I think ADHD, psych wants to test for ASD, which sounds absurd

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    • #86682

      My son is four and we are having him tested for ADHD AND SPD. We just finished the second evaluation today and the psychologist now wants to schedule a 3rd evaluation to test for ASD. I think she is way off base. She mentioned a few behaviors that are “autism red flags” but those all go away in the rare moments when my son is calm for 30 seconds. I’m poring over DSM V symptom lists and ADHD and SPD explain EVERYTHING. ASD symptoms and criteria on the other hand, make me feel like I’m answering “sort of but not really” to everything. Should I pay for the additional round of ASD testing when I think its absurd? I know testing won’t hurt him, or maybe it will because ASD seems to be a super popular nail and I’m dealing with a hammer here, but it will hurt my wallet, to the tune of destabilization of the budget. It’s not small potatoes.

      Has anyone else dealt with this? I know some of the symptoms overlap, but my older sister has ASD (it’s not genetic, her issues are all from complications in childbirth) and he does NOTHING like she did/does. I feel like they are looking at my white kid and telling me he’s black. It’s crazy making. I’m not seeing it. Also, ADHD is supposed to be extremely heritable right? His father has ADHD and had to be medicated throughout much of his youth to be functional with it.

      I just don’t know what to do. I’m not freaking out it might be ASD. I’m under no illusions that something is drastically wrong. But I feel like hes being slapped with the Spectrum catch all and its gonna prevent us from getting the right treatment. Any thoughts?

    • #86699

      I could not tell at 4 exactly what was going on but the signs were all there for ASD.
      My child has zero emotional or communication issues, so I knew he did not fit the typical autism diagnosis. We then turned to ADHD. Some of his issues even at 7 are on the hyper side, like excessive non stop talking, constant ideas and the need for contant acknowledgement that someone is listening.
      But he did so many ASD signs that there was no need in my mind to test him for confirmation. We ha e worked with his teacher and school and at home to make him away of why he does each action and find a way to improve the compulsion.
      Chewing on anything, not staying seated, aversion to food textures and smells, noise sensitivity, selective hearing, not sitting through hair or nails cut, very clumsy, outburst and obsessive ideas, and being higher sensitive to other people and his own feelings…these all fell to ASD,rather than AHDH. Teaching him to cope with alt methods and no meds, use it as a strength, see what behaviours need to change, and knowing that is he NORMAL and even GIFTED with a brain that works a little differently than typical people helped him made a HUGE turn around this year. He has stopped chewing and he eats some wet foods too! Mentally and emotionally he’s brilliant.
      So if you feel that none of those ASD tendencies are your kiddo, I’d stop where you are and see how you along with teachers can raise him to manage it, see it as a gift and a battle to win.
      Good luck!!!

      • #86700

        Yeah I’ve been giving it a lot of thought and observation today and he just doesn’t have any of the symptoms you described, and all the ones the psychologist assigned as red flags disappear when he’s calm. I didn’t think ASD just went away when someone got tired, but the symptoms she is using to push for the ASD evaluation definitely do. Whereas the symptoms we discussed that are more on the ADHD side don’t. They are ever present, but are lessened with exercise, which she told me was typical of ADHD. I know its early, I wish I could wait til he was 7 or 8 before having to do any of this. But the hyperactivity has become unmanageable. He’s a sweet boy and smart and he’s emotionally tapped in and we have long fun conversations, when he’s calm. But it’s like every couple of hours someone doses him with Speed and he can’t stop himself and he runs and his volume explodes and he does things he knows aren’t allowed and he feels bad after and he can see it makes me upset and he apologizes once the explosion is over but I can’t be inside my house for an hour straight. I live in my garage so he can play in the driveway and run around and jump and roll without breaking himself or anything else. I called her back and told her we would do the ASD evaluation. I don’t want to miss it. But I am concerned he’s going to get a misapplied ASD diagnosis because he’s four and while this office won’t give ADHD diagnoses until the age of five, they will give ASD diagnoses as early as 2.5. It just sets off my alarm bells. And I’m worried I may have misrepresented his issues which has led her to think its autism. The kid is fine when he’s calm. He can’t function because his calm states never last more than an hour. But when he IS calm, he could easily be mistaken for neurotypical. It’s a mess and I’m stressed as **** about it.

    • #86801
      Penny Williams

      If you’ve seen one person with ASD, you’ve seen one person with ASD. The same for ADHD. Two people with ASD could have not one of the same symptoms between them.

      And, yes, many symptoms of ADHD, SPD, and ASD overlap. It’s common to have all 3 diagnoses (my son does and they’re all accurate). It’s very common for symptoms of ASD to “flare” when anxious or agitated, so they’d be much more pronounced at those times than when he’s calm.

      Autism vs. ADHD: A Parent’s Guide to Tricky Diagnoses

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

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