High functioning autism or... - Mothering Forums

 2Likes
  • 2 Post By Linda on the move
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 9 Old 03-13-2016, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
High functioning autism or...

Hi there - I'm "returning" to Mothering after many years. My oldest is now 9 and youngest 5. I loved this magazine and forum when I was pregnant and parenting infants.

My oldest son has been diagnosed with high functioning autism, ADHD and a transient tic disorder by a psychiatrist and confirmed by a psychologist. I'm battling with that diagnosis, and wondering how a blend of other conditions might present themselves as autism. Anyone else been diagnosed with high functioning when your "gut" told you otherwise?

I can give a lot more information, but didn't want to log on for the first time with an essay. I'd originally thought that my son has dyspraxia (motor skills issues) ADHD (inattentive type) and oppositional or some other mood disorder (meltdowns). He's also very inflexible.

I know that this may come up as a questions, so figured I'd mention that my sons were not vaccinated until grade-school (age 5), nor were they circumcised. My 9-year olds symptoms manifested far prior to his first shot, and he had no change in behavior following the vaccine. Natural birth with a vacuum assistance at end. Large head size (nearly 15 inches circumference) which I mention because there has been suggested link between head size and/or vacuum/forceps and autism. He had crasiosacral therapy following birth (severe colic...always crying and had to be held/worn constantly. Hated car seats and stroller.

Thanks to anyone who has input in this area (ie, mild symptoms and questioning ASD diagnosis)

Thanks
MsMommy23 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 9 Old 03-13-2016, 09:00 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 11,577
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
I have a DD with autism (PDD-NOS) and I now teach special education.


Diagnosis are strange things. For all the work and science and testing that goes into them, they really don't tell you very much. They can help point you in a direction for interventions, but they don't tell you what will work for your child or what their future will be or anything very solid. My thought is to focus on what your son NEEDS and what his STRENGTHS are, and try not to get too hung up on the label.
I'd wait a few years before getting another evaluation because kids can present different at different stages.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is offline  
#3 of 9 Old 03-13-2016, 09:30 AM
 
Trixie Falsae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Texas!
Posts: 63
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Autism is very tricky diagnosis. Since the last DSM changes, it encompasses everything from severe infantile autism to people who just have a little difficulty with social interaction and a highly organized mind. Some of the problems he is having may be the ADHD and not the suggested autism. She has meltdowns, trouble socially and very rigid ideas of how things should run. She still had frequent accidents until she was almost 6 because she was so impulsive and distracted that she had trouble remembering she had to use the restroom between the first urge and actually making it to the restroom. Everyone, with a diagnosis or not, has their own strengths and weaknesses. Mother your precious son from your own instinct. It you have something you are struggling with, finding resources for his diagnosis might be a great place to start finding information to help you jump one hurdle at a time.

I work with several adults with high functioning autism. Honestly, if I had never seen the diagnosis I never would have guessed. They lead active, meaningful, independent lives. They may have trouble with social skills, managing finances or something. I've also had some people I worked with where we all questioned the diagnosis. Like I stated before, autism is so broad that almost everyone could be labeled such in some area of their lives. When there are multiple presenting problems it is much easier to diagnose with autism that try to find another diagnosis when it really isn't going to change the treatment or outcome.

Right now the diagnosis is not important. Your son is. Celebrate his strengths and work on his weaknesses.
Trixie Falsae is offline  
 
#4 of 9 Old 03-13-2016, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Thanks everyone. What has really led me into a different direction is that he began taking Lexipro last year for anxiety. This was prescribed following our first efforts at dietary changes (made no notable impact and caused him to lose weight).

The Lexipro made a huge difference - he became more social, he didn't choose to be alone at school...more eye contact, etc. he made a friend for the first time - he always "liked" kids before third grade but no one invited him on play dates, and the kids stopped really wanting to play with him too. He was so one-sided and inflexible that it wasn't fun for other kids (eg - he'd want to talk about Pokemon for 3 hours)

I had an IEP meeting with the school psychologist a few weeks ago and she suggested that he does not actually have ASD. That she thinks he has OCD which explains the fixations and need for routine, rigidity for "rules" and inability to adapt and a lot of the other autism traits. She suggested that OCD plus ADHD, plus perhaps some sort of dyspraxia and opposition authority issue combined could all look like ASD. OCD even can have the sensory component (he is sentitive to sounds, smells and feelings - only likes to wear pj pants and takes off his regular pants as soon as he gets home each day)

So what I'm sort of left with is, does it matter if my son has Autism, but I "pretend" that he doesn't. That darn diagnosis had me really upset because it changed the way that I parent him. We find ourselves letting him get away with MORE because, well, he's autistic and the behavior that seems unreasonable to us is because of his condition. He can't help it. We end up becoming even more loose on discipline with him because we don't think that he can help it...well if he was misdiagnosed then he CAN help it and we need to work on strengthening our discipline and becoming more firm on our rules. (We have a very relaxed parenting style thus far).

