Day 30! Autism Awareness month concludes … but the journey continues …

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Day 30. Autism Awareness month concludes … but the journey continues …

I went up to the school today to check in with the teachers about how James is travelling. Instead, I ended up having a conversation with the Learning Support Teacher about Tom. He is really struggling with ADHD like behaviour as well. She is concerned about his ability to settle and learn due to his inattention and hyperactivity.

I then caught up with James’ teacher who is the most beautiful girl. She reports that he is really barely able to remain in his seat now and is struggling to attend. On the upside though, she says he is noticeably so much happier, more interactive and much more social since he stopped his previous medication. He has expressed his anxiety once or twice to her over the past week but after a chat he’s been able to settle and use his strategies to self-soothe. This is a great sign.

It has been nice having “Big Jimmy” with me over the past days for many reasons but at this point in my journey, it’s been great having another set of eyes to observe the boys whilst we do our usual day to day things. As we left school today, Tom ran out in the rain and was running aimlessly around and around, completely oblivious of my requests for him to return inside. He won’t walk with me, he’s always running. He constantly talks to himself and is extremely loud with random vocalisations. James presents more like he’s in “fast forward” with his speech, his behaviour and his actions. It makes them both quite hard to manage as they find it challenging to focus in as you speak, they are highly impulsive and their working memory is poor.

A number of children with Autism also have clinical ADHD however a number of children with Autism have ADHD like traits – meaning they have traits of ADHD but they don’t have clinical ADHD. In the past, clinicians have been unable to diagnose ADHD as a comorbid condition with Autism however this is about to change with the release of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in May this year.

From –
“Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also known as hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) is a mental disorder[1] or neurobehavioral disorder[2] characterized by either significant difficulties of inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness or a combination of the two. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), symptoms emerge before seven years of age.[3] There are three subtypes of the disorder which consist of it being predominantly inattentive (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), predominantly hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD-HI or ADHD-H), or the two combined (ADHD-C). Often people refer to ADHD-PI as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD), however, the latter has not been officially accepted since the 1994 revision of the DSM. ADHD impacts school-aged children and results in restlessness, acting impulsively, and lack of focus which impairs their ability to learn properly.”

Given all this, I’m relieved to have an appointment with the Psychiatrist in the morning. I’m thinking at this stage that we will have to look at medicating both boys for ADHD like behaviour and I guess we just follow our noses from there. I’m hoping this will help both boys with their general behaviour, social skills, impulsivity and attention. We shall see …

Today is the final day of Autism Awareness month however I’m keen to continue blogging … maybe not every day … but as the need arises … or as the story needs further telling. Thanks so much to those of you who have been reading and responding to my posts, and to those who have forwarded my posts on to others. I think that raising an awareness of this condition and the impact this condition has on the individual, their families and their communities, will go a long way towards fostering an acceptance globally of Autism and diversity generally.

We are all in this together – raising children, being in community, living and loving. Thanks for sharing the journey with me. xxx

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