6 y/o son with ADHD and possible AS. Need some support

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Lauren
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28 Jul 2011, 7:35 pm

My 6 y/o son may possibly have AS. I need some advice and some support. I have no idea where to turn, as I don't know anyone IRL with an AS child.

Here is some background. I am a married Mom with 3 kids. My oldest, C is 6. Middle is 3 and baby is 15 months. As a baby, C was very bright. He started crawling at 6 months. He started talking VERY early. I would read a book to him at 15 months, and he could finish the sentence.

He could never sit still. At daycare before he turned 2, he knew all his colors, but would not sit down in the circle when asked. He always played away from the other kids, never directly with them, even after 3 when parallel play usually ends. He was always and has always been very active. From about 13 months - 3, he headbanged when he was mad. He would do it on the wall, on the floor, and he didn't care if he hurt himself.

At 3, we switched to a preschool. He had little trouble the first year. He made 1 really good friend. He became extremely interested in animals, bugs, snakes, etc. Also, he became really interested in space. He still LOVES these subjects at 6.5 years old, and he can tell you all the facts about them. He loves watching tv involving them, and being read books or reading books regarding them. He suffered A LOT emotionally when his brother, L, was born and took out a lot of aggression on him, biting, hurting him when we weren't looking. He could not cope with time out at home or at school, and would fight and become extremely aggressive when put in timeout.

At 4, we began having trouble at preschool. We got calls about 3 times a week. Caden was not getting along with other children, and he was hitting and hurting. He complained other kids were mean to him. Still, he had one really good friend so I was not worried. People did not come to his birthday party that year though, besides his best friend and maybe one or two other kids.

We went to a psychiatrist right around his 5th birthday, and they diagnosed ADHD. His psych. says he is gifted, and these go hand and hand. He did not have any neuro exam. This was all interview, etc., and IQ test. We put him on Clonidine before Kindergarten, b/c we did not want to have the same problem we had at 4. The clonidine seemed to control his behavior some, but put him to sleep. He would still meltdown frequently if overtired and cojmpletely lose control, hitting, kicking, biting, and unable to get him stop. He constantly throws things, bangs walls, kicks, hits me, and tells me he wants to kill me or hurt me b/c I am so mean, and I don't let him do anything he wants, and that I am the most horrible mother in the world. He tells me this or Daddy this, if Daddy is around. It takes him HOURS to calm down.

In Kindergarten, he did well academically, and he made 1 good friend. His teacher says everyone likes him, but that he doesn't really know how to act in social situations. His 3 y/o brother has better manners than he does. C is unable to sit still in public. He can't follow the rules in a restaurant, and it constantly leads to a meltdown if he doesn't get his way, or if things don't go his way.

He does occasionally line up cars, reptile toys, etc. He will group items into "like" groups often. For example, he'll put all his small turtles together, followed by medium turtles, then larges turtles. He takes beaded necklaces, breaks them to make them one long line, and either pretends it is a snake or he puts it into his pants and he "becomes" an animal. When he is an animal, he will not speak to you normally, and he makes all these weird sounds.

He has never liked food, but he loves drinks, milk, water, juice. He eats about 1 full meal a day, if prompted to eat, but will sometimes go a whole day not eating. He is very athletic, but dislikes team sports. He was in Tae Kwon Do, but he dislikes it because doing the moves are hard. He will discuss reptiles or bugs all day long, if you give him a chance. He will obsess about something if you tell him too early. For example, if I say we're going to the zoo after the littles get up from their nap, then he will ask me about 100 times, now when are we going to the zoo? He takes some things very seriously. For instance, if I say "I'll do that in 5 seconds," then he will count to 5 and say "Ok, I'm ready." He really hates being teased, and this will occasionally result in a breakdown.

His ped. suggested that he may be AS and suggested a neuro-exam, but I am unsure. I guess there is nothing wrong with doing this if it will give us answers. I know there is something "off" about him, and I don't think ADHD is totally it. This summer we switched his med to 5 mg Adderrall, and it works well but by the end of the night when it wears off he is a complete and utter mess, and he is sometimes not controllable. I really need help in learning how to help him when he needs a meltdown, because thus far I haven't figured out what to do and he is becoming more violent when he melts down.

His behavior is really tearing my family apart a bit. My husband, R, does not know how to deal with it, and he and I are constantly fighting about discipline that mostly does not work at all with C.

Please help!! !

Lauren



LornaDoone
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28 Jul 2011, 8:29 pm

Sounds like you are on the right track with the assessment process started. Good job! I'd google and use your yellow pages and see what there is for support services and start looking them up. I will honestly say that even if your child does not have AS or is not on the spectrum someplace, you can still benefit from some of the therapies. Basic principles all of them really.


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7year old girl with ADD, but has been very manageable
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Ilka
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28 Jul 2011, 8:58 pm

Hi Lauren. Your child sound very much like my 11 years old Aspie before she was diagnosed (except for the hitting). I do not think you should be afraid of the dx. Once you know exactly what he has you will be more capable of helping him. My daughter was diagnosed by a neurologist, so I think you are on the right path. If it is AS I would recommend you to take him to a center specialized in Autism and get a good therapist for him. He needs behavior modification therapy. It helps a lot. My daughter has been in therapy for three years and she is doing very well. No more problems at school. She still have issues that we are still facing specially with social interaction.

My husband and I used to fight a lot about discipline, too. Aspies have issues with authority and are very defiant, so discipline is very difficult. Sometimes the best idea is distract and redirect, and talk about the behavior afterwards, when he is calmed and can (and will) pay attention. I wish you and your family the very best.



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28 Jul 2011, 9:37 pm

Some of what you have mentioned about your son does sound like he may have Asperger's or High Functioning Autism (the distinction between these 2 labels is not very clear in my mind). I will be the first to recommend a book written by a member here on this forum:

http://asdstuff.com/grats.html
It explains a lot about autism spectrum disorders. Discipline is tough with ASD kids (and I think this actually applies to ADD and ADHD kids too) becasue they tend not to connect the punishment with the infraction. For example if he hits his sister and you punish him by taking away his favorite toy, that is probably not going to make sense to him. All he thinks is that you are being mean by taking his toy away. If it doesn't make sense to him then taking away his favorite toy will NOT serve as any kind of deterrent for him hitting his sister.

I would follow through with the assessment your ped has recommended. No matter what the results are it is likely to give you more information to work with to figure out how to help the poor little guy. I am sure the meltdowns and out of control behavior are just as scary and frustrating for him as they are for you.
Good luck and welcome to WP!