Thursday, March 11, 2010
Getting it right....we hope
So here's the story. Several months ago, I felt it was time to get Perrin offially diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, since we felt it would help him with getting appropriate services for school and possibly medication should he need it. His tics were getting more severe, more frequent, and his OCD was getting out of control. We took him to a neurologist, who diagnosed him on the spot. Of course this was no surprise to us since John and I both have TS. The neurologist asked me a few additional questions about Perrin, and based on the speech and social skills delays, he also said "he's on the autism spectrum." That was it. No testing. No nothing. We accepted it b/c based on our knowledge, it seemed to fit. His behavior was similar to autistic children of my friends, so we didn't really question it. Until Perrin's behavior took a turn for the worse, he began to withdraw socially, and his mood swings became much more dire. Two weeks ago, Perrin had a manic episode that lasted for days (brought on by prozac he was prescribed for OCD) that eventually led him into a depression. We took him off his meds, went to a pscyhiatrist, and he was diagnosed with early onset bipolar disorder. Based on what she saw and heard, she said she doubted the autism diagnosis entirely but wanted to hear what the psychologist said. I scheduled an intake with the psychologist, and based on the information I gave her (prior to meeting Perrin) she said that she, too, did not think he had autism. Today the psychologist evaluated Perrin and said that she saw no evidence that would lead her to believe that he was on the spectrum. That all of his symptoms fit the Tourette Syndrome with bipolar disorder diagnosis, which she wholeheartedly agreed with. We also learned that the teaching staff and social worker at his school have felt he didn't have autism for some time, and they believed he was bipolar for days before we got the diagnosis. I feel pretty confident that we've got it right this time. Does the label matter much to me? Nah, not really. Perrin is still the quirky, special, amazing, and CHALLENGING kid that he's ever been, but I know feel that he is more likely to get the appropriate therapy now. In fact, we are starting behavioral therapy this weekend with a specialist in early onset bipolar disorder. She will help us teach the school how to teach him, how to prevent his aggressions, and understand him a little bit better. So that's where things stand now. All of the pain and chaos we've been through for the past few months finally has a face to it, and with medication and therapy, I'm hopeful Perrin can be a happier, more stable child.