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Asperger Subtype: "The Emotion Boy"

ADHD, OCD, and Fantasy Children
The factors marking these three subtypes – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and preoccupation with a fantasy world – are very closely related, even intertwined. In all three, the child is often described as being inattentive, but there are a number of reasons for the inattention. If he is an ADHD child, he is inattentive because he is nowhere. He is not focused on any one thing for very long. He is distracted by anything new or different that passes in front of his eyes, and his interest moves from one thing to another and he cannot easily control his focus. He has many of the other signs of ADHD as well. He is easily distracted, disorganized, forgetful, and impulsive. He may or may not be hyperactive.

The OCD child, on the other hand, is inattentive because he is somewhere else. He is not so much distracted as preoccupied with something else that is of greater interest to him, usually related to some preferred activity such as videos, numbers, or how things are placed in his environment. Some children have one or the other, ADHD or OCD, and most have both to varying degrees. Since symptoms of both disorders can exist at the same time and to varying degrees, it can be difficult to tell which is which at times. In either case, the result is a lack of awareness of what is going on around him. However, it is important to distinguish between the two and decide how much each contributes to the inattention, because your approach for each will be different. Underfocusing (predominantly ADHD) and overfocusing (predominantly OCD) are important variables that must be addressed, as well as the child who dwells in a fantasy world.

Predominately ADHD
This child is very unfocused and has difficulty attending to and processing information on a consistent basis. He is easily distracted and forgetful, loses things, and has significant difficulty keeping track of school assignments. He wanders around in the classroom and may not be able to stay in his seat at home and in school. Conversations are difficult because he is always looking around the room at something else, but doesn't stay focused on any one thing very long.

Recommended Approach: Medication is very important to deal with inattention and impulsiveness. Careful monitoring of all tasks and situations, along with powerful reinforcers, is sometimes helpful. He will find it hard to stay focused on most tasks. Frequent breaks, structured tasks, and supervision are all necessary. If you find the right medication, the inattention reduces significantly, but may not disappear.

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From Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn, Ed.D., and Cathy Grayson, M.A. Copyright � 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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