Sorry for the long posts, it's just really hard to figure this out. He's a great kid - funny (often without intending) interesting, quirky and cute, just all around awesome. We will seek another diagnosis in a couple of years for sure.
MsMommy23 is offline  
#5 of 9 Old 03-13-2016, 12:15 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 11,577
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMommy23 View Post
We find ourselves letting him get away with MORE because, well, he's autistic and the behavior that seems unreasonable to us is because of his condition. He can't help it. We end up becoming even more loose on discipline with him because we don't think that he can help it...well if he was misdiagnosed then he CAN help it and we need to work on strengthening our discipline and becoming more firm on our rules. (We have a very relaxed parenting style thus far).

This is such a tricky area. No matter the *right* name for your son's challenges, it is obvious he has some real challenges. None the less, no matter the name or severity of a child's challenges, it is our job as the grown ups in their lives to help them get to the next level. Understanding more about what is really going on for child can help us figure out what the next level might be for them and how to help them get there. Knowing when to let behavior slide because a child is doing the best they can and knowing when to push is tricky, and I seriously doubt that any parent gets it right 100% of the time. I know I haven't.


So, whether or not he has autism, it is still your job to help him learn new skills. And it sounds like whether or not he has autism, learning new skills is going to be a challenge for him. The combination of other dx's that your psych is looking at is not a light, easy thing to address.
Nemi27 and MsMommy23 like this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is offline  
#6 of 9 Old 03-13-2016, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
You nailed it. It's the question of "when item let it slide" versus "teach that life isn't all about getting your own way" that is hard for us to figure out. I spent the early years with him "giving in" a lot. I began doubting that technique when he didn't grow out of his inflexible/meltdown qualities, thinking I may have failed to teach him that you don't always get your way in life, and that plans sometimes change unexpectedly. With the ASD diagnosis, I felt redeemed, thinking my early years of giving in were "right" in a way because with ASD, there are a lot of battles not worth arguing over, and trying to stick with a routine worked the best.

I think that with OCD(anxiety) and ADHD he still needs routines, he will still be uncomfortable with changes, he will still be mildly agoraphobic... He is older now too so when I say "hey, look at me. Look at my eyes, I really need you to hear this" he actually does it and understands (versus a 4-5 year old that wouldn't stop to listen to me).

Thanks for reading. It's been a strange challenge for me because the networks I've found have not been particularly helpful for high-functioning autism.
MsMommy23 is offline  
#7 of 9 Old 03-14-2016, 05:11 AM
 
heatherweh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,417
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
My DS is 9 and on the ASD as well- PDD NOS. Welcome back.

I am curious about the school psychologists basis for diagnosis. Has she conducted a full educational psychoevaluation? Thst is to say, have you gone through the "evaluation" phase of the IEP process? As excellent as she may be, and she may very well be unbiased, don't assume she has no 'dog in the fight' as the unfortunate term of phrase goes- she may be setting you up for an IEP denial. If she's doing the tests make sure she does ones specific to asd as well. I found the evaluation, which includes a number if diagnostic tools and observation, to be very helpful and another confirmation that DSs diagnoses were in the ballpark.

ASD diagnosis isn't the only contributing factor to determining the discipline plan that will work for you. ADHD and OCD (or my son got IED- intermittent explosive disorder) and SPD might call for different methods as well. Generally ABA is the go-to and you can get some books and start applying the principals of it at home easily enough and ask that they do it at school too- some are pretty easy little switches such as say the reward first, then what the child will be expected to do. So "then, if" instead of our intuitive "if, then".

I appreciate your forthrightness about your parenting style, I think ours was similar. I practiced attachment parenting, which is interesting considering forming attachments isn't really an ASD babies thing. :-/ I didn't know of course, couldn't have hurt. DS cried a lot as a baby too, hated car seats, hated people, wouldn't let anyone hold him- when another person would enter the room or approach is he would get fussy and agitated. He couldn't do the nursery at church or the gym or MOPS and so I dropped my lifelines. I kept trying play dates so I could have sanity but he hated going to new houses, didn't want to play with other kids- we'd both inevitably leave in tears. Tantrums were epic, self injurious. He didn't speak until he was almost 3- I got early intervention but they didn't see a need for anything except speech help. He rarely smiled, he always looked worried. He developed anxieties and wouldn't go anywhere where there were dogs. Pediatrician said he's just quirky, fussy, cantankerous when I described my concerns year after year. I got the fussy baby book, the out of synch child, the explosive child, the sensitive child, don't call me shy...books about anxiety and sensory and diet and I knew something was off. PreK he cried and screamed and had to be dragged off my legs then remained silent all day. We were relatively lenient too, felt like if he could do better he would but sometimes we were just at a loss, he wasn't *getting* manners, greetings, social norms. We made excuses all the time and had a million exit strategies- oh he's just tired, he's been under the weather, it's almost his nap time we'd better go, you take him out and I'll stay for dinner, I'll drive separate and take him if he melts down and you stay for Christmas etc.

