Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jack and Hoover

Please click over to my other blog--Questioning my Intelligence--for a little update on Jack and Hoover, our dog who is dying of cancer.

Thanks to all of you who commented on the earlier question about autism and the death of a pet. Hoover is hanging in there, but he's definitely declining as the tumor grows.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#35 DSM-5

The proposed diagnostic criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder were posted online weeks ago. What do you think about the new criteria? Strenghths? Shortcomings? How does your own child measure up to the new criteria?

My initial feelings are pretty positive, simply because it is so much less complicated than before. Jack would definitely qualify for an ASD diagnosis under these criteria, and I think more children who are higher functioning yet clearly disabled would qualify more easily. Eliminating the subcategory of PDD-NOS will (hopefully) help children on the milder end of the spectrum qualify for services and insurance when they have been excluded in the past. Currently, some parts of the country provide services to children diagnosed with Autism proper but not to children with a PDD-NOS diagnosis. Plus, providing more services to the higher-functioning kids will probably have a ripple effect of helping them be more funtional and independent as they grow up and pay off in the long run.

But then, I'm always looking on the positive side and have deliberately waited until the media furor (there was one, I'm sure) over the proposed criteria died down. I plan on googling the issue in the next few days, and would love to hear your take on it first. What shortcomings do you see in the new criteria--especially as they relate to your child, students, or patients--that I'm not considering?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

#34 Medication

At Jack's developmental pediatric appointment last week, we opened discussion about medication for attention. Jack's therapists and teachers all agree that his short attention span and easy distractability are starting to get in the way of learning. No one is overly concerned yet, so we're starting the discussion now so neither George nor I freak out in the fall if it becomes a necessity. We've never liked the idea of medication, but then, there's a lot we've had to face that we didn't like in the last four years.

So, today's question is this: what are your experiences with medication for attention in children with autism? Good, bad, ugly?