Seeking Definitive Teen Diagnosis

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    • #143044

      Hi everyone… I am new to this forum. My son is 16 and he is a great kid. When he was in the fourth grade his pediatrician suspected Aspergers. After two years on a waiting list he was evaluated at Kennedy Kreiger and that was ruled out. In order to have cognitive testing he was put on another two year wait list. Long story short, last summer I was referred to a psychologist that agreed to help me. Insurance didn’t cover this and she kindly put me on a payment schedule. I see most of the symptoms of ADD every day. One teacher filled out the questionnaire and she didn’t see anything that I do. But, I’m his mother. Shouldn’t my observations carry more weight? I certainly am not wishing for him to have problems. His psychologist (She) saw a little OCD and I saw hyper-focus. He was bullied when he was eight and was put on Prozac and went to counseling for a year. She sees depression and anxiety. I have a meeting at his school next week to discuss his test results and his grades. I’m beginning to think I’m crazy and that’s probably how I appear to them. I just want him to be okay and to have the best future he can. Any advice?

    • #143145

      Hi- I have a nephew in which we saw many symptoms of add at home particularly surrounding executive functioning issues, impulsivity and some social issues with regard to the impulsivity ,but no problems were reported at school until he was about 15. He was eventually diagnosed with generalized anxiety as his primary condition with ADD being present but secondary. They treated both conditions but anxiety was most concerning.
      My own son has been diagnosed with add and not anxiety. I am happy that he doesn’t appear to have the level of anxiety as my nephew , but I feel like there is still a missing piece to his puzzle which may encompass a chronic low level of anxiety around school and some social anxiety. It is very hard to untangle it all and certainly the last thing I want is another diagnosis or more medication for my son. But, I am researching and will be consulting his pediatrician about guanfacine. This is a medication that was used for blood pressure but many people are finding success with ADHD especially with the anxiousness that ADHD can create.
      I feel for you. It can be all consuming when you know there is a missing piece. Maybe if you still feel strongly about the ADD you can consult a pediatrician/ psychiatrist about guanfacine since many have found success with anxiety/ anxiousness. Good luck.

    • #143081

      A lot of pediatricians and psychologists put a lot weight on school evaluations. It’s tough because a lot of ADHD people do well in school with minimal hyperactivity, good grades, etc. They often miss inattentive type and also don’t account for the fact that some kids have a lot of self control when it comes to responding to authority or other rules.

      I’d say that if you’re getting a lot of push back it may be worth seeking another opinion, though I know it would be hard to find since it seems like you’ve already have a rough time finding anyone to handle this. You could also ask the provider more about what more information they need in order to see the things you do. Have they given you parent rating forms? Have they done any of the various ADHD screening evaluations? There are lots of tools for providers out there but they don’t always use them. Either they’re not trained in them or the tools are expensive.

      Keep doing what you’re doing. Write down a list of behaviors that you see at home. You can even look at the diagnostic criteria for ADHD and make notes and give examples for all the ones you see. You can find the criteria from the DSM-V here: Neurodevelopmental Disorders

      Whatever happens, it may still take a while to get a diagnosis. There’s always a chance it isn’t ADHD, but as a parent if you know something is wrong it’s important to keep fighting and advocating. Good luck!

    • #143247
      Penny Williams

      Smart kids often fall through the cracks. While they may not be performing to their potential, they are doing well enough in school to not look like there’s a problem.

      “The Curse of Good Behavior and Stellar Grades”

      The only thing you can do is seek another evaluation from a new clinician if you still feel there’s something holding him back or things he’s struggling with.

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

    • #143260
      Dr. Eric

      School rating scales carry a lot of weight for two reasons.

      1. ADHD diagnosis requires that the symptoms be present across environments. So if it is only seen in one, it is not likely ADHD.

      2. The research suggests that teachers are generally able to give more valid responses than parents (I would need to re-read the articles to remember just home much.) The researchers have hypothesized several reasons for this. The main one is that teachers have observed plenty of other children the same age to reference. (A general education elementary teacher with three year’s experience with class sizes of 25 have roughly observed the behavior of 75 students for 180 days per year for about 3-4 hours a day in academic, social, unstructured, and structured settings. This should include moderately disabled to “average” to high achieving.)

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