He was diagnosed with PDD-nos at 8 and it was oxygen to a dying mom. The weight of ignorance was lifted, I had something I could study, learn about, focus, help- finally an explanation and it wasn't just me or some parenting problem or because we had a difficult birth or because we vaccinated. It's because it's how he is and he's been struggling. I'm so glad to have the diagnosis, it's the vehicle I needed to get him help, without it he couldn't get help at school or an IEP and I couldn't explain why he would only wear brown stripe pants for two years straight or not look at someone in the eyes. When you know better you do better.

I look forward to "seeing you" here!
heatherweh is offline  
#8 of 9 Old 03-14-2016, 07:33 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 11,577
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsMommy23 View Post
You nailed it. It's the question of "when item let it slide" versus "teach that life isn't all about getting your own way" that is hard for us to figure out. I spent the early years with him "giving in" a lot. I began doubting that technique when he didn't grow out of his inflexible/meltdown qualities, thinking I may have failed to teach him that you don't always get your way in life, and that plans sometimes change unexpectedly.

I can relate. With my DD now (she is 19) we just focus on one thing at a time, let it become really solid, and then move on to something else. She completed an associates degree in Dec., and if we hadn't insisted she take math every semester and work with a tutor it would not have happened. She can drive -- again, because we made her practice. She volunteered at the friends of the library for 18 months (and they loved her) because we said she had to get a job or do volunteer work that was like a job. If we let her do what she wanted to, she would be hiding in her room reading fantasy books, and not interacting with the world at all.


She has a sister who is close in age, so there was a limit as to how much we could give in without being completely crappy to our other child.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherweh View Post
I am curious about the school psychologists basis for diagnosis. Has she conducted a full educational psychoevaluation? Thst is to say, have you gone through the "evaluation" phase of the IEP process? As excellent as she may be, and she may very well be unbiased, don't assume she has no 'dog in the fight' as the unfortunate term of phrase goes- she may be setting you up for an IEP denial.

I agree that school psychs have a dog in the fight. Depending on the district, they can get a lot of pressure and have to justify the overall % of kids they qualify, the % with different diagnosis, etc. However, OCD is a qualifying diagnosis under "ED" and ADHD qualifies under "OHI."


Once a student is qualified for services *in my district* the IEP team has a lot of leeway to add services. The team has to include someone who can sign off to allocate resources. My person is our vice-principal.


Quote:
I got the fussy baby book, the out of synch child, the explosive child, the sensitive child, don't call me shy...books about anxiety and sensory and diet and I knew something was off. PreK he cried and screamed and had to be dragged off my legs then remained silent all day. We were relatively lenient too, felt like if he could do better he would but sometimes we were just at a loss,

I can relate to so much of this. The phrase "when a need is met, it will go away" still haunts me. We homeschooled and I was drawn to unschooling. I feel foolish for how much advice I bought into about unschooling from people who had never met my child. We added routines, which greatly upped the sanity factor, but I feel like I've been dancing this line between giving her space to be herself and providing structure because she NEEDS it for nearly 20 years.


She started school when she was 12. It didn't not go smoothly.


I have felt so judged by so many people who don't have a clue what it means to raise a child with autism.


Quote:
I'm so glad to have the diagnosis, it's the vehicle I needed to get him help, without it he couldn't get help at school or an IEP and I couldn't explain why he would only wear brown stripe pants for two years straight or not look at someone in the eyes. When you know better you do better.
I reached a point where I didn't not care what my DD's label was, as long as it meant she got help.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is offline  
#9 of 9 Old 03-14-2016, 09:58 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 852
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 843 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
This is such a tricky area. No matter the *right* name for your son's challenges, it is obvious he has some real challenges. None the less, no matter the name or severity of a child's challenges, it is our job as the grown ups in their lives to help them get to the next level. Understanding more about what is really going on for child can help us figure out what the next level might be for them and how to help them get there. Knowing when to let behavior slide because a child is doing the best they can and knowing when to push is tricky, and I seriously doubt that any parent gets it right 100% of the time. I know I haven't.


So, whether or not he has autism, it is still your job to help him learn new skills. And it sounds like whether or not he has autism, learning new skills is going to be a challenge for him. The combination of other dx's that your psych is looking at is not a light, easy thing to address.
I agree with all of this. I thought my daughter might end up with an autism diagnosis, but she doesn't quite seem to fit the profile (she's now in 6th grade and has been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety). That being said she still exhibits behaviors that she can't help...that can be true regardless of the diagnosis, or even if there's nothing really to diagnose. Probably the hardest thing for me as a parent is knowing when to accommodate her behavior and when to lay down expectations to help her grow and learn how to overcome things herself. It's tricky, for sure. Good therapists will help you with finding that line.
Dear_Rosemary is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 14,321

29 members and 14,292 guests
agentofchaos , aparent , Austonrivers , Comparily , CricketVS , Deborah , emmy526 , girlspn , greenemami , hillymum , jamesmorrow , JElaineB , josxoma , kathymuggle , Leelee3 , lhargrave89 , lisak1234 , moominmamma , MountainMamaGC , NaturallyKait , pokeyac , RollerCoasterMama , samaxtics , sciencemum , verticalscope
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.