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Very intelligent, socially awkward child

Posted by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 1:32 PM
  • 16 Replies

Our son is 7, he is our youngest of 3. He was diagnosed with ADHD at 4 years of age. He was very impulsive and painfully opinionated. The Head Start Program actually dropped him from their program and said they hoped there was "a cure" for our son. Even after his diagnosis.

He did well in another preschool and made it to and through kindergarten, excelling in every subject. At 5 years old he was put on generic ritalin, and it helped considerably, but eventually the dosing was absorbed to well by his body, the child psychiatrist increased the dosage twice before deciding to put him on Concerta. The Concerta has worked well also, except that his body is metabolizing it more quickly as time goes by, and if we visit the psychiatrist again, he will increase him another 10 mgs which will put him at almost a standard adult dose (of 46 mgs). I really don't want to do this.

My degree field is nutrition and natural medicine. My husband pushed me to go to school, but does not support what I have learned, so he will not let me try anything homeopathic because it isn't FDA approved. Unfortunately, my knowledge about what the FDA approves makes it even harder for me to keep letting the doctors increase my childs ritalin. I have also been faithfully giving him a very good multi vitamin along with an EFA supplement for what I have read is lacking in ADHD children.

Another problem I am having is that I'm starting to question if it's even ADHD that is the problem. My son is crazy smart, he tests 100% on all of the STAR assessments, which includes listening attentively. His teacher loves him and talks about how brilliant he is. She says her main concern is neatness and the fact that he has no verbal filter (he is not above telling kids or adults when they have done something academically wrong.) and that he doesn't willingly participate in activities in PE, and tends to play alone at recess.  The past couple of years my Husband and I have joked to one a nother  that our son is like Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. So you can imagine our surprise when his teacher actually told us he reminded him of that same character at his conference yesterday.

My son has no empathy, he knows he is smart, he says people (in his case, other children) annoy him, he is also impartial to change and has OCD about clothing, blankets, and what foods he will and won't eat. He is incredibly intelligent, and the teacher has expressed that she has struggled finding new ways to challenge him. Does this sound like ADHD? Are we barking up the wrong tree? I'm at a loss right now and I think I need a new Doctor.

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 1:32 PM
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 14, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Second opinion can't hurt.

by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM
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I can't give you an answer, I'm not a doctor. Take him to be evaluated by a different medical group. He sounds like a highly intelligent little boy. ADHD drugs could actually be causing some of his problems, like his lack of a filter.
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by on Mar. 14, 2013 at 2:38 PM
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First, there is no such thing as a "standard adult dose" of Concerta.  Concerta is NOT prescribed based on weight or age.  It is prescribed based on what is necessary to replace the body's missing neurotransmitter, which is determined by "what WORKS".  This is exactly the way insulin is prescribed.  insulin replaces the body's missing endocrine, and the dose is increased until you reach what WORKS.  Would you deny your diabetic child insulin because you felt it was "too much"?

Second, because methylphenidate HAS worked, then your child IS ADD.  But that does not mean he cannot be OTHER things as well as ADD.  In truth, ADD almost NEVER flies alone.  So, he can be ADD + Aspergers, ADD + NVLD, ADD + Tourette's, ADD + PDD, and also ADD+gifted.  Have your Pdoc do a COMPLETE physical, psychiatric AND learning disabled evaluation. 

by Bronze Member on Mar. 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM

If you feel like your son is not getting the right kind of working solution, then that is your right as his mother. If you think that you need to do something else, then you should trust your instincts. Is your son an active child? Does he need to be doing something all the time?  He may need more stimuli than what he is getting. What he may be getting and or doing for stimuli may not be the right combination. Dome of what he is doing may not be attributed to his ADHD or his meds. It could just be that is what children his age do. Please remember that even with his ADHD, he is still whatever age he is and he will still act like whatever age he is. Each age has a set of phases that will happen, so you may want to consider these to be a part of what he is going through. I feel your pain. It is tough being all mom and part doctor, part detective. Always trying to decide what is right and what is wrong, trying to make sure that you are doing the very best for your child.  As long as you are on this page and you keep at it no matter what, you are doing a great job.  :)  

by on Mar. 15, 2013 at 11:58 AM

You are right to be concerned.  I would strongly question the diagnosis of ADHD!  I have worked with ADHD children, and they do not seem to have any of your son's symptoms.  In fact, most ADHD children can be "cured" by removing sugar from their diet.  Typical ADHD exhibits with constant motion.  The children do not ever sit still.  Teachers feel this is disruptive in the classroom, and so they recommend drugging the children to make them more controlable.  Parents who chose to homeschool their ADHD children often find that breaking up long sessions of deskwork with shorter sessions of activity are able to educate their children without drugs.  My nephew was on ritalin for much of his childhood, but when he wanted to get into the army, he had to learn how to control his own behavior with medication.  He got in to body building, and had a successful army career.  He now resents all the years wasted on medication, feeling that his childhood was lost in a fog of drug-induced haze. 

