Q about ADHD + vs. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by IT1967, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. IT1967

    IT1967 Member

    I'm getting the hang of all the abbreviations! I was hoping to get a little more information following up on my first post here about the struggles I'm going through with-my daughter. A lot of you here feel that because she has ADHD plus anxiety, plus ODD, and because she is completely hung up on "fairness" issues (her teacher mentioned it to me, and we deal with-this a lot at home), that she might be on the spectrum. My question, and please forgive my ignorance, is what difference does it make? Do you take different medications if it's Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) instead of ADHD + anxiety + ODD? We have already started the process of getting her a 504 plan at school and they're totally on board with-it. So, if the medications are the same and the school accomodates, does it matter what her diagnosis is? She definitely is not autistic. I have looked at several sites, and it's possible she's a mild Asperger's, but of course, that diagnosis is not going to be recognized for much longer anyway. Anyway, I'm just wondering if there's something different you would be doing if she is diagnosis'ed as somewhere on the spectrum as opposed to her current diagnosis. I am planning on looking into the neuropsychologist for both my kids, but just want to try to get them situated with-the medications before I go adding something else into the mix.

    As a side note, we're just over a week on Risperdal and while there is a lot of improvement, there's still plenty of room for things to get better. I meet with-the psychiatrist on Thursday and I suspect he's going to add in and ADHD medication? He hinted at that when we first met with-him. Maybe that'll make things one step better. Praying at least that it will. I have to admit, I think this board is absolutely fabulous, but a part of me is feeling even more depressed than before reading up on everything here. :(
  2. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I do think the diagnosis really matters. Sure some symptoms overlap, but the interventions, therapy and accomodations will be quite different.
    Recently, there was a thread about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) vs ADHD.
    I, personally, believe the big difference is the social element. Kids on the spectrum ALL have lacking skills in their social interaction. One of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) criteria also is routines, rigidity, stereotyped behaviors. Being extremely litteral, concrete thinkers.
    Having the correct diagnosis will help you read and do your own research to help your daughter. What has work with one child will not always work with your daughter but it will give you a starting point.
    In an ideal situation, you could argue that diagnosis don't matter as long as you have clearly identified all of her lacking skills. But in reality, you won't have access to the necessary therapies without a diagnosis.
    It might feel like you are chassing your tail but I think it is worth all the digging and searching.
    Once you've conceptualized her issues (with the help of doctor of course! not on your own), it will alos make it easier to explain it to other. You will be able to generalize your explanation instead of being stuck in single examples. Let's see: Partner is telling me that after catching a lizard and holding its tail, the poor creature lost his tail! V corrects him "NO, it did not lose its tail. it's right next to him, but it's broken". Now, I'm able to say that V is very litteral and that's why he did not understand what Partner was saying. So now, I'm able to warn his teacher that V can be very litteral and she has to choose her words carfully so that V can understand. If he does not understand, we now can think and look for the reason of his mis-understanding.
    Once you have an accurate diagnosis, issues don't seem that random anymore.
    But sure, it takes more than just a doctor giving a diagnosis. It takes a lot of effort from everyone to then learn about the diagnosis.
    Persue the private testings and go for a 504 since the school wants to help. I just had a 504 meeting for V as well!
    And since you already are on the medication journey, an accurate diagnosis will steer you towards the right medications. At least that's what I imagine. We have not done medications, other's will be able to help you better on this topic.
    Last, don't be depressed about what you read. Keep in mind that not all posts relate to your specific case. Be glad that others been there done that and are ready to help you. It is a wonderful place and you'll learn a lot.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The diagnosis of Aspie will not be available in a few months - but anyone who already has it will still be recognized. So, the diagnosis isn't "going away".

    The advantage of knowing whether you are dealing with Aspie or not is really significant. It isn't just ADHD plus a list of other things. Aspies really do THINK differently. (and yes, ADHD kids are a little bit like that, but there are significant differences) How you manage an Aspie in school is (or needs to be) very different from how you manage an ADHD "plus" kid.

    For example - punishment doesn't work with Aspies, but positive teaching methods do work. ADHD kids respond more like neurotypical kids when it comes to punishment and rewards.

    Most places I'm aware of make a huge difference in services available to kids "on the spectrum" vs. "not". Aspie/Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) is a "pervasive" disorder requiring intensive supports. Most schools do not see "ADHD plus a list of other dxes" as nearly as serious. Spectrum kids "tend" to have an easier time getting IEPs - which, in the US, have serious legal standing that 504s do not.

    In the long run, it will make a difference to you at home, too, to know whether she is Aspie or not. How you parent will be different. The reasons for the ODD will be extremely different.

