you seek to raise each of your children in the midst of her trying behavior.

    Here is one website that talks about conduct disorder. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Conduct-Disorder-033.aspx

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Angela! — However Alia’s actions are not deliberate. She doesn’t use weapons and isn’t that kind of bully. Instead she’s just trying to control people and situations, yes kinda in a selfish way, but it’s more about wanting to define rules for a game and the kids have to play by her rules… less like she’s going to beat up the other kids.

      Thanks for the heads up tho!

      Reply
  13. Chelsea

    I stumbled across your podcast, and have really enjoyed hearing about your family’s adventures. Somehow that lead me to your blog, and to this post. I am currently completing graduate work in child development, with a particular focus on children’s interactions with the medical system. I thought about sharing a number of behaviour strategies, but I suspect you have tried just about everything. I wondered though, whether you have had your daughter tested for Fragile X Syndrome. It is an inherited chromosomal disorder caused by a defect on a gene in the x chromosome. It results in the gene failing to produce a necessary brain protein. The syndrome can present itself in a variety of ways and degrees, and is often misdiagnosed. Common symptoms, however, include learning disabilities, delayed and abnormal speech, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and unstable moods, and autism/autism like behaviours. Physically, people with fragile x are often very attractive, with long and narrow oval shaped faces. I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful your daughter is. Other physical symptoms can include large ears, flat feet, and hyperextensible joints, especially fingers

    Girls generally exhibit a milder form of Fragile X because they have two X chromosomes — one that works properly and one that doesn’t. As a result, females are able to produce enough of the necessary brain protein to fill most of the body’s needs, but not all. Autism is less common in girls and only one-third to one-half of girls have significant intellectual impairment. The rest have either normal IQ or learning disabilities.

    I don’t know if this is something that she has already been tested for, or even if you think that the symptoms might be a match, but in the event you are interested in learning more about it, Fragile X can be accurately diagnosed through a simple DNA test that any doctor can order. In any case, I hope that you are able to find some solutions to make things a bit easier for everyone in your family. Happy travels!

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Wow, thanks for the information. We’re actually having Alia tested for a genetic methylation issue… unfortunately the test does not cover Fragile X… but we’ll be looking more into getting her tested for that especially if the Methylation comes back as negative (I know I am a carrier of it)

      Really appreciate your level of knowledge and information!

      Reply
  14. Sara

    Paul, Becky, my son had a lot of similar problems. The doctors wanted to call it Adhd and medicate him. At 5 years old I wasn’t ok with that. I did some research, red dye #40 and yellow #5/6 cause a lot of similar symptoms. Removing them from his diet helped, but he still had good and bad days. I saved up $200 took him to a natural/holistic doctor and they tested for food allergies and other things. Turns out he’s not intolerant to any dyes, it’s wheat, spelt, rye, gluten, things along those levels. We fasted and kept it out of his diet for 10 days they stayed off ot for a month. No issues. He started reading, focusing, respectful, kind, polite. We tested and introduced it back in… sure enough he went back to the old ways. I can send you the Doctor’s info he’s in Pittsburgh. There really is a lot of stuff with food. These dyes are forbidden in other countries and the pesticides…. it could change her life. Feel free to PM on facebook, I follow you.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Sara! We’ve been working with an ND and so far no success or changes, we’ve done a month with no allergens and to date nothing has changed :(

      Reply
  15. Marleen Flood

    Hi Paul and Becky, I’m so sorry to hear about your challenges. We have a son who was behaving very badly as well. We felt very judged as parents. He was 6 and still acting like a 3 year old. He would run into the road, start fires, break things, dive into deep water, jump off of roofs, wander off…you get the idea. This was coupled with almost compulsive stealing and lying and sneaking. We were frustrated and scared (he was endangering himself and others). (We have 7 children and he is the only one that exhibited these symptoms). This was not a focus issue for him. He did fine in homeschooling. He is very smart and loves to learn, he just had no self control. We later learned that he has ADHD. Before you completely tune me out, understand that we learned that ADHD manifests itself in different ways. It is not simply about focus. While we also believe that it is over diagnosed and falsely diagnosed most of the time; in children that truly have it, it is a disconnect in the brain, that essentially leaves them with no impulse control. Whatever makes us stop and think first, does not work in them. The medication remakes the connection. We prayerfully put our son on Concerta and he is like a little angel now. He is very well behaved and normal. He is not over tired or in a fog or acting weird. It helps him. He is now almost 11 and has been on it for 5 years with no major side effects. He is a little bit less hungry and he had a little bit of trouble getting to sleep for a bit at the beginning, but really no other effects at all, except really, really good effects. This made a night and day difference for us. We were of the mindset that ADHD meds. were bad and dangerous. The homeschool community is incredibly judgmental about ADHD. We avoided the ADHD test and the medicine for so long, but we finally researched it more and conceded. We allowed the doctor to prescribe Concerta and it helped him…soooooo much. Once we got on the proper dose, it has resolved these issues completely. There are many wonderful natural remedies out there, many of which we use, but God also gave us medicine as a blessing to use when we need it. I thank God everyday for this particular medicine. It has blessed us and our son so much! Medicine comes from natural sources too. Eg. Tylenol is willow bark. Same thing. Sure they add flavoring and color, but it is willow bark, dosed appropriately. I studied ADHD medications (especially Concerta) quite thoroughly and over a time span of over 30 years, there have been no severe negative side effects in people who genuinely need it and use it appropriately. (That’s the key, anything when abused is dangerous). (I made sure to study from websites that were not compromised, meaning that they were not selling their own product for the symptoms and they had nothing to gain, by saying either good or bad things about this medication). It made such a huge difference for us, that I hate to see you write it off. If it is not ADHD then you keep searching, but what if it is? My son is a completely different boy, in every good way! Also the test does not take much more than an hour. They can figure it out pretty quickly, these days. It really helps if the parents/teachers are honestly filling out the questions, rather than answering to seek a diagnosis. You get what I mean. Again, for him it was not focus, but impulse control. He said that off of his meds. “he felt like his head was spinning and he could not think”. On the Concerta, he says that he feels normal. One more thing, I have also had some mild success with Peppermint and Orange Essential oils in a rollerball bottle (10 drops of each oil and then fill the rest of the way with a carrier oil). Hope this helps. I don’t mean to come off preachy, this just helped us so much, that I wanted you to consider it. I pray that you will find the answers that you are looking for.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Marleen!

