After 2 years of getting a variety of diagnoses for Perrin - ranging from autism to bipolar disorder, we finally have what I think is the most accurate diagnosis for Perrin. We went to see a neuropsychiatrist on Friday who specializes in Tourette Syndrome; this is very difficult around here, as most neurologist seem to specialize in epilepsy. He spent well over an hour with Perrin, did extensive tests that involved some sort of brain helmet thing to test for ADHD, and Perrin's diagnosis is Tourette Syndrome with severe ADHD. He said he saw no reason to believe that any of his behaviors, which often mimic autism in young children, were anything other than the typical developmental progression of TS. In fact, Perrin seemed to have outgrown many of the behaviors that led to the ASD diagnosis originally. He said this was pretty typical. I even talked with John's mom to ask if John did any of the quirky things that Perrin does that led one psychiatrist to diagnose him with autism, and of course, he did all of them. It seems that most of Perrin's issues are from the ADHD; he tested as one of the most extreme cases he has seen. This is why Perrin is behind grade level in reading, can't sit still, and is often very moody. He even showed us in the brain where all of these disorders seem to overlap, all of it centering on the area of the brain affecting Tourette's. He was brilliant! I left feeling like we finally got it right. We're going to keep him on the risperdal because it has greatly improved both his tics and his mood regulation. We are thinking of adding an ADHD med, which he says shouldn't increase his tics now that he's on meds for them. I'm hopeful.
He's moving to a general ed class in a new school after spring break. I know it will cause anxiety, and that we may see some noncompliance and meltdowns during this time, and I've made that very clear to the team that will likely be working with him. Luckily they will be sending a teacher's aide that has worked with him one on one for the last 2 years, and she'll stay with him for 2 weeks to help him with the transition. I feel that with this new challenge, he will have a fighting chance of catching up and doing well. He's such a bright, amazing kid, and I think people are finally seeing his potential. Talking with this doctor, who agreed that Perrin was very smart, I am feeling more optimistic than I have in a long time.
Since we stopped having playdates during the school week, his mood has improved vastly. He's learned at least 15 new sight words in the last 2 weeks, and his reading has significantly improved as well. I can only imagine how quickly he'll be able to progress once we get him on a good ADHD medication.