Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Book o' Crazy

It's Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Week!  ADHD seems to go along with autism, so it got me to thinking about all of autism's fun little friends, which the hipsters call "comorbid disorders."  I call it alphabet soup.  You know: ASD, ADHD, IEP, OCD, WTF.

But ADHD in particular is one of those things you find floating in a lot of families' alphabet soups.  According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders either have full-blown ADHD or exhibit some ADHD symptoms.  That's, um, a lot.

And yet the Big Book o' Crazy DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) prohibits the co-diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and ADHD.

Wait, what?

Yeah.  So half of children with autism have ADHD, but (psych!) they really don't, because apparently you can't have both.  Even when you have both.  This kind of thing is one of the many, many reasons that I'm going stark. raving. mad.

The exciting news on this front -- and oh yes, I'm so excited I could pee -- is that the Grand Poobahs of Crazy the American Psychiatric Association are working on the Big Book o' Crazy version 5.0 DSM-V and they're going to change it all up on us.  The psychiatric world is in a tizzy about all the possible changes.  The only thing I am absolutely, positively sure of is this: our insurance company will use the changes to completely screw us.

As far as I'm aware, none of our kids has ADHD.  There's something floating around on the Internet about a new type of ADHD called "over-focused" ADHD, which makes total sense to me until I remember that over means too much and deficit means not enough, and so it makes no sense at all.  It's like saying my extra pounds are caused by overly-chunky cookie deficit disorder, when in fact my extra pounds are caused by overly-cookie exercise deficit disorder.

Obviously, I should totally help those guys write the new DSM.  Some conditions that I would include would be:

  • Odor Detection Deficit Disorder. Diagnostic Criteria: Does not notice that a child needs a new diaper until spouse announces loudly, "Honey, Junior has a little present for you."
  • Juvenile Morning Confusion Syndrome. Diagnostic Criteria: This syndrome is present when a child must be dragged whining and moaning out of bed on school mornings but bounces out of bed at the crack. of. dawn. on Saturdays.
  • Laundry Avoidance Disorder. Diagnostic Criteria: Must have at least two of the following: six loads of unwashed laundry (unsorted); two loads of clean laundry (unfolded); one load of laundry that has been washed and re-washed because you forgot to put it in the dryer and it went sour and you need to wash it again; and/or you have bought new underwear in order to put off doing laundry for another day.
  • Cheap Weasel Syndrome.  Diagnostic Criteria: Are you a medical insurance company?

If any of my kids does have an attention disorder, I would have to call it something like Attention Excess Disorder.  I am doing my darndest to keep the Attention Excess Disorder from blossoming into full blown OCD.  "OCD" is short for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, also known as Why That Detective is So Weird on That Show Monk.

Is it weird that I find Tony Shalhoub's Monk character totally charming?  He makes me feel like Little Dude will have all kinds of career options.

Those of you dealing with ADHD, my heart goes out to you. I'll join you for a bowl of alphabet soup.

21 comments:

  1. I've never seen Monk. I do have that kind of affinity toward Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory for the same reason!

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  2. It should be called COD, that way all the letters are in order, the way they should be." I guess I just have a different view on all these "disorders" than everyone else. They aren't disorders, diseases or anything to fear, they are just challenges, puzzles to solve.These issues may not be convenient for others, but really when is life ever convenient? The problem IMO is when society tries to make us all be alike. My 15 yo dd said the other day that the problem w/school, in her mind, is that they tell the kids to celebrate differences and to be who they are...until who you are isn't who they want you to be.

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  3. Thank you. She is much smarter than me as COD is not alphabetical order, it should have read CDO. LOL.

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  4. I'm so tired of all these labels I want to puke. I was talking to my son's developmental therapist about how I wasn't sure my son was autistic and she said well, the three pillars of autism are social delay, communication delay and rigidity and your son has real problems in all three areas. Then she did a you-do-the-math silence thing. So I responded with a roundhouse kick to her face.
    Kidding! And I know the labels are helpful shorthand, but I'd rather get back to - okay, child and/or parents are very unhappy with the world right now - what can we do to make it better?

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  5. No! It's CDO! Trust me on this one (my ten year old, with CDO and ADHD and Autism, even though he can't have all three, has CDO and makes it in Alphabetical order).

