Our long awaited appointment with Developmental Pediatrician / GARS-2 ?


Warrior Mom since 2007
So we waited 6 months for this appointment. We actually requested a referral for a neuropsychologist evaluation from our pediatrician but this is what we ended up with. We were told we would be meeting with a team of docs and to expect the appointment to last 2 hours. We met with just the one dev pediatrician for one hour. He asked us to talk about our concerns and I did (with difficult child in the room which was very uncomfortable for him).

He stated it sounds to him more like Asperger's than ADHD/ODD and asked us to have the GARS-2 filled out by us as well as his teacher(s) and follow up with him once completed. I have had his 2 teachers and Special Education teacher fill them out. I would like some idea what they indicate before I decide if we are going back. Does anyone know how to read the raw scores?

Here is what he indicated in his report after our initial meeting:
difficult child does exhibit many features of an autism spectrum disorder including inconsistent eye contact, somewhat limited peer relationships, poor conversational reciprocity, limited imaginary play, a narrow focus of interests, behavioral rigidity, and a number of atypical sensory behaviors. I discussed with difficult child's parents that this constellation of symptoms is most consistent with Asperger's Disorder. The one bit of history that doesn't quite fit is that difficult child may intentionally annoy others at times, which would be more consistent with ODD. Still, the preponderance of evidence seems to suggest an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

I have a feeling that if we do go back there, he will be diagnosis'd with Asperger's and I just don't know if I am ready for that. I am having a hard time with this. I don't know if it's because I don't want to believe it, or if I really think it doesn't truly fit. Am I in denial? I have considered this for years. He shows little pieces of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but I always thought not enough for it to be the case. I feel like if he is given this diagnosis, it happened too quickly. There hasn't been a thorough evaluation. He gathered all of this by just listening to me talk. He didn't talk with difficult child. I have a hard time with subjective questionnaires too. I just don't know.

Does anyone have copies of their GARS-2 so I can get an idea with his raw scores might indicate?


New Member
((((HUGS)))) First let me say that if it were my child, I would much rather have a diagnosis of Asperger's than of ADHD/ODD. ODD is just not a very 'nice' diagnosis. Second, if he does have Asperger's, that fact won't change just because no one has officially given him that title. (a rose by any other name?).

Those, those scores can be tricky if you don't know what you're doing. I can tell you that DD1 did not meet the autism thresholds on the ADOS she was given. HOWEVER the subtests put her squarely in Asperger's 'territory'. (It's very distressing to be told that your 10 y/o has the social skills of a 3 y/o while having the intelligence of a 14 y/o)

Weird Wonderful stuff that Autism is.

The best thing is that if you know that that is the issue, and you can prepare yourself to handle things differently, then that miserable kid can become an angel.


Warrior Mom since 2007
I know what you are saying is right. It brought tears to my eyes. Thanks. I guess I am afraid difficult child's self esteem won't be able to take it. It was horrible talking to the doctor with him in the room - listening to the doctor talk about why he might not have any super close friends and why they might think he is weird. Geez! The Dev pediatrician did say if a conclusion could not be reached at the next appointment (with the completed GARS-2's) then he would consider administering the ADOS.

The things that I indicated that the doctor put in his report (above) are slight. Not extreme. He makes friends easily and gets along with others at Scouts or team sports - he just doesn't have any super close friends. I don't know. Is that so abnormal for a boy his age? He is super smart and talks about things that are over his friends heads. I think now instead of continuing to carry on conversations with them - he just kind of keeps quiet about that stuff. He thinks the stuff they do is stupid and boring. And as far as him purposely annoying people like the ODD would indicate - sometimes I think he has no idea why he is getting in trouble - other times I swear he has to know when we are screaming STOP to him.

Thanks for putting this out there - you are right --> "if he does have Asperger's, that fact won't change just because no one has officially given him that title".


Jules, you just described my difficult child 1. He is very intelligent and gets along very well with many kids in organized activities. He's very social BUT he tends to only socialize with kids with interests exactly like his. If a friend moves to other interests, difficult child 1 finds a different friend and doesn't do anything with the old one unless that one changes back to his interest. Know what I mean?? The only difference is Scouts and team sports. Those are structured activities and they have that activity in common at that point in time. I was actually relieved to get the Asperger's diagnosis. It made things so much easier for me to deal with because I realized difficult child 1 thinks very differently. It hurt me when I realized he was being "punished" for being oppositional and defiant when it truly was out of his control because he didn't understand every aspect of everything he was being told. difficult child 1's biggest issues that led to the ODD diagnosis was that he had to know WHY about everything. The world was not making sense to him so he just refused. At his age, it was better than admitting that he didn't get it when it was obvious EVERYBODY else did. The damage done to him by the ODD diagnosis was actually much worse than the Asperger's diagnosis.

I hope you are able to come to grips with the diagnosis if that turns out to be the case. Our neuropsychologist had reviewed all of difficult child 1's records from everywhere before we ever had an appointment with him. Also, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) variations are usually quite obvious to people that have experience with the disorder. Keep that in mind. {{{{HUGS}}}}