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Autism, ADD/ADHD, or am I just going Nuts!?
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Autism, ADD/ADHD, or am I just going Nuts!?

I have been told by a pediatrician that my eldest son, who is now 6 years old has Autism like behaviour. Does this mean he has autism or is it just the doctor's way of saying he hasn't got a clue why my son behaves the way he does? The worst part is his little brother is behaving in the same way, but his level of understanding anything is non existent - almost, and his speech is unclear 75% of the time, which is bad for a 4 year old. Before I took my older son to the doctor, I thought he had ADD or ADHD, not that I sort of believe in that, but now two years late I'm more confused than before I even went to the doctors. Does anyone have any ideas?
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I too have been a single parent for many years, I do have a partner but my sons dad doesnt have regular contact, so i am a single parent really! My son too did some of the things u mentioned (smearing poo on walls and carpets).. But overall i would say my son is pretty well behaved if im honest. Seems you are really struggling with yours.. Isnt there a organisation like social services etc u could call and maybe ask for some help.?! Must be so frustrating for you. And i understand about the whole social thing. My son can act rather inappropriately (although he doesnt understand he's being tht way) at times and can make it extremely difficult when out, as youre always having to apologise or make it known he has Autism because some parents purely think u have a difficult or bad behaved child, when in fact they are just taken the wrong way! Many children present autistic features in many different ways, and some are more severe then others. My sons problems are speech, understanding, communication and verbal skills and social skills. Does your son have support at his school? He certainly (in my opinion) needs assessing, and needs some support, as do you. Try and get in touch with an association if u can, help is out there, its just finding it! Again, any questions just ask away! I'll help as best as i can (although my knowledge of Autism isnt brilliant).
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Hey there, my son was diagnosed as being Autistic a few months ago, although it has always been suspected for many years since he was 3, there was little they could do test wise to determin this indefinate at his age. He's now 7, and has his diagnosis. It is extremely hard to diagnose a child with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, at such a young age. You need to push forward with the professionals involved, ie Pediatrician and get to the bottom of this. Im in the UK, and not sure how it works in Australia, but my son had a 3Di assesment to determine if he was Autistic or not. I have sent u a friend request, as i know how mind boggeling it is when u know nothing. Feel free to ask any questions, and i'll help if/when i can.
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I want to thank you for your invitation and I have gladly accepted it. I'm a single parent (but not by choice) I have daily struggles with my son he's never co operative, he actually destroyed a timber bed, he chews my TV remote (there's not much of that left now) he's obsessed with making siren noises so high pitche in sound that it hurts everyones ears. He refuses to do anything he's told, for example if I tell him to get dressed for school 2 - 3 hours later he's either still in his pjs or he's running round in his birthday suit. He went through a faze where he smeared his poo over everything (which got us thrown out of our rental home) he's stopped doing that in the last 12 months, but a few weeks ago he started urinating on things around the house and blamed my cat, which I believed him until one night I fell asleep on the couch and got woken up with him peeing on the artificial plant that was next to the couch. He claims he never woke up that night and still insists it must be my cat, even though I spoke to him when it happened, I at first wondered if he was sleep walking, but then I realised he is definately aware of what he's doing and was making excuses for his bad behaviour. The worse part is he steals food. He will eat a regular healthy meal then the minute I go to the bathroom, or duck out to get the mail, he's grabbing whatever he can find (the sugary the better) and will run off with it and eat it all, he's even eaten margarine straight out of the container, and I wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't had the evidence all over his hands and face. With both my sons now being a constant struggle everyday, i'm at my wits end! My youngest now goes to kinder and I feel awful cause I look forward to having a few hours to catch up on the sleep that i'm deprived of (you see they are up at 3 - 4 am everyday, and some nights they wont go to sleep before 10 - 11pm, no matter how manytimes i put them back to bed in the morning or night they still get up sneaking around, I have stopped them from watching tv, but that isn't stopping the food stealing, now I don't care if they fill up on fruit and vegies,  but they aren't stealing this type of food they will steal white sugar, etc. I have told the doctors all this, but one doctor when i sought help for my youngest laughed at me and told me that I'm just a lazy single parent who now has kids can't be bothered with them now I've finally realised how tough it is to raise them. She ranted on for a while until she knew she had upset me and finished with "from now on i suggest you keep your legs shut, unless you can really be sure you can handle a lifetime walk in the park" then was rude enough to tell me to have a nice day! Anyway I just want to say thank you again, for offering your friendship, my friends circle has recently become 1, my friends have all had enough of my kids and one by one have just stopped bothering me, other than my Mum, I have no one to talk to, so I appreciate your advise
