Possible Asperger's or a Form of Autism?

Updated on August 19, 2013
C.W. asks from Joplin, MO
9 answers

Okay we are going to get our son tested asap, but was just looking for advice. I'm looking to see if parents of those angels with Asperger's or another form of Autism had similar problems... Please leave helpful answers because we're curious...

Our 8 year old son has been diagnosed as severe ADHD for the past several years. My girl has taken him in several times saying she doesn't think it's right. They keep insisting it is. Well, now that I'm in the picture and we're all living together, I have talked to my girl and said we need to take him in for a different testing because I don't think it's just ADHD. If it is; however, then awesome, if not, we would like to know...

Our 8 year old is very hyper even with his medication for ADHD. Him and his 12 year old brother are on the same dosages of ADHD medicine. (Older brother is truly ADHD). Our boy doesn't look at you while you're talking to him. His impulses are insanely crazy. He can't tell you why or what he was thinking when he does things. If you try and get onto him or talk to him, he flaps his arms like a little bird or he'll pinch himself (not hard but enough for a stimulation). He cannot stand for people to repeat themselves to him. He loves to be hugged and kissed and tickled and loves to give affection as well. He also loves his alone time. He is super skilled on a DS. He gets violent at times like pinching or hitting his siblings or screaming at them because they don't understand or it isn't his way (Yes we're getting onto him for this! We do not condone violence of any kind!). He loves his routine like watching SpongeBob and Family Guy (we all watch it and they know that none of it is real and it's better than the South Park that I grew up watching). He constantly has to be doing something. One minute time-outs are the worst thing in teh world. You'd think we were killing him other than just having him sit in a chair for 60 seconds. He is very shy with other people besides his dad, his mom, myself, and his brother and sister. He doesn't like to talk to anyone if they're new. He doesn't do that well in a classroom so he has to go to a specialized school.

This is just some information, but did any of you parents have some similar symptoms? We're going to have him fully tested, but anything similar or just any suggestions?

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answers from Portland on

He sounds similar to my grandson who has been diagnosed with Aspergers. However the only way to know is to have him evaluated. Evaluation is a time consuming process.

It's very important to know if he has either one because how you parent will be different in some ways. You will better understand how to better enmanage negative behaviors and teach good bbehavior.

Yes, start with a developmental pediatrician. They have a broader range of kknowledge. My grandson also has a sensory processing disorder. We wish we had started there. The evaluation was much more comprehensive and quicker because one professional, the doctor was coordinating. The doctor referred him to an occupational therapist. When we started with an OT several issues were not recognized.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't know anything about ADHD. My son, however, has PDD-NOS (a form of Autism). Some of the behaviors you mention are typical of autism - routine, trouble communicating, avoiding eye contact, flapping. Autism is a VERY broad spectrum, and often has what they call "co-morbidity" - it is often coupled with things like ADD/ADHD. It is good that you are recognizing that he needs discipline like his "typical" siblings. If you get a diagnosis of Autism, you will hopefully get some help in terms of finding discipline that will work with how his brain is wired. Some typical discipline works, sometimes you have to get creative

Testing will help figure this out. It's great that you are checking into it. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to know more. Good luck!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Your son? I was confused on that, but anyway, he sounds like he has some sensory processing issues as well. These are like not knowing what to do with himself, pinching, flapping, not settling down, not liking new people, too much stimulus in the classroom. So, I would recommend getting him evaluated by a developmental pediatrician AND an Occupational Therapist. This is the person will look for sensory issues, and this can usually happen a lot faster than the autism diagnosis. My son was referred in October and his appointment for diagnosis is next week, just to give you a time frame, but maybe the school if they do it will be faster. It does sound like he has more than Add or ADHD, but we can't really tell from here. I hope this helps though.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

ADHD people don't naturally make eye contact either. I was about 16 when I taught myself to force it because people are put off if you don't. My third is spectrum and I remember his horrible preschool teacher saying he must be autistic because he doesn't make eye contact. I said neither do I. She said yes you do. Yeah, and I can walk too because I learned how!

Humans are stupid.

