• Brendan Brendan
    December 09, 2009
    Can a child present both ADHD and PDD/NOS?
    Brendan Brendan
    December 09, 2009

    I have a 4yr old boy who was diagnosed this year with ADD. He was evaluated by a neuropsych who gave the diagnosis.  She also recommended a neurological eval. We took him to a pediatric neurologist, who suggested he may have PDD/NOS.  He can be aggressive at times, especially in school. Gets easily frustrated and at school he starts throwing chairs, would not talk or be very selective with who he talks to. Does not like to transition into different activities unless he wants to. Sometimes he may hide under the table, and come out not remembering why he was there in the first place. I also have a 9 yr old diagnosed with ADHD at age 7. Although he experienced aggressive behavior in the beginning, his behavior is completely different from the 4yr old. We recently moved to US, and all the neuro exams were not finished to rule out or comfirm PDD/NOS on the 4yr old. He gets easily frustrated, can be very head strong and conflictive but also when he wants can be well behaved. He has this emotional outbursts that can be caused by the simplest things. Don't know how to deal with him, we get calls everyday from the preschool to pick him up early because his behavior is too disruptive, aggresive or may be dangerous for the other children. We have tried doing reward chart, but it may work for one day then we are back to square one. 

    He's had speech therapy and occupational therapy, which needless to say drove us almost bankrupt, it seem to help him a little to focus and to be more tolerant. Now, he is not getting any help and don't know where to get him help here. Went to the Special Ed. Office for my school district to get both boys registered. They said that once they go over the evaluations I provided they will give us a call. For the 9 yr old, they said that it would most likely not be a problem, but the 4 yr old is enrolled on a private preschool so the services would be more difficult to provide.



  • Merely Me
    Health Guide
    December 09, 2009
    Merely Me
    Health Guide
    December 09, 2009

    Hi Brendan


    I want to say so much but I will have to limit myself somewhat so I don't write you a novel.  In answer to your question in your title...in my opinion...yes.  I have talked to so many parents over the years who have had various diagnoses for their children and ADHD and PDD/NOS, autism, Asperger's syndrome, Bipolar Disorder among others...can sometimes go together and run in families.  There is a book you should take a look at caleld, The ADHD-Autism Connection: A Step Toward More Accurate Diagnoses and Effective Treatment by Diane Kennedy.  Now of course there are some doctors and diagnosticians who believe that you can't have both an ADHD diagnosis and a PDD/NOS diagnosis together but I would disagree.  Know that I am not a doctor but just a mom to a child who has autism and a former teacher...I have my Master's in Special Education.


    But so many parents I know face the same thing...trying to get an accurate diagnosis...they may start out with ADHD and end up with Asperger's Syndrome or OCD or Intermittant Explosive Disorder...I mean the list goes on and on.


    I found that the label is most important for getting services.  So this is what the diagnosis will get you.  It may also be important for getting the right medications if you so choose to use medication for your child but...know that even with an "accurate" diagnosis...it is a gamble anyways of what will work and will not.


    The key is to get good services and I can give you many tips on that.  We got home based services for my son (I think we were the first in my county) from the public schools when he was preschool age.  So it can be done but it is hard.  I just want to prepare you for the long road ahead...this may be rough and you have to get into gear to be your child's best advocate. 


    Can you tell me what your primary goals are right now?  Is it to help your son with the behaviors?  Is it to get him services?  Both? Are you looking for private or public school for your youngest?  Is homeschooling an option you have considered? 


    If you give me some targeted goals...I can give you my best suggestions based upon my experiences.


    I know this can be a really hard time and I want you to remember to give yourself breaks and to not forget to take care of yourself through all of this.  My son is now 13 and we have faced so many challenges...including tons of behavioral issues.  I can definitely lend you support and give you some tips of how to help him and cope yourself.




    You hang in there and thank you so much for reaching out here.  Let us know of ways we can help you.



    • Lisa Marie
      March 31, 2011
      Lisa Marie
      March 31, 2011


        My name is Lisa and I have 3 son's with ADHD.  My yougest Connor is 7 years old

      and has just recieved the PDD-NOS diagnosis.  I am extremely frustrated that he is being diagnosed so late but even more frustrated that even with this diagnosis he probably won't recieve the services he so deperately needs.  I don't know how long ago you posted this but wanted to find out how things have turned out with your situation.

      Thanks, Lisa

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  • Beth January 08, 2010
    January 08, 2010

    The answer is yes :) Unfortunately Early Childhood Diagnoses usually come in pairs. Especially in reference to an ASD. Our doctor explained it all to us when my son was diagnosed recently with PDD-NOS, ADHD, and Anxiety (with OCD). While ADHD and PDD-NOS have many similar characteristics behviorally, ADHD does not include the social and speech delays that PDD-NOS does, which can make the ADHD "seem" worse. Also, the response techniques for a child with both PDD-NOS and ADHD would be completely different based on their specific PDD-NOS needs. Whereas a child with solely ADHD might be able to use more typical techniques. Also, a child diagnosed with PDD-NOS or Anxiety with their ADHD will likely not use the same ADHD medicine as a child diagnosed only with ADHD. A non-stimulant is what was prescribed to us and what I've seen prescribed to others with the same Dx's.

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