Your son sounds more like a highly functioning autistic child, but I have not met him, and I am not a doctor - so don't take my word for it.  My daughter is also very smart.  She has a lack of empathy for others, although she does have and express her own emotions.  She was recently diagnosed as highly functioning Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism.  She is 27... we knew she was different as a child, but just assumed she was shy. It wasn't until she became a young adult and was incapbably of going out into public alone that we realized she had mental health issues.

I have seen the Big Bang Theory, and have often thought that Sheldon was autistic!  

If further diagnosis insists on ADHD, you might try the no-sugar diet, which has been found to relieve ADHD symptoms and even to "cure" this condition.  I understand how your husband does not trust homeo-pathic measures, but to go no-sugar can not be seen as weird or "out there" but more like getting to a truly healthy diet.  I'm sure you realize, being a nutritionist, that sugar, in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, is in nearly EVERYTHING you can buy in the grocery store.  Everything that is processed or packaged.  It is even in hot dogs!  Ketchup, fruit juices, breads, jellies, jams, all cookies, all breakfast cereals and foods, nearly all crackers, and more.  The silly TV commercial claiming that high-fructose corn syrup is as natural as sugar and therefore not harmful is just that - silly.  Corn itself is not a "natural" food any more, since all corn grown in the USA is genetically modified, and high-fructose corn syrup is not a natural food.

I had a cousin that was also brilliant, and a bit of a problem for his teachers, and lacked empathy or social skills.  He was not diagnosed ADHD because that was years ago... he would be 51 today if he had survived his cancer.  But I think his problems as a child were because he was so brilliant, that he just did not fit in with other kids.  Yet he was too young to fit in with older kids who were more his mental age.  

It can be challenging to raise a genius, but your best bets would be to either homeschool him or place him in a private school.  Some private schools have wonderful scholarship programs.  The smaller class sizes, and brighter student base could help keep your son challenged, and therefore, less of a behavior problem.  Public schools and their "no child left behind" philosophy means that they can only teach to the dumbest kid in the class.  I was bored in school, and I'm far from a genius!  I dropped out after the tenth grade, when I had all As on my report card, but was flunked because I hadn't met the minimum attendence laws!  (I did manage to finish at an alternative school, go on to college, and get my teaching degree).

Good luck.  Trust your instincts.  And hopefully you'll be able to wean him off the drugs entirely.

Raising Creative Children

Nurturing Creative Young Minds and Wiggly Bodies

by on Mar. 15, 2013 at 12:51 PM
Sounds like your gut instinct is telling you to do more research, as much as you can for the health and well being of your child. This diagnosis is not something any of us can provide. Hopefully we can be of great support for you while you go through this journey. As mothers we all want the very best for our children and nothing is wrong with that. Keep on until you get the resolution you seek.
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by on Mar. 15, 2013 at 3:29 PM

 I would do more research and seek a second opinion.

by on Mar. 15, 2013 at 3:34 PM

It is extremely unusual for children to develop evenly across all aspects of their lives: social, gross motor, fine motor, visual acuity, ability to decode writing, ability to encode writing, empathy, self-awareness...

... so, it's irrational that the system believes that all the academically-capable kids be at the same place as all the physical/sports-capable children AND all the social/empathic-capable kids...

ADHD is the last over-diagnosed 'disorder' of children who are not close enough to the 'middle of the pack' to 'fit in' at school... Bi-polar is becoming the new one.

Your son has empathy, it's just undeveloped at this point and is extremely unlikely to develop in the realities of the schoolyard.

I think your son has been diagnosed as 'problematic for Authority' and drugged into numbness because it shuts him up.

by Platinum Member on Mar. 15, 2013 at 3:35 PM

 I don't have any experience but could he have Asperger's?  That's what I always think of when someone says their child is socially awkward.

by Platinum Member on Mar. 15, 2013 at 3:36 PM

If the medications are correct I would think ADHD is the correct diagnosis.  He could have some sensory processing order thrown in there as well.  My son is very smart (his school calls him highly gifted) and gets along much better with older children than those his own age.  He is always just behind physically and is so particular about how things are done.  In our spelling curriculum there are letter tiles and he has to line them up just right after every single word.  If I put them away it's never just right and he has to fix it.  Drives me insane!

The OT has helped tremendously for the spd.  She has also showed me some ways to work on his upper body strength which he is severely lacking. He does ok with running and stuff but he's always just behind.

Mine will eat anything and as long as there are older kids he is always right in the middle of everything.  He prefers adults over children though.

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