Tootles does not respond on the first try of getting his attention. Or the second, third or fourth try. This is not an exaggeration. This is our reality. It is a core component of his autism.
It is also the core component of something else. Something called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). I have seen these words mentioned in autism blogs here and there. I never paid much attention to those posts because, hey, that’s not my kid.
He doesn’t run like he’s on a rev’d up motor. Wait – yes he does.
Well, that’s just one thing.
His teachers don’t complain about his inability to pay attention in the classroom setting or his getting up during sitting time. Um – I mean, yeah, I guess they do…
Well, wow. He’s not fidgety or squirming in his seat all the time. Maybe just 90 percent of it. Okay – 95 percent.
He doesn’t always have difficulty playing quietly. Except that I seem to say “What?” a lot to others when he is with me because I can’t hear them over him…
Whatdoyamean is he difficult to control in shopping situations? Aren’t all kids? What you mean every child does not yell “fire truck!” in the coffee house line? Oh.
We all have difficulty waiting our turns and sure, he interrupts conversations I’m having with others, almost all the time… I didn’t think that was really any big deal.
He doesn’t have that much of a short attention span. I just have to regain it with each and every task and instruction and comment…
Okay, maybe I should have been paying more attention to the ADHD/ADD stuff I saw posted before.
The things I have just listed above are all signs and symptoms of ADHD/ADD. You can take a short quiz about it online here.
According to the DSM IV(current not the V with all the hoopla over the new definition of autism) ADHD is only diagnosed when “the symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a pervasive developmental disorder, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder etc.” Technically, then, when a child has already been diagnosed with a PDD – autism – he cannot simultaneously be diagnosed with ADHD. But guess what? ADHD/ADD is also considered a comorbid condition. That means it is often present when autism is present. Reconcile that without exploding your brain. Maybe that is why we parents don’t talk much about it – because it doesn’t get mentioned when we already have the autism diagnosis. It’s not supposed to be.
Yes, I’ve heard it all. We’re overmedicating our kids. We’re looking at fad diagnoses. That is not what this post is about. This post is about recognizing what may be there instead of ignoring it. How one chooses to treat what is diagnosed is a personal decision.
Because I’ve been thinking about T’s lack of focus as I posted yesterday, I had a long discussion with his EIBT behaviorist. I wanted to know about programs to sharpen focus. The first thing he raised to me was the ADHD connection. He suggested that I get T tested. He wasn’t trying to do anything nefarious. I truly trust him and have known him for a long time. He also agreed to implement programs designed specifically to hone and sharpen those responsive skills as well.
Yesterday, we visited our neurologist’s office. In the lobby waiting room, he could not sit still. He watched fish in a tank for 30 seconds, hid behind a couch for 15 seconds, circled a pole for a minute, walked the lobby… etc.
We went into the examining room. In walked our nurse-practitioner. T ran to stand behind her as she typed into a keyboard. He was trying to use her keyboard and mouse. When I called him off of that, he crouched down behind her. She was sitting in a typical office chair.
As she and I discussed what led me to believe he might have ADHD/ADD, he flitted about the room. He tried to turn on the water to the faucet. He ran to the bed and then crouched back down behind her. He then managed to unscrew her chair back and it fell to the floor. This was all within about 60 seconds. It was pretty clear why I was there, even if I never spoke a word.
I was in the right place.
For the right reason.
And yesterday, I learned the DMS IV was wrong. My child does have autism. He also has ADHD. Now, we’ll have to treat it, if we can. To be continued…