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I too have been a single parent for many years, I do have a partner but my sons dad doesnt have regular contact, so i am a single parent really! My son too did some of the things u mentioned (smearing poo on walls and carpets).. But overall i would say my son is pretty well behaved if im honest. Seems you are really struggling with yours.. Isnt there a organisation like social services etc u could call and maybe ask for some help.?! Must be so frustrating for you. And i understand about the whole social thing. My son can act rather inappropriately (although he doesnt understand he's being tht way) at times and can make it extremely difficult when out, as youre always having to apologise or make it known he has Autism because some parents purely think u have a difficult or bad behaved child, when in fact they are just taken the wrong way! Many children present autistic features in many different ways, and some are more severe then others. My sons problems are speech, understanding, communication and verbal skills and social skills. Does your son have support at his school? He certainly (in my opinion) needs assessing, and needs some support, as do you. Try and get in touch with an association if u can, help is out there, its just finding it! Again, any questions just ask away! I'll help as best as i can (although my knowledge of Autism isnt brilliant).
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I work with autistic and mentally disabled children and adults as a career and I want you to know that a child can show signs of autism and not have full blown autism.  Autism has many different levels.  Some children go on to be able to do a job later on because theirs is so mild and the most severe case I have scene the child couldn't even talk.  His way of communication was physically lashing out.  They may classify him as autistic because of some autistic related characteristics.  A child with autism can be intervened with to develop the proper skills to behavior just as any other child but they may not do all behaviors the way you would like.  We have to remember they do have a disability that makes them act differently.  The earlier the intervention the better so if you son was diagnosed autistic I would try to get intervention services provided as soon as possible.  I know of a friend that has an almost 4 year old son that I approached about autistic characteristics 2 years ago and at 2 was diagnosed after having test done.  Sadly doctors still don't know what exactly causes it.....most people believe that mercury in vaccines may cause it.  It is very difficult to work with an individual with autism so I can only imagine how hard it is to have a child that has it.  I know that in the United States our medicaid program (a governmental program) will not only provide these services through a provider like the one I work for but they also pay for it.  Intervention and understanding are keys to success with a child that has autism.  Good luck with your son and if you have any questions about things that I do to get a child I'm working with to behave I am more than willing to give you a list of the things I have discovered that work with the autistic individuals I work with.  I worked with a child that hated math while I was pregnant.  He said he couldn't do it and that he didn't want to.  In 9 months, with a lot of patience and time put forth, I not only had this child doing his math but he was also enjoying it. A lot of children with autism tend to have a lot of energy and do things that are inappropriate in our eyes but in their own okay. (I also have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education that taught me ways to teach a child with a disability)  I have been working with autistic individuals for a little over 4 years now and I can tell you the more I work with them the more I learn.  They can teach us so much more than we can ever teach them.  Their way of looking at the world can open your own eyes to a whole new world.  I love my job and working with these children was by far the best decision I have ever made.
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Hello mrs_adams2009
  You sound like you really have had good experience dealing with autistic people in general.  I have a 8yr. old son who has been diagnoised as mildy autistic since 3yrs. old.  I would just like to keep intouch with you are be able to have contact with you when I have questions or situations that arise regarding my son's behavior that I may not know how to deal with if possible.  

