Children - Special Needs Community
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Avatar universal


Is it possible for a 7 year old boy that has adhd really bad, to be autistic?? My sister just took my nephew to the doctor and they ran some tests on him and the autism test came back that he is a slow learner. He's too smart to be autistic and im really down about this. He's like my son and the fact that he might be a slow learner really bothers me. Is this possible or could the doctors have made a mistake???
7 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi there and welcome.  Well, sure.  Doctors make mistakes.  What kind of testing did they do?  Often, this involves parent feedback and observation.  I have a son with sensory integration disorder and he was evaluated over the course of a few visits that included lots of question/answers from me as well as observing him for the signs of it.  Lots of the sensory signs are similar to autistic signs.

Now, I want you to know that IQ and things like autism and sensory are two different things.  My son processes slowly but is very intelligent.  He scores in the gifted area for things like math and science but he has trouble doing a 100 facts in 5 minutes test that kids need to pass in his grade.  He processes a bit slowly but he is very smart.  Does that make sense?  

My son in grades one and two caused a good deal of concern with my husband and I.  The way the curriculum is geared at that point in education made it look like he had difficulty learning.  We looked into tutors and did things at home to help him.  When he went into third grade---  things changed a bit.  The testing is not just basic things like how fast a child reads or recalls math facts but they look at higher level thinking.  This is when we realized that our son has a very high IQ but it often wasn't reflected in grades one and two.  He did better in grade three and is doing terrific at 9 in grade 4.  

I found that finding a child's strengths academically and working on their weaknesses is really important.  Tutors can be very helpful.  Also, if your sister/brother have this diagnosis and he is having issues academically in school, he will get an IEP plan which is really a good thing because it will allow for certain accommodations to help him be successful.  Something like more time to finish a test, things read allowed to him if he has visual processing issues, etc.  

Anyway, if they doubt the diagnosis, they should have him evaluated elsewhere.  Our son was evaluated three times until I was sure of his diagnosis.  that diagnosis was a wonderful thing though even though at first I was so sad about it.  I realized that the diagnosis was the path to how to help him.  At first, it made me worried about the future but then I realized that it actually helped me IMPROVE his future by addressing his specific needs and challenges.  

In terms of autism, there is spectrum and kids can fall at different points on that spectrum.  Some are very high functioning and others are low functioning and many in between.  Communication/speech is almost always involved.  How is your nephew in terms of his speech capability?  Another thing they look at is social skills.  (btw:  my son has sensory and he had issues with speech and social skills---  you can learn about sensory integration disorder to think if this is a part of the mix by googling "sensory processing disorder" and a web site called spd will come up which is very helpful) which is almost always delayed or lacking in an autistic child.  Another thing is pretend play which autistic kids do not engage in.  Any of that sound familiar with your nephew?

I know it is hard but I'm here to tell you that a diagnosis is not the end of the earth.  I count it as a blessing after going through a period of mourning over it.  But, they can do SO much to help kids these days.  My son is a straight A student, plays sports, violin, has interests and hobbies and he has friends.  He is a normal kid even though he has a diagnosis of sensory integration disorder.  the help we gave him after the diagnosis is what got him to this point.  

Avatar universal
Thanks, yea makes sense. It just bothers me b/c he's like my son. I raised him until he was 5 yrd old and every since my sister moved away with him, its like everytime i turn around something is wrong with him. It all started with him being ADHD so bad that the doctors have tried him on several different meds and nothing seems to be helping with it. Or so thats what my sister says. He is very hyper active and in deed very energetic but in the same sense he's really smart and he does very well in school. He makes A's and B's and can pass everything but they put him in math and reading intervention b/c he's having a hard time understanding them and reading. I dont know how true this is b/c i am not there at this moment but even when i am around him, he shows no signs at all of being even slightly autistic. Its just a hard thing for me to process i guess. Its  one of those dont believe it till you see it type deals. Thanks for all of the helpful advice...i feel better about it now.
5914096 tn?1399922587
I don't think anyone in this forum could competently answer your question.  If you are not satisfied by your doctor's diagnose, you are always free to get a second and third opinion.  
Avatar universal
Thanks Mark, i still wouldn't be satisfied with a second or third opinion simply b/c that is my nephew and i have watched him grow up. I have always been there for him no matter what and even if the doctor told me to my face and ran tests on him in front of me, i would still be in denial. And i wasn't really looking for someone to answer my question fully b/c i know that none of these ppl are doctors or health care professionals so just someones advice makes me feel better about it.
973741 tn?1342346373
I would have your sister google sensory integration disorder or sensory processing disorder (SPD is a good site to look at) as some signs do overlap with autism and absolutely hyperactive attention deficit gets mistaken for it all the time.  medication does not work for it so perhaps that is what is going on.  

I think you have to go with your gut sometimes too.  I didn't want there to be anything 'wrong' with my own son.  But when I observed him with his peers, I too did notice things were not quite right.  Sensory is often worse in the school setting, so preschool was very difficult for my child.  But things were better at home--  so that is why I was so confused to hear they thought he had a developmental delay.  I then went and observed him at school and saw with my own eyes exactly what they were telling me.  It broke my heart and from then on, I embraced his diagnosis and did all I could to help him.

You don't really say what the behaviors are or the symptoms though so not sure what is going on with your nephew.  

And again, while it may feel sad---  the truth is, if your nephew is struggling, finding out why and helping him is the best course of action.  My son is doing really fantastic now after working on his individual issues.  peace and luck
Avatar universal
Thanks specialmom. You sure do know what your talking about. I feel better just hearing feedback from others who can relate to this situation. I'm moving back home in a few days so i can't wait to see him again and observe him a little more. Thanks so much once again. Peace, Love, and Happiness....nikki-
1006035 tn?1485579497
Some of the most brilliant minds in history are said to have autism (ie Einstein). Just because you have autism does not mean that you are not smart. It is a social disorder that affects your ability to communicate and understand social interactions. It is so different for every person because it is a spectrum disorder. Have you talked to the school district about getting him tested?
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