      We have had her tested for ADHD, and if on a ten point scale with 10 being ADHD she scored a 6, so not significant and not enough to medicate.

      Its interesting to hear your perspective on Focus versus impulse control. She does have the similar issue, of she just has no filter or impulse control.

      However Tylenol is not Willow Bark, It’s Acetaminophen. Aspirin which originally was Willow Bark, however it didn’t become popular or called aspirin until it was made in a laboratory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_aspirin Taking Willow bark is natural, taking asprin is taking a chemical produced in a lab. Major difference.

      I know the homeschool community is very judgemental of ADHD and of taking medications for it. I don’t want to continue that tone, and I appreciate your help and encouragement we’re pretty sure that she doesn’t have ADHD, only one of the 5 doctors she has been to said yes she had it but the test results meant she only slightly has it. That same doctor said that taking medications for ADHD would not help her core issues.

      So it’s still something else. :(

      Reply
  16. Erin

    I’m a little concerned here that you’re sharing such personal information about your child. Are you sure it’s a good idea? I wish you well and agree with Kate in particular, but I really am concerned about you sharing so much. I hope you don’t take this badly.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Erin, there are some families who live in the public spotlight and some families who don’t. We respect each family’s choice in how much they personally want to share. In our case we feel like we need the support of our “virtual” community. There are tons of bloggers who have shared more than this information to the public about their crew.

      I feel like sharing is actually part of what helps us to cope. Otherwise no one really understands what we’re struggling with and we feel more and more alone. This post, the comments, and the incredible support we’ve received from our virtual community has been awesome.

      Oh and realize that we live in Mexico, on purpose, by choice. So we’re open to doing the opposite of what western cultures fear, like sharing truth about health struggles and living in a place where the media says it’s extremely dangerous and that we’ll die. Check out a post where we cover what people have said to us about living in Mexico. That might help you understand how we’re not risk adverse and believe that the benefits of sharing openly outweigh the risks of sharing such personal information.

      Reply
  17. Patty

    Hi! I have a book I think you should read. It’s called “A Mind of your own” by Dr. Kelly Brogan. She also has some videos on you tube. She is brilliant and I think the gut and inflammation may Ben the root of your problems. Best of luck! See you On the road in Mexico!

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Patty,

      Actually we’ve gone through an anti-inflamation diet with Alia (this summer) and it did not solve anything, there’s a chance her symptoms were exacerbated during the diet/cleanse/purge.

      We’ll keep looking/trying!

      Reply
  18. Chris

    Hi, This is the first time that I am reading your blog. I feel like it’s so random and odd that I happened to read this post first. It just so happens that I have a neighbor who recently moved in and began telling me about their son who had nearly all the same symptoms you described. According to my neighbor they saw tons of doctors and psychiatrists, but couldn’t find the root cause. ADHD was one big consideration, but he just didn’t seem to have the same full symptoms. They had a friend who was a forensic psychiatrist that couldn’t diagnose, but recommended that they look into a Social Disorder (ugh, I can’t remember the name of it). They pursued this with a psychiatrist and their son did in fact have the disorder. What she explained to me is that he is very good at talking with adults and gets along with adults very well. He can associate with adults. (He is the sweetest boy and is awesome with our 2 year old). But he has a difficult time associating with kids his age. He had complained that he didn’t have any friends and that no one liked him. She explained that he would take things very personally and automatically assume kids didn’t like him. Once he made up his mind you couldn’t change it. He would do things he knew were bad, he just couldn’t help himself. He will explode when he’s upset 0-100 and it’s very hard to calm him down. Unfortunately, she realized she was late to pick up the kids and that ended our conversation. I don’t know the recommended treatment plan. But this may be something you can run by your doctors. It sounded like this wasn’t a very common or well known disorder. I realize I’m writing this a very long time after your original post. Hopefully you’ve been able to identify the root cause and remedies already. Hugs work well for us 😃 I’m sure you’re well studied on positive parenting, but I love Dr. Markham’s blog. I got a lot of different ideas from her.