All four of my kids are ADHD but the third is also PDD or spectrum. What you describe could be spectrum, maybe not. What I would look at first is trying different meds. I am on adderall and that is the med three of my kids take, the older two only when they need it. Adderall does not work for Andy, it makes him worse. Vyvanse works perfectly for him. Everyone is different.

By the way we all play video games like out of the world. That is an ADHD thing. Thing is most spectrum kids have ADHD and....

None of my kids are shy but Andy is the most outgoing of all of them. It is because he does not intuitively understand social constructs. That is autism. I can tell you Andy thinks exactly like I do, he is probably the closest to me in that regard. The difference is I know not to articulate some thoughts because socially people do not react well, Andy was not born with that ability.
Oh yeah, my point, don't judge ADHD by comparing to other siblings with ADHD! My older two started on Ritalin, my oldest 40mg, next 5mg, and they both were straight A students. Adderall came out after my older two no longer tood meds regularly. As adults they take it when they need it like if something at work is going to be boring and they need to pay attention. I take adderall every work day because I am an accountant in an office.

So I take 20mg, my youngest takes 40mg, my oldest takes 30mg and number two takes 20mg same as me. Different people different doses.
Oh my, video games do not make someone ADHD or ASD! Video games are easy for kids with those disorders. If you don't have it you don't understand. People are fascinated with watching me work because I use my ADHD to do things mere mortals just can't. It is the same thing with video games, we can be whipping through levels while talking to each other while planning dinner and that is when we are most content.

For the past hour I have been playing my son's new Pikmin game, while chatting with a friend on FB and helping my husband get dinner going....and you?

Sorry I just don't understand why people are so strange about these disorders. What you have is what you have.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

First of all, may I commend you for taking an interest in your HOPE I am correct -sweethearts(?) you said girl- but anyway-son. Sounds like you love him as you would your own. All of these behaviors sound like a form of autism, and if diagnosed correctly can eventually lead to helping change the behaviors that are ADHD. Oftentimes it takes the correct meds and people who are clearly on board (like you as parents are) to enforce that which is going on in the rest of the world. You said he is super skilled on DS. Wherever he is super skilled I would continue to encourage that and you are doing the best service by enforcing the fact that violence is not acceptable. If you do some reading about some people with autism, once they are able to communicate (word processing and the computer has been wonderful for some) they describe the insides of their bodies as tingly or itchy very uncomfortable and they want the feeling to go away. Hence might explain the inability to sit for too long. If he is looking away he possibly can learn to be taught to look at you with continuous reinforcement. As time goes on you will learn more and more about how the school works with him and you can come up with things together. A time out on a chair might be terrible but a walk with someone elsewhere might help bring him down if he is acting out of control. I wish you luck with him and give him a snuggle from us.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I do think you should have him AND your other child fully evaluated. No, the little checksheet you get from the pediatrician to "diagnose" ADHD is NOT a full evaluation.

See, the thing about folks with ADHD is that 60% of us (yes, I was diagnosed at age 8) have something else along with it. A co-morbid condition. It might be Asperger's, PDD-NOS, ODD, BPD, NPD, SPD, or a combination of any of these. While knowing a diagnosis isn't a guarantee for good treatment, it gives you a place to start.

I do agree with Flaming Turnip. Meds work differently for different kids. Adderall XR is great for me, Vyvanse for my oldest son, and Intuniv for my youngest. We went through several different meds to figure out what would work best for them.

Also, I don't agree with allowing a very emotive, violent, impulsive child to watch Family Guy or Spongebob. No, TV and video games don't cause ASD or ADHD, but for an impulsive child, it doesn't make sense to have them watch/play things that will drastically increase their impulses/tantrums.

The most important thing for these kids is consistency. #1. Keep things on schedule, and provide them with consistent rules and consequences. You probably already know that you have an extremely intelligent little future attorney on your hands, who can argue and debate you right into submission if you don't stand your ground. So keep the rules consistent and expectations reasonable.

Good luck.

