Confused Mom - Gifted, SPD or ADHD?

[deleted account] ( 13 moms have responded )

Hi All,

Might be a novel here. I ran across this site in researching different things on the web and while reading some posts and others answers it made me think I might actually have somewhere to go to talk about my mama issues where I don't feel crazy.

My adorable son just started kinder. He by no means is doing genius things like reading. He has just always been different...but in a good way. I could make a list of some of the oddities and things that made my husband go "did he just do/say that?" throughout his 5 years but I'd be writing a book. He's quirky, has been able to hold adult conversations for a long time and wears me out!

Before his pre-k year he started flapping and running back and forth a lot...A LOT. He started doing it during center time at school. His teacher got him. She told me that he just had trouble being a kid and while they were playing he'd run back and forth (??) or want to talk to her the whole time. We decided that, coupled with 4 years of obsessions from garage doors, to maps and the globe to contact lists, etc., that we needed to see some sort of doctor. We were referred to the pediatric specialist in our city. A family member mentioned Asberger's to me, to which I knew deep in my head I'd considered many times myself. But he's just so social and silly when he wants to be was my thinking as to why he wasn't! I had started asking him what he was doing during the flapping, running and he would stop, look at me and say "thinking." He could then tell me what he was thinking about. It usually involves it his obsession of the time.

Skip to apt. She spent over 1.5 hours with us and him, asking him a ton of questions. I really appreciated the time. Well about an hour into observing him she started laughing due to his silliness and said, "okay parents, he's just too silly for Asberger's." She wants him to have the full testing done on IQ, etc., when he's about 7. She did find a delay in fine Motor. We started OT.

OT has been great but they've told me things he has, worked on them and he seems fine. His handwriting looks very normal for age, but he does grip pencil wrong. He's better at motor planning due to OT, etc. That being said, I NEVER would've known he had an OT issues dealing with sensory things. I talked to all of his past teachers who looked at me like I was an idiot for thinking he had aspergers. SO, he doesn't have that. Check. Every teacher did make comment after comment about his intelligence from the time he started preschool.

So back to the pre-k teacher--she finally used the words, "your son is just obviously gifted." He hasn't been tested yet (about to turn 6) so I truly don't know if he is. I have done LOADS of research. LOADS. Reading about giftedness is the ONLY thing that continually makes sense regarding our son. I just can't tell if he has Sensory Processing Disorder or if he's dealing with Dabrowski's Overexcitabilities.

We went back for the follow up this summer with the specialist. It was an odd appointment. My son was walking in circles when she was talking to him. Later my OT pointed out that we went to the appointment after a day of VBS, so maybe he was wired. The doc didn't listen much to how wonderful he was doing but did want to evaluate him for ADHD. Sigh. Another thing that can look like SPD. Ugh. Well I've now talked to his kinder teacher and pre-k who do not see any hyperactivity. I'm just so confused and have no one who relates a bit to me.

About him socially: he is friends with who he chooses to be friends with. He has one female best friend at school, but there are many days he doesn't play with her. At recess he will either play with her, talk to the teachers or walk around "thinking." He is well liked but doesn't seem to care about making any friends that are boys, etc. He played soccer when he was four and it was hilarious. Never talked to anyone on the team, wouldn't play duck, duck, goose and would tell the coach, "no thanks" when it was his turn to play. At church he loves the teachers, never talks to the kids. That being said, folks he's grown up with he loves and runs, plays and acts silly. He is a normal kid, but just a wee bit different.

I'm leaving out a lot of his smarts traits. I'm just happy if anyone finished reading my novel. If you want to know more I have it to share. ;-) Can anyone relate at all or give advice?


[deleted account]

Thank you for responding to my post, Sarah! I love reading about your son as well. Mine is a lot like you on the literal thing. From the time he was three he would correct me constantly by saying, "you said the wrong word." He is quite the correction police! The serious thing is our son to a tee. He is also extremely silly, but I have been told his whole life by strangers, "he's so serious." I can relate to your serious son comment!

