Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Journey with Noah

Our son Noah is 10 years old and as most of you know, I've been convinced he has Asperger's Syndrome for about 5 years. It was difficult coming to that conclusion and I won't give you the details of how we came to that, but I still believe that he has that condition. I probably will never be convinced otherwise.

Lately we've been having problems with his behavior. He is fighting more, he gets angry more, and his tics are getting worse. He used to just sniff or clear his throat, lately he has started squishing up his face, rolling his eyes, and taking quick breaths kind of like an asthmatic problem.

We've had a lot of changes in our family lately and things are still changing, I don't know when things will settle down for us, and I know that has a lot of effects on the children and especially Noah. Stress can make all of these issues worse, but it's gotten to the point where my husband and I don't feel like we can handle it on our own.

We looked into getting him and official AS diagnosis so he could get behavioral training, occupational therapy, and some other options that are out there when you have a diagnosis. I met with a clinical psychologist for an hour and went over issues we have with Noah and things we've dealt with him about.

Afterward he told me he didn't think Noah had AS (he said 30-40% chance) but he suspected gifted-ness and possibly Tourrette's. We decided not to go back to him when he wanted to meet with Noah for 2 hours by himself. Maybe I'm over-protective but that really bothered me. I also had some disturbing dreams and I think God was warning me.

This week he met with Bro. Hays who is a Biblical Counselor at my Brother-in-Law Rick Carter's church. I was there during the meeting and he just got to know Noah and find out what kind of issues he was having. Bro. Hays said that we needed to set up some goals for him, and make sure he had something to look forward to. He also suggested the possibility of Noah having Tourrette's.

I was looking online and there are some more natural ways to help Noah deal with the tics. We're going to start him on a grown-up multi-vitamin that has 300-500% B-6 and B-12, compared to the children's multi we were giving him that had 100%. A lot of websites also suggested cutting out sugar, caffeine, and white bread. We will be discussing that more drastic change in the future.

Some other things we're looking into is getting him into taekwando since it is known for structure, discipline, and also has goals that they achieve rather quickly. He also recently finished a book in Light Brigade, which is a children's church program similar to AWANA or King's Kids.

I just wanted to share these issues we're having and maybe someone else is struggling with these things with their own kid. And also maybe spread some awareness or understanding if you come across a kid who deals with these issues.


  1. Praying the Lord will guide you. How very difficult.

  2. I will definitely have you in my prayers as you are searching for answers and solutions to help him with all that you all are dealing with. I've only known one other child with Tourrette's. He was a super sweet kid and was often misunderstood for his tics. I do know he had medicine that he took that helped to lessen them, but didn't get rid of them completely. I will be praying that God leads you to the answers/solutions you are searching for. Sending you all lots of love (Beada)

  3. Sorry to hear what y'all are going through. I know a woman who has AS. She tried to describe to me what it was like. I remember one thing she said was she couldn't see pictures in her head. Like, if she were to think about a cat, she could not see it in her head. Also, she just couldn't remember where things were, like when she would go home to her mom's house, she could never remember where her mom kept the glasses in the kitchen, even though her mom never moved them. Also, she lived/worked at our church in Okinawa. She would get lost from walking from her apartment to the church building, they were maybe 20 steps apart. She had a hard time with socializing also. But she was so smart, she learned the japanese language very easily.
    Right now, we have a teen in our group who has Tourrettes. His tics are getting a lot better as he is getting older, I think our youth group is very accepting of him so that has helped him tremendously. I guess he was made fun of a lot in other groups. Not sure about his diet, I know he eats a lot of sugar b/c he took off with my cookies one time while at a youth function! :)
    Hopefully this was a bit helpful. We will pray for yall as you try to figure this out.

  4. My son used to have some of the same problems. The doctor was convinced he had ADD, ADHD, and many other diseases that most children are heavily medicated after being "diagnosed." We put him in ballet, karate, and music, and realized that structure is extremely important. Although he has not been formally diagnosed with anything, we believe he may have some of the beginning stages of OCD and bi-polar, as they are very common in both side of the family. He has to get up at the same time everyday, have the same thing for breakfast, and if there is an interruption in his school schedule he gets agitated. He also has to know what exactly is going on after he gets home from school, and surprises makes him very nervous and anxious. He has also had problems with crowded areas, like church and city-wide events (fairs, parades, etc). So structure is very, very important. Rewards are also very helpful too. Completing chores and other daily duties towards a specific goal (time alone with mommy, a trip to a movie, eating out, or even a book or dvd) can make a huge difference. I definitely recommend some kind of martial arts! It teaches not only discipline but also self-awareness, increases self-esteem, and helps with balance and other physical benefits. It sounds like you're doing most of this already, so keep up the good work! I have seen many parents with kids who have similar issues and they don't care to help them, so you are doing great by being so proactive.

  5. Another thing I wanted to address but I ran out of room... was the issue of psychologist vs. counselor. I think it's good to get different opinions. I wish my parents would have got some professional opinions for my brother (who I am convinced has ashburgers as well and you know what I mean!), but instead they trusted only Christian counselors and at age 24 he's still unable to function in society. But that's besides the point...

    While a professional can help with an appropriate diagnosis, make sure to see a psychologist instead of psychiatrist. The difference is that a psychologist is more likely to consider behavioral field of study and correction instead of medicine, like the psychiatrist. I wouldn't let my child be interviewed alone either, I don't think it's just you! (But then again I'm pretty paranoid about everything!) I wouldn't want to be in the room because I don't think my son could be truthful but I would instead ask that a trusted family member be present. There is just too much of an opportunity to for a professional to take something the wrong way and misunderstand what the child is saying.

    For example, my son once told his counselor he gets upset when he's 'punished.' The counselor, instead of asking him for clarification or even talking to me, called child services immediately because we were obviously beating and abusing our children, which of course we weren't! From the counselor's POV, it should be "correction" and not "punishment." So there is a dangerous crossover from a Christian household to the secular understandings of someone in the psychology field, so at least one parents or family member that knows the child very well needs to be present - in my opinion, anyway.

    I also recommend some text books on Child Psychology. (Cheap on amazon and ebay and the like.) They can be very helpful in understanding how the brain functions for different disorders and many of them do discuss how important dietary changes can be.