Asperger test results

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    husband and I met with-the dr this a.m. and went over the psychoeducational testing difficult child had done last mo.
    He is "borderline" Aspie, which makes me think "Aspie lite."
    (I hope you don't mind my stealing that phrase, Trinity. I just love it. ;))

    The dr really doesn't think that the meltdowns are mood related (aka bipolar) and that we should be able to see the rages coming when difficult child is suffering from anxiety, typically due to changes in his environment or stress, from school or demands at home.

    difficult child's IQ and several other test scores were nearly identical to the testing we had done when he was 8, so at least he's consistent. He tested in the low-average range for math (grade 4, and 9 mo's) and very high for spelling, word memorization and sociological concepts (9th gr).

    Unfortunately, the test results were only partially typed up, so we will have to wait a wk or so to get them, because I'd like to pass on the exact names of the tests for anyone here who wants to know.
    From past experience, I recognized one of the tests was Weschler, and also that the dr had used either definitions or tests based on the DSM IV (I remember seeing that name around here a few times, and someone mentioned that it is very important to get the most recent version because dxs and definitions have changed).

    The dr showed us drawings difficult child had done and I think the most interesting and revealing piece was a family portrait. He drew all four of us in a row. On the right, he and I were the exact same height and appearance. He wrote "Mom" and "Me" with-arrows pointing to the figures. There was a bit of a gap, and then husband and easy child next to one another, taller than difficult child and I. (Yes, they are taller.) It was like we were paired up. Luckily, we were all smiling and no one was holding any weapons, LOL! :laugh:
    Anyway, the dr thought it was significant that difficult child placed himself on an equal plane and equal height and appearance with-me and wondered about power struggles and equality issues. Uh, yeah! :whiteflag::laugh: LOL! And he wondered if difficult child saw husband as preferring to spend time with-easy child and getting along with-her better. Yes, again! The Perfect Daughter. How you can figure out family dynamics from a little kid's picture like that is amazing.

    This dr is into natural remedies, which husband liked--melatonin, vit B, fish oil, beta carotene, etc.

    We are having the results sent to the child psychiatrist who is now prescribing difficult child's medications. It will be interesting to see what she adds to the mix. husband and I still think that the underlying anger and defiance has nothing to do with-Asperger's. husband wanted to know if the dr thought there was any Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). The dr today disagreed and thought it was something else but didn't venture a guess. He just stressed routine, transitioning practice, and training.

    The psychiatrist appointment is Dec. 10.

    I called our regular child psychologist and told them about the appointment, and made an appointment with-them the 3rd wk in Dec. because I know we still have to do behavioral therapy.

    husband and I are going to talk to difficult child tonight and tell him that the dr gave us the test results. We are going to present this in the light of how smart he is, and that he CAN do math and go onto 6th gr as long as he tries. We thought it might be best if the psychiatrist tells him about AS, because he won't be in denial. We can just imagine how he'll tell us that the dr we saw today is a liar and how can he be smart but still have AS?

    I have a feeling, though, that difficult child will back us up against the proverbial wall and remember that there was an Aspie component. In that case, I will explain it as a diff type of brain development, where some parts develop quickly and some parts slowly, that he learns differently ... we just do NOT want him using it as an excuse to get out of homework. Or as an excuse for anything. :peaceful:
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2008
  2. Jena

    Jena New Member


    i'm glad you got the results, you must feel some relief. I'm surprised that he didn't think the rages were attributed to a mood disorder, yet were anxiety related. that is interesting yet when i sit on that it does make sense.

    so, what are your thoughts and husband's thoughts on all of it?? I like his approach though, it seems as though it was very thorough.

    good luck tonite
  3. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Terry, it sounds like you have a positive direction to go with.
    As for the term "Aspie Lite", you go right ahead and use it. I borrowed it as well, 'cause it seems to fit to a tee.

    It IS telling that in difficult child's drawing he puts you and him on an equal footing. I've seen this with my difficult child as well. I had to clearly establish the "pecking order" with him before I could get anywhere with discipline.

    Hope that the test results allow your psychiatrist, therapist and the rest of your team to find the right combination of interventions for your difficult child.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    This doctor sounds like a gem.

    As for worrying about difficult child using Asperger's as an excuse - yes, you WILL find this to begin with but he's not doing it primarily to manipulate (even if it seems like it). He is rather, trying to work out in his own mind where it begins and ends. But he won't be able to - because the answer is, he is ALL Aspie, even if only mildly.

