Only2boys's picture
Only2boys

Calling Junieg

Hi!  I was just looking for someone who is in the situation I"m in with an ADD child and possibly Asperger's Syndrome too.

My oldest son was diagnosed a few months ago with ADD.  I knew he probably was ADD before, but I tried managing him without meds. (my background is in teaching) 

On top of that diagnosis we were told to see a Psychologist for some counseling.  Our Psychologist gave us a surprise by telling us that he thought our son had either Asperger's Syndrone or PDD-Nos.  Right now we are trying to get a return phone call from one of the leading children's hospitals to get the testing done.  We have dealt with the insurance comp. for the past month, so it has been stressful.

I am wondering if you can share some strategies you use or have used with your sons that work.  One of the big adjustments I'm trying to make is realizing that he doesn't understand "my" emotions.... like when I'm upset for him making a food mess on the floor after I just cleaned the house, etc.  How have you taught your son to learn to read people's emotions? 

What plans do you have in place at school?  Does your son struggle with handwriting as well?  Does he have Dysgraphia?

I hope you don't mind sharing.  I'm just trying to find some support and advice, because this is all new to me.

Thanks for your advice!

Only

 

 



concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Hi Only,
My son is not on the spectrum, but he does have some attention and learning difficulties. He's in a spec ed school where he receives speech, OT (for fine motor)and PT (for slightly low muscle tone). He also used to go for outpatient speech therapy at our local hospital. Through the hospital center, we learned of a social group that we later put our son in. Primarily, it was a group that helped promote appropriate communication and social interaction amongst peers and adults. The kids had different disabilities, some of whom had autism, aspergers and ADD/ADHD. One of the lessons was on emotions. Pictures of people w/ different expressions were shown, and the kids had to identify the emotions. Then, they had give an example of what made them sad, surprised, happy, angry, scared, etc. Some examples were given in class. Then homework was given based on the emotion that was discussed that day. I believe the class was very helpful. The therapists also gave handouts, so that when the class ended, we were able to continue to work w/ our son at home.
Another thing that was suggested to us by my son's Developmental Pediatrician, was a book called "Social Stories" by Carol Gray. This author has several books out for different aged children on the spectrum. Each short story describes a certain situation that children deal w/ in their daily lives. The book we have is illustrated, and it explains how the characters feel in each situation. It also describes how they cope w/ their feelings, and the best way they handle the situations. We found this book to be very helpful as well.
When searching for this book online, I came across a company called Sandbox Learning. Their website is www.sandbox-learning.com. They also have a list of individual "Success Stories" that cover a number of topics. They offer a free story on "waiting" that you can download and print. You can also personalize it, so that the character in the story is your child (same name, gender, hair color, eye color, etc).
I hope these suggestions have been helpful. Even if you don't have a social group near you, there's a lot you can do w/ your child at home. Working a little each day using pictures and repetition makes a big difference. Good luck to you and your son.
P.S.--You mentioned meds for ADD. Have you tried Omega 3? We just started giving our son the fish oil which supposedly has many great health benefits including support for brain development.

Only2boys's picture
Only2boys

Thanks for your suggestions. We have just heard about Omega 3's for ADD. I actually bought a bottle of Omega 3 Fish Oil for my dry eye diagnosis back in Nov. It was suggested by my opthamalogist to help dry eye. I took these for a couple of days, but they came up on me. (I did get the enteric coated.) It could be that they were bothering me because of the gall stones and bad gall bladder that I just found out about. I will give them another shot after my gall bladder surgery.

How old is your son? What are you giving your son dosage and mg of each substance? Did a dr. advise you on the dosage? In my supplement one softgel has 1200 mg of fish oil, total omega3 fatty acids 684mg, Omega 3 EPA 410mg, and Omega 3 DHA 274mg.

We have been trying to regulate meds to help our son since the very end of Oct. and really don't think we have it right yet. He either doesn't sleep or eat or he gets these zoning spells in the afternoon.

The pills he is on right now seem to run out early(he does sleep and eat with them)and I'm afraid to add an afternoon dose because of him once again not sleeping. (the dr. suggested adding another pill at noon) I'm not a real big supporter of meds. but we tried alot before making the decision to try add meds. It does scare me when I read first thing on the pharmacy papers for the med that it can cause heart problems and high blood pressure.... ugh. Are you giving the fish oils with add meds?