    I'd be fighting for an evaluation for Aspie to be done REALLY soon. If it gets ruled out, that also helps. One way or the other, knowledge is power. I wish we had known a LOT more, a LOT sooner.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Aspergers is on the Autism Spectrum. The name "Aspergers" is going away and those people will now be simply listed as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is treated with interventions, not just medication. 50% of all Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids are on medication for other problems, such as accompanying ADHD. Aspergers is going to become part of Autistic Spectrum Disorder, but the interventions are similar for all kids on the spectrum.My son is very high functioning, but he has an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) diagnosis...still he has higher goals than somebody with low functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). We are seeing that he actually excels in certain jobs so he won't need to utilize adult supports that much. We are pleased that, as he gets into adulthood, he seems more and more like a typical person with more and more potential and his early behavior problems are gone. The interventions really helped him. medications did not. He has been medication free for years and years and does not seem to need medication.
    ADHD and high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) often interlap. Often, in my opinion. ADHD is given as a diagnosis. to make parents feel better, when it is really Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The common denominator is very poor social skills. The kids may be extremely friendly, but they really don't know how to interact with their peers appropriately, which causes them frustration and us heartache.
    We have a little boy, in the daycare I work at, who is diagnosed with ADHD, but he is so unable to get along with other kids without hitting them (he thinks it's funny or he just gets mad) or making silly, screaming noises that everyone thinks he is actually Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Of course we don't know for sure, but if he has ADHD, he is going to have very similar issues to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids when he is older if he doesn't get interventions that are similar. He talks a lot, but he talks more AT kids than with them, and his pronounciation of words is poor. He can't sit still for a moment, which can happen with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The kids try to play with him, but he is so annoying that they end up leaving him and trying to get rid of him when he follows them. It's really very sad.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    As the parent of one who is both and had to fight to get the school to recognize she needed accommodations for the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) part (not just the ADHD and behavioral parts), it does make a difference. It makes more of a difference later when socializing becomes more difficult to already have that help in place. Waiting lists for autism waivers are YEARS long (this gets them help beyond age 18 and extra help under 18). The waiting list in my area is 11 years. We're hoping that it'll be closer to 8 since she got on the list when she was 10. And mine is high functioning Aspie, but she really needs a LOT of help in learning to be independent. They can do that and help her find a job that suits her and her abilities.

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can also react strangely to medications that work on single diagnosis people - there is more trial and error involved than for the general population. ALL of my daughter's medications for her bi-polar and anxiety are actually off-label uses of those medications because she reacted badly to the normal ones used. When I say "badly" I mean reactions that ranged from tingly feet that hurt her and kept her up at night to psychotic rages, depending on the medication. It hasn't been fun finding the right medications, and it's not fun as she grows and outgrows doses and medications.

    Therapists use a different tact with her because she thinks differently from most kids. She's smart but very concrete and we have to be careful how we phrase things we say to or even around her. I was lucky and landed a therapist who knows how to handle Aspies. Her teachers... I'm still working on that.
  7. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I know, it can sure be overwhelming. Just remember, no matter what the label, your kids are still the wonderful kids they always were. The labels are tools to help get them and you support.

    The main thing is as others have said, certain labels can get you certain types of therapies. The level of support is often better when people realize that there is any kind of pervasive disorder...any form of issue on the spectrum. To be clear, the new DSMV does not intend to get rid of serving people who were formally diagnosis as Asperger's. They believe that the new criteria will cover them but on the end of the spectrum that is just not as severe. (and I am not going to argue that here, we really will have to wait and see, I think it will as always depend on the provider and whether or not they understand how that spectrum looks in real life for real people). But that term....autistic can feel like a kick in the gut. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is for some easier to stomach because it really does represent the range from mild to severely involved. People are obviously going to use terms to qualify what their child is like and those terms might be mild, severe, formerly called Asperger's or they will just stick with the common terms. I think that is fine, the important thing is how people understand the individual seeking services. Use the terms you need.

    The problem I have experienced with the ADHD plus ODD plus Anxiety route is that many teachers and school people view these kids as having much more control than they likely have. They view them as choosing to drive people nuts and being willfully upsetting to others (and of course all kids do have those moments, but I am talking what drives them in general). Its somehow easier for people to understand the very different thinking that goes along with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). But if a child is not Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) then of course you are not going to just call them that! People do need to meet criteria that is not a part of the others. It's also important to remember that people can have these traits (I think many parents here and that I've met have said, they feel they lean toward some of the issues that their kids have) but not be involved at a level that warrants the label/diagnosis.

    I think you are doing great to take things step by step and just keep the doors open to whatever will allow your children to receive the best services. Remember that a 504 will require you to be very on top of things because unlike an IEP there is no set procedure for review of the plan, nor any supervision that will hold people accountable if they do not follow the plan. It sounds like you may be working with people who do well with them, and that is what makes the difference for people. Some settings do a beautiful job following 504 plans and really use them to support their students.

    Your kids are people first. You know that, but I want you to know I understand how sad it can be to think of their having a life long diagnosis that could impact them in many ways. The good news is there are many many successful people with these diagnosis. and they especially do well if they have learned the skills and received the supports that most appropriately address their needs. That is the focus. The rest is just yuck that we have to live through to get there.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I don't feel (in my very humble opinion :)) that this is quite accurate. I think there is a difference in the social problems that ADHD children and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) children have. Both conditions, I quite agree, involve social difficulties. My son, for example, knows how to interact with peers appropriately and for some of the time does so - in other words, he can engage other children in conversation, listen and show interest in them, share jokes and humour, engage in fantasy/imaginative play with them, etc. What gets him into trouble, however, is his hyperactivity and hyper energy which other children can find difficult and also, I think, a certain bossyness and desire to show off, etc.
    Your description of the little boy who is diagnosed as ADHD made me think of another child who goes to J's play centre on Wednesdays. The staff tell me that he is also diagnosed ADHD but say, using these words, "he and J are like night and day". The other little boy keeps interrupting what he is doing and screaming and has poor language. He does not look at you directly in the eyes. I said to the staff that in my completely inexpert opinion that he sounded more autistic than ADHD but, if anything, they are even more inexpert than me and say they are just repeating what they have been told.
    There is obviously overlap but they seem like two different, distinguishable territories.