Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Is it Autism?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 5 Replies
  • Posted By: hillbillymom
  • July 28, 2009
  • 05:41 PM

My son is 15. He has been diagnosed as ADHD, depressed, deaf, mildly retarded and one Dr. even told me that he needs a spanking. He is in public school at my insistance, though in the 4th grade, the school said that I should put him in a special home for kids like him. He is obsessed with animals and fishing. He has other physical challenges as well. He gets upset if our routine changes in the least. We are at our wits end with trying to get him the help that he needs. Does anyone know of a great Dr. in the South Dakota area who will help us find a specialist or anyone who will listen to us and our concerns? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks!:(

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5 Replies:

  • Well, first of all, if your child has significant sensorineural hearing loss, then it's extremely difficult to differentiate between behaviors associated with this type of deafness and those of ADHD. Based on experience, I would question the presence of ADHD in your son. I would also ask you on what basis the child is being assessed as mildly retarded? Describe for me his other physical challenges in as much detail as practical. There is a broad spectrum of disorders that could be associated with the deficits which exist in your son and great care should be taken to avoid labels being imposed as a consequence of summary clinical assessments, which tend to foster preconceived notions and subsequent assessments that are erroneously targeted at merely confirming former diagnoses. I'm uncertain what resources may be available to you in your state, but I would not let geographical boundaries restrict you from the best available care in properly assessing your son. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thank you for the reply. Here is some more info on my son. He is 6"4, weighs 365 at his last appointment this week. He is getting monthly testosterone shots since he has no testicles. He has ovaries, they think. He definitley is a boy though. He has had an IQ test done and the result was an IQ of 56. He sits and makes this weird humming noise for no reason and bounces his leg constantly. It is very irritating. And he does it constantly. He started to speak before he was 2 years old, and then he just stopped and did not speak until he was 4 1/2. He was urinating in the potty chair by 2, but he has had encoprisus? until just recently. We still have not gotten him completely toilet trained, and have to constantly remind him to go to the bathroom and to clean himself. He does not have a good grasp of his ADLs. He refuses to shower or brush his teeth. It does not seem to bother him that he smells. He has no stranger danger awareness. He goes into these laughing fits for no apparrent reason. He cannot follow a simple conversation, and if we talk at a normal rate of speech, he cannot keep up with the conversation. He does not understand the concept of personal space and invades everyones when he is near them. He does not know his own strength and when he does want to be affectionet, he almost squeezes the life out of you. He does not seem to hear us call his name unless we basically yell at him. He gets mad for no apparent reasons and goes into these fits of rage. if you touch him to get his attention, he over reacts and cries and says that we are abusing him. He cannot keep his dates straight and can not even tell you his address or phone number. He has learned to use texting on a cell phone and has a wicked sense of humor when he is texting. He is obssessed with animals of any kind and fishing is the latest obsession. Before he could really talk, he could tell you the long name of the dinosaurs and was completely obsessed with them. He does not have any friends that we know of and feels out of place in school because of his size and the fact that he has to go to special classes. He is a freshman this year. He does try to study hard and keeps his grades up. When he grows up, he wants to be a conservation officer. We are at a loss for what to do to help him. They have checked for Prater-Willies due to the huge amounts of food that he consumes. They have checked for missing chromosomes or additional ones. All tests at this point have come up with no definitive answer for us. We have taken him to the Mayo Clinic and no answer from them. When he was teething, he cribbed on all of the wood work in the house and we wonder if he has lead poisoning of some degree. So there is probabally more but these are the things off of the top of my head. Any help you be very appreciated. Thank you!
    hillbillymom 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks. We live in rural South Dakota and the closest towers of any kind are almost 5 miles away. I will look at the sites you provided and see if it will help.
    hillbillymom 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Doesn't sound like you have been receiving parenting services for managing this child; if things don't change for your family, you will have a life-long care job. First, it sounds like you don't have an accurate diagnosis. You said he was deaf? Does he wear a hearing aid? Does he have any hearing? If he has a hearing loss, he must have a non-verbal IQ test. Check and tell me what psychological evals the psychologist did on him. If you don't have the evaluations, get them all from his school. He probably needs OT, too. His primary category in school would probably be his hearing impairment, unless he is autistic, and then the autism may be over the HI, depending on the extent of his autism. You say he is jarred when you tap him; well, if he is deaf it doesn't sound like the family has learned how to communicate with him. Everyone needs to learn sign language, and he should too--unless he has hearing--you're not clear. He could go for help with your state school for deaf and blind. It may give him the foundation he needs to manage his life as an adult. It may actually be a healthier environment for him--it's a family decision. Find a new doctor; yours sounds horrible. Austism must be a medical decision and you need the paperwork. He would need a developmental doctor and you would probably need to travel to a large city for the evaluation. Your local district is required by federal law to provide all of the services he needs to stay at his home school, including proper evaluation (minus the medical evals). But I'm not sure that his needs and life-skills are being met at home. You want to think transition at this stage in his life and seeing him independent in his 20s. I doubt if the IQ is accurate if he has the hearing loss. You do have options; good thing you have Internet and can research this online. The ADHD diagnosis may not be accurate--it could be his hearing loss causing the odd behaviors and his inability to communicate (not enough info??) You should be receiving consultative training from a behavior specialist designated in his IEP. Training for staff would also include same training so everyone is on the same page. As a team member, you can call for a new meeting to ask for more evaluations (non-verbal/occupational therapy--eval from an HI specialist) and request behavior services to be provided in the "service" section of the IEP.
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies Flag this Response
  • Your poor son, i hope you dont take him back to that doctor who said he should be spanked. my daughter has behavioural issues all her life and at 4-6 yrs old a doctor told me she was just a manipulative child. It turns out she has Asperger's (a type of autism) and many of her behaviours were cause she cant deal or understand things like we do. From your post, i wonder why he got the ADHD diagnoses?? The leg bouncing (if it was based on that) could be the equalivant to autistic rocking, ones with autism may do repetitive continuous movements at times. "if you touch him to get his attention, he over reacts and cries " In Autism there can be extreme sensitivity to touch. Some ones with autism dont even like to wear clothing on their skin as this sensitivity can be so extreme in some, it can actually hurt. My Asperger's child used to refuse to shower (even at 10 yrs) and didnt care if she smelt and went to school like that. Rages can also happen in Autism. "He goes into these laughing fits for no apparrent reason" That can happen with Autism, the emotions can get confused at times.. a laughing fit can happen when one is stressed. The obsessive traits sound like Aspergers as well as the routine change not at all liked. i think you need to take him to someone who specialises in Autism or Asperger's for assessment. It isnt uncommon for ones with Asperger's to be misdiagnosed as having depression as Asperger's has some traits which many may confuse with depression eg they may sleep more than normal child eg want to sleep most of day, stress out more, not take interest in the things other children do, not join in with other childrens play and sit alone etc etc (i know someone with an Asperger's child who was misdiagnosed at first as having depression before they found out he actually had Aspergers. His school teachers too though he had depression cause of his actions being different to other children). "He does not seem to hear us call his name unless we basically yell at him" That would be normal if he has hearing issue.. but one may also get that kind of response too with an Autistic child as they have mind on other things and it can be hard to get their attention.
    taniaaust1 2,267 Replies Flag this Response
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