    What has worked for us - Asperger's/autism means your brain works a different way and you learn a different way, but there's no question of 'better' or 'worse'. Not overall. Maybe in some sub-areas, however. But overall, it balances out.

    Yes, it does explain why things like homework are so difficult. Frankly, especially when medications have worn off at the end of the day, homework after that point is more likely to be a futile, frustrating exercise for all concerned. His IEP should be modified to either avoid homework, or allow it to be done on (medicated daytime) weekends.

    However, our analogy for difficult children in our household has made it easier for them to understand themselves and avoid the "poor disabled me" attitude.
    The analogy - your personal academic output is like a text file coming off the printer. When you look at the piece of writing, there is no way to really know whether it was drafted on a Mac or a easy child. They can look identical and be equally valid for turning in as a compete assignment (or posting to grandma as a letter). But the necessary instructions to either a easy child or a Mac in order to be able to get the document from the thoughts in your head to the look of the words on the page - very different indeed. The software package to tell the Mac what to do is very different to the programming needed to tell the easy child how to do it.
    Some people have Mac brains and some people have easy child brains. And to take this analogy further, some parents and doctors learn a great deal about autism/Asperger's and become at least partly dual-platform.

    Asperger's is allowed to be an explanation, but never a barrier. At worst it is a short-term problem which needs to be considered in attempts to find an alternative solution.

    An apparent digression - I just got a phone call from difficult child 3's electronics teacher, returning difficult child 3's query on why some diodes fail when put in the circuit the wrong way around. And the answer is, if you try to force electrons to go the wrong direction, you have to use a high potential difference (ie a lot more electrons trying to force their way in, like a reluctant soccer crowd being diverted to a tiny exit when all they want to do is stay in the field to watch the teams play - they will probably prefer to riot rather than go through the exit; even if they were cooperative, there would be strife, injuries due to the crush and so on). This causes friction which causes heat, which causes chemical and then physical breakdown.

    And the mind of an Aspie is similar to these diodes - if you try to force 'current' to flow (or force your own preferred behavioural/learning methods) in a direction that that brain cannot do readily, you risk not only failing to achieve your objective but you risk doing damage and aggravating behavioural problems - meltdown.

    So you do to a certain extent need to let them find their own level when it comes to how they learn best. Helping them find their own way is the best long-term option and because of their intense programming towards rule-following (although they are generally their own rules, not necessarily yours) then you can set them up for good long-term independent functioning.

    I found "Explosive Child" methods worked well here, adapting them to learning methods and helping him learn how to learn, rather than me sitting beside him and saying, "you must do things this way."

    I do know that mainstream was making things much worse for difficult child 3. Maybe an Aspie-lite can cope better in mainstream than difficult child 3 (almost certainly!) but adaptation and understanding will still be necessary. He needs to learn to actively dig in and work on his most challenging areas, and for this he needs to feel safe when he does so - no teacher should belittle him or publicly humiliate him for failing to 'get' the work that other students understood years ago. Computer-assisted learning can help here because computers are non-judgemental and don't involve other people saying to him, "You're only up to THIS level? Wow, are you dumb!"

    We've found positive motivation (aka incentives, or bribes) have worked well for us - we use a point system for work achieved. Double points for difficult or challenging work, double points again for work done outside school hours.

    Another trick we've done - when doing work outside school hours, we let him try to find his own motivating tricks. "I will do one full set of maths problems, but then I will play one round of computer golf. Then I will do the next full set of maths problems, and then another round of computer golf."
    Other tricks - "I will watch my favourite TV show, but do my work during the ad breaks." or "I will watch my favourite TV show but it doesn't start for another half hour. I will work hard until then, then I will work hard again after it is finished."

    Let him take control where it is no skin off your nose to do so. Then after the work session, ask him to evaluate how well he think he worked using that method. Was there anything he felt he could do to manage better? Maybe try something else different next time. But always let him take control. By talking it through you're being an independent moderator, nothing more. In life he will have to be able to impartially evaluate his own progress.

    If difficult child sees you and him as equal - that is not uncommon in Asperger's. They do not understand social strata or heirarchies. It also is added reason to not engage in control struggles. Always let him feel he is in control, even if you're subtly steering. he has to learn to steer himself.

    This works, especially for Aspies. Frankly, I've come from a position of once believing that autism would be the worst possible diagnosis I could ever have for a child of mine, to being grateful that my kids are on the spectrum. There are so many worse problems we could have had, including typical teen stuff from PCs.

    I hope things continue to do well.