Here are some of the things that made us go hmm...

1) talked very well very early. Sentences were easy, fluid and early

2) around 18 months we pulled up to a store in which he read the ALL CAPS font on the outside of it and spelled "PHOTO." I had NO idea he even knew his alphabet (mom of the year). He apparently taught it to himself by that LeapFrog Fridge DJ toy. ??

3) around 2 his first imaginary friend appeared. He had quite the unique name that if we didn't say it correctly we'd quickly get scolded. He had 2 others imaginary friends that would visit from time to time the next couple of years. Even last year he'd discuss yet another one. I'd like to point out that he does have real friends too-ha!

4) around 2 he would go up to all of my friends and point out their eye color along with their respective spouses regardless of if the spouse was anywhere around. He had just memorized everyone's eye color.

5) back to the memory thing--his memory is CRAZY from the get go. He once (around 3) explained to me what the back of all my friends' cars looked like in regard to the tail lights. He outlined all their car tail lights one a a time in the air with his finger while humming a note to the ones that were one way and changing it when the light looked different. I can't explain it but I was dumbfounded. He then told me that all the friends with Tahoes were the same but my car was different and explained my lights (Toyota).

6) Obsessions: as a baby he was obsessed with garage doors. It was a small obsession b/c he was literally a baby, sitting and walking or toddling. I'd walk him in the stroller and he'd point out if every single houses garage door was up or down.

--next obsession: globes/maps. Google earth lover! At the age of 4 he would get his globe, get on the ipad and type in countries, google earth map them and mark them. He then took that love and moved it to contact lists. He started memorizing every person he was close to's address, making them a contact on the ipad then linking it to the google earth map. The contacts also all got phone numbers (with area codes) and fake emails. Made me laugh. Now we're into Chevys and GMCs and can tell you which one has what knobs, AC's, etc.

7) his mind seems very numbers oriented in a practical life application way. He can count to gosh knows what and loves numbers!

8) he has a knowledge of time that he developed during his globe phase. One time he asked (around 4 years) if the kids in China had trick or treated yet since he knew that their day was different than ours. Maybe that's normal, but I was impressed he grasped the concept.

9) adult conversations early on

10) quirky as I'll get out

11) and there is sooooo much more!

So here I am today. We know he's not Aspie. We know he does have some sensory issues. A doc wants him tested for ADHD (although his teachers don't see that at all). Every teacher he's had thinks he's "sooo smart" as I'm always told. I personally as mom think thru my research he's gifted with overexcitabilities, but I have NO CLUE if he has a high IQ. I just have no one to talk to b/c no one understands a lick of what I'm talking about and if the option is gifted people think you are one of those moms that thinks your child is superior (which is NOT the case). We just want to figure the little guy out to ensure he has the most success in school and life that is possible for him...and to be proactive.


View replies by

User - posted on 04/20/2014




I have read extensively on this subject and it seems to me he is gifted and has aspergers.

Sandra - posted on 02/08/2013




I am also trying to figure out if my son has ADHD, SID, or Aspergers. We are waiting to do the testing until he is a little older. My son is in kindergarten. Although he behaved well most of the time in preschool, he had a lot of problems at the beginning of the year in kindergarten. It was so bad that I was considering taking him out. The doctor suggested treating him for his ADHD for two weeks before making a decision (I figured he had it but did not want to treat so young). She felt that if I took him out for a year that next year he would still be severely ADHD and too far ahead of the other children to fit in. The meds have helped quite a bit but not all symptoms are gone.