C. Lee

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answers from St. Louis on

We have twins that are diagnosed ADHD. We have an amazing doctor who tried several meds in different dosages before we found the right med for each boy. Our twins are on the same med, different dosage. And it took a bit of trial and error before we got there. We go in for monthly or bi monthy check ups to make sure our meds are still working the way they should. If they are not, we try something else. She has told us that some meds will cause side effects, OCD like tendencies, and the such. It has increased the OCD tendencies in the one twin who already had OCD like tendencies, and a tendency to pick his lip. Our doctor has also told us, several times, that ADHD, autisim, aspergers, and OCD all run on the same spectrum, they all have similar symptoms. When you have one thing (ADHD) you tend to have something else (OCD).
We saw several doctors before we found the one we currently see. We didn't like any of them, because they all were quick to diagnose and write a quick script. None of them talked to the kids, except for the doctor we have now. You may need to go see someone else for a second opinion.

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answers from Boston on

A lot of these diagnoses can be confusing because so many of the symptoms can be indicative of more than one condition; that can mean that a misdiagnosis is possible, or it can mean that more than one condition is occurring at the same time. Worse, sometimes the medications can create additional problems or reactions, which either reduces their effectiveness, create new problems, or alter the proportion of some of the behaviors so that the original diagnosis is called into question.

There is phenomenal work being done by multiple research institutions with various funding sources, and all are pointing to significant benefits from nutritional help to offset the many causes of these behavioral issues. There is likely a an environmental component (chemicals, processed foods, toxins in our surroundings), a pharmaceutical component (not just the drugs themselves but some of the components and fillers added to pills during manufacture to bind them together but keep them from sticking in the molds used to shape them), and a nutritional component (mass growing techniques and harvesting patterns to increase the year-round availability of foods, and therefore increase profits, but without putting real nutrients and trace elements in the soil - resulting in large and beautiful looking crops with far less nutritive value than nature would provide.

These factors are a huge part of the reason we see incredible increases in the types of problems you list (ADHD, impulse control issues, communication issues, sensory issues) but also the massive increase in food allergies over the past 20 years. So the research has identified a number of nutritional issues, and some simple changes that can be made to reduce these behavioral problems. A lot of diet philosophies are based on elimination - take out dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, and everything will be perfect. While that may address, short-term, some allergic responses, it doesn't get to the core, and it's incredible difficult to follow.

Instead, research has shown that actually adding nutrients in a balanced form (not one by one, in isolation), can make a phenomenal turn-around in focus, attention, rage, outbursts, impulsive actions, sensory issues and a lot of the anxiety and depression than can come along from a body being out of balance. There are also changes in the epigenome - the packaging around the genetic material in each cell - from all of the chemicals and environmental influences. These cause changes in gene switching (which genes turn on and off), and that affects how the cell behaves, functions and replicates. Nutritional advances are showing extraordinary repair of this gene switching, which helps brain cells and nerve cells (and others) return to normal, preventing diseases as well as behavior problems.

We are seeing kids like your son start to turn around in sometimes as little as 2-4 weeks with nutritional support, and the benefits grow over time. If you'd like to explore this (which will not conflict with any medical course you choose), I can connect you with some on line, in person, and webinar-type resources to help you learn more. There is help for your family, and it's often faster, cheaper and more responsive than medications, testing and evaluations.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

He does sound like he is on the spectrum and needs to be evaluated. As for his current ADHD medicine. It shouldn't make him hyper. He is already hyper, so it sounds like he needs a different medicine.

In a related/not related note. We have a relative that I think is on the spectrum. He is also skilled on the DS and will sometimes have device/game in each hand. I was watching him last week and his eyes moved constantly, even when he was sitting at the table eating dinner. This reminded me of when my son was evaluated for a concussion last fall. One of the tests were his eyes and if they moved constantly. My son passed this test but was diagnosed with a concussion. As part of the recovery, we had to go cold turkey from video games, the computer, cartoons, riding a bike, playing outside. Apparently, these activities make the concussion symptoms worse.

I haven't approached my family yet, but I wonder if my relative's playing of video games, watching cartoons, constantly! is contributing to his symptoms.

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