Because Thing 2 had his IEP last week, the doctor gave me a preliminary report of his diagnosis.
So the doctor's opinion about autism should not be a surprise to me, since it is the same exact answer I have been getting from day one, I just thought she could give me a definitive answer. She said that there are many things that are congruent with autism, but he is very social, and responsive and because of this, she has a hard time giving him the autism label. She said she isn't comfortable saying he is not autistic, and that he is probably "somewhere on the spectrum". For right now she is diagnosing him with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental delay - not otherwise specified), which for the time being is on the spectrum. Some doctors do not consider this to be autism because it does not meet the standard criteria for autism. With autism there are 3 of 5 areas that need to have a delay. With PDD-NOS two of those 5 areas are delayed. She told me she had a very hard time figuring Thing 2 out, and that she has never seen a child present quite like he did. She believes that as he continues to grow and develop, he will either fall off the spectrum, or it will be so mild it will not be detectible at all!
She also told me that if his IQ score wasn't so high, she would have no problem saying autism. IQ ranges in children his age (I'm not sure if it changes by age or not) is 85-112. They break the IQ up into two groups, then put those two scores together to come out with the overall IQ. The first group is verbal IQ (VIQ). Thing 2's VIQ score was 83, which is considered extremely low. The second group is non-verbal IQ (NVIQ). Thing 2's NVIQ is 115, which is considered extremely high. His cumulative IQ came out at 95! He no longer has a diagnosis of Intellectually Impaired (the fancy medical term for retarded). This was great news!
She told me she would diagnose him with globally delayed (I'm not sure exactly what that means, or entails) but that is something that only stands until a child turns 5 years old. Since Thing 2 turns 5 in June, she didn't see the point in that diagnosis.
The real shock to me that made me think, "anything but this!" and had me crying for 2 days strait was she diagnosed him with ADHD. All my life I have grown up believing that ADHD is just a copout diagnosis to give parents an excuse for misbehaved children. Sure there are kids with a real problem, and the medication has done wonders for them (my next door neighbor's son for example), but I am not that parent that just medicates my kid because he is a little hyper. He is a boy, right?! Aren't they supposed to be busy and hyper? Apparently Thing 2's ADHD is severe enough for him to diagnosed at the age of 4. The majority of children cannot be diagnosed until they are in grade school because that is when their focus in tested the most. I'm still struggling with accepting this diagnosis, but I am also to a point of starting my research to find what I can do to help him while avoiding mind altering medication.
Along with ADHD she told me verbally over the phone that he has severe anxiety. Her report however, said possible anxiety. Verbally she seemed very concerned about his level of anxiety.
She also diagnosed him with a communication disorder. I really do not know what the difference between a communication disorder and a severe language delay (his standing diagnosis) is. She put in her report that this communication disorder is in addition to his standing diagnosis of severe language delay. She told me to step up his speech therapy. AHHH! We already were going once a week, in addition to what he got at school! For right now, I am going to keep it to one session a week until school gets out. Then I will increase it over the summer. His speech therapist agreed this was a good plan.
All his previous diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, Hypotonia, Apraxia, Dyspraxia and severe language delay still stand.
She recommended that we do ABA therapy to treat his ADHD. Counseling services to help him with his anxiety. Continue Occupational therapy and increase his speech therapy. She gave me a list of books to read about how to parent a child with autism and ADHD. And she recommended that I seek counseling to cope and learn about parenting a child with these conditions.
ABA therapy is my biggest hang up in all of these therapy recommendations because it costs anywhere from 50-80 bucks an hour and in order to be effective, you need 20-30 hours of ABA per week! Utah is one of a minority of states without a mandate to insurance companies to cover ABA and other therapies used to treat autism. Medicaid does cover it. So my next step is to obtain a Medicaid waiver so that I can get him the help he needs regardless of our income.
I get the final report on May 6th. I will post any changes, if any then. If anybody has any information on parenting a child with ADHD, or what some of this stuff means, please post your thoughts! Thank you.