  5. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I hope your psychiatrist can be helpful as well and they can work together with the results.
    At least you have your direction. How do you feel about it?
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I forgot to tell you the funniest part--
    They left difficult child alone on their computer during the ADD part of the test, and He was going so fast and not paying attention, he deleted it!!!! ROFL!
    Well, if that's not proof of the pudding.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I feel fine. I expected him to be on the low end of the spectrum.
    However, I feel like it's only one piece of the puzzle, and working with-the psychiatrist in Dec. and afterward will help fill in more pieces.

    His medications are wearing off. We tried to talk to him just a little bit ago about the test results. He had a football and couldn't sit still. It was so distracting! I told him to put it down. He said, "I'm ADHD and I can concentrate when I do this sort of thing. I'm listening."
    I said, "But *I* can't concentrate!"
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm glad you were able to get the results. Hopefully the psychiatrist will be able to add some more pieces of the puzzle. About the drawing, my difficult child would probably draw me smaller than him-lol!
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    We asked him specifically why he drew it the way he did. He said he did it by height. Which was not excactly correct, since he drew easy child as the tallest. Hmm.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Could this be because difficult child and easy child spent time together when he was little, so his perception of her is that she's WAAAAYYY taller than he is? And that you and he are the same size because he spends a lot of time with you and recognizes that you're about eye-to-eye, size-wise?

    I see so many similarities between your difficult child and mine, Terry, and mine has a very warped idea of his size compared to others. difficult child was the shortest boy in his class at school for a very long time. Until The Great Growth Spurt. He's now 6 ft. 3 (and counting), but in his head he's still a little half-pint and thinks of himself as the same size as me (5 ft 2). With his warped logic, he has decided that I'm tall as well because "Mom and I are the same height."

    It's all very strange, but when you tease apart all of the different tangled strands there's a strange logic to it.

    Maybe something similar is going on with your difficult child's perception. He has an idea that his big sister is way taller than he is. Since he's now the same size as mom, she has to be WAY taller.

    Just a thought...
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    LOL! Could be, Trinity, especially with-the heels she wears! At 5'7", she's taller than my dad now, who used to be 5'10", and is now hunched over with-arthritis. Especially when a woman is taller than one man, my difficult child thinks she's taller than everyone.
    Still, I know he thinks he's on equal footing with-me and we're working on that.
  12. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    Marguerite I like a lot of your tips on helping difficult child work. I have been struggling watching difficult child who doesn't want to take medications and is in a community college and he doesn't want to study much. I feel I shouldn't be on him to study,but then I don't want to say nothing. I have to stay subtle. As a young adult he is going to make his own decsions and heaven forbid that he ever take my advice.
    Terry this dr you went to seems very thorough. He seems quite helpful.
  13. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I'm glad you're finally getting some answers. I'm also glad that you're not stopping until you and husband believe that all of your difficult child's problems are correctly diagnosed.

    difficult child 1, an Aspie and bipolar too, would make himself the tallest and all of us would probably be no taller than his knees. difficult child 2, also an Aspie with anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified, and pragmatic language disorder, takes things more literally and would definitely try to draw us to scale, with him being the shortest. However, even difficult child 2 thinks that he is "better" than everyone else. Both difficult child 1 and difficult child 2 believe their needs should come first. Both of them are incredibly self-centered. I find this to be one of the most infuriating aspects of their disorder.

    difficult child 1 talks down to everybody. He honestly believes he is as close to perfection as any human being can come. The only way we have been able to get him to come down off of his "throne", is by rewarding him for behavior that resembles respect.

    I hope you find all of the answers you're looking for soon!!! WFEN
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The only way we have been able to get him to come down off of his "throne", is by rewarding him for behavior that resembles respect.

    Now THAT's a good idea!

    Thank you! And thank you, Marg. And everyone.
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Marg, this is especially helpful:

    If difficult child sees you and him as equal - that is not uncommon in Asperger's. They do not understand social strata or heirarchies.
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am so glad that you got some finality with these reports on what exactly might be going on in difficult children brain. And the Dr sounds fantastic.

    Matthew's test scores were exactly like your difficult children - but they diagnosis'd it as a Non Verbal Learning Disorder - which I guess is like an Aspie Lite. Truthfully I am not sure of the exact, specific differences between the 2, although I should. Psychology has changed so much in the last 10 years - when Matt was 8 - Aspergers was almost unheard of. In addition his BiPolar is so severe that is all most people can see unless he is tested, which is unfortunate, because it is the Aspie stuff that further complicates and fuels his emotional fire.

