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Please help! Is this ADD or Aspergers or both?

cbugcbug Registered User Posts: 614 Member
S2, who is now a sophomore, was diagnosed with ADD (without hyperactivity) when he was in third grade. We choose not to treat with medication and he seemed to adapt to his situation and he is now a 4.0 in high school and plays two varsity sports. Our problem however is with the social aspect. Up until 9th grade he had tons of friends and was considered one the most popular kids in school. Everyone seemed to enjoy his quirkiness and off-beat sense of humor.

And then high school hit. For some reason his friends dropped him like a hot potato. I suspect his quirkiness was no longer "cool." I think he is very lonely now but won't discuss it with me or his dad. He refuses to attempt to make friends in a different group because he is still hanging on to the illusion that his former popular friends (who are now major jocks) are still his friends. As a result, he has totally shutdown his fun loving, creative, goofy side. We have decided to get him to a counselor but there is going to be a lot of resistance involved.

Now because of two cousins with Aspergers I am wondering if he might have this instead of ADD or in combination with it. Here are some of his characteristics:

* Speaks in monotone
* Has great difficulty making eye contact especially with adults
* Has great difficulty making small talk with anyone
* Does not accept change well
* Very high IQ especially talented in Math but also a great writer
* Currently experiencing much difficulty with making and keeping friends
* He does NOT have the obsession characteristic that many Aspies do
* He does NOT drone on in conversation. He is very utilitarian with his conversation.

Anyway, I'm very interested in hearing from those of you with experience in these conditions about which area he might fall into. Also what is the best way to treat this?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Post edited by cbug on

Replies to: Please help! Is this ADD or Aspergers or both?

  • rachelfranrachelfran Registered User Posts: 260 Junior Member
    my son is almost 10 and was diagnosed with asperger's when he was 8... In order to get a correct diagnoses you'll need to get him to a neuropsych who can run a series of tests and decide if that's' the right dx; Regardless - he should be speaking to a therapist on his own... You want to make sure that these changes in social status don't lead to depression... The actual diagnosis is not nearly as important at the services or therapies he may need such as social skills classes ... I don't know where you are but many hospitals have psychology departments that do testing and run social skill programs ...

    He may not be on the spectrum because he doesn't have that obsession characteristic but a lot of aspies move from one thing to the next ... the eye contact, transition issues, social problems are key autistic characteristics -- but people have had these for years w/o getting a diagnosis.... You're likely to find a lot of adults like these in the tech, engineer, sciences, etc.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,267 Senior Member
    You also need to deal with the social isolation. Would he be interested in theater at all? Half of the boys in Happykid's HS drama organization were like your son. Some were actors, but more of them were on the tech crew.
  • caligulashorsecaligulashorse Registered User Posts: 311 Member
    I would be reluctant to apply Asperger's to anyone who does not have obsessional interests, being that they're a hallmark of the disorder. I could perhaps see a potential for nonverbal learning disability, as that largely mimics Asperger's except without obsessional interests. But the vast majority of NLDers are exceptionally poor at math--much more so than their IQ scores would indicate. So, again, he doesn't fit.

    Many people with poor social skills don't necessarily fall into the autism spectrum, and they can't be placed into a nice, neat diagnostic category. Doesn't mean their social skills aren't presenting a problem, though. At the end of the day, the specific diagnosis doesn't really matter as long as your son gets the help he needs.
  • deja2vudeja2vu Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    First of all, Aspergers as a medical diagnosis will be phased out next year and replaced with the more inclusive label Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a father of a son with Aspergers I would say that your son seems likely to be on the spectrum. Not all aspies have obsessions per say. My son used to fixate as a child on trains, air conditioners and powerlines. Over time, his interests became more mainstream (nature, meteorology, history and current events). It is common for these children to have OCD behaviors as well which may blur the line a little. The problems with making friends, difficulty with change and making eye contact are all red flags that indicate ASD as a possible diagnosis. He may also have ADD but his profile, from my point of view, does not support it.
    The fact that he does so well in school seems to indicate that he does not have a problem concentrating for extended periods of time. He may have had ADD behaviors as a child but please keep in mind that ADD as a diagnosis has been grossly overused and can be a crutch for a Dr. who is not really sure what the problem is but feels pressure to make a diagnosis so he can prescribe medication.
  • kartwheeliekartwheelie Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    I don't have an obsessional interest, and I have Asperger's. Then again I am told that sometimes kids with HFA don't either, and I could be that. HFA is high functioning autism. Eye contact is a bigger thing, because what it means when we don't give it is that we are listening - we can't deal with looking at you too. It's too much stimuli.

    But Deja2vu is right, Asperger's will not be a Dx any more. Which in a way stinks, because I am not Rain Man.
  • surfcitysurfcity Registered User Posts: 2,358 Senior Member
    Your S sounds a lot like mine. In our case, S is struggling with some social anxiety. He has friends, but they initiate all activities. If someone calls to invite him to a movie or hang out, he will go, but he never, never calls/texts or initiates get togethers. In addition, he does not like big parties or gatherings. He is happy to sit by himself and play guitar or write music for hours. We have discussed with him the need to get physical exercise and do something social every weekend, and now he is with the program. But I think it is a struggle.

    Does your son initiate things? I have often thought of Aspergers, but again, my S has no obsessions, never did. Thinking back to toddlerhood, he did have some odd things, like refusing to wear buttons, or worrying that our trash can would blow away (because that happened once, he worried about it everytime there was wind).

    Anyway, the monotone, eyecontact, etc remind me of the list of socially anxious traits I have seen.
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