Autism is the final diagnosis...neuropsychologist tells us why

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Sonic has been evaluated by two NeuroPsychs that came up with the same diagnosis. We won't go into how angry I am that he had a "bipolar" diagnosis. for three years and was one heavy medication. That's in the past. Sonic is now almost 18 and a junior in high school. This is how the diagnosis was received, and the NeuroPsychs suggestions. Sonic agreed with everything he said.

    1/The neuropsychologist explained that the tests for autistic spectrum disorder and really very conclusive and Sonic was tested in three separate tests as well as given tons of function tests and observation. After his going over the various autism tests, I think they are very thorough and probably accurate as well. Until today I had no idea what was asked on the tests.

    I digress. Sonic's early and incorrect ADHD diagnoses was also wiped away because he did GREAT on the ADHD test they give the kids (it's a computerized test...I think it's called TOVA). He actually exceeded attention span expectations for a seventeen year old teenager and, throughout his testing, showed an excellent attention span.
    Every test he was given, in spite of his great verbal skills, showed autism. He *does* have a great vocabulary, but does not really really have give-and-take conversations. He is prone to interrupting with his own thought and interests and to go off topic which, again, is not "typical" for a teenager of seventeen. He simply can not explain an abstract though.

    His life skills/executive functions were very low. Executive functioning is important in day-to-day function and decision making. No surprise to us, he had trouble there.
    A LOL...when asked if he wanted to get married he said, "I'm not sure." When asked why people get married, he said, "I have no idea." We all laughed when we were given this answer.
    Again, though, a seventeen year old boy should undestand people enough to take a few guesses on why people marry.
    His thinking is very concrete and changes are bad for him. He can excel at one task at a time, but when other tasks are added, he can do it...but he is extremlyyyyyyyyyyy slow for his age.
    The bottom line is that, when we told the doctors when he was two that we thought he was presenting with autism and they told us "No way, his eye contact is too good, he would be huddling in a corner in fetal positions...blah blah" they were wrong and did a big disservice to Sonic.
    On the plus side he will get the adult services that he needs, including special job placement and social security and either assisted living or a group home...we are not sure where he would do best. He has no real interest yet of being independent and will live with us for quite a while more, but we can't live forever...we want him settled before we get TOO old.
    Sonic will also probably do high school until he is twenty-one, but we're leaving that up to him.
    It was recommended that we get guardianship of Sonic and we are going to do it. Sonic himself agreed with that. Meanwhile we are going to find resources outside of the home to try to teach him how to live alone...just in case he has to. Sonic admitted in the testing that he worried that, when living alone, he'd had trouble paying the bills and rent. And he would.

    Sonic's diagnosis. will be:
    1/ Autism (he is not going to nitpick about Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified or Aspergers...he said just autism will help him the most).
    2/Global learning disability (although he has an average IQ, his academic level is hovering around sixth grade)
    3/Cognitive Disability not otherwise specified (although his IQ is normal, he is impaired in other areas that affect his ability to fully use his intelligence)

    At the same time, he feels Sonic has great strengths and is a very good kid who is free of ANY mental illness, including depression (we knew this). He doesn't recommend any medication or even seeing a Psychiatrist. He did say a Behavioral Psychologist can teach him to manage his life better and we're going to try to find one.

    There was a lot more, but this is what we are going to bring to the social worker to help make a life plan for our precious son. I believe this tester was right on the money. Sonic does too.

    And so we finally have some direction and some answers. Of course, we will examine everything before jumping ahead. We have time and many people to talk to about him.

    Sorry for the long post. Have a nice day!
  2. MidWest Mom,

    I'm so glad to hear that you received this information and also the validation! Sonic sounds very similar to our difficult child in many, many ways. He has islands of ability and can fake a bit of normal behavior - but the executive functioning simply isn't there. Our difficult child did incredibly well on the TOVA as well. the focus is definitely there (sometimes too much focus, LOL). Our difficult child would also have the same confusion about why people get married. It's sweet, but also very sad as well.

    We're also struggling with the issue of our difficult child's future . Please keep us in the loop as you move along. We need all the ideas we can get!

  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    No apologies needed, so glad to see he's finally getting a more substantial diagnosis and help!
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I"ll keep you all updated. The thing is, Sonic is really a happy person. Whatever he needs, he'll accept it and enjoy himself. But he does have some deficits. Those executive functions are very important.
  5. tiredmamax3

    tiredmamax3 Hopeful Momma

    I understand and feel your sense of relief. We always know our son was different, but for 14 years the docs all said ADHD! It wasnt until this past summer and extensive testing we found the culprit. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified,ODD,and bi-polar. It has beel a awful year of 4 psychiatric hospitalizations and now we are awaiting to hear of acceptance to Residential Treatment Center (RTC). My life has been turned upside down , but at least with a definate diagnosis, we can cope and feel some sense of relief that it wasnt all in our heads. :)
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow, what a relief! It's about time.
    And more than anything, I am so glad that he is a happy kid. Way To Go.
    Some of what you went through sounds so much like what one of the doctors told me. I knew in my gut that my difficult child could fly under anyone's radar, incl that dr's. Grrr.
    So I just ignored THAT diagnosis and moved on to others. There are a lot of bad doctors out there who are stubborn and arrogant. What a shame.
    Glad you finally found some great docs, great tests and got great results that help you to plan.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I am glad for you - and Sonic. It's about time someone got it right. I'm not surprised, given what I know - and I bet you are not, either!

    I'm happy that this will help him... It's so hard to think about Jett, if something should happen to us. He sounds so similar... Sigh...
  8. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    This sounds like a great thing to finally have a diagnosis that doesn't require medication! Happy for him and you!