Comorbidity : ASD – ADHD–ODD ? OTT ?


There is a part of the diagnosis, that I have deliberately not mentioned much on the blog – or even at all.  It’s the part where both, the school psychologist and the doctor, diagnosed Nemo, besides Asperger’s with elements of ADHD and ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder).
Comorbidity is the word. (all links wiki)

comorbidityI think most people have a fairly good idea what ADHD is. And they also have their opinion about wether or not there has been ‘over-diagnosis’ of it during the 1990s. I am no specialist and I will not judge at this point.

But this weekend, here in Australia, talk was on about yet more ‘naughty kids disorders’ (on channel 10 news, on ‘the project’ and in what must be connected print press, Courier Mail, Herald Sun..) In the courier mail, they actually put ASD & ADHD (the old) in a graphic against ‘the new’ ODD & IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder) to point out, I assume, that it seems like yet again, there is a new ‘excuse’ for naughty kids.

Are these children (“10 times more than ADHD!!”) in reality the product of Generation Y (bad?) parenting or do we finally have an answer to why some children are just bad and antisocial (and get worse in the system as it is..). I honestly have no answer yet again. One remark though : this was very bad journalism. On a subject that had my attention, yet again, i got just a blob of poorly researched punch lines, vague assumptions and more or less subtle accusations, badly hidden by sensational ‘concern’. Yuck!

But now, in comes COMORDITY.
Before I had my official diagnosis, i was SURE he had Asperger’s because I had read A LOT about it, and the puzzle just seemed to make sense to me. Even if at times I don’t understand him, I know my child, right ? It is true, if I looked at certain behaviours in an isolated way, it could, occasionally look like ADHD, from the little I know, but NOT when seen as a whole. As his prep teacher once said:

“Nah, it’s not ADHD.. I know ADHD kids – they are bouncing off the wall. He bounces, yeah, but differently.”

Yes,  many of the symptoms or behaviours conditioned by ASD will be similar to ADHD and the tantrums might look ‘oppositional’ and ‘defiant’ to some. But I know my child and I do not see an incapability of focus in ALL situations, or the defiance of a deliberately disruptive child who is seeking attention.  I see a lot of confusion, anxiety and frustration, result from the permanent struggle to make sense of how our brains, our society work.

I understand what comorbidity means and why he has been diagnosed, based on the reports, the questions and the interviews. But I really think that in reality it’s all just expression of his autism.
That’s kinda enough to work with, and on!, anyway.

What about your kids ? Comorbidity, anyone ?


3 thoughts on “Comorbidity : ASD – ADHD–ODD ? OTT ?

  1. Twitchy

    Hi, yes we do have a dreaded "co-morbidity" which I'm only just starting to talk about online- same labels as yours here. But in our case I believe them. The main issue I have with people's lack of understanding of ADHD is that they assume it means swinging from rafters and punching holes in walls. It isn't always, if at all. Traumatised kids present similarly. Kids on incompatible diets do too. They don't all have ADHD. My son has never in his life hurt anyone, nor has he an aggressive bone in his body. Yes, he melts down, yes he was hyper as a little kid but as he gets older, it really just boils down to an inability to sustain concentration and stay on task. School absolutely, positively exhausts him.

  2. Twitchy

    PS I deeply appreciate the way you talk about your own individual situation, all generalisations aside. You are the mum and you do know your child better than anyone.

  3. nikki

    i have found a video that explained the diff of ADHD and the attention problems / activity of Asperger's. It made sense to me. I silently rejected the "ODD elements" in my son because i do not see him seeking conflict, attacking or defying anyone 'just because'. although we struggle a lot with school too, and it's exhausting for both of us, we have improved SO MUCH too. we CAN find a mindset and environment that allows us to work and progress. now school just has to adapt a bit more to us.. uhm..also, i have decided to use my blog as an actual think pad. I don't care about views and hits and followers. but i DO care about comments, so thank you! =)Welcome to my brain.


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