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  6. @ Meerkat - it's like you are in my brain! And thanks for the laugh this morn. ☺ The roundhouse kick is gonna keep me smiling all day. This blog is stocked full of awesomeness.

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  7. Preschool JEDI teacherSeptember 15, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    When I was teaching preschool, I would sometimes begin discussing concerns about a child's attending with a parent and they would assure that "he can focus when he wants to, when he is watching TV/playing with Legos/on PBSkids.com/whatever, the house could fall down around him and he wouldn't even notice." I would nod and smile and say "let's keep an eye on it," but I wanted to scream, "That's an attention problem! If the house falls down around you, you.should.notice!" I think they should actually call it "Attention Regulation Disorder," because even "classically" ADHD kids have plenty of attention -- they pay attention to EVERYTHING!

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  8. @Preschool JEDI teacher -- I like your suggestion! Before our whole escapade with Asperger, I thought ADHD meant they couldn't pay attention to anything for longer than 20 seconds. I still have so much to learn.

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  9. @Preschool JEDI Teacher, you are SO onto something with "attention regulation disorder".

    @SRMM - as always my tummy hurts in a good way from the guffaws, my dogs are certain I've lost my marbles when I sit at this magic light box thing that clicks.

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  10. The psychology major, special ed teacher, mom of a six year old w/ sensory integration disorder in me LOVES this entry! And while I'm being honest, I totally have Laundry Avoidance Disorder.

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  11. You know who else makes you feel better about your child's future? Sheldon on Big Bang Theory. A great big genius wrapped up in a asperger shell! Love that show!

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  12. Your post, and the comments above, have me totally LOL...as usual! Thank you for making what is so.not.funny...and making it HILARIOUS!! And I <} Monk and Sheldon...they ROCK!!

    @ Preschool JEDI teacher...you are totally on to something with Attention Regulation Disorder...my little guy has great attention, to every BUT what we want him to pay attention to.

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  13. I'm fairly certain that *I* have ADHD. And it's not a deficit. In caveman times, I would have been the absolute best lookout for the village ever. Example:

    "What's that? What's over there? Did you hear that? What's that blade of grass moving for? Hey! Are they cooking dinner in the village? I wonder what's for dinner? Did you hear that?"

    Also? I have a degree in psychology. IRONY.

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  14. Preschool Jedi TeacherSeptember 15, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    I think I got that phrasing from Scott Bellini (awesome researcher on social skills in students with autism). He also talks about the underlying attentional issue in ADHD being "underselectivity" -- paying attention to whatever is most salient at any given second (like submommy said) and the underlying issue in ASD being "overselectivity," paying too much attention to a narrow aspect of a stimuli (for example, walking into a room and focusing on the pattern of the linoleum, instead of what the people are doing.)

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  15. OMG you are hilarious. Loved this! So true.

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  16. PReschool Jedi- idk what you just said but all I remember is "bellini". um, YES, PLEASE! Who couldn't use a drink with some wine in it?! :)

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  17. I just came across your blog through some convoluted series of clicks and, as a Philadelphia (area) born & bred girl, really couldn't just pass up the opportunity to give you a pretzel-scented internet hug because the thought of living in Texas gives me something close to the willies or shakes.

    I'm also a mom of four, including twins and a three year old who is right now naked and eating 10AM ice cream. At least she recognizes the amazingness of it and she keeps saying, "I'm so lucky!" You got that right, kid. I have a blog but I also have a bigger internet paranoia.

    Looking forward to crossing paths!

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  18. did u hear that in 2012 the new dsm will no longer include asbergers, u can either be a autistic or not... how do u feel about this. do u feel it is a good thing or bad?

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  19. I really do think that eventually all the alphabet soup will be transferred to the spectrum. There is so much similarity between my Jedi and austism, but he gets a different series of letters behind his name. I think we'll end up with Austism Level III (which would be today's Asperger's) and Autism Level 10 for the least functioning (although really, I think the number scale will be much broader). And then we could rename them as Jedi Younglings, Padawans, or the ever popular Council of Jedi Masters!!
    I {heart} my Jedi Youngling!!

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  20. I totally have Laundry Avoidance Disorder. But you need to add one. rewashed laundry because you can't remember if it's in the basket because it's washed and unfolded, or in the basket because it needs to be washed.

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