Our Autism journey #Autism #Aspergers #ADHD

Posted on Dec 8 2016 - 3:06pm by Nicole Smith

It’s been a long time since I gave you guys an update on my son who is now nine-years-old and is filled with a zest for life that is contagious. That little boy has taught me many things about life.

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The last time I posted an update, we knew he had ADHD. His pediatrician diagnosed him with the disorder when he was only a few years old.. She saw him grow up and could tell he had ADHD. We did all the paperwork and she examined and then we tried several different medications to treat it, but they only worked for a few weeks before we noticed him acting depressed. He would cry for no reason. He wasn’t himself. He was just a shadow of the kid we knew, so my then husband and I made the choice to take him off the meds and find other ways to treat him, like cutting out red dye from his diet.

When we moved to New Hampshire, we had to get a new pediatrician and when it got to the point we wanted to try meds again, the new one took away his ADHD diagnosis and said he didn’t have it, which I knew was complete BS. I’ve lived with this child for years; I know him. Regardless of what she told me, I knew in my heart he did have ADHD, but because of her ignorance, we had to continue treating his ADHD by watching what foods he ate, making sure he participated in physical activities, etc.

Because of that pediatrician’s r response I decided to seek out a new pediatrician yet again. The woman who’s his doctor now is phenomenal. She is actually my stepchildrens’ doctor and has been for years, so when we saw she was accepting patients again in our town, we transferred my kids to her office.

Several months ago I decided to bring up my son’s issues again because his meltdowns and “quirks” were getting worse, and I didn’t know what to do for him anymore.

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Tae kwon do no longer gave him all the help he needed to deal with his constant energy, impulsivity, etc. It helped some, but not enough to make a huge difference, so I knew it was time to ask for help. Between my son’s pediatrician and his counselor, his ADHD diagnosis was reinstated and then we were told something else I wasn’t surprised by but wasn’t expecting to here either.

You’re son may have high-functioning Aspergers or Autism, as it’s now known.

Before my kids and I moved here, people would question my ex and I about my son and whether or not he had Aspergers. It kept coming up, but his doctor never said anything, so we let it go. Then about a month and a half ago, my son’s counselor said he was exhibiting signs of it in addition to his ADHD. We are now waiting for an appointment at a local New Hampshire hospital to get an evaluation done. Unfortunately, it can take up to six months to a year for that to happen (sometimes less), so right now we are doing some behavioral therapy stuff and setting up an IEP for his ADHD. (We will adjust it later so it also addresses his Autism diagnosis if he does in fact get one.)
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My son isn’t a bad kid. I know some people look at him that way, but I want to see that he’s special and full of so much potential and love.

I know some people look at his lack of filter as him being rude when it’s actually so much more. He doesn’t process his words before he says them, so if he’s thinking something he’s going to say it even if it hurts someone’s feelings. And when you tell him that, he looks and acts surprised by the revelation that he did or said something that hurt someone else.

I know his meltdowns are not tantrums like we used to think. These are breakdowns he can’t control, and he often says and does things during them he doesn’t remember afterwards. And you can tell if you look in his eyes that he doesn’t like what’s going on during those moments, so we let them run their course while making sure he stays safe.

He is disorganized but thrives on order and routine. During the school week he has a set bedtime that we stick to because we know if he doesn’t, there will be hell to pay.

He LOVES animals and often says that one day he would love to have a farm of his own. One of his favorite weekend activities is helping my dad around his home, including helping with his chickens and with gardening.

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He’s sweet and empathetic, but doesn’t understand why he can’t have all the attention. He’s struggled a lot in 2016 because of the upheaval in our home due to other life experiences/circumstances that have turned our home on end. The chaos gets to him and he needs extra love and attention which isn’t always easy when there are three other kids in the house and two dogs, one of which has been very sick this year.

He’s affectionate but also likes to be alone and do his own things. As a baby, he was perfectly content to lay on his Boppy pillow and chatter to himself for hours.

He’s obsessed with certain topics that consume his attention, like dinosaurs, Greek mythology, sharks, Minecraft, the medieval time period, etc. 

He’s extremely intelligent to the point of being advanced. He has an extensive vocabulary for someone his age. Sometimes my husband and I actually wonder if we are raising a genius because the amount of knowledge in his brain is astounding. He often comes home from school, reciting information. And he loves nothing more than to prove his siblings wrong. (Honestly, what younger sibling doesn’t love that?)

He’s a role model in class and actually helps teach other students who are struggling with math. (I was even told at his last parent-teacher conference that he’s mature for his age.) 

He hates change and any deviation from what he was told sends him into a meltdown. (Last night was his worst one yet.)

He’s creative and an excellent writer. His imagination is vivid, just like his mom’s and sister’s.

He loves to read and like his mom, often has four or five books…or more…going at once. And he can keep each storyline straight. In fact, he’s even reading at a higher grade level than fourth grade.
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He’s sporty and loves to run and kick. In addition to tae kwon do, he loves to play soccer and baseball. The interaction with others and structure during practices and games are crucial to his development and socialization skills.

He hates certain foods because of their textures. Certain shoes bug his feet. Coats that are two bulky or are two pieces upset him too. He can’t stand lots of noise, especially when he gets home from school. The dogs’ barking is a trigger for him some days and can set off a meltdown.

He is learning how to self-regulate. I knew he was at home some, but I had no idea how much he was doing it at school. His teacher is impressed with him and how he knows when he needs a break and to step away or to call me.

My son is also funny and has a great sense of humor but there are times when he can dish out a joke but can’t handle one at his expense and there are times joking with him makes him have a meltdown.

Each day with my son is different. We don’t know from one day to the next how his mood will be or where his head will be at. Today I fully expect him to be sad and have a meltdown when he finds out one of our turtles died.

No matter what each day brings, though, I love my son and will do what I need to in order to make sure he can live a full and happy life.

If you have any advice, prayers or support to offer as we walk this path, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. I look forward to reading them.

 

 

1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Athena December 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Well, you know you can always talk to me – any time. I agree – autism combined with ADHD can be overwhelming on a family. There are awesome days and some very less than awesome days. We know that people don’t see our children the way we do or the way we feel they should. But as long as he has you and the support and the strength – you will all be fine. I believe in medication, diet, supplement support and things like Tae Kwan Do and Horses. I am overwhelmed everytime I see our son on a horse and think back to a year ago. He is an entirely different person. Your son will be just fine – there will be bumps and changes along the way. Embrace the changes and go with the flow. Love ya and you are doing fine and so is he…
    Athena recently posted..TEN Ways My Life Has Drastically Changed By Owning HorsesMy Profile

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