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Autism

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03/06/2008

Question:

My inital question was this and the response I recieved is listed below. My new question in regards to the response that I recieved is this: The Doctor who diagnosed him with ADHD is a neurodevelopmental pediatrician. He is known to be quite educated in Autism. In my son`s case, however, there was no formal testing; his diagnosis was based soley on observation. I tried to tell him information, but it seemed like he didn`t believe me. I don`t agree with his diagnosis and neither do my son`s teachers, behavioral consultants, etc. What should I do now? Thank you very much!!

When my son is bored, excited, etc. he paces back and forth, almost running but not quite, while flapping his hands and arms, ginding his teeth, grunting, and sometimes talking to himself. Usually he is talking about or repeating lines from a movie. He does this very often; at least 5 times a day, and usually does not stop unless I `catch` him. He also grinds and clenches his teeth whenever he plays.. He memorizes movie lines.. books..etc. and has an exceptional memory for odd things.. Do these behaviors fit into any other category besides autism or asperger`s? We currently have an ADHD diagnosis...

Answer: From the symptoms that you are describing regarding your son, it sounds as though he probably has something in addition to ADHD. What you are describing could very possibly be a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. It seems at this time that it would be a very good idea to have further testing done by someone who is experienced in testing for autism. If you live near a children`s hospital (people do sometimes drive up to 3 hours away for testing), or have an experienced child psychiatrist in your area, I would highly recommend having the testing done. By doing the testing, you will know what you are dealing with and therefore be able to get him the appropriate help he needs at this time to help control some of his behaviors.

Best of luck.

Answer:

At this time, you might need to get a second opinion due to the fact that you as his mother are concerned about his behavior, in addition to other professionals who come in contact with your son. At the time your son was diagnosed with ADHD, was he experiencing the other symptoms to the degree that he is now?

I think that it would be very appropriate to see a child psychiatrist or a developmental pediatrician who is willing to do testing for PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified), Asperger's, or autism. The testing usually involves interviewing the parent with specific tests geared towards diagnoses on the autism spectrum. From your description, it sounds as though his compulsions and/or obsessions which tend to take up a fair amount of his time during the day. Whether it is or isn't a diagnosis on the spectrum, it would be a relief to get some answers because there is definitely help available whether it's medication or behavioral therapy.

One more question... has he had a recent strep infection or recurrent strep throat?  Sometimes a child can develop a disorder known as PANDAS which can be tested for by doing a certain blood test which can be ordered by your pediatrician. This disorder can certainly cause "odd" behavior such as obsessive compulsive disorder and repetitive movements. You might want to talk to your pediatrician/family doctor about screening for PANDAS if indeed he has had strep throat. 

Hopefully this is helpful to you.  Best of luck. 

For more information:

Go to the Autism health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Susan Thompson, MSN, CPNP
Research Nurse Practitioner
OSU Nisonger Center
The Ohio State University