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks for commenting Chris, It’d be helpful if you could remember or ask them, as there are a lot of personality disorders, one of them being antisocial personality disorder. Not sure if that’s the diagnosis your neighbor’s son received or not. Thanks!

      Reply
  19. ellie

    We have a son who sounds very similar who takes Concerta for ADHD. We actually did not think he had ADHD when his speech therapist brought it up. We went ahead with the medication because he was not learning to talk and she thought it would help him. I know it sounds insane to medicate a child when we don’t know for sure that he has what the medication is treating him for but I will say this- we have been enjoying our son and his fun, happy, kind, imaginative personality for the past 8 years since he’s been on the medication. When his meds wear off we are even more thankful for how much it helps him to: get along with his 3 siblings, focus and do well in school & keep from acting like he’s mentally ill (seriously he acts like a lunatic sometimes when the medication wears off). I know you don’t think Alia has ADHD but your description makes me believe she might benefit from Concerta. As an adult with ADD I feel really strongly that if your child can be helped physically, mentally or socially by taking medication it is a right that should be granted them whatever your personal feelings about medication are. I was undiagnosed until my forties and could go on forever about how that has made my life really difficult and I would have had higher self esteem, learned how to navigate relationships better and had many more opportunities for education had my parents or my teachers taken the initiative to diagnose & treat my ADD. Good luck.

    Reply
  20. Patricia

    I have not read the comments so please forgive me if this has been mentioned but her behaviour sounds a lot like gluten intolerance. She does not have to be coeliac to be intolerant. There is now non-coeliac gluten intolerance recognised by all good natural practitioners.
    Even a tiny bit of gluten can cause behaviour problems.
    Also, even a little bit of sugar and dairy can also cause problems.
    You don’t need extra money to eat a dairy, sugar and gluten-free diet. Just a willingness to research and be vigilant.
    Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride would class her as a GAPs kid. She has written the book Gut and Psychology Syndrom. She and her team of GAPs practitioners around the world treat many children and change family’s lives. However many families do this on their own. There are loads of blogs detailing thwir GAPs journey.
    I know all this because I and my daughters are GAPs.

    Reply
    • Patricia

      I just need to mention that the aim of the GAPs diet is to heal the gut and it’s not a quick fix. It typically takes two years of being on the diet.
      Ans I would also like to mention that Young Living essential oils are by far the most potent therapeutic oils on the market and are amazing in supporting the body and emotions so they can heal.

      Reply
  21. Bridget

    I’ve been in your shoes, the details were a little different but the result was the same. Hang in there, keep researching it on your own, keep educating yourselves. …it isn’t easy but God has a plan. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. ..my son is now almost 19 and while he’s overcome most of the problems he had as a child, he’s gained new ones. And he fights everyday (some more than others) to win the battle within himself. He’s an amazing kid/man that regardless of his challenges I am so very proud of!

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Bridget, It’s crazy how honesty can be encouraging and discouraging all at the same time! I’d love for her to be free of her challenges, but I believe that she too will just have different problems as she overcomes her current challenges.

      Reply
  22. Homeschoolspectrum

    Have you looked at girls with autism rather then generic spectrum symptoms? And pathological demand avoidance? Or sleep apnea? Looking at the ados testing might help see the small signs of high functioning female aspie. My two both have Tourettes and autism, adhd and the youngest sleep apnea that varies how much sleep he gets and comes in cycles depending on allergies that swell the turbinates in his nose.

    Reply
    • Paul

      Thanks for the tips, we can rule out sleep apnea, but we haven’t (yet) looked into girls with autism… ironically 90% of the people/kids I know on the spectrum are male, so I don’t have much experience with females on the spectrum. I’ll be looking into that!

      Reply
  23. Lainie Liberti

    Becky & Paul,
    Thank you so much for your candor and being so open and vulnerable. I am certain you are helping many parents who can identify with your situation. My only advice for you is to do a little research into 2E issues and find a psychologist who recognizes and specializes in these specific concerns. I did a show on 2E kids (2E stands for “twice exceptional”) and had a psychologist and two 2E education experts on the panel. It was an incredible conversation and I learned a lot.You can google For the Love of Learning and the words “Educating Gifted and 2E Children” if you are interested. Sending you all so much love on your journey. <3

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Thanks Lanie,

      While we love Alia with all of our hearts, we are honest enough to say she is not exceptional in her intellect or her intuitiveness. So without doing any digging into it, I am pretty sure she’s not a 2E child. I’d love if it were true, but her challenges are different.

      Reply

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