My 12 year old son was diagnosed with Bipolar NOS yesterday. I don't believe that it is the right diagnosis. With Autism in our family, I really believe that he is on the Autism Spectrum. I believe that I have Asperger's syndrome and I think that mys son does too. I see me in him. Should I get a 2nd opinion?
Here is what I see in my son:
Austin does display some of the symptoms of Bipolar disorder such as the angry outbursts. But, and I specifically told the doctor, he doesn't have any depression. There aren't many time when my son is sad. He's usually pretty content. He doesn't have any sleep issues. His sleep schedule is the same every night without waking up during the night. His hyperactivity has always been the same since birth. Yes, there are times when he is hyper and talks incessantly and loud. But, he hardly ever cries or mopes around like he's depressed. I know that depression in children can be shown outwardly as anger. But, there are certain situations that trigger his angry episodes.
Ever since birth, he's had sensory issues that have not gone away. Clothing bothers him. He doesn't like tags, seams, scratchy clothing or sheets. He prefers to wear sandals so he doesn't have to wear socks. He has a stiff and clumsy gait. He's always bumping into things even with his glasses on. He has to slap his feet on the floor or ground to make sure he has his footing. I used to tell him to stop stomping his feet.
"I'm not stomping," he would say. Then, lifting his feet up, one at a time, he would slam them down on the floor and say, "this is stomping." He quickly taught me the difference between his normal gait and stomping.
Most of the time he takes things literally. And, he's very blunt when it comes to telling people how he feels about them or a certain subject. That really annoys a lot of people. He seems to be less empathetic to other peoples feelings than most children his age. It doesn't seem like it's done in a mean way. He just doesn't seem to understand the feelings of others; nor does he care to.
He's constantly scripting. It doesn't matter what we are talking about, he always has some quote from a movie or TV show that works for the topic of discussion. His interests are limited to Pokemon and Yu-Gi oh cards, video games, and science related items. He doesn't socialize very well with others. He has one friend that he will play with. He likes to spend time with me because I'm the only one that understands him. He loves to talk to adults and adults are amazed at how articulate he is. He can look people in the eyes for a short period of time; especially people that he already knows. However, he looks away quite often.
He is hypersensitive to some sounds. Loud noises or unexpected noises give him such a start that he screams. High pitched noises and multiple noises bother him a lot. However, if he is intrigued by a show on the TV or video game he can usually tune out background noise. When it comes to people talking he has a more difficult time hearing just one voice.
As for his tactile senses, he prefers a deep touch. He doesn't like being tickled. He says it hurts. He loves to be surrounded by pillows and have a heavy blanket over him. He asked me this morning if I could buy three heavy blankets for him so he could be comfortable.
And, what about his hand flapping? He does this when he is excited, nervous or having trouble speaking. He tends to stammer and can't get the words out fast enough. His hand will be flapping or he'll be jumping up and down or spinning. Then there are times when he'll just stare off into space for a while with a blank look on his face. He does that a lot when it's raining.
Is it possible that he has Asperger's syndrome or PDD instead of Bipolar NOS? I really don't want to medicate him if it's not going to be beneficial for him. I am at a loss as what to do now. I hope that you can help.