Autism Joins the Party

Olin has a whole slew of fun diagnoses, most (but not all) attributed to his chromosomal anomaly. He was diagnosed with ADHD-Inattentive Type last winter, he has the global developmental delays that we knew about, but in his case it was very helpful to keep testing, because every “diagnosis” gives us a new body of evidence in how to treat him, and further insight in to how it is, exactly, that Olin ticks.

On Wednesday, Olin finished up the last of what has been about six hours of testing over the course of 4 or so sessions. The doctor came up with a bunch of numbers (she will be mailing me a copy of the breakdown eventually) but the take-home ideas were pretty significant.

So, Olin’s FSIQ (Full Scale Intelligence Quotient) is 74. He scores high in a few categories (relative to his own scores) and particularly low in elastic-thinking and problem-solving categories, which dragged the number down a little bit, but the doctor who did the testing felt that it was pretty accurate. That puts him in the “Borderline Mental Retardation” classification, which is not really a surprise. She says that in her experience, kids like this do relatively well until about third grade. Letters, numbers, shapes, sight words and basic concepts come well, but then learning starts to drop off as concepts become more abstract.

Olin seems to be doing well in school right now. He struggled for quite awhile until we figured out the medication + glasses + 1-to-1 helper combination, but he has finally learned all his letters (and has races with AJ to see who can say the whole alphabet the fastest) and can recognize familiar, simple words like his name.

He has some idiosyncratic behaviors (like the flapping/jumping when he’s excited or hurt, lying down to play, watching certain parts of objects, identifying specific things [lawn mower! attachment!]) and some distinctly inappropriate social behaviors, but he is very social (although in a limited way) and very tactile with certain people. The doctor was of the opinion that it would be a good idea to test him for autism. Surprise, surprise, they also decided that he has an Autism Spectrum Disorder – Level II. That means pretty serious, but not severe. And we knew that, just like we knew he had ADHD, it’s just a little bit of a jolt to be told flat out: Your kid is autistic. For Olin, it is really a good thing because it is that much more in the way of support and services that he will qualify for. With the new diagnoses, I wonder if he won’t actually change classifications on his insurance waiver services. Actually, I just e-mailed his case worker to see. We’ll find out, I guess.

One of the interesting vocabulary words that Dr. Head used on Wednesday was perseveration. It’s basically taking perseverance to a whole new level, blasting right through what’s happening now and trying to work on the next thing, and the next, and the next. The Wikipedia description is great.

“Perseveration of thought indicates an inability to switch ideas or responses. An example of perseveration is, during a conversation, if an issue has been fully explored and discussed to a point of resolution, it is not uncommon for something to trigger the reinvestigation of the matter. This can happen at any time during a conversation.” (from Wikipedia)

This perfectly describes Olin’s way of conversing, and his infuriating habit of asking seven million questions all day every day, and six million of them being the same question repeated. It doesn’t help in convincing him to stop talking, but it does help to give it a name and know that it’s a real “thing”.


It will, as we say, be interesting to see what happens next with him.

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