ADHD vs Autism Spectrum Story part 3

I was so sure my son had ADHD. With the blessing of his TK teacher, I had him tested through the public school district. Because my son was not officially in Kindergarten, he would qualify for services through the public school district if needed. After a slew of paperwork, parent and teacher evaluations, my son was ready for testing. He saw a speech pathologist, an occupational therapist, a psychologist and educator who gave general academic testing to see where he was academically. My son was above average in the academic arena. He sounded out his first words at two and a half. His fine motor skills were lacking . He was fidgety during testing. After all the data came back, I was told that my son qualified for OT, to help him with his writing skills and pencil grip, speech therapy if we wanted it, however they did not see any major issues and did not recommend he see a speech pathologist. The psychologist approached me and  asked me point blank;” Have you ever though of possible autism?” Wow, I was a bit taken back. A family member asked me the same thing a while back when they were visiting but they used the word Aspergers. I was told that my son would qualify for a friendship connection class through the school district. This would help with his social skills. When your child has no idea what personal space means, or that a stranger is not your best friend, has issues with losing, its a definite sign they may need help in the social skills department. The classes were great! I was sad to say goodbye to the counselors when his time was up. I was equipped with so many tools and information to help my son. I started him on Omega 3’s, used lists, and cared for him as if he had autism even though I did not have an official diagnosis. My son finally entered Kindergarten and had issues with getting too close to other children and overreacting emotionally. He would cry easily but because the teacher was so phenominal, with her classroom management, he thrived! Fast forward to 1st grade with a less structured environment. The teacher truly understood my son. She herself had a son with  special needs and just got it! Because my son was continuing to struggle with his verbal outbursts and distractibility, I took him to a Neurologist. He was tested and the neurologist told me that he had Aspergers. What was that!!?? It was apparently a high functioning form of autism. He recommended that my son be put on a particular medication to help with his concentration and impulsivity. It would wear off after the school day and I could skip the weekends. Giving my son medication was the Most difficult decision I ever made. I cried, I prayed. It was not a decision I took lightly. It was the Best decision. My son started to pay attention in class. He was improving! The neurologist stressed that the medication was only something he would need until he became older and more aware of his actions and most of the time when kids hit the age of 10, they do not need it any more. My son was on the medication until  December of his 3nd grade year. I decided to take him off of it and what do you think happened? He made the principals list! All A’s! He figured it out. The medication basically trained him. When off of it, he was able to resume and succeed! I took my son to a child psychologist to make sure he was ok. The psychologist diagnosed him with Aspergers. I did research. ADHD and ASD (autism spectrum disorders) which are neurological disorders, can mimic ADHD. As far as I’m concerned ADHD IS on the autism spectrum. No child is alike. This is why they call it the spectrum. Some children fixate on a particular subject, some are very anti social and some overly social. I divulged the information with my family only. If I had difficulty understanding ,so would others. telling my son was NOT in the equation, though many parents do. I did not see any point and saw this being  destructive information rather than anything that would help. My son would think he was dying or was weird. This was his thinking and I knew him better than any bystander. Educating myself wherever I could was key to helping him. Aspergers is mainly a social deficit so I re enrolled him into a private social skills program to continue his therapy. He recently graduated from the program. Fast forward to 4th grade. The teacher said he was a very sweet boy with a kind heart. No behavior issues and did not have the need to sit in the front row all year long! He was on the Honor roll the entire school year. YES! The Aspergers traits were disappearing, and he was learning how to socialize and fit in. Not the most popular kid, but he had friends, or shall I say has friends. Friends….this is what he craves. I pray that 5th grade is even better. My son has come a long way. With early intervention, support and prayer, all is well. I did tell a few friends of my sons diagnosis, however I am still err on the side of caution. Some people just don’t understand or they start to talk in front of their own kids. My son does not need a label. Temple Grandin wrote back to me after I asked her if I should tell my son of his diagnosis. She responded ; “People put too many labels on things. Use it to get services.” Smart woman! And so there you have it! He is doing well, still overly social and a tad quirky but you may never guess he was diagnosed with ASD, not ADHD.

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