ADHD and Asperger Syndrome: There Is Hope!

by Susan on October 3, 2013

ADHD and Asperger Syndrome

“Have you ever considered there could be something wrong with him?  As in medically?”

The question took me by surprise and for a few moments I could barely respond.  The feelings that took over shocked me as they weren’t feelings of defense or anger but actually relief!  Relief that maybe it wasn’t all my fault, maybe I wasn’t the world’s worst mother, after all…relief that possibly, just possibly, there was some explanation for my child’s behavior.

The conversation took place on a warm, tropical afternoon on our little island home as I had lunch with an older and wiser friend.  I was sharing with her my struggles with my third child, who was then 2 at the time, hoping that she could possibly give me some glimmer of hope from her experience and wisdom.  And hope I was given!  The thought had never crossed my mind before that there could be a problem with my little Kyler.  I was always being told how naughty he was and it broke my heart.  No one else was seeing the tender moments, the rare times when he would calm down and let me cuddle him and read to him.  But those moments were few and far between as each day was met with hours long screaming fits that came about for no apparent reason, the temper tantrums like I’d never seen before from any other child, the unbelievable strength he had during these outbursts.  I was rapidly reaching the end of my rope and could barely face another day.  I just didn’t know what to do.

After that conversation with my dear friend, my husband and I took Kyler to see a doctor on our island, who through the process came to be a very close friend.  She took an instant interest in our little guy and bent over backwards to help us get answers.  She determined right away that Kyler was severely ADHD and possibly autistic.  I was shocked at first!  I had always been of the mindset that ADHD was a made up condition by parents who didn’t want to face their own poor parenting skills.  Was I ever in for a wake up call!  The more research I began to do, the more I began to see.  We sat in disbelief that first appointment as the doctor asked questions, very specific questions as to certain things he would do.  I found myself saying repeatedly, “How did you know he does that?!” and she would smile and explain that it was a standard characteristic.  This woman who had only seen our child for well baby visits up to that point was telling us specific details about our little boy’s life – and it was an unbelievable comfort to know that we were not the only parents to have ever walked down this road.  We were blessed with a doctor who doesn’t believe in medicating unless absolutely necessary.  Medication would be a last resort for Kyler and thankfully it is a resort we’ve never had to turn to.  I began to do my research and was amazed at what I learned.  Over time we found Kyler actually had ADHD and Asperger Syndrome rather than being considered autistic and through our research and the help of our doctor, we were able to gradually find solutions in dealing with him.  Children with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome respond much differently than other children and what had worked with our older two children didn’t even come close to working with him. And later, I began to turn to nutrition research and was amazed at the link between diet and ADHD and Asperger Syndrome.  We began making changes in that area as well and I’m happy to say our little man, at 8 years old, is a completely different child.

 Maybe you’re finding yourself in a similar situation right now.  Maybe you, too, are at the end of your rope and just can’t face another day of not knowing how to handle your child.  It’s not easy for me to revisit Kyler’s early years and think about that time.  It’s not easy to share with others what we went through, a time in our life that I’m sad to say we even felt ashamed to share with our closest friends and family.  But if it can help another family, another mom, keep going, knowing she’s not alone and there is hope, I’m here to share what God has done in our family through our Kyler.  I’m far from having all the answers, far from perfect, and far from being where we want to be 100%, but here’s some advice that I can give and prayerfully can help.

  1. Get help!  Don’t be afraid to reach out.  Start with your pediatrician and get some advice as what to do next.  Check into mom support groups in your area, look on Facebook for similar groups, etc.
  2. Do your research!  Start reading up on the various behavioral disorders and know your facts.  Going into this blindly will only increase the frustration.
  3. Don’t turn to medication as a first resort!  While I do understand there are circumstances where medicating is necessary, I strongly believe it should be that last and absolute final resort!  Too many turn to this first when there are other factors that could make a difference.  I had well-meaning friends strongly urge me to put Kyler on medication and I am so thankful I listened to my gut instead!
  4. Look into dietary changes ASAP!    For further info on this, check out two of my past articles on this subject – What Effect Does Diet Have on Kids with ADHD and Autism? and  Why Go Gluten Free.  And instead of just cutting out certain foods, I make sure Kyler gets his daily nutrition.  I make sure he drinks Shakeology every morning before school (and he loves it too!) along with the rest of the family to ensure his nutritional needs are met.  Believe me, I can see a HUGE difference when I don’t follow through on nutrition!
  5. Give your child an outlet!  All kids need a break from studying and school and work and just need to play, but these kids need it even more!  Get them involved in a sport or some type of activity.  I know at first you are faced with concerns of can he handle it, how will he interact with others, and will he cooperate with the adults in charge.  But it’s an excellent way for them to burn off steam, learn to handle situations and interaction with others, and follow directions.  For Kyler, our soul-mate sport has become swimming.  He still has his ups and downs of course, good days and bad days, but it gives him a way to release the pent up energy from the school day and something to look forward to.  He’s competed in two swim meets and done great!  (proud mamma here!).
  6. Claim patience and prayer!  I’ll be the first to admit I lose my patience.  There are days when I feel I’ve done everything right and he’s still running around the house shaking furniture and jumping on the couch screaming for no apparent reason (yeah, that was just yesterday!).  But without prayer and focusing on patience, we wouldn’t be getting anywhere.  God has truly brought us through this and will continue to do so.

So yes, there IS hope!  And you are NOT alone!  God has great things for my son in his future and I know He does for your child as well!

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