But for starters, have you ever dealt with an autistic boy that has more respect for male figures then females.  If you don't quite understand what I mean, I will give you an example.

My son seems to not listen at all to commands or requests of women but if a male is around  who is sure of himself and stern he can almost get my son to act totally normal.  I am just wondering what can I do to get my son to respect me in this way?  
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I'm not the person you are asking the question of but had a thought as I read your post------  you say he responds well to a male that is stern and sure of himself.  Could you work on presenting yourself that same way?

My son has sensory integration disorder.  I don't have to get mad, be super strict, etc. but am quite confident in what I am telling him to do and say it very matter of factly.  

Anyway, good luck with your son.  I have a son that is 8 years old with sensory integration disorder.  We've worked really hard with him and he's doing pretty well.  
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I have Asperger's Autism. When i was a child (early 80's) there weren't many ways to diagnose it, so i was diagnosed with "Pervaisive Developmental Disorder"

I wanted to offer you some words of hope, perhaps.

Autism can never be grown "out of", but over time, the sufferer can learn to cope with it better. Right now everything is a sensory overload to your son.
It sure was for me when i was his age, and now i am living some sort of normal-ish life.

The way to get him to respond to you could be simple, then again it couldn't.

Most autists have a comfort item/hobby that they spend alot of time on. For me it was video games and computers. You will probably notice your son gravitating to certain objects/spending alot of time doing something.

So to get him to listen to you, tell him in a stern voice that if he continues his behaviour, this item will be taken from him for X amount of time.

If he continues, remind him again.

On the third time, it's time for action. Take the item and put it somewhere he can't get it. Tell him when he can have it back, and if he continues his behaviour, the time limit will be extended.

Now for the hard part. He will probably get very upset and plead with you for it back. Don't cave in, and remind him he was given plenty of warning, and he will get it back when the time agreed is reached.

He will calm down after a while. As long as you stick to your word and stay loving but stern, he will learn that his actions aren't acceptable.

Things will get better. Stay strong.

Regards
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I want to thank you for your posting. It's not easy for me to speak to someone who has autism, and I find it a struggle to communicate with my son, he's adament there's nothing wrong when he's got a problem. I find he is addicted to video games and tv. He wakes up at 4 - 5 am just to watch tv, or to play a video game, if you tell him to turn it off and go back to bed he turns it off for a few minutes, then puts it back on again at a lower volume thinking I can't hear it. He's started acting out of late and I have no idea why, he won't tell me why he's exposing himself to girls at school and punching other students, the teachers and principal want me to provide them with answers, but I have none to give them. Ryan's happy while playing a video game, but because of his outlandish behaviour I have restricted his use of them for weekends only, and have had to put the console up so high I require a small ladder to get it, he's been furious over me doing that, but his school work needs to be done, and while he's spending hours and hours on the tv or video game, its just not getting done, and I'm getting teachers on the phone complaining. The worst part about his acting out is his persistent urination around the house, he's weeing everywhere, most times only a couple of feet from his bed, other nights he will walk out to the lounge room or dining room and wee on furniture or in the corner of the room or in artificial plant pots, you name it and he's most likely wee'd on it, my house smells worse than my cats litter tray, and i'm worried because of it we will be evicted from our home. I have asked him why he's doing things, but he clams up and refuses to answer, he has recently requested I buy him a soft toy, so he can sleep with it, his reason was that he was afraid of the dark, and was having nightmares of monsters trying to kill him, i have managed to convince him that monsters don't exist (well I think I have, with my son its hard to tell) and he has stopped saying he had a dream about them at the breakfast table, so he could even be keeping it to himself. I must admit I do find it hard to deal with him, as I wish I could understand him more, I want to help both my boys, but I have no idea how
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It's ok. I like to try and tell things from our side of the picture, to maybe help others understand better.

I always say there's nothing wrong when i have a problem too. It's for one of two reasons

1. I really don't want my mother to worry any more than she does
2. I don't know how to put in words what i'm feeling.

He is pushing your patience in regards to TV. Is there a parental lock on it? where you input a password and the TV won't work unless it's input again? If you aren't sure, check your TV manual.

Exposing himself and lashing out - I can't offer anything here because i did neither of those things. Those with different severity levels of autism behave differently. This seems to be one of the more concerning behaviors so i really wish i could offer you some guidance there.. but i can't.

I suppose the best answer you can give them is that you don't understand this behavior.

I'm glad you've restricted his use of video games to the weekends. That's the best thing you can do for him in this situation, until he learns to prioritize the order he does things in. We get drawn into video games and forget what's going on around us quite easily.

The urination around the house i have no understanding of either. I'm really sorry you're having to go through this sort of thing. He is clamming up because he doesn't know what to say, which would just add to your frustration, i'm sure.

A soft toy eh? I'm 28 and I still sleep with one. That could just run with autism. I need something to hug to sleep.

So on this idea - I'll tell you something my parents did when i was younger, that worked with me.

Make a chart. Divide it up into however long you like, (mine was a month).

Cut out a picture of a soft toy and glue it to the chart. (teddybear or whatever soft toy he wants)

Explain to him that we don't just get the things we want in life handed to us, we need to work towards them. So what he will need to do to work towards his soft toy, is to behave better.

explain that the longer his misbehaves, the longer it keeps him from having his soft toy. Everytime he has a good day, put a star on his chart (or draw one)

Hang the chart on his bedroom door. That way he can see his progress and he's reminded that he's working towards a goal. Write on the chart what he needs to do (No Peeing in house, No exposing himself, do his homework).