I have spent endless hours on the internet myself. I realized that perhaps my older children were misdiagnosed with ADHD when they may actually have had SID. I also wonder if my youngest has SID also. The doctor agrees that there are some sensory issues and referred us for testing, but they like for the child to be 6 preferably 7 for the auditory processing test which I feel he definitely has. One of my older sons has it and I see a lot of the same things. At school he learns about the values a e i o u instead of vowels, and he does sea work not seat work. He is very picky about his food textures. He likes crunchy foods nuggets, apples, carrots etc and dislikes soft foods pastas, noodles, stews etc. He puts everything in his mouth. He has stopped eating all of his pencils since he started the meds. He is overly sensitive to loud noises. He will cover his ears while watching a movie. He loves monster jam so we took him when it came to town. It was so loud. We figured that headphones would solve the problem wrong- he couldn't stand having them on his head! Should have figured since he hates wearing hats or anything else on his head! He can not ride a bike yet and still needs help dressing especially with buttons and snaps. He talked early and uses an adult vocabulary. He is reading and spelling. His math skills are above grade level. He worries and talks daily about storms, death, heaven and lots of other things most 5 years don't think about often. He also has lots of fears the dark, heights, storms, being in a room alone, bugs and the list goes on. Yesterday someone came to school to visit and they talked about metamorphosis. They told the children to go home and tell their parents the new word that they learned. My son came home and spelled the word for us and he got it right!
He is so outgoing. He has never met a stranger. He loves playing with other children. He seems to do alright though he is extremely bossy. Sometimes, he has terrible melt downs usually when he loses at something or can't get something to work the way he wants it to or his teenage brothers upset him. It's hard not knowing exactly what the problem is, but I figure he probably doesn't need a label anyways.

Dmom - posted on 02/02/2013




My son was diagnosed with Aspergers when he was 4 1/2, he sounds a lot like yours: he loves to talk to adults, @ 14 months he was talking in sentences, @ 15 months was reading, he thinks a lot and 1/2 the time its at loud, right now he is 6 and he does base12 on his head, binary, taught him self how to play the piano last year and is teaching him self chinese. He struggles socially, and his social speech is not like its peers, he doesn't have any food phobias, he eats everything and anything if I tell him its good and has an specific vitamin (but he is afraid of soda, he read it was bad and he wont drink it). My son so far is both, highly gifted and an Aspie, they did an IQ test at the same time he got his diagnosis, that visit lasted 4.5 hours. Right now in kinder he does homework from 3rd grade and get invited to specials that are for 5th graders. I been told I should try taking him to college classes just so he can hear the lectures, but I think he is too little for something like that. My son won't tell me the name of the girl he "loves" because he says he doesn't know it, they been on the same class since september! this is the boy that can tell you Pi to the 115th decimal place and the table of elements and he hasn't had the chance to ask her name? or listen while they pass attendance? Total Aspie :) But he knows the name of every teacher from day one, and I he knows each of their strengths so he knows what to talk about with each one, its easy for adults to also indulge on a conversation with a little one like him and look at him like he is doing great, but put him in a mix of kids and he is out of his element, he even shuts down and tries not to talk, or asks them the most silly questions like "are you wearing blue?" when its obvious they are; he used to ask them his regular questions like he does with adults but he was not getting the answers he want it and would withdraw or get stressed out, now he is trying to talk to kids his age but his social speech (like I said before) is just not there.

Nana - posted on 01/11/2013




Just joined and saw your post - your description of your son made me smile - sounds like my now 8 year old! We went through a lot of trials in kinder and 1st grade and finally after lots of meetings and appointments and testing he was diagnosed with both ADHD and SPD - we settled on treatment for both and low and behold within a month his grades went through the roof (even though we always suspected he was smart) and they tested and placed him in gifted and talented. The meds and strategies we used had allowed his little brain to work like it should and could!

So we officially have all three of the things you described - he is an amazing little boy who can frustrate and awe me at the same time - he has just finished reading the entire Harry Potter series at 8 years old...and he can do complex math problems in his head - it boggles the mind!

Good luck on your quest - research research research and don't pay too much attention when someone who hasn't researched like you makes a rude comment...

