New here, new dx of AS & overwhelmed!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-16-2003
New here, new dx of AS & overwhelmed!!
1
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 10:18am
After too many evaluations and tests to even count, an initial diagnosis of ODD at 4, phone calls from every daycare, camp and preschool about my son's behavior, we finally figured out he has Asperger's. He is almost 6 and will be entering Kindergarten in 3 weeks (thank GOD!!). I've been glued to this computer every chance I get doing research, and am overwhelmed with the info and just the idea of him being autistic.

We adopted ds at birth, and he was a high-maintenance baby since day 1. Colicky, milk-intolerent, sleep problems. He was Terrible Two multiplied by 10! Spoke in full sentences by 18 mos., and could put legos together and figure out any childproofing by 2 also. His tantrums and aggressive behavior have been the most challenging. He will spit, kick, throw anything in reach, bite ANYONE when he explodes.

Transitions are difficult, changes just set him off. Some of his weird behaviors are always having things arranged around him. He will watch TV in a chair but has to have a few toys next to him, a box of cereal or snack, a glass of water always put on the corner of the table next to him. At bedtime he has a pile of stuff next to him, and each item has a purpose according to him. I have to say good night to him 3 times as I'm going down the stairs, once at the top, once in the middle and once at the bottom. He knows if I don't do it right and will scream until I do it again.

He reads at (I'm guessing) a 3rd grade level, and has tested in the gifted range. We call him the little entemologist because he knows every insect and bug in our area. He will play for hours with Rescue Heroes, Thomas trains, Playmobil figures making elaborate stories about them, and of course arranging them. His diet consists of carbs with an occasional hot dog, and he craves sugar like an alcoholic (we've caught him eating right out of a bag of sugar quite a few times).

Well, tha'ts my shortened description. Now for a few questions:

- has anyone tried fish oil and what kind of results have you seen?

- anger and explosive behavior are major issues with ds, although I don't see them in the top 5 descriptions of AS, why is this?

-anyone on meds for anxiety? What are they? Our psych suggested SSRIs.

Thanks! Hope to be here more!

Donna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2003
Wed, 08-13-2003 - 1:55pm
Hi Donna. I'm a psychologist (PHD in early childhood, used to work in a disabilities research center). I have a son (Cassian, 3 yrs 9 mos), who most likely has Asperger's. We are waiting on the diagnosis because we could not get an appointment with the local expert in ASD's until December. Still, I know enough about DSM-4 diagnoses that I am almost completely certain this is what he has.

I feel for you because your DS sounds much like my Dad probably was when he was a child. My grandfather too, was reputed to be quite a handful. Both had bad tempers. My son, Cassian, seems to have more of a tendency toward anxiety when he has stress reactions, although he does scream a lot when thwarted. Cassian, like your DS, reads at an advanced level. He also loves music (will sing whole pieces by Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart).

Incidentally, my Dad became a very successful professor of biology, and once he learned to control his anger (sometime in his adolescence, I think), he was able to channel it into a competitive furvor that got him many rewards in academe. He became great at scientific debates and has over 200 publications. We are all lucky that he mellowed with age, because at the age of 5 he once tried to stab his mother with a steak knife. Dad, my grandfather, and Cassian all had the sugar cravings you are talking about in childhood. Have you heard whether this is related to AS? My DS is also a super picky eater.

Anyway, SSRI's (seratonin reuptake inhibitors) are a Godsend for many Aspies. They help with anxiety and depression (depression can often look like irritability or anger in males). Usually, SSRI's are given to adolescents and adults, but in your son's case, the docs may want to try him on a low dose. The common SSRI's are Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. The carb and sugar cravings you mention have been talked about in the depression literature, so this may be a good thing to try. Autistic brains are also usually deficient in seratonin (hence the sleep problems), and some recent research on rats suggests that the seratonin system in the brains of young rats who were given these drugs actually had more neurons and produced more of the chemical. Once on the drugs, a person usually needs to stay on them, and dosages have to be increased over time. Also, SSRI's have some undesirable side effects (some produce stomache upset, insomnia, etc.).

I have also heard that fish oil is a great diet suppliment (contains DHA and AHA which are great for brain growth). A friend of mine uses an orange flavored fish oil suppliment (no taste of fish at all, but has all the nutrients). Some people also like to use Flaxseed Oil, although it does not have all the same nutrients of fish oil. I don't like the idea of Flaxseed oil because it contains phytoestrogens, which may not be good for boys.

Well, I have blabbed enough here. Good luck to you.

Suzi