    Anyway, it sounds like you are getting some great medical help and input. I am so glad you are making some progress.:D
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sounds like you have a doctor with some good insight. It is amazing the things you can learn from a child's drawing. I remember when Wiz drew Jessie in a cage in a family picture he drew for the dev pediatrician. the dev pediatrician warned us that there were some very serious things going on, based on that and his increasingly odd depictions of her in the family pics.

    It is so funny, my difficult child would draw himself as the same size as husband, not EVER me. And he NEVER thought he was equal to me. Even in his most violent times, he still thought of ME as the one in charge, and the biggest one in the drawings, though I am only 5 feet tall. husband almost never restrained him, or took the lead in dealing with Wiz' behaviors, it was all me standing between him nad whatever he wanted to destroy. So he always thought I was larger than everyone.

    It is just funny, hte way kids perceive things. I think rewards for respect might be one way to handle this.

    I also think an Aspie diagnosis will open some doors - many are only opened for services if the child is on the autistic spectrum, or at least that is it around here.
  18. ML

    ML Guest

    Now that I think about it, manster drew one of those pics when he was 4 and the preschool daycare brought in cou.nselors for free to those who felt the needed them. He drew a house with no windows and the therapist told us that meant he felt there wasn't good communication in the household. Interesting stuff.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Susie, a cage? Very interesting. A house with-no windows, Manster? That's interesting, too.
    Gosh, the stuff you can figure out from simple things like that ... But I would also be concerned about not reading too much into it. What if, like my difficult child, the kid just hates to draw and wants to get the whole thing over with?

    Steely, Matt's diagnosis was quite a challenge. It is really hard to get to the bottom of something when other things are disguising it.

    Thank you all.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    A slight digression - easy child drew a picture of herself (unprompted) at the beginning of Grade 3, virtually day 1. It was a portrait (head and shoulders) of herself in school uniform. Her face almost filled the page, her beaming smile almost filled her face. She had written a caption on a separate strip of paper and made us stick it up on the wall (caption and portrait). The caption read, "wonderful, talented, scilful..." [except at spelling] "... beautiful, intelligent."

    That teacher she had then appeared to do his utmost to destroy that amazing self-esteem and to stifle her lust for learning and her drive to compete and succeed. When she looks back on her time in his class she still gets angry.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 drew amazingly detailed pictures from a very early age - detailed machines, house plans for mice or ants (complete with bunk beds, indoor swimming pools, shopping malls etc) and I remember a pirate ship and an island she drew in Kindergarten at age 4. She drew a picture of a happy monster during our interview with difficult child 1's school counsellor, when he was 6 and we were being told we were neglectful abusive parents for ignoring his needs and at the same time trying to pressure him to succeed beyond his capability (they told us he was retarded). Meanwhile they had shoved paper and crayons at his baby sister (aged not quite 3 at the time) and she drew an amazing solid-bodied multi-coloured creature with horns, ears, whorls inside the ears, eyes with pupils and iris in detail, a big smile with teeth (multi-coloured), long arms with hands and fingernails (coloured, of course), a tummy with bellybutton and feet with toenails (also painted). She then wrote her name in the corner. As I said, not quite 3 years old.

    With both girls, the drawings told me that they were happy, confident, extremely capable, highly intelligent and with a strong sense of self and determination.

    To the school counsellor who was trying to tell me I was being unrealistic in my expectations of my girls ("they're not that smart!") and also attacking me for driving difficult child 1 to perform (because his IQ score was in the retarded range even though his academic achievements were at the top of the class at the time) - I was able to point to easy child 2/difficult child 2 beginning another picture and say, "We're not pushing him - THAT is pushing him. He's got one older than him, and this one coming from behind. This little one even does his shoes up for him, she can tie bows and he can't. That would be enough to make any young male feel very inadequate."

    difficult child 1 and difficult child 3 hate to draw, but the ability to draw well isn't always the issue. What they are looking at is what the kids draw, how they draw it (where it is on the page, how big it is, what colours are used - but you need to understand what colours are available to the child as well!) and a few other subtleties that are not really related to the child's talent.

    About the colours used - I remember an article which mentioned a counsellor being very concerned at a child who only ever seemed to use brown or black crayons for his drawings; the counsellor felt this indicated something very dark and perhaps depressed in the child, to use only such bleak colours. Thankfully someone asked the child why, before too much time had been wasted on psychiatric treatment - it turned out that the kid was regularly bullied and low in the classroom pecking order, and so the only crayons he ever got to use, after all the other kids had grabbed the ones they wanted, were the black and brown ones.

    Analysing a child's drawings can be a useful tool but it does need to be used as only a part of the process, to avoid perhaps seeing what isn't really there.