tourettes and aspergers in 8 year old boy

Amanda - posted on 03/28/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My son was diagnosed with Adhd in the beginning of Kindergarten for hyperactivity. Then he started showing learning disabilities. Next he developed vocal tics and hand flapping which are more prevalent when anxious or overstimulated. He also has social isssues making friends etc.. doesnt get social cues or jokes so next was clinically diagnosed with aspergers and tourettes. He has severe goofy behavior and irritates the whole family. He is taking respiradol for aspergers and focalin xr for adhd but still shows symptoms and has meltdowns violent at times as well. He struggles with math and reading comprehension. He may be retained this year. I have taken all the routes to diagnosis second opinions and so forth but no one seams to be able to give advice and everything is contradicting among psychiatrist. Help!

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Sherri - posted on 03/30/2011

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My son was 7 when he received his diagnosis of Asperger's. He, too, had been incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD by a child psychiatrist who dismissed my concerns about either autism./PDD-NOS/Asperger's because my son was "too social" and had had a language delay. In fact, even at age 7 his language was peculiar in rhythm, tone and usuage. H was medicated with an ADHD medication (can't recall the name now), then changed to Straterra, another ADHD med, but he had significant weight loss because of loss of appetite. My sister-in-law worked with brain-injury patients and had a former colleague who worked at the Kluge Children's Rehabilitation Center (associated with UVA in Charlottesville, VA). With her recommendation, we were able to have my son evaluated across a spectrum of developmental, educational, and physical issues. It was a comprehensive look at my son as a whole. Their team of specialists then worked together on a final diagnosis. My son is 18 now and has had fairly good support via our schools, along with group therapies that have helped as he went into the teen years. Trust your instinct. Contact your pediatrician if you need a referral. If you have a university hospital nearby, contact their children's department to make an appointment with the pediatric neuropsycologist or the department that handles developmental diagnoses. The diagnosis is the first step. The next is the IEP (individualized education plan) to establish services in his public school. The diagnosis serves as the trigger and once you ask for an IEP meeting, the school must set up the meeting to determine services. We eventually took him off all medications because they did not address the issues - just zoned him out- and caused him to not gain sufficient weight as he grew. We decided to manage behaviors through social skills groups as part of his IEP. That said, his 'meltdowns' were mild in comparison to some of the children we met through our journey. When he gets upset, it manifests in tears and angry outbursts, but (so far) never violence. In addition to school services, there are a myriad of services for support for your son, your family and you for support, including Autism Speaks which has an excellent website. One on-line group I also subscribe to is MASK (Mothers of Aspergers Kids). Best of luck to you. Keep up your search and service demands. You are and will always be his best advocate!

Carrie - posted on 03/30/2011

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Have you tried social skills groups/therapy? What about naturopathy? Have you had him tested for food allergies? Is he on a gluten/dairy free diet? Does he take fish oil? How about acidophilus? I personally wouldn't have him on medication or at least try other meds or reduce the dosage. We are choosing a natural path for treating our son who has ADHD and high functioning autism. Medications will be our last resort. We have him in social skills therapy, speech therapy, sensory therapy, and he's enrolled in developmental kindergarten. He will soon begin play therapy and homeopathy. We also have him taking 1 gram of fish oil every night which helps him with sleeping and staying calm during the day. He's also on a restricted diet which includes low sugar. Sugar seems to make him worse. Next year, my son will be developmental first grade which will consist of a small class size and will blend with the general ed first grade for certain activities. Is your child on an IEP? My son has an IEP so there are goals both educational and social/emotional he is continually working on. If you are just relying on medication to help your son progress then you will see little improvement. Anybody who takes medication has to do other things as well; for example a heart patient has to exercise and watch their diet. A child with ADHD has to be in therapy and exercising and watching their diet. A person will not grow on medication alone, he or she needs other tools as well, like diet restrictions, good nutrition, vitamins, etc.. I hope this helps and good luck with your son. Let me suggest you enroll your son in a summer day camp that caters to children with ADHD and give you and your family some time to relax.

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