What you described about your son is exactly what lead me to have my own son evaluated for autism, 5 years after getting an ADHD diagnosis. The concrete thinking and getting very stuck can be part of ADHD, but when it doesn’t improve at all, and actually gets more debilitating, I see it as a potential sign of more. The additional “high-functioning” autism diagnosis was that missing piece of the puzzle for us — finally finishing the full picture of our son.
Now, when autism is added to the mix, ADHD medication can be much more tricky. A psychologist once told me that individuals with HFA tend to be extraordinarily sensitive to mental health medications, like stimulants and anti-depressants. We experienced a lot of that. My son couldn’t possibly function without the help of a stimulant. It’s only one tool though. Pills don’t teach skills.
This article shares all the secrets of getting ADHD medication just right — it’s a process of trial and error and can be tricky and exhausting.
A further/current evaluation could help the school be more understanding, and put accommodations in place so that he doesn’t get punished for missteps that are due to his neurology, not his character.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism