Getting unstuck

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  sporty 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #53612

    sporty
    Participant

    Hello,

    Any ideas how I can help my son get unstuck? He gets these ideas in his head and just can’t move on from them, even if they are completely off the wall or unreasonable. He just can’t move on. Any ideas? He will annoy me asking over and over, cry or have a tantrum. He’s 9 years old and he just can’t move on. Thanks!

  • #53978

    Penny Williams
    Keymaster

    Hi Sporty!

    My son has the exact same problem. He gets stuck thoughts that can lead to serious anger and meltdowns. Some have suggested to me over the years that it could be OCD, presenting differently than how we think of OCD, but that felt like it didn’t quite fit.

    Around age 10, I started suspecting autism, for a few reasons. And the stuck thoughts is very common for kids on the spectrum. Turns out, I was right and he does have autism in addition to ADHD. It was difficult to get diagnosed — took 3 clinicians before someone would look beyond stereotypical autism traits, like conversational skills and eye contact. The addition of autism explained the stuck thoughts and several other symptoms that really felt like more than ADHD.

    Stuck thoughts could be anxiety, OCD, autism, or probably other things. I would get another evaluation to see what else might be at play for your son.

    No matter the origin, I think stuck thoughts come from either fear (fear of consequences, fear of missing out, etc…) or concrete thinking and really only being able to see one way in that moment. It’s important to know which is happening for your son to address each instance most effectively.

    Often, my son has to be left alone until his brain gets unstuck and cycles beyond it.

    The Truth About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Autism and ADHD: The Complete Playbook for Social Challenges

    Penny
    ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #54047

    sporty
    Participant

    Thank you for your response Penny. You’ve responded to many of my posts and our boys sounds very similar. I’ve thought my son has autism for years, but have not gotten the diagnosis. The closest we’ve gotten is social pragmatic communication disorder. I still think he has autism, but none of his therapists, teachers, or social workers agree with me. He tends to run anxious, but I don’t think he has anxiety. I am going to check out the articles you posted and see what they have to say.

    Also, who did you go to get the autism diagnosis? So far, I can’t even get anyone to give him the ADOS. We’ve had two full neuropsych, plus testing in school and they all say it’s a waste of time. He’s getting lots of support at school, he’s at a therapeutic day school, but I think in the future, it would be helpful.

    Thank you!

    • #54073

      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      It was really hard for us to get the autism diagnosis. Really. hard.

      First, we went to TEACCH, which is an autism non-profit based at UNC, I believe. They had an office here and that’s where we were referred. They used the ADOS to test him and I watched a good bit of it through a 2-way mirror. I watched my son parrot things I’ve said to him, reminded him… and saw him have a great conversation with an adult, as he always does. After the ADOS, we were told that “ADHD is a more fitting diagnosis” and that we should basically stick with that. I was CRUSHED. I knew he had “performed” in a way we had been teaching him for the evaluation. He was 10 at the time.

      The therapist still suspected autism/Asperger’s could be at play and supported my efforts to keep working toward that diagnosis. A couple psychs came and went in her office, too quickly to get evaluated. One in particular, we went ahead and met with even though our appointment was on her last week of employment there. She said by looking over his chart and talking with us that she could see how it’s possible, but couldn’t do a full evaluation since she was leaving. She also told me that extreme sensitivity to medications, vitamins, and supplements is common for those with high-functioning autism. That was something we had struggled with and couldn’t find an explanation for for years (I think you’ve struggled with that too). Her insights, while not really official, kept me pursuing a diagnosis.

      Finally, our therapist called a friend and mentor on our behalf. The psychologist she called was well regarded as an autism expert in our area and very knowledgeable about high-functioning autism. The hiccup was that she was now a director at a day school and not in private practice. She did still see some patients from time to time outside that job, and agreed to meet with us nights and weekends to do a full and very thorough evaluation. At the end of our first meeting, mostly interacting with my son, she expressed doubt that she would conclude autism was a valid diagnosis for him. I could tell, though, that she would do a very thorough and open-minded evaluation, so I resolved that she would be the last on the journey to an autism diagnosis, whether she diagnosed it or not. I felt confident that if autism was part of my son’s story, she would see it.

      And she did. She did about a dozen questionnaires and rating scales for various things, including 2 or 3 for autism. She met with me several times and with my son a few times. She went through his lengthy file from all other evaluations and from the therapist. She spoke to the therapist about him. It took her about 2 months to pull all of that together and come to a conclusion, but she did very clearly see autism in the end. In fact, her diagnostic report said that he’s a clinical example of “autism hiding in plain sight.”

      I see a lot of similarities between our boys too, in what you share here. If you feel strongly about it, keep pursuing it. For us, it didn’t really change treatment, but it helped so much with our understanding of him, and how to better approach some behaviors.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

  • #54185

    sporty
    Participant

    Thank you so much for your response Penny! I truly think my son has autism. We’ve had a terrible time finding medicines that work for my son. He’s super sensitive to them and when we do find so this it doesn’t seem to work for long. Socially, he’s so far behind his peers, but he’s an amazing athlete so the boys tend to accept him. He’s now at a therapeutic school and they are truly interested in doing what’s best for him. His three year re-eval is in the fall and I am going to ask for them to give him the ADOS. I called a few neuropsychologists today and the soonest I can get him in is October and they don’t take our insurance so I think going through the school would be our best bet. Thank you again!

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