90daystoadreamierme - posted on 11/04/2012




My son Joey has Aspbergers, and is now 20 yrs old. Graduated form

high school and passed the few college courses we could afford. But he's still never had a job. I don't think he could make it through the interview. So many of the things you said about your son reminded me of mine, but I don't think I'd try to get him labeled unless you have to, because once my sons (I have 2 on the spectrum) were labeled, I had to spend most of my energy trying to get educators to believe in my kids abilities and not dumb down their curriculum. If the label will help your child by all means get it, but be careful what you wish for. I used to think because they represent Autism with a puzzle, it was something that could be solved. Hundreds of dollars worth of books and work shops later, I've misplaced my rose colored glasses, because it just hasn't been that easy for me. My boys on the spectrum are 21 & 20 yrs old. Still live at home, and seem a far cry from being independent.

Jessica - posted on 11/04/2012




My son is ADHD and highly gifted. Been tested. He is highly active, and thinks best while moving...if not medicated. Meds calm him down and stop the perpetual motion, or motor mouth. They kinda channel his energy. ADHDers have a trend of sensitivity to textures...e.g. Needing to remove tags from clothes because they bother them, being particular about the texture of clothes, sucking on shirts (all of these our Psychiatrist said are common traits for ADHD, not that a child has to have these traits). Often ADHDers aren't recognized as gifted because of "behavioral issues"... The main identifiers of ADHD are distractability, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Gifted ness and ADHD are connected. The main thing with ADHD is that the prefrontal cortex is affected. The executive functioning is greatly impaired. (doing things before thinking though to the repercussion...interrupting conversations...sidetrack easily...

Another thing with ADHDers is that they do have the ability to hyper focus on things that interest them. aDHDers also often have Other diagnoses in conjunction with their ADHD. I don't know if this helped you or not. Oh, and of course they can be ADHD non hyperactive (usually referred to as ADD but this is not the official medical terminology).

I have learned some from reading this thread, as my son does have food issues too, so I now need to research SPD, as that may be our missing link...

Your child is not too young to be tested for gifted ness or ADHD. We had the ADHD diagnosed by an ADHD specialist when he was four (had to wait til 5 for medication), and was tested for giftedness at age 5 before being accepted to a private gifted school for Kinder. Finding the right docs and schools makes all the difference in the world!!!

Good luck!

Jami - posted on 10/30/2012




My son was diagnosed with inattentive adhd first and put on medication for that, that allowed his giftedness to show and he was identified with that next, now we're on the road to helping him with his adhd issues and gifted issues to see if he has spd or if it's just part of the other two.

He did not do the hand flapping or the running though, he was exactly opposite. Before medications he was like a bump on a log.

Lita - posted on 09/28/2012




my best friend's girl who is my son's age showed the same sign you described, they are 10 now. Flapping and clapping.

When she was 2, she was diagnosed to be in Autistic spectrum, the mild form, known as PDD-NOS. Until now, if she is anxious, the flapping and clapping are back eventhough because of early intervention she received helps her tremendously a lot with social skills.

If he received OT and not fall into Asperger's, which is high-functioning autism, he might fall for that milder form of PDD-NOS. Not enough to make him fully autistic or highly autistic.

As far as SPD, that best friend of mine, her youngest daughter who is my youngest's age (they are 6), has severe SPD, anxiety and borderline ADHD (still not enough to be labeled ADHD nor ADD). SPD is quite difficult to chew, because everything is difficult for the child. The clothes doesn't feel right, the food texture makes the child gag, security is HUGE issue (doesn't like changes, fixed with one object almost like obsession) and changes of schedule and routines could send the child bezerk, just some of the examples. Child with SPD doesn't like trying new things, one thing because they don't like changes as I mentioned before and they don't like if they end up not doing it right.

Any update on your son so far? Wish you luck, because these things could be tough. I watch my best friend's children grow up, she passes her knowledges and I know what she has been through.

Jennifer - posted on 09/24/2012




Not sure I can help much except to give you my story. The more stories you hear, the more you can figure out where your son fits in the spectrum of things. My son has a neurologically-based learning disability, dysgraphia, along with his giftedness. They mask each other, cancel each other out, however you want to say it. His writing seemed normal up to 2nd grade. In 3rd grade, writing became agony (physically - sweating, pain, exhaustion). In 2nd grade, he was identified as having all the right markers of giftedness, but unable to put it onto paper. In 3rd grade, we had him tested, and finally found his dysgraphia. 3rd grade EOGs (end of grade tests in my state) identified his giftedness in Math. We suspect that as he gets therapy for the neurological issue with writing, his giftedness in Reading/Writing will manifest in the EOGs (gifted testing showed his writing fluency several years ahead of his grade level). Many thought he had ADHD too, because he only needs to half-listen/half-pay-attention and he does fine. He's the type of super creative gifted kid that has his head in the clouds, and only does the minimum needed to get by in school, so he can spend the rest of the time doing fun stuff. I don't push it or push him; fun is more important. Your son sounds like a ball of fun and adorableness, eclectic and interesting. Let him keep that, just give him the self-confidence building. Let him be weird but sweet, odd but lovable, unusual but confident and happy. Take opportunity for gifted testing or identification that comes your way. If you suspect a learning disability with it, get testing for it. And sit back and enjoy him most of all :)

User - posted on 09/10/2012




I agree with you completely, my son taught himself to tell the time, well id say Gabe daddy will be home when the big hand is on the 12 and the small hand is on the 6 and yesterday i was cleaning the kitchen and i could see him moving the hands of the garnimals toy clock saying now its 3o'clock now its 6 ect.. Its hard for me to talk about him to other family members because they get so angry,my husbands sister in law says i lie and that if gabe is so smart i should post him doing stuff on FB, but its like he just comes out with stuff unless i had a camera on him 24/7. But my sister has a little girl who had an IQ test and is in gifted programs and my son is a year younger then her and ahead of her, and she is fine with my son being gifted.

You should get your son tested, i plan on paying anywhere from $300 - $600 out of pocket for Gabe to tested when hes 5. But if you contact the early steps in your area they will test him for free or at least put you in the right direction. It sounds bad of me but i would like my son to test as profoundly gifted so that he can go to a special free online school for profoundly gifted children. However, as it stands currently im going to do connections academy. They are a free public online school where children can work at their own pace, they have gifted programs as well. Could/would you homeschool? im a big fan of it. Some gifted children just dont fit into a normal school setting.

Your sons memory sounds amazing and it sound like you are being a wonderful parent building on his natural interests. My son said to me yesterday at dinner mardy i will only eat the lean pieces of meat..He calls me mardy because he doesn't like mom.

What things does you little man do for fun? love hearing about other gifted children and their interests.

User - posted on 09/09/2012




Sorry, my son doesn't display these traits but was in early steps for speech when they found out he was gifted and they want to have him tested for it but i say wait till hes 4. He now talks all the time he just said recently, mardy these donuts are congruent so they dont match. He loves graphs and organizing things, he points out things that are pretend. A girl at the zoo called a bob cat a kitty cat and my son said no its a bob cat, and pointed at the sign. Hes so serious i was trying to get him to pretend he was a robot the other day and he said 'no mardy that is silly' he is obsessed with punctuation everything from commas and periods to exclamation marks and even capital letters must be in their correct places. My son did once start hand flapping in the aquarium, i just pulled him aside and told him to calm down and after a while when he was calm we left, since this he hasn't done it again and is now fine in the aquarium. I believe it was just it was so busy and he didnt like all the strangers in his space.

I really enjoyed reading about your son, he seems like a wonderful little boy. would love to hear/read more about him. If you want to share.

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