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View Full Version : Neurologist and/or Psychologist questions



Mary FL
09-18-2012, 08:05 AM
Have any of you been to both for your child? Wondering what a neurologist would test for rather than psychologist. Ds had a battery of tests last Nov. and Dec. at psychologist's. Diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorder, sensory issues, processing disorders...Based on those tests, psychologist didn't think he had social cues problems. Would a neurologist have different tests/methods?

Can symptoms of the above diagnoses mimic symptoms of Asperger's? I just learned about the subtypes of Asperger's ("The Logic Boy", "The Rule Boy" and "The Emotion Boy") yesterday and those describe ds. But psychologist said he doesn't have Asperger's. Would a neurologist help in different ways? I'm so confused.

I'm not sure how to word it, but maybe someone can help somehow. Thanks.

Alice R
09-18-2012, 10:03 AM
I know exactly what you are asking. Your post is not confusing at all.

I have not been through this personally, as you know.

Professionally, I can tell you that I would much rather have a thorough psych eval than a neuro. Maybe my clients are going to bad neuros (which is suspect is the case) but nothing they come back with is impressive at all. :unsure:

Again, these are my clients who are most likely not going to a reputable place but they come back with MRI results that say "no abnormalities found". Meanwhile the child is showing very serious delays/issus etc.

I'd love to know if anyone else has had better experiences because the whole "neuro evaluation" puzzles me too.

Edit to add: I think a neuro-psych eval is different but my clients have limited access to those specialities. (sad).

Regarding the Aspergers...your son might have symptoms but doesn't fit the whole entire criteria. They have very specific guidelines they need to follow before they put a dx on a child and if the psych didn't feel he met everything, he would most likely hesitate. I work with a clinical psychologist and there are times the child appears to be on the spectrum but he does not dx because he just didn't feel the child met the criteria 100%. Essentially, child X might actually function as a child with PDD but without a perfect fit, my psych will not dx. I assume they are afraid of over-labeling or lawsuits etc.

Lisalyn
09-18-2012, 10:14 AM
We've seen a developmental ped, a psychologist, a neuropsychologist, and a neurologist. The psychologist was first, the developmental ped next. She referred us to the neurologist. The neuro did testing--brain MRI and 24 hour EEG--to rule out other causes for the symptoms. She requested genetic testing, also. She recently sent us to the neuropsychologist because she is a new member of the clinic and needed someone with an Autism diagnosis to 'practice' assess.

The neuro is our primary doctor for Autism. Autism is her specialty.

My youngest son's testing all came back normal. He had the Autism dx when we saw the Neuro. She agreed with and upheld his dx of Autism/PDD-NOS.


My 11 yr old (Asperger's) had an abnormal EEG that showed seizure-like behavior even though he has never had a seizure. He takes anti-seizure meds. (20-40% of kids on the Autism spectrum have abnormal EEGs without having seizures.) The Neuro dx'd this one with Asperger's. He had a tentative dx based on psychological testing, but the Neuro made it official after her testing and observation.

If you decide to try a Neuro, I would definitely look for one with an Autism subspecialty. Especially if you are looking to rule out or confirm an ASD.

Not sure if this rambling helps at all. :perplex:

Alice R
09-18-2012, 03:07 PM
Good advice. get a neuro who only does spectrum issues.

Many years back, I sent a clear child with autism to a neuro. The neuro had no clue why the parent was there. The mother didn't speak English so she had the neuro call me to explain. I spoke to him and he had NO CLUE what we wanted. He did more injury type neurology. But that is where the medicaid referral sent her. :mad:

I sent that child to Manhattan for a psych eval and was able to get him dxed and into a school.

Lisalyn
09-18-2012, 04:44 PM
Good advice. get a neuro who only does spectrum issues.

Many years back, I sent a clear child with autism to a neuro. The neuro had no clue why the parent was there. The mother didn't speak English so she had the neuro call me to explain. I spoke to him and he had NO CLUE what we wanted. He did more injury type neurology. But that is where the medicaid referral sent her. :mad:

I sent that child to Manhattan for a psych eval and was able to get him dxed and into a school.

How frustrating for that poor mom. :sad:
Our Ped. Neuro group has eight neurologists and they all state their specialty on their business cards. I like that. :)

Alice R
09-18-2012, 05:22 PM
Very frustrating to be sent here, there and everywhere and not to get the right person. Happens all the time when people have limited language skills or limited overall skills to advocate for their child.

Alice R
09-18-2012, 06:02 PM
Pulled this off of a neuropsych eval...ruling out spectrum for a 4 yr old boy. Excellent eval.



Clinical History
Physical Examination
Developmental Assessment of Young Children (DAYC)
Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R)
Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Module 2
Vineland-II Adaptive Behavior Scales, Survey Interview (Vineland-II)
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence (WPPSI-III)
Bracken Basic Concept Scale-Revised (BBCS-R)
Parent and teacher completed questionnaires

Mary FL
09-18-2012, 09:47 PM
Thank you for your replies.

Any answers to my question about symptoms overlapping (paragraph two)? I'm feeling like we'll just go on the way we're going implementing ideas I read about how to help a child with Asperger's, specifically the subtypes mentioned above. I just don't know what to do! I'm asking God for direction---that He'll make the pathway clear.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond. :kiss:

Alice R
09-18-2012, 11:19 PM
Diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorder, sensory issues, processing disorders...