Thanks for your help.
Only

junieg's picture
junieg

Hi there. I think Concerned has offered some really good advice there. I can not comment on legal and schooling issues too much as I am in Britain and there may be a lot of differences.

One of the main strategies is routine, routine, routine. A child with these disorders needs to know exactly how his day is shaped as I'm sure you are already aware. If changes have to be made to the routine, it should be thoroughly explained first and the child should have plenty of time to absorb this and ask the questions he needs answers for. I know that emergencies crop up and you can't always forewarn, but in these cases, you need to be as supportive and understanding as you can.

When you have a child with both these disorders, it is difficult to know where the symptoms of one end and the other starts. That is probably irrelevant though.

If your child has certain strong interests or obsessions, they can be used to his advantage. My son knew the makes and names of all the cars he saw at the age of two. He could tell from the logos. This in turn boosted his reading ability. We would get books from the library which concerned any of his special interests. He was always well ahead in his reading ability. He will finish college in the summer after doing a two year car repair course. He is loving every minute of it and has gained distinctions. His writing was very bad however. His brain was thinking far faster than his hands could write down. A laptop can be the answer to that. He also liked drawing cars and vehicles so he could fill books with that and we would work together on writing about his drawings in the books.
Another vital strategy is doing things in bite sized pieces. Concentration can be poor so do things in small time blocks. It doesn't matter how a job is done as long as it is finished and done satisfactorily.

Sometimes it is difficult for these children to complete a task at once. I know of someone who does things in blocks of three or four. Say they have dishes to wash up, washing to hang, and other little jobs to do what they would do is maybe wash three or five items, hang up three or five items, then do three or five of the other job. They would repeat this until all the work was done. Sounds a bit strange I know but the work got done and done well.

Punishments should also be well thought out if necessary. They have to be linked to the action you want to change and small. You can't use the same strategies on children with these disorders as they often haven't a clue what they are being punished for or what they have done wrong. Their concepts are a lot different.

Someone talked about sound and noise on another thread and that is also a big factor with any ASD and also with ADHD. When a child has ADHD, it is difficult for them to filter out unwanted sounds so they have so much extraneous sound coming at them when they are trying to listen to someone talking etc. It is very confusing for them and can bring them to a total standstill. With ASD, the hearing can be very sensitive and they can pick up noises that 'normal' people don't notice. My son has problems with the noise people make when they eat, or any small noises which to us may sound insignificant. It can get him really worked up. Loud noises can be a problem too especially if they are sudden. I bought my son an old fashioned alarm clock so that he could wake himself. He threw it across the room the first morning as it freaked him out too much. He was hysterical. His mobile phone alarm usually wakes him up now and we act as back up. We very seldom have to wake him up now.

My son was prescribed Ritalin which worked wonderfully. I am not going to get into the medicine debate here as it has been done to death on other threads. I only say that it was the best thing that could have happened to him and gave him a nearly 'normal' life. He did change to Omega 3 however after quite a few years and that was also an excellent strategy.

My son doesn't have a lot of friends, but has some very good ones whom he has known many years now. He does still like to spend a lot of time alone, but will socialise if there is a special occasion like a party. He is now 19, and we are so very proud of the way he has coped with life and grown up to be a fine young man.

There is a lot of hope with the right treatment and strategies and I wish you all the luck in the world with your child.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Hi Only,
My son is just 5 yrs old. At this time, we do not have him on any meds. As for the Omega 3 Fish Oil, we give him 1 tspful daily at mealtime. We tried a chewable Omega 3 supplement, but my son didn't like the taste. The fish oil we buy has a lemon flavor that my son really likes. I either mix it in his lemonade, or drizzle it over his food. The brand is Carlson.
I checked w/ my son's dr first to get the ok. She said it's fine to give him the dosage amount on the bottle. I purchased the oil at a homeopathic store where I rec'd further info about the product. It apparently has many health benefits for the whole family. My husband and I plan to start taking it for heart health, and I also plan on trying it w/ my other son.
Ck w/ your child's dr first and make sure it's ok to take along w/ the other meds he's currently on. Also, make sure the dosage is appropriate for his age. Best of luck.