Hopefully this approach will work with him. I'm no behavior therapist, or specialist, but as an Autistic myself, that idea worked well with me when i wasn't doing my homework/etc.  

If he modifies his behavior then get him a soft toy (doesn't matter how expensive it is. just a cheap one should do)

If he starts misbehaving again, take it off him, put it away, and tell him you threw it away. Explain to him that he needs to keep his behavior up to standard even after he earned his soft toy. Start again and give it back when he fills his chart.

Might seem silly, but it worked for me.

Good luck and once again, i'm really sorry you're going through this.
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I have already put the parental lock onto my TV, but it doesn't cover the AV channels, so he can access DVDs and video games, so I have resorted to removing the DVD player and video game consoles from the lounge room and have locked them up in a high place that even I can't reach without a small ladder.
I also had purchased him a cheap soft toy and even though he has it to cuddle at night, the urination still continues, but I think I may have found the cause to that problem, I have recently become aware that he is being bullied by other kids at school, and it all started around the same time he started urinating, so I have come to the conclusion the two things are connected. As of today the bullying problem has been starting to cease due to teacher intervention, and he has come home a much happier little boy, and hasn't lashed out yet, although he did have a whinge about what I was preparing for dinner!
I have tried a behaviour chart before when he was younger, but he didn't care about earning a reward then, but I will definately give it another try, now he has more priveledges to earn. He already knows that things aren't handed to him on a silver platter, and that people have to work hard in ,ife to get the things they want, I have drilled that into both my boys from day 1.
One last thing; your ideas never sound silly to me, I understand exactly where your coming from, thank you :)
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I would like to mail you if that is possible, I have just tried to PM you but it says that I cannot.  I would like to ask you a few questions regarding my son.  So  if you get this message perhaps you could email me please, thank you.

Hi cheekygoat, my son was diagnosed at 7 with ASD plus learning and behavioural difficulties.  He is now 18 and has been in a care home since he was 17.  Over the years he has urinated in inappropriate places, he has also lashed out for no reason and he is a selective mute.  So I can relate to what you have said. He also used to expose himself many times, and eat anything he could get his hands on, would go to the cupboards and fridge etc and take anything out to eat.  He used to and still does hit out at anyone particularly those closest to him like me, and he hits himself on his forehead with extreme force but thankfully since being in the carehome this has decreased significantly.  
It is extremely hard for me to know what advice to give you because I still don't know why my son did what he did, some of it I guess is a communication issue as he rarely speaks although is able to, but his understanding is extremely poor so it is hard to guess how much he can understand of what you say.  His mental age is about that of a 2.1/2 - 3 year old so you know!
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Hello sir. My youngest nephew is now 16yr old. At the age of 3 he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ever since, I have thrown myself into research on the disorder as well as taking training and courses to become and ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapist who works with young, autistic children.

One thing u want to keep in mind is, it is very uncommon for siblings to both have ASD. The signs and actions of ur younger son could very well be him copying his older brother. It happens. Now, pediatricians cannot give a 100% diagnosis of ASD. Its not what they are trained to do. I suggest u find a specialist to see ur child. With my nephew, they did a lot of observations and ran educational tests. It was a long process. But in the end we did get our answer.

Autism is not something that can be cured. They still are doing A LOT of research to find out the source of this disorder. However just because it isn't cureable doesn't mean u can't try to make it a little better. With a lot of hard work and dedication to my nephew, he is now on tge side
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The Asperger'a side of the spectrum.

One thing that worked the best for us was consistency. That is a key to anyone with ASD. The more consistent u can keep daily activities (places u go, what time u eat meals, how long u work with him, and even discipline) the more likely u are to see an improvement. In any form. I suggest u keep trying new things. What works for some parents may not work for others.

Another suggestion I have  for u is sign language. No matter whether ur child has special needs or not, sign language is a great way to communicate. Especially if verbal communication is difficult. It will also give ur children a way to bond and communicate woth wach other. Picture books work wonders u can even get some programs on ur pc or laptop thar u can use to make ur own pictures. With any child I have worked with, I have a blank paper with some velcro, velcro on the back of the pictures, and they can tell u what they want by pointing to the pictures. Its a great way ti gef into a routine too. Make a daily schedule with the pictures and keep it on the fridge or in his room.

I know this is very long. And I apologise if I lost u at all. If u have any more questions or concerns please feel free to contact me anytime. Hope I helped a little =)
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