To my knowledge, yes, those symptoms can be present in a child with aspergers. Most certainly sensory issues and processing issues. I'm not as familiar with anxiety but I have heard it in passing. I don't know about specific dx of ADHD but many children with Aspergers are active and have difficulty focusing so that fits also.

Symptoms often overlap from one dx to another. It's not clear cut at all. Unfortunately. It is annoying and frustrating.

My best advice is to treat the symptoms and the name for it? It is nice to have a dx sometimes but sometimes children (and adults!) are so complicated that they just don't fit into one spot.

My family member is dealing with mental health issues and trying to get a clear diagnosis is not happening. It's a little of this and a little of that. It's been a few months and I've had to take my own advice and simply treat the symptoms and realize we might not get a clear dx. :unsure:

I'm sorry you are dealing with this and it's so complicated. :group:

Lisalyn
09-19-2012, 07:54 AM
To answer your question about overlap....yes.
My son was first diagnosed with ADHD. Even after the Asperger's dx, the ADHD dx is still there. He also has sensory issues, anxiety (terrible when he was younger), but not so much with processing. He can be very rigid and has the most trouble with transition, I think.

Finding out about the abnormal EEG and starting the anti-seizure meds was the biggest thing for him--that made the single biggest difference. It was like flipping a switch. He went up 2 grade levels in about 6 weeks.

It's all overwhelming, isn't it? You are right, though. You will find your path.

:group:

Rachel Jane
09-19-2012, 08:00 AM
Finding out about the abnormal EEG and starting the anti-seizure meds was the biggest thing for him--that made the single biggest difference. It was like flipping a switch. He went up 2 grade levels in about 6 weeks.



WHAT? That is amazing! :clap:

Lisalyn
09-19-2012, 09:38 AM
WHAT? That is amazing! :clap:

:D It was amazing! We had enrolled him in PS and they tested him as mid-Kindergarten. They had him repeat 1st grade and wanted him to repeat 1st grade again since he made very little progress that year. He started the meds the week after summer break started. When he went back to school, they expected kindergarten level, but found he was at mid-2nd grade level or higher in every subject. :eek:

We did nothing during the summer due to burnout and frustration, except allow him to play an online game he loved. He had to interact and type what he wanted to say, and he had to read what others were saying. :D

Mary FL
09-19-2012, 11:08 AM
Thank you Alice and Lisalyn. So happy for you ds, Lisalyn! :clap:

Ds has had two MRIs for migraine headaches with normal findings. Forgive me, but is that an EEG?

Lisalyn
09-19-2012, 01:53 PM
Thank you Alice and Lisalyn. So happy for you ds, Lisalyn! :clap:

Ds has had two MRIs for migraine headaches with normal findings. Forgive me, but is that an EEG?

The EEG is similar to a sleep study where they glue the little electrodes all over your head and watch your brain activity for 24 hours. Sounds fun, doesn't it? :lol:

Tiffany
09-19-2012, 09:03 PM
Mary, I wish I knew you irl because I think we would have a lot to talk about. :group:
Our first dx came from a pediatric neurologist. Saw a psychiatrist for one boy who gave different diagnosis. Later we had neuro-psych testing, which gave us a lot of information, and again~ different dx. After that, we went through the developmental pediatrician and psychologist and they did not find anything different than what had previously been well-documented through the neuro-psych testing. Oh, and we saw a different pediatric neurologist (we were living elsewhere when we saw the first) and this neurologist does not diagnose anything related to autism, adhd, etc. She only worked with his physical problems, so that was confusing to me.
It seems like you are in a really similar place as I am with both of my boys. They have many characteristics of being on the autism spectrum (Aspergers/high functioning autism) but they do not have the autism diagnosis. It is somewhat frustrating but I have come to believe it is good. They both have a nonverbal learning disability diagnosis (among others), and that isn't even in the DSM, even though it has many overlapping characteristics of kids on the spectrum. Some professionals believe that nonverbal learning disability (NVLD) kids and Asperger's kids are the same kids, just looking at them in different ways. Anyway, no one has heard of NVLD so it isn't too helpful in that way. I have a lot of opinions about the medical and mental health fields after going through all we have gone through, too much to go through here. But they are trying to name and define a set of characteristics. It is not all so neat and tidy. Not having one main diagnosis makes it hard to understand and learn about how to help your child, and it makes it hard for others to understand them. That is my main frustration. However, I learn from wherever I can and I also accept that my children are unique and just don't necessarily fit in any one category, but there is much I can learn from a variety of sources.
Recently I have begun telling others that one of my sons has Asperger's, even though he does not have that dx, because he has just about all the characteristics of it and that is something most people have some kind of understanding of and can explain his behaviors. People like his teachers at church, his dentist during a freak-out there... because there isn't time for long explanations of his dx and so one, they just need to have some kind of frame of reference. It is tricky because I don't want him to hear it either, but it is all I can do at this point to help him. Ugh. It's hard having complicated kiddos, isn't it. I share all of that with you because I sensed maybe that's where your confusion is coming in, in not being able to clearly find answers, and to let you know that you are not alone in that, and I think it does make it harder because you do not have the support of being in that specific special needs community and resources that others have. If you ever want to talk further, feel free to message me. :group:

Mary FL
09-21-2012, 10:03 AM
Thank